There are three nursing bra styles that I always recommend to new moms: sleep, seamless, contour. And I personally always have a few nursing tanks as well. Let’s talk about the benefits to each nursing bra style, and why you need these types of nursing bras.
I’m not going to lie to you. At first, I thought sleep nursing bras were a little… unnecessary. However, if you’ve had a baby you know that feeling of your milk coming in. And typically, it’s overnight. Sleep bras usually come in XS-XXL and are meant to provide gentle support and easy breastfeeding access. Easily the most one-handed option, sleep bras are typically in a cross over style. Meaning even when you’re brain is fried from all the non sleep and you can barely form words, you can easily slip a breast out for quick nursing.
The biggest suggestion I have for finding the best nursing bras for sleep? Fabric is HUGE. You want something breathable, especially in the warm summer months. You’ll also want natural fabrics like cotton or bamboo! Stay away from any sleep-related bras that have hook and eye closures, underwire, or tight elastics. Remember, you’ll be sleeping in this, so you want the softest and smoothest nursing bra possible.
Seamless nursing bras provide an uber-soft fit, comfort and the much needed support you’ll need while pregnant or breastfeeding. One thing that might be my favorite about seamless nursing bras is the fact that they can normally accommodate a growing and shrinking bust. Which makes them perfect for both pregnancy and breastfeeding. I usually order my normal size and one size up – so even though I may change sizes 500 times before and after baby is born, I’m covered. Literally.
There are a few key things to look for to find the best seamless nursing bra for you. You’ll want to make sure the straps are adjustable, the fabric is stretchy yet sturdy, and that the clip down cups are easy enough to mauve while one handed. Because let’s be real – most of the time we’ve only got one hand, at most, available.
Contour nursing bras are going to be the most similar to those once-sexy bras you used to rock. It’s ideal for women that are wanting a smoother look under their clothes, in either a pull-over or clasp-back style. I prefer contour nursing bras when I’m dressing up or going out, as opposed to just laying around the house. A large majority of women LOVE contour nursing bras. Just like your favorite T shirt bra, contour nursing bras definitely help make you look lifted, rounded and perky (the latter of which I desperately need, ha). As you wear your contour nursing bras, the cups will actually mold to your body to give you an even better fit!
First things first – contour nursing bras definitely aren’t a one sized fits all. A benefit of contour nursing bras is the option for a wire or non-wired style. I prefer the non-wire style, even with my larger chest, as I find that I already have enough support. However, wired may be a great option for you if you’re looking for extra extra lift and support for the girls. Friends that I’ve spoken to have said contour is great for wearing to the office! The more-bulky foam cup can sometimes make for a little more awkward of a one-handed fold down, purely because the fabric isn’t as thin as the seamless or sleep. So I’d suggest trying out a few different styles to find a good, fold down cup that still lays beautifully and is supportive.
A question that I get asked a lot is how many nursing bras to buy when preparing for baby and breastfeeding. I think 3 is the magic number. You have one to wear, one in your drawer ready to go, and most likely one in the wash. If you can, I might stretch that number to 4 and add 1-2 nursing tanks as well. That way, no matter how much baby pukes / poops / etc on you, you’re covered!
My answer? YES! A nursing tank was a MUST HAVE for me postpartum. Those first few weeks, comfort and survival are the goal everyday. You’re healing, you’re exhausted, and you’re adjusting to life with a new human. I’ll be honest. I don’t think I put on pants for at least two weeks. At least! I have almost 9lb babies with hugenormous heads. Pants and real clothes don’t even become a thing I think about for probably the first month. We’re all sleeping on and off all day, and my main goal is keeping baby fed, happy, and getting them to sleep.
There are a few things I look for when it comes to finding the best nursing tank for breastfeeding. I prefer seamless. Like the seamless bras I mentioned above, I just like the comfort and smoothness of the seamless tanks. Plus, they tend to have a little more compression, which I always feel like helps with healing and my body going back to “normal” – whatever that is. I always double check the built in nursing bra – I want them to have the same components I look for in my nursing bras – easy to unclip, soft and breathable fabric, and invisible under clothing.