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Great Nursing Bras

In Search of Great Nursing Bras

By Amalah

Amy,

I could really use some advice on finding good nursing bras. I am going to have baby number three in a few weeks and have had no luck finding bras. In the past I just bought some from Target or other department stores, but was never happy with them. This time around I literally can’t find a single in my size. When I’m not pregnant or nursing I’m usually a 32D. I really want to find a 32 or 34DD. We live in a small town so all of my shopping is done online. I looked at all the regular maternity sites (such as motherhood) and they have none my size. How is that possible? I’m not that picky. I want something that will give me decent support without looking like I’m wearing my grandmother’s bras. Where can I get such a bra?

Thanks,
A

Where Are All the Good Nursing Bras?

Ugh, nursing bras. Mine are all still sitting in a box somewhere. Even as I’ve outgrown my regular bras, I cannot bring myself to haul out the nursing bras and wear them a moment before they’re absolutely necessary. Pre-pregnancy, I’m about a 32A, depending on the brand. I’m currently somewhere around a 34C cup. I will probably be a D or so in the early weeks of nursing before settling down to a B/C cup, if my prior experiences are any indication.

I probably own nursing bras in just about every band/cup size combination in between, though after the first couple months of nursing Ezra, I tired of the whole concept and just started wearing regular bras that I hiked up or down, depending on my shirt.

Point is, like you, I’ve never really owned a nursing bra that I loved. Like, L-O-V-E-D. They mostly came from Target or Destination Maternity and other than my nursing tanks and sleep bras (HEAVEN), I always tired of seeing the wide straps and edges of the cups poking out from under my clothes. They fit fine, usually, and I never had qualms about the hooks and or anything, but…blah. So not pretty or stylish or even that workable with a lot of my wardrobe. (I sound like I must go out half-naked in tube tops all the time or something, and I really don’t. I just own a lot of tops that are meant to be paired with less-substantial bras.)

Given that I’ll be giving birth in JUNE this time, instead of the fall, when I can hide my big-ass granny bras under sweaters, I should probably get on the hunt for some new, less-dowdy nursing bra styles. Here are some of the online stores with the best size/style selection, from what I can tell:

Linda the Bra Lady: Very nice selection of both the usual suspects (Bravado) and some actual “pretty” bras with lace and color (HOTmilk, Cake lingerie). They also carry some (gasp!) LOW-CUT NON-FULL-COVERAGE STYLES that could possibly be worn with a t-shirt or sundress or plunging top, like OH MY GOD THE CONCEPT. Site also offers great fit guidance for brands that run big or small, and setting the size range to 32DD didn’t seem to limit the selection all that much.

Bare Necessities: Their nursing bra selection is weirdly buried in the site’s navigation (click bras, narrow by “nursing” from the style drop-down menu), but it’s actually pretty decent. Bravado, Elle Macpherson, Playtex and a couple brands that go all the way up to an H cup. Granted, once I narrowed the results by your size, the selection dropped down to 10 measly styles, but hey, if you find ONE brand/style you like and buy a couple of them, you’re already way ahead of me.

HerRoom: Another giant online superstore that has a great selection of nursing bras, but you’d never know it based on a quick glance through the sidebar navigation. (Select “more bra styles” alllllll the way down at the bottom, then pick “nursing” from the giant pop-up box of options. And I can’t even link directly to the category, even though there’s over 61 different offerings!) Again, most of these brands are available elsewhere (La Leche League, Anita, La Mystere), but HerRoom specializes in stocking or tracking down just about every size possible. For anyone else who finds that they’re a weird, not-found-in-nature-according-to-the-department-stores size while nursing, this is a great place to look for SOMETHING that fits, even if it’s not your ideal nursing bra style.

GAP: For more bargain-priced bras, the Gap carries a just a few very nice, basic nursing bra styles, all in sizes XS- XL. They aren’t sexy-awesome lingerie or anything, but you can get a basic seamless nursing bra for under $50, or even less if you catch a sale. (HINT: There is almost always a damn sale.)

Commenters, any nursing bra brands and styles that you absolutely loved? Splurge-worthy or bargain options? Shopping tips for the oddball-sized among us?

