When you are staring down the endless scroll of yet another baby registry checklist, it’s reasonable to ask: Do I really need that? When it comes to nursing bras, I am here to tell you that—if you are planning to breastfeed—Yes. Yes, you really do need that.
Your old bras simply will not work. But it’s not easy to find what will. There are a million nursing bras to choose from, and a bad nursing bra is the worst. It can make an already stressful time even harder by adding friction to feedings and even being downright painful. On the other hand, the right nursing bra can free you to focus on what really matters: smooching those squishy little cheeks. That’s why we’ve carefully sourced the very best nursing bras on the market today and put them to the test so you can skip right to the good stuff.
Our tests found that the best nursing bra for most parents is the Storq Full Cup Nursing Bra(available at Storq). This bra is ridiculously soft, fantastic for skin-to-skin, and super simple to wash.
For parents who want the support only underwire can give, the Thirdlove 24/7 Classic Nursing Bra (available at Thirdlove) is an excellent choice. It’s comfortable for all-day wear, looks great under clothes, and is easy peasy to clip and unclip for nursing.
Read on for everything you need to know about the top nursing bras, how to decide which bra is right for you, and the low-down on eight amazing options.
Here are the best nursing bras we tested, ranked in order:
Storq Full Cup Nursing Bra
Thirdlove 24/7 Classic Nursing Bra
Bravado Designs Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra
Cake Modernity Croissant T-shirt Nursing Bra
Auden Women’s Nursing Seamless Bra Auden
Hofish Seamless Clip Down Deep V Neck Push Up Nursing Bra
Kindred Bravely Sublime Nursing Sports Bra
Anita Basic Microfibre Underwire Nursing Bra
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Colors: Available in 4 colors Sizes: Storq sizes 1 - 5 Access: Clip Style: Seamless How to wash: Machine wash
Storq offers its own sizes, which correspond roughly to traditional sizes XS-XL. Its size chart is straightforward, and if you have any questions, as I did, the customer service team is very responsive via email.
This underwire-free, soft cup nursing bra is made of buttery-soft modal and spandex. It felt fantastic against my skin and folded totally out of the way (ideal for skin-to-skin!). This bra is perfect for the sleep/snuggle cycle of life with a newborn and any luxurious weekend day you want to be comfy and lightly supported.
Mamas with a smaller cup size may also love the Everyday Bra, which is easy to pull aside for nursing.
Colors: Available in Taupe Sizes: 32C - 48D Access: Clips Style: Underwire How to wash: Hand washing recommended
With 356,000 followers on Instagram, love for Thirdlove runs deep. Thirdlove’s 24/7 Classic Nursing Bra is aptly named: Its design is classic. The memory foam cups reminded me of my non-nursing bras, and the shape it gave me reminded me of my non-nursing self. The only giveaway it’s a nursing bra is the gold-colored clasps for nursing access. These clasps are a tad more finicky than the plastic ones used by the other bras I reviewed, and I sometimes needed two hands to re-fasten after feeding, but it wasn’t a deal-breaker.
Thirdlove’s sizing widget helps you find your size based on your current bras. I didn’t feel confident with that, but it was easy to chat with their customer service to get a custom recommendation for sizing. I found the fit was true to the size they recommended and, thanks to adjustability-minded features like five sets of hook and eye closures in the back and stretchy shoulder straps, I got a remarkably good fit with this bra. Of all the nursing bras I tested, this is the one I grabbed when it was time for family photos. Perhaps more importantly, I didn’t rush to take it off when we finished.
Hi! I’m Emily P.G. Erickson. I’m a freelance writer and hold a master’s degree in psychology. I write essays and journalism about mental health, mindfulness, and motherhood. But why should you trust me to review nursing bras? Well, before I became a writer, I worked as a mental health researcher. This means that I know all about conducting systematic, unbiased, careful tests like the kind we do here at Reviewed. Moreover, thanks to my three sons, I’ve been wearing nursing bras for a long time—I’ve been pregnant and/or breastfeeding for seven (!) years and counting. I nursed my oldest son until he was 2, my middle son until he was 3, and I’m currently nursing my youngest.
