Pregnancy is a beautiful thing, but it comes with some changes and sacrifices. For instance, the former fashionable bras you used to wear before becoming pregnant are going to get a bit tighter and uncomfortable. When that time comes, around 16 weeks into your pregnancy, you’ll need to put that sexy lingerie at the back of your drawer to make space for your new best friend – the maternity bra.
What’s so special about these anyway? Well, maternity bras have been specially constructed to provide you with a level of support and comfort you won’t find in normal bras. These often have wider straps and softer lining. Now, you should take note that nursing bras are a little bit different; they have panels or clasps that allow your child easy access to your nipples without having to take off your bra or pull out your breast from the cup.
Comfort is key to choosing the best maternity bras and nursing bras to suit you. While this is very much a personal thing, much like buying your regular bras, there are some brands that do stand out in providing just the right amount of comfort, support, and easy access for most of their users. And we’ve listed them all down for you.
Top 10 Maternity Bras & Nursing Bras Of 2020 Reviewed
1. HOFISH Full Bust Seamless Nursing Maternity BrasNursing Bra For Plus Size
For those on a limited budget, this full bust seamless nursing bra “kit” from HOFISH is exactly what you’re looking for. One pack comes with 3 nursing bras that are made out of 92% nylon and 8% spandex. It also has 3 bra clips and matching bra extenders so you can use these bras for longer while your body undergoes changes. This is a drop-down cup bra which allows you to undo the clip with one hand, providing your baby access to your nipple easily.
The bras also feature removable molded foam cups and are 100% breathable. We like the sideband that’s extra-wide, helping conceal any post-pregnancy fats. Then there’s the bottom band that provides a great deal of much-needed support. And in case you end up disliking the bra, the manufacturer offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. You either like their replacement or get your money back.
The bras themselves are very comfortable to wear and once you get the size right (their chart is a bit off; you need to get a size larger than what is stated), you’ll love the amount of support you get from these. One thing we did note was that the padding sometimes slides around when you’re using this as a nursing bra. You can, however, just change the light pad with your own nursing pad.
- Really affordable
- Comes with clips and extenders
- Excellent support
- Does not last long
- Pad bunches up when you use the bra for nursing
- Inaccurate sizing chart
2. iLoveSIA Women’s Seamless Nursing BraNursing Bra For Plus Size
Another budget-friendly option for mamas who want to buy a maternity and nursing bra all in one. The iLoveSIA Seamless Nursing Bralette features full coverage cups plus a ribbed gore, and elastic underband, and an elastic sideband that will stretch to accommodate your fluctuating breast size. The straps are also adjustable and feature nursing clips that provide one-handed access. The cups come with a removable, molded foam pads that can be switched out with nursing pads when needed.
Two bras are sold per pack that includes two disposable nursing pads, 2 matching bra extenders, and a laundry washing bag because you never need too much of those. At the price it is being sold, you will be surprised at the quality and comfort offered by these bras. Even after multiple washes, you won’t see any rips, tears, or fraying.
One thing we don’t like is the breast pads that bunch up and makes your boobs look wonky. Fortunately, you can take them out and replace them with your own. Also, the hooks can be hard to close in some bras and easily unhooked in others. Thankfully, there are 4 hooks so you never really get undressed when you don’t want to be.
- Good value for money
- Easily adjustable
- Comes with bra extenders
- Sizes run small
- Won’t last years
- Pads bunch up; need to be replaced with something better
3. Bravado! Designs Women’s Body Silk Seamless Nursing BraNursing Bra For Small Chest
The Bravado! Designs Women’s Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra is one of our favorites because it balances comfort and support really well, meeting the needs of most, if not all, nursing mothers. Made out of 90% nylon and 10% spandex, this bra is really soft and comfortable to wear. As the name suggests, it is seamless and wire-free. It also comes with removable foam pads and adjustable straps. The clips that allow you to provide your baby with easy access to your nipples don’t snap open unexpectedly (which sometimes does with cheaper brands). And the pads don’t bunch up inside the bra so your breasts don’t look like they have a weird shape.
As for support, this bra definitely provides adequate support despite its lack of an underwire. However, some large-breasted mothers have noted that it cannot provide maximum support and lift for them, relegating this to a stay-at-home-only or sleeping bra. As an added bonus, it comes with instructions on how to convert the bra to a non-nursing one so you can continue to enjoy it long after you’re done breastfeeding. The only big drawback to this bra is the fact that it’s really expensive.
