Every breastfeeding mom knows how important a good nursing bra is—it’s like your best friend: comforting, supportive, and makes you look and feel better when you feel your absolute worst. At the most basic, a nursing bra comes with panels that can be let down, allowing your infant nipple access without your having to disrobe or slip one bra-strap down. Nursing bras are various and sundry and come in every imaginable color, configuration and material, made by a multitude of different names, so it can be confusing trying to find “the right one.” We thought it might be helpful to put together a short and sweet list of some of the ones we think are outstanding in form, function, and even fashion, because we all know that a modern mom can be all about all three!
The Medela Sleep Nursing Bra is probably the all-around best-reviewed nursing bra available right now. Medela, makers of the eponymous line of breast pumps and nursing products, obviously knows breasts. In terms of the four main qualities that are important in a nursing bra (support, adjustability, comfort and flexibility), this bra manages to score top marks in every one. It is a deceptively simple design: wide shoulder straps and sides for more comfort and a smooth profile underneath your clothing (no annoying “divots” in your shoulders and flanks!), with triangular cups. Examine it closely: no hooks! The cups have a draw-down design, meaning when it’s time for baby to sup in the night, you simply tug one side down, no needing to unlatch eyelets or undo snaps…and then re-do them. Genius! Also, this design is so simple and comfortable: it has a racer-back configuration, which makes it easy to wear underneath practically everything, extra supportive. Just slip it on over your head and it fits like a dream. The Medela Sleep Nursing Bra is made of 5% spandex and the rest in a lightweight cotton fabric that is soft, resilient, fast-drying and easy to wash. The non-underwire, soft-yet-supporting style is favored highly by pregnant women and new moms alike, who cherish the forgiving nature of this bra. Sure, it’s made for sleeping, but we know many mommies who live in it!
The Bravado Allure Underwire Nursing Bra is made by Bravado, one of the best-known names in the nursing bra business. This one is stylish and has underwire support, which is great for moms whose breasts have gotten through the initial adjustment period and aren’t going to expand much more than they already have! Ladies with a little more size up top will find this bra keeps them snug and comfy all day long, as well as being pretty. The straps are adjustable elastic, the cups molded, the underwire solid but not bulky, and the fabric between the cups allows the “girls” some breathing room. This model has a more traditional hooking mechanism for the panels but it’s easy to operate with one hand. Although this model is a bit on the pricy side, it is eminently wearable and durably made, so you should get a lot of work out of it.
The Undercover Mama Nursing Shirt/Tank must be included in this list for its sheer versatility and utility, even though it’s technically not a nursing bra. Many nursing moms find their style choices are severely restricted by nursing to only button-down shirts, because otherwise they must lift their shirts—thus exposing the better part of a tummy that may not be in the condition they’d prefer God and everyone to see right then. Some moms feels self-conscious, or their partners do, nursing in public because of this. That is why the Undercover Mama Nursing Shirt/Tank is so cool. It comes in a an array of four practical colors, clips onto the straps of any standard nursing bra, and provides coverage for the belly and under the outer shirt for public nursing. No having to pile on blankets or turn away from company: it’s all nicely, neatly tucked away. Made of very lightweight and breathable fabric, this is an ingenious little invention that every nursing mom should consider.