When it comes to the best nursing bras—which are generally designed for both pregnant and breastfeeding moms—there are endless options. You’ve got everyday nursing bras, sleep nursing bras, nursing bras with molded cups, pumping bras and extra-supportive nursing bras specifically made for women with larger busts. Yes, the cup runneth over with choices, but how do you know which one is right for you? Read on for shopping tips from lactation consultants and style experts, plus our roundup of the best maternity and nursing bras out there, so you can find the perfect fit.
Best bras for pregnancy
Wondering when to buy a maternity bra? There’s no hard and fast rule, but women often find it’s time to buy a good maternity bra around week 18 of pregnancy. And no, your current bra in three sizes bigger won’t do the trick—maternity and nursing bras are specifically designed to provide the best support for growing, pregnant and breastfeeding bodies. But just because you find a maternity bra that fits now, doesn’t mean that it’ll be your perfect size after baby arrives. “It’s not unusual to change bra sizes within the first few weeks of breastfeeding,” says New York City stylist Samantha Brown—so if you’re shopping before baby’s debut, consider buying one or two sizes larger than usual, so you have one ready to wear after birth.
Motherhood Maternity Seamless Clip Down Maternity and Nursing Bra
A fabulous do-it-all option, this is one of the best nursing bras for those on a budget. Thanks to the soft, stretchy fabric, it smooths, shapes and supports you from pregnancy all the way through postpartum and features clip-down straps for easy access when nursing or pumping. Because there’s no underwire, you could even use this as a nursing sleep bra—and you get all that for a very affordable price. It’s ideal for cups A through D, comes in nine different colors and is available in plus-sizes too.
Bravado Designs Original Nursing Bra
Next up is this pick from Bravado Designs. The original, wire-free nursing bra is ideal for pregnant and breastfeeding moms. It’s made from a breathable, cotton fabric with a wide under-bust band and a sporty racerback design. And, for ladies that prefer full coverage, it comes in a full cup style too.
ThirdLove 24/7 Classic Nursing Bra
This underwire nursing bra, a 2022 Best of Pregnancy award winner for readers’ favorite maternity bra, boasts a foam-padded hook and eye-back closure with extended hooks, ultra-thin memory foam cups to form to your body and clips and drop-down cups for easy nursing. The spandex and Pima cotton nursing bra even features a tagless (aka scratchless) printed label (pregnancy skin can be so sensitive) and gold alloy strap adjusters for a dash of luxury. Available in cup sizes A through I.
Spanx Bra-Llelujah! Mama Nursing Bra
Spanx is a brand renowned for its signature shapewear, but did you know that they make maternity underwear too? Introducing the Bra-llelujah! mama nursing bra. This wireless style is made from a four-way stretch fabric that’s a dream come true for ladies with fluctuating breast sizes. Additional features include clip-down cups for easy one-handed nursing access, a wrapover design that’ll keep the opposite cup in place during breastfeeding, removable padding and nursing pad pockets, plus so much more. Available in three neutral colors in cup sizes A to DD.
Cake Maternity Cotton Candy Seamless Nursing Bra
A winner according to both Nguyen and new moms we polled when it comes to the best nursing bras, this option has a high-thread count for extreme softness and a scoop neckline, making it comfy for day and night. Plus, the XL size can accommodate up to a 42E. (Good news for those looking for plus-size nursing bras!) There’s a reason why Cake Maternity is our 2022 Best of Pregnancy Winner for best nursing bra brand.