Nursing Bras 101: Finding The Right Size, Comfort Level & Convenience for Breastfeeding
Whether you’re a new or expecting mother, you needed a nursing bra yesterday. This type of bra offers extra support, tends to be more comfortable and flexible than traditional bras, and makes breastfeeding so much easier. In this nursing bra guide, we’ll discuss everything you should know about nursing bras and suggest a few of our favorites.
What Is A Nursing Bra?
A nursing bra is a type of bra specifically designed for new mothers who are nursing. These bras make it easier to breastfeed with features such as drop-down latches or clips on the cups.
Nursing bras also provide extra support since nursing breasts tend to become larger and more engorged. For this reason, many pregnant women also enjoy the benefits of nursing bras as their bodies change.
Why You Should Invest In A Nursing Bra
Nursing bras are a wonderful invention that make new mothers’ lives much easier and more comfortable. There are several reasons why you should invest in a nursing bra, especially if you’re expecting or recently welcomed your little one to the world:
- Supports your enlarged breasts: During pregnancy and breastfeeding, a woman’s breasts can grow anywhere from one to four cup sizes. Nursing bras are specially designed with your engorged breasts in mind, offering ample support.
- Changes with your body: Nursing bras are often adjustable and made with flexible materials. This means they’re a great option for anyone worried about the rapid changes taking place in their breast size or shape during breastfeeding.
- Makes breastfeeding significantly easier: As any new mother knows, breastfeeding can be a hassle at times. One of the biggest struggles is giving the baby access to the nipple, especially when your hands are full. The drop-down or detachable cups of nursing bras make it much easier to prepare for feeding time.
- Offers a comfortable fit: Sometimes, normal bras just don’t offer the level of comfort new mothers need. Nursing bras are made to be comfortable, even for your tender and enlarged breasts.
Finding The Best Nursing Bra
The best nursing bras are designed with various features to make your life as a breastfeeding mother easier:
- Fit: Measure your bra size and try on some different styles and sizes of nursing bras to find your perfect fit.
- Open-Close Mechanism: Common types of open-close mechanisms include latches, hooks, snaps, and zippers. Each one has its pros and cons, but all are designed to make your job easier.
- Material: Most nursing bras are made of synthetic materials, such as nylon and spandex, which are stretchy and supportive. Some are made with natural materials, such as cotton or bamboo, which are soft and hypoallergenic.
- Cups: Opt for cups that are soft and unwired, as these will be easier on your sore breasts. Also, many women prefer bralette-style cups for nursing over other cup types.
How A Nursing Bra Should Fit
Your nursing bra should fit snugly without being too tight. If your bra is too tight, it may cause issues such as clogged ducts and mastitis in addition to being uncomfortable.
We recommend trying on a few different nursing bra styles and sizes to get an idea of what you need and prefer. Opt for nursing bras with wide straps, soft cups, and adjustable straps for maximum comfort and support.
Measuring Yourself For A Nursing Bra
There are two ways to ensure you get a good-fitting nursing bra:
- Visit our online Fitting Room: With our Fitting Room, you can just sit back and answer a few questions. We will help you find your perfect nursing bra size based on your answers.
- Stop into a physical location: At our physical locations, we offer personalized bra fitting. This means you can stop by (with an appointment), have a professional work with you 1:1 to find your bra size, and walk away with a perfect-fitting bra.
If you would like to try measuring your own size, follow our step-by-step guide to measuring your bra size at home.
What Makes A Nursing Bra Comfortable?
When shopping for a comfortable nursing bra, look for the following features:
- Your correct bra size
- A snug (but not tight) fit
- A soft and/or flexible construction material
- Wide straps for extra support
Some women also prefer using nursing tank tops, which tend to be more comfortable and less restrictive than traditional nursing bras. These tanks have shelf bras installed, making nursing a breeze.
Why Convenience Matters
Nursing bras are all about convenience. There are several occasions where this kind of convenience becomes so important:
- When you only have one hand available
- When your newborn is crying and screaming and wriggling around
- When you have to feed your newborn in public areas
With a good nursing bra, you can feed your baby anytime, anywhere with minimal hassles.
When To Buy Nursing Bras
Experts recommend waiting until you’re at least eight months pregnant to buy a nursing bra. This is the point where your breasts are similar in size to how they’ll be post-partum. That said, it’s typically better to hold off on your purchase until about eight weeks after giving birth.
Your breasts change a lot during pregnancy and breastfeeding, making it essential to get a nursing bra that fits you perfectly.
Best Bra Styles For Nursing Mothers
Here are some of the best nursing bras for every breast size:
24/7® Classic Nursing Bra
The 24/7® Classic Nursing Bra from ThirdLove has everything you need in a quality nursing bra. This includes drop-down cups for easy nursing access, pleated non-slip straps, and a simple hook & eye mechanism with a foam-padded hook for comfort.
Additionally, this bra features a tagless printed label to reduce itching and scratching. You’ll love its cotton and spandex construction, as well, which is both comfortable and stretchy for added support.
This bra is a favorite for all kinds of reasons, including its superior comfort and convenience. You’ll also love its various polished details, such as the gold alloy strap adjusters that give it a distinctive style.
Form Seamless Nursing Bra
The Form Seamless Nursing Bra features 4-way stretch fabric as well as smoothing features, making it both versatile and invisible under clothes. Throw in adjustable straps, removable cups, and a stretchy nylon/spandex construction, and you can see why this nursing bra is so popular.
Kindred Bravely Signature Sublime Contour Nursing & Maternity Bra
This Kindred Bravely T-shirt nursing bra is a great option for those who want a flexible, comfortable fit. It features molded cups, a nylon and spandex construction, and a plunge neckline for extra cleavage.
You’ll appreciate the contouring and smoothing qualities of this bra, but that’s not all. It features numerous design elements to make your life as a nursing mama easier, including nursing clips for easy cup drop-down.
Kindred Bravely Sublime Hands-Free Pumping & Nursing Bra
This Kindred Bravely Hands-Free Pumping & Nursing Bra is both stylish and convenient, giving you the best of both worlds. Unlike the other bras on our list, this one is designed for both nursing and pumping. In fact, it’s equipped with EasyClip™ for easy cup drop-down and fits all standard pump flanges.
Throw in the hook & eye back closure, lack of underwire, and removable padding, and you have the nursing bra of your dreams.