I conducted tests on the nursing bras when my baby was between 2 and 4 months old. At that point, my breast size had stabilized, but I was still nursing on demand more or less around the clock. I followed each brand's protocol for sizing, which always required a measuring tape and sometimes necessitated a ping to their customer service team. In general, I came in at a 32G. This isn’t an especially common measurement, so it offered an opportunity to see how brands did with odd sizes and large-chested ladies.
Once the bras came, I wore each nursing bra for three sessions: one lasting under two hours, one lasting a full day, and one after a couple of wash cycles to test their durability. While I wore each bra, I lived my life—I walked, cooked, loved on my kids, and (of course) nursed.
During the tests, I assessed each nursing bra’s performance across 13 domains. These included: how easy it was to put on, adjustability, fit, comfort, ease of use, washability, quality, aesthetics, and how well it worked in real life.
What You Should Know About Nursing Bras
You need support without constriction
When you’re nursing, your breasts are busy, and frankly, they could use a little help. A proper nursing bra should hold you in and hold you up, all without being too tight. That support is important because your breasts will be tender and heavy off and on, especially in the early months as you adapt to your baby’s changing milk needs, and the right support can reduce this discomfort. At the same time, you want to steer away from anything too tight on your chest, as it could get in the way of milk production and even cause a painful infection called mastitis. Despite what you may have heard, this doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t wear an underwire bra. It just means you’ll want to get a high-quality one that gives you the support you crave while letting that liquid gold flow.
Your size will change
You probably noticed your breasts getting bigger during pregnancy and thought there was no way they could get even bigger postpartum. Well, buckle up because they can, and they will. Meanwhile, your overall body size will decrease after the baby is born. As a result, it can be tricky to tell your postpartum bra size while you’re still pregnant. It is why most bra manufacturers will encourage you to wait to measure your new size until around six weeks postpartum when things stabilize a bit.
There are a couple of workarounds. First, some nursing bras come in small, medium, and large sizes rather than traditional band/cup sizes. These grouped sizes account for fluctuations up and down. Second, the best nursing bras have extra stretch (like the Storq Full Cup Nursing Bra) and extra adjustability (like the ThirdLove 24/7 Classic Nursing Bra), so you can get your best fit for any given day (or hour).
You need easy access
The best nursing bras let you hold your baby in one arm and get a boob out with the other. All nursing bras reviewed here use the same tried-and-true mechanism: A little clip right where the shoulder straps meet the cup. With a simple flick of the wrist (and a satisfying snap), this style of bra allows you to pull down the bra cup on one side for your baby to nurse.
Your preferences matter
It’s easy to get lost in what is best for your baby in the early days. And of course you want what’s best for your baby. But what’s best for you matters as well. You’re half of the nursing equation! Happily, when it comes to nursing bras, it’s entirely possible to figure out something that’s best for you and your baby at the same time. This means that if you prefer a minimalist bra, you can find a great minimalist nursing bra. It also means if you love a good underwire, you don’t have to eschew them; just make sure you’re selecting a high-quality one. Whether you want something soft for snuggly Sundays or one you can wear to work on Wednesdays, there’s a nursing bra out there for you.
Other Nursing Bras We Tested
Bravado Designs Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra
Colors: 7 colors Sizes: S - XXL Access: Clips Style: Wireless How to wash: Machine wash cold
Parents love Bravado nursing bras, and for good reason. Bravado has been around for a long time—nearly three decades—and has always focused on creating bras that change and move with a person's fluctuating body. In other words, it's perfected postpartum. Its Calculate My Size tool was simple to use: Just enter your over bust measurement and your bust measurement, and it spits out your size.
This bra, made with recycled nylon, is underwire-free, hugs you just right, and is super easy to unclasp for nursing. The banded sizes mean you won’t get a precise fit, but you will get the flexibility to go up and down as needed. Unlike most bras, this one is machine-washable, which is very appreciated when you might be spit-up on at any second. I wish the removable cup pads were sewn in, though, because they get out of place in the wash, and repositioning them is annoying. The shape of the bra also left something to be desired. It doesn’t press you painfully flat, but it also doesn’t create a particularly flattering shape.
