In Part 4 of my Breastfeeding Basics, I shared my favorite nursing bras for the early postpartum period (and for sleep/lounging thereafter). Here are my favorite everyday, “real” nursing (and/or pumping) bras. Note, these are not cheap because they are really good bras. I needed excellent construction and support, and a larger than average availability of sizes, due to my small band/large cup — 34H in the height of exclusive nursing, back down to my usual 32F once things normalized a bit.
In the early months of nursing, due to the greater risk of clogged ducts, I preferred to avoid underwires. This bra was recommended as a good, supportive wire-free option by an amazing local woman who I call the bra fairy, who does nursing bra fittings via house calls and out of her home. I found it comfy, very supportive considering it lacks an underwire, and cute, to boot. (It comes in both the gray/lavender and a peach color.) Note, the fabric is not very stretchy, so you have to make sure you get the right size!
Overall, I prefer the lift and support of an underwire, and I’ve never had a problem with clogged ducts because of it (though be aware some moms say they do — I suspect many/most of these moms are wearing the incorrect size, however, as in the right size there should be nothing compressing your actual breast tissue). I switched over to underwires at probably 5 or 6 months postpartum. I also like a stretchy cup, to accommodate fluctuations in breast volume over the course of the day. These bras fit the bill on both counts, and flip down easily, one-handed, to nurse. (I hate those bras that have a thin strip of fabric encapsulating your boob when you pull down the cup to nurse, ick — these don’t have that.)
My absolute favorite. A great, basic everyday bra. Super soft, super comfortable, decently supportive. Doesn’t show under most tops. I have it in black and beige and wear one 99% of days. Note, the fabric is thin, not padded — this makes it stretchy, which is good, but it can also be a tit nipply. (This is less of a problem when wearing a nursing pad, which I did up until over a year in to cushion my Silverettes. The nursing pad can show a little, too, if your top is tight/thin – be aware! It wasn’t bad enough to stop me loving this bra.)
A good, solid choice. The cup fabric is a tiny bit thicker than the microfiber version. Note, it is full coverage, so it will peek out of deeper necked tops/tank tops. The band may be a little itchy. I found this to be worse in the black – bad enough that I actually returned it.
Where to Shop:
Contact your local La Leche League (they usually have a good Facebook presence) to see if there is a bra fairy or good nursing bra shop in your area — there is no substitute for trying before you buy, especially since your size will probably be unpredictable at first.
Once you know your size, ordering online is the way to go! My favorite online sources for nursing bras, and bras in large cup/small band sizes:
Amazon.com (Prime love.)
Bare Necessities (Free shipping, free returns, and frequent sales — join their mailing list!)
Her Room (Free shipping on orders of $70 and above.)
If you have a favorite nursing bra, feel free to share it in the Comments!