- Very comfortable
- Can be converted to a regular, non-nursing bra
- High-quality fabric
- Not enough support/lift for large-breasted mothers
- Can’t buy specific size for cup and band
4. Simple Wishes Signature Hands Free Breastpump BraNursing Bra Hands Free
Obviously, this is a nursing bra, one which you would benefit from once your baby is born. What we love about this bra is the fact that it allows a working mom who wishes to breastfeed her baby to be able to pump on a regular basis. Instead of having your hands’ full pumping milk, you get your hands free to do other tasks such as answering that all-important email, cooking dinner, or while on a conference call. The bra is constructed out of 83% soft cotton and 17% spandex with an adjustable back panel (up to 10 inches) so you can use it even as your body and breast size changes. Another thing that makes this bra stand out is the fact that you can easily switch it from regular bra to a racer-back, halter style, or strapless band.
As an added bonus, it comes with a hands-free breast pump though it also works with major brands such as Philips AVENT, Evenflo, and Spectra Baby. The bra is very easy to put on and off. However, it’s not really designed as an all-day bra because it lacks support. What you do is wear it on top of your regular nursing bra (flaps open), pump milk, then take it off again. Yes, it costs a lot for something you don’t wear all day but you only need one of these to get by and the amount of work you can do while it pumps for you makes it more than worth it.
- Makes pumping easier; frees your hands to do whatever needs to be done
- Soft fabric
- Sizing is accurate
- A bit pricey
- Not for all-day use
- Stretches out over time
5. Kindred Bravely French Terry Racerback Nursing Sleep BraNursing Bra To Sleep In
Comfort, thy name is Kindred Bravely. There is absolutely nothing that would beat this bra when it comes to comfort. It’s a Mom’s Choice Award Winner so you know it’s more than good, it’s almost perfect. It is made from extremely soft French Terry (92% Rayon of Bamboo and 8% Spandex) with no clasps, clips, or hooks. You can wear it before you give birth and after since it was specifically designed to support fluctuating breast sizes. To nurse your baby, just pull aside the cup and position your baby. The racerback design and an elastic band help add support.
Moms with large breasts will be happy to note that these bras also offer a “busty” option! There are some moms, however, who are extra busty that find the elastic band too loose. So sizing is an issue for some customers. Fortunately, if it’s really not for you, the company offers a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee: love it or your money back.
- Really soft and comfortable
- Easy to use
- 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
- Sizing can be a bit off for some, particularly those who are extra busty
- Not a lot of support; side sleepers may find that they’re “hanging out” when they wake up
- Some users have reported that their bras shrunk a little in the wash
6. Anita Maternity Women’s Microfiber Underwire Nursing BraNursing Bras For Large Cup Sizes
For women who need an underwire in their bra, the Anita Maternity Microfiber Nursing Bra is just the thing. It is made out of 80% nylon and 20% elastane, a blend of polyester or polyamide fibers. It’s really comfortable to wear all day long and really offers great support. On the flip side, the fabric is a bit thin which means that the outline of the nursing pad is going to be showing (or your nipples).
So you may want to wear this with a thicker shirt or with a tank before you wear a shirt. The sizes are a tad small so moms should buy this one size up. While that makes getting your size right a tad difficult, you’ll be glad to know that big breasted moms who need smaller bands will be able to find their sizes with this bra.
- Offers sizes with large cups and small bands
- Adequate support
- Really thin (no lining)
- The underwire is a bit rigid
- Sizes tend to run small
7. Leading Lady Women’s Nursing Wireless Sports BraNursing Sports Bras
Nursing moms who want to exercise but dislike the inconvenience of changing bras will love the Leading Lady Nursing Wireless Sports Bra. It features a breathable cotton blend that pulls away moisture from your body. The fabric is really soft so you’ll definitely be comfortable while you exercise.
The straps are extra wide and padded for support and comfort. The elastic wire-free band provides additional support. Big-breasted women will be happy to learn that these bras come in their sizes and it won’t cost them an arm and a leg. However, the material is thin and it doesn’t come with any pads.
- Really supportive
- True to size
- Good quality material
- The straps are short
- Clasps are hard to open
- Only three color options
8. Cake Maternity Croissant Women’s Flexi Wire Full Coverage T-Shirt Nursing BraBest Full-Coverage T-Shirt Nursing Bra
For all you nursing moms out there with the more generous breast sizes; Cake Maternity has just the thing for you. The Cake Maternity Croissant is 86% Nylon and 14% Elastane. What this means is a stretch sufficient enough to accommodate you without restriction; in turn, it provides excellent support while reducing bounce. The bra also features 100% cotton lined cups, which will enable your skin to breathe and is made from high-quality spacer fabric, which is known to reduce sore nipple irritation.