Colors: Available in 3 colors Sizes: 32C to 42H Access: Clips Style: Underwire How to wash: Hand wash cold
Cake knows what it’s doing when it comes to nursing bras, and its Croissant T-Shirt Nursing Bra is a particular favorite of lactating parents. Its “help me find my fit” tool made me feel confident in finding my postpartum size. The cups don’t have any foam but the thick fabric provided sufficient coverage, and, as advertised, the bra looks nice under a T-shirt.
The bra is simple overall with a little frill on the shoulder straps, which offers a touch of style but is also a little itchy, though less so after a few washes. The flexi-wire bra was comfortable enough for short wear, but uncomfortable after a long day.
Colors: Available in 6 colors Sizes: XS-XL Access: Clips Style: Wireless How to wash: Hand wash cold
The Auden nursing lightly lined seamless bra is like your favorite nursing tank but in bra form. This nursing bra, which has sewn-in cup pads, is easy—easy to adjust, easy access for nursing, and easy to wear. It’s a bra you’ll put on and forget about—I kept having to remind myself I was testing it!—but that’s a good thing. Bras that are a pain are noticeable, bras that work well are forgettable. The main downside with this bra is the shape, which was an unfortunate uni-boob. While it’s not a bra I’d want to wear out to dinner, it was just fine for school drop-off.
Lots of colors
Hofish Seamless Clip Down Deep V Neck Push Up Nursing Bra
Colors: Available in 3 colors Sizes: S - XL Access: Clips Style: Wireless How to wash: Hand wash cold
These cult-favorite nylon-spandex blend bras come in packs of three on Amazon. The sizes are a bit limited with just four options, but the bra itself is very adjustable with a full range in the shoulder, four clasps in the back, and plenty of stretch. That stretch means that these bras aren’t super supportive, and your breasts will bounce in them more than the others I reviewed.
At the same time, these soft bras are comfy. They’re perfect for those days when you’d rather go bra-less, but nursing necessitates a little something. The fit is decent but not great. I found I bulged out of these more than the others. I also didn’t love the removable pads. Even with hand washing and drying, it was tricky to get the pads repositioned just right. On the plus side, the bras are low-cut and can work well for various necklines, and one-handed access for nursing was no problem.
Colors: Available in 5 colors Sizes: S - XXL-Busty, fitting sizes 30B - 44I Access: Clips Style: Wireless, Sports Bra How to wash: Hand wash cold
In the early days with a new baby, working out feels as far away as the moon. But, sure enough, the urge to move comes back again. The problem is sports bras are impossible for nursing. That’s why I love Kindred Bravely’s sublime nursing sports bra.
It has handy clips for easy nursing access and holds everything in for working out. I even found jumping jacks comfortable—and that’s saying something! Kindred Bravely has a Fit Quiz to help you find your size in their brand, and it even offers busty sizes for those of us with larger cups.
The fit is great. The bra goes on like a traditional sports bra (no clasp in the back), which would be hard to manage for the first several weeks after a C-section (when you should be resting your core anyway). The removable cup pads can be great if they’re your thing, but they do get out of place with repeated clipping and unclipping for nursing.
Colors: Available in 4 colors Sizes: 32C - 44E Access: Clip Style: Underwire How to wash: Handwash
This 100% spandex bra didn’t feel quite as high-quality as the other bras I tested. Still, the clips worked well one-handed, and the cup, which doesn’t have a foam or pad, was easy to scrunch aside for nursing (though a tad awkward to re-clasp).
On the plus side, it provides good lift and separation, and the cut means this underwire bra will work with almost any shirt you feel like wearing.
However, the tight weave of the fabric combined with only three sets of hook and eye closures in the back meant less adjustability and flexibility than the other brands I tested. It didn’t help that the bra sizes seemed to run a bit small. The result? I felt pressed flat as a pancake and at the end of a full day of wear, and I was excited to unhook this one.
Emily P.G. Erickson is a freelance writer with a master’s degree in psychology. A former mental health researcher, her journalism and essays about mental health, mindfulness, and motherhood have appeared in The New York Times, WIRED, Romper, and elsewhere. Emily lives in Minnesota with her husband and three children. For more from Emily, visit www.emilypgerickson.com.
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