__________________________________________________________________
If there is a question you would like answered by Amalah on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected]

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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eva
Guest

I have just been wearing my black nursing tanks, by Bravado and Glamormom, every day since my baby was born 5 months ago.  No to nursing bras!  I love the tanks because they work on their own in hot weather, or under just about anything.  I find that breastfeeding heats me up, so even in the winter, I often just wear the tank under a jacket/hoodie and I’m warm enough for anything.  The bonus of the tanks is that no big fleshy belly is exposed when nursing – yay!  I wore nursing bras with my first daughter and hated them,… Read more »

Olivia
Guest
Olivia

As a woman with a rack o’doom and a tight budget, I haven’t found a nursing bra that I like. I wear a 42DDD and that stayed the same in the early days of nursing. I bought a couple from JC Penny (can’t remembe the brands) and they just have horrible support. Narrow straps to suport a DDD, what are they thinking? And since I can never find them in my size and budget in a store, I’ve been really reluctant to order anything I can’t try on first. So, the point of my rambling is that my salvation has… Read more »

Erin
Guest
Erin

I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum — I wear a 34I when nursing. Forget trying to find cute, I’m just happy to find one that fits. FWIW The brand that I have found to be FANTASTIC is Anita. I have bought mine locally and on Bare Necessities.

Delora
Guest

I’m a 38H, so not quite looking for the same thing as the poster, but do have some suggestions. 1st off, check out zulily. They have sexy nursing bras listed all. the. damn. time. (They had HOTMilk last week – but it seems to be over now.) You can also find a large selection on Amazon, and if you sign up for Amazon Mom, they count towards extending your free Prime membership. My favorite bras are by Anita, but they’re plain beige microfiber underwire (great for work or under t-shirts). I am not a huge fan of Bravado, as I… Read more »

Rebecca
Guest
Rebecca

I just want to second that Anita nursing bras are fantastic. I bought mine from a local bra shop, but saw them on-line too. They are pricier than Target, but I also fell into the 32D-DD range and had a lot of trouble finding a bra with a small enough band size but large enough cups. I don’t know if the Anita bands are actually a little large, but the lady that I bought mine from cut the band down for me and reattached the hooks. When I look back at pictures, I can totally tell when I started wearing… Read more »

Meg
Guest
Meg

I am a 34D while nursing, so not that large, and i LOVE my Elle Macpherson nursing bra.  I have a few others that I only wear when my Elle bra get’s too dirty to wear AGAIN and I am forced to wash it.  It’s really attractive with pretty lace, but the straps aren’t super wide, so maybe not too great for women larger than I am.  It looks really nice under clothes, just like a normal pretty bra.  

c
Guest
c

Also a big-boobed nursing mama…36H (36DD non-nursing). I also like Anita, and have always used underwires. If they fit well they shouldn’t cause a problem. Breakout bras has an awesome selection, great shipping prices, and easy returns/exchanges. They’re staff are really helpful too (I called in tears after my first because I could not find a bra that fit me anywhere and had to go back to work with H-sized boobs flying everywhere…not cute or appropriate!).

http://www.Breakoutbras.com

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

After ordering several bras online and guessing at sizes, then ending up annoyed and frustrated with poor fit and uggggggly bras, I sucked it up and drove 2 hours to a bra store and got a real professional fitting. Tried on lots and lots of bras, bought my very favorite, and took pictures of the others I liked for purchasing online later, if I so desired. Now my nursing bras are cute, fit perfectly, and are comfortable. Love!

Lisa
Guest

I love love love the Gap soft cup nursing bra.  Its not an underwire, is (mostly) cotton, is reasonably priced ($30ish dollars), and feels supportive.  It also goes up to a  40DD, and has some of the harder to find sizes, like 38C.  

http://www.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=35427&vid=1&pid=327206

Damaris @Kitchen Corners
Guest

The lactation centers located in hospitals sells nursing bras. i got mine there and I love them. Plus the nurses are usually super nice and will give you a discount if you show them your cute newborn baby.

Jess
Guest
Jess

I had a hard time with this the first time around, but for my second kid I decided to try the Playtex Women’s Nursing Underwire Bra:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001EYUJD4
The nice thing is that it’s not expensive, and it’s the best nursing bra I’ve owned, fit-wise. I’m 34/36DDD when nursing and I have about 6 or 8 different styles/brands of nursing bras at this point. This it by FAR my favorite.

fun mama
Guest

Fig leaves! I just searched and they have 48 different styles in your size. I love them for all bra sizes tons of colors and styles in every size. Search and you usually find a coupons code for a discount too.

Becky
Guest
Becky

I am now nursing my 4th baby and this time I finally do like my nursing bras.  I went to Nordstrom, the lady measured me, brought in several bras and they were fabulous.  Supportive, comfortable, and pretty.  Totally, totally worth the money.  And the whole thing took 15 minutes top.  When it comes to nursing bras, I would say take the time to drive to a shop and get measured and fitted by a professional.  Its not something you can do online.

liz
Guest

I LOVE the anita nursing bra, had the motherhood ones and target ones but LOVE LOVE the anita one and recommend to anyone! 

lesley
Guest
lesley

I liked buying bras on Amazon. I bought a few Anita and Bravado brands, then just returned the ones that didn’t fit. I bought a few different sizes. Turns out I was a 38G. Try finding that one at Motherhood. I think it was actually a blessing in disguise to be an odd size because the Motherhood bras are terrible quality and way overpriced.