To enhance your feeding experience, The Cake Maternity Croissant Women’s Nursing Bra has drop-down cups. This works together with nursing clips set in place and an added inner cotton A-frame support to allow for more seamless feeding. The bra has a smooth one-piece design, with flexible underwire support, which makes it possible to do activities without the feeling of wire digging into your skin. It has 6 hook and eye extensions that enhance ribcage expansion with a spacer cup that molds to your shape without the extra bulkiness of foam.
- Stretch sufficient very for larger breast size
- Gives support and reduces bounce
- Flexible underwire for less irritation
- Boning on side of cups with may be uncomfortable
- Cups a bit thin; may show nipples
- Underwire may start to break after a continuous stretch
9. Bravado! Designs Women’s Body Silk Seamless Yoga Nursing BraNursing Bra For Plus Size
Yoga moms, rejoice! Bravado! Designs offer a seamless yoga nursing bra that you’ll love. It features wide straps, a wide bottom band, and is wire-free. It’s perfect for those low impact activities that you want to ease into post-pregnancy. The manufacturer uses silver breeze technology (we’re not sure what that is) that supposedly ensures your sports bra is fresh and odor-free. The material is 51% Nylon, 42% Polyester, 7% Spandex and completely machine washable. You can convert the bra to a racer-back design if needed. And the 4-way stretch fabric easily accommodates your changing breast shape.
The bra also comes with removable pads. The sizes go all the way up to 44DDD. And you also get a conversion kit with your bra that will allow you to change it into a regular bra once you’re done with breastfeeding your child. Support is adequate for light activities (which is what this is intended for) but if you plan on doing more high impact activities, you may feel the lack of support.
- Material remains fresh and odor-free
- Comes with a conversion kit
- Soft and comfortable
- Not for high impact sports
- A bit expensive
- Some reports of broken clasps within months after purchase
10. Cake Lingerie Women’s Maternity and Nursing BraNursing Bra For Plus Size
If you want a maternity bra that makes you feel feminine, Cake Lingerie’s Maternity and Nursing Mousse Padded Plunge Contour is just the thing. This full-coverage bra comes in three colors with a cute polka dot design and a small bow in the middle. While it’s not overly frilly, it’s more feminine than a lot of maternity bras we’ve seen. The material is 92% Polyester, 8% Elastane.
The bra features wide padded straps for support, a folded edge feeding sling for a secure fit, mesh panels for improved airflow, and triangle shaped contour cups that provide you with that natural, rounded shape, perfect when wearing a tank top or t-shirt. The cup size tends to run smaller so you may need to size up. Then again, you can also adjust the band which features 6 rows of three hooks. The padding is very comfortable but not too thick that your nursing pad is going to make it look bulky.
- Gives breasts that nice, symmetrical shape under a t-shirt
- Slightly expensive
- Does not convert to a regular bra
- The padding is not enough to prevent “accidents” from showing
Choosing The Best Maternity/Nursing Bras – The Ultimate Buying Guide
During your pregnancy and afterward, your body will be continually changing. And while clothes are an easy fix, bras are not. Aside from the fact that you’ll need to find one that will allow you to breastfeed your baby, you also need to make sure that your bra provides you with comfort, support, and a secure fit while your breast size fluctuates. Not a tall order, huh?
Admittedly, finding the perfect maternity/nursing bra can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. But if you know what you need to look out for, then your search is already halfway done. Our guide can help you make informed decisions on what makes a perfect nursing bra for you.
Types of Nursing Bras
Drop-down Cup Bra
Most of our options are under this category. This kind of bra features a clasp that keeps the front flap of the bra hooked to the strap. It provides easy access to your boob whenever your child needs sustenance. Make sure that the clasp can be undone with one hand so you don’t have to put down your baby just to get his breakfast/lunch/dinner ready. The HOFISH Full Bust Seamless Nursing Maternity Bras is a drop-down cup bra.
These features, you guessed it, the underwire for added support and are specifically designed for women who feel the need for this feature. It isn’t exactly recommended because the wire can compress on the milk ducts inside the breast if the fit isn’t right. Usually, these feature a drop-down cup for easy access with a feeding sling for additional support. One good example of this kind of bra is the Anita Maternity Women’s Microfiber Underwire Nursing Bra.
Nursing Sports Bra
Like a regular sports bra, these are designed to provide you with compression while minimizing bounce. Not all nursing sports bras are designed for high impact activities. Some, like the Leading Lady Women’s Nursing Wireless Sports Bra, is only decided for low impact activities such as Yoga.
Also known as a crossover bra, this kind of bra is constructed out of really soft fabric that will allow you to comfortably sleep while wearing it. The fabric crosses in the front, hence the name, and you can pull it back to expose the breast and nurse your baby. Unlike the drop-down cup bra, this does not have any clasps and hooks.
While they provide adequate support for home use, these are not for going out of the home and doing errands. The Kindred Bravely French Terry Racerback Nursing Sleep Bra is one of the best you’ll ever find in this category.
Hands-free Pumping Bra
Like the name suggests, this nursing bra allows you to pump milk hands-free. There’s an opening at each breast that allows you to attach a breast pump. These bras usually come in different sizes or as a one-size-fits-all that has multiple adjustments like what you find in the Simple Wishes Signature Hands-Free Breastpump Bra. This is not an everyday bra, rather it is something that you will only wear when you need to do something while pumping milk.
What do I Look for in A Maternity Bra?
Firstly, you should consider the support. For this, you should look for bras with wide yet firm elastic straps to reduce bounce. It should have an under-bust band, with a deep center at its front for easier nursing.
Secondly, you should look at the coverage, whereby, for more comfort, it’s better to have as much fabric covering your breasts as possible. Your bra should also be easily adjustable (a minimum of four hook positions will be fine), and it comes to material, cotton is considered best for letting your skin breathe in high temperatures and reducing irritation. You are also advised to avoid underwired bras. They may cause discomfort as your body changes.
Your bra size will change as you get further into your pregnancy. You may need to buy something for your second trimester and then another pair at 36 weeks. Don’t buy something that has “room to grow” because an ill-fitting maternity/nursing bra will not fit properly and give you the adequate support and comfort you need.
To get the right size, consider getting measured by a professional bra fitter. If you can’t afford to get multiple sizes throughout your pregnancy and after, you can opt to buy a bra extender that lengthens the band. Several of our picks such as the HOFISH Full Bust Seamless Nursing Maternity Bras are sold with their own bra extenders.
Obviously, this is also key when choosing a nursing bra… any bra, for that matter. But since your breasts will be extra heavy with milk, you’ll need all the support you can get. Plus, this ensures that your breasts don’t end up sagging after you’re done breastfeeding your baby. Sleep bras, by their very nature, offer the least support. Underwire bras, on the other hand, offer the most.
However, not all women can wear an underwire nursing bra. If you’re in this group, you’ll need to buy a soft cup with a band that does not roll. Also, make sure that the band under your bra is snug (but not tight) while the straps should never cut into your shoulders. If you have large breasts, you will need straps that are 1 inch in width minimum. Fuller cups are also a must so you don’t “overflow.”
How Many Maternity Bras do I Need? Should I have My breast Size Measured?
The number of bras needed depends on your own body’s needs and how fast your body changes. In the beginning, you will need maternity bras, which include non-wired, t-shirt bras that you can wear under your clothing. As your breasts grow bigger (around 36-38 weeks in), you might need to consider nursing bras, with drop-down clips, which allow you to feed your baby more easily.
There are also bras suited for night time, which are made gentle to support you at night. When it comes to measuring, ideally, you’d be more likely to get a more comfortable fit if you go for a more professional measuring service; however, most of these bras are made with adjustable hooks that you can adjust accordingly.
You never know when your baby is going to be hungry and you might need to have one hand busy holding a fussy baby. This is why you’ll need to make sure that you can easily provide access to your nipple with one hand. If it’s a drop-down cup bra, you need to make sure that the clasp isn’t hard to open.
Crossover bras provide really easy access but they do lack support so they’re not the best to use in public. It’s best you try out a bra in the dressing room rather than learning about the difficulty when your baby is already crying his heart out for milk.
Never settle for something uncomfortable. Any sign of discomfort, inconvenience, or hassle is an indication of an ill-fitting maternity/nursing bra. Pregnancy can already be darned uncomfortable. You don’t want to add to it just by using the wrong bra.
The bottom line is, we all have different bodies that pose different demands. Bras tend to vary in suitability, as well. If you are one with larger breasts, you should consider one that would be adjustable enough to provide you the best comfort. You may also need to get yourself different bras, fine-tuned to serve different occasions and periods within your nursing journey. Don’t worry if you have sugging breast as you can always find ways to lift the boobs after breastfeeding. We have considered all this when making our selection and we are sure that you’ll find one to keep you happy and possibly lighten the load.’