Bethany
Guest
Bethany

Bravado is awesome! The Body Silk is super super comfortable and can be worn around the clock. The Bliss is also really nice (albeit in a narrower range of sizes) and little sexier-looking.

Medela seamless softcup (without or with underwire) is another good one.Melinda G makes some good ones in larger cup sizes. Fancee Free makes nursing bras up to size 50K so anyone should be able to find one that fits!

Maren
Guest

Like the first commenter, I am a HUGE fan of the Bravado nursing tanks. I am a 40E and find them to be supportive enough, and don’t make by boobs a funny shape either. As Eva said, beyond being super comfortable and supportive enough, the best benefit to these tanks is that they cover your belly! I hate wearing any of my other nursing bras anymore (besides the fact that I don’t like the cup shape/support) because I am so used to being somewhat covered up (and warm). It was so nice to find a supportive tank bra that works… Read more »

Ms. K
Guest
Ms. K

I am lucky, I guess, to be a 34 or 36D or DD when nursing. Pretty standard size. But I still remember the amazingly uncomfortable engorgement stage…that lasted about 6 months for me. I bought two bras, super-comfy, at the Breastfeeding Center on K St. in downtown Washington, DC. Cannot for the life of me remember the brand name. But I still wear them all the time. I don’t know that anyone would consider them sexy. But the excellent thick elastic around the chest, the soft full-coverage cups and the racer-back were SO COMFORTABLE. I absolutely could not tolerate any… Read more »

Martha
Guest
Martha

I LOVE Bravado Body Silk Seamless. I spent $50 on one, bought another one in a different color, and I love them. In the summer I wore Target nursing tanks, mostly. The body silk is expensive but worth it, in my opinion. The sizing is very flexible and the support is good.

Helloheather
Guest

After living with unsatisfactory nursing bras for a LONG time with my first child, I put my foot down when pregnant with my second. I said I would NOT wear uncomfortable, ugly, unflattering bras! WOULD NOT! And then…I tried on every bra I could find in my size (38H, thankyouverymuch.) And everything was horrible. Just awful. But then! I went and talked to a lingerie pro. She suggested I get a couple regular, non-nursing bras that I loved, and she would have a seamstress put hooks in the straps. I was skeptical, but sort of desperate, so I agreed to… Read more »

Katy
Guest
Katy

I just discovered Gap’s nursing bras, and I am in love! Yes, they are plain, but they are so comfy. And shapely! I actually look like I have breasts! (my other three nursing bras all looked like I had udders – in the name of comfort)

So nice!

Leigh
Guest
Leigh

I feel the pain. I am a 30 E. There are no 30 nursing bras. Anita makes an underwire in 32 up to G I believe. Bravado also makes the Bliss in 32 (amongst others) that I just love.
I like Fig Leaves, Bare Necessities and Her Room for ordering online. I have had many good experiences ordering, trying on and returning, for free or shipping.
The only shop I have ever found in the US that carried my size was Upper Breast Side in New York. I dragged my husband and toddler there on vacation last year.

Erin
Guest
Erin

I have to chime in in favor of Anita International. By FAR the most comfortable (and relatively stylish) nursing bras I found were Anita bras, and believe me, I tried A LOT of nursing bras before finding them. They’re well worth the investment. Nordstrom online carries them, as I’m sure a lot of other stores do.

Christine
Guest
Christine

I was happy to see someone else recommending the Glamourmom nursing tanks.  For my first pregnancy, I had it in my head that I HAD to get nursing bras, so I made the requisite trip to get fitted in my 39th week and bought a couple fairly pricey bras.  Just after my son was born, though, I happened across the Glamourmom tank, and my nursing bras were tossed into the back of my closet.  The two cheap-o nursing shirts I bought from Motherhood Maternity also went in the trash — the nursing tank is an all-in-one garment that makes both… Read more »

April
Guest
April

I love the Anita ones too – I got mine at Nordstrom.com. I can’t recommend getting fitted at Nordstrom enough though – it’s the only place that has never messed it up!

Jen K.
Guest
Jen K.

My first son was born in August, and I lived in my Bravado nursing tanks. Love, love them!

Alison
Guest
Alison

I’m exactly the dimensions of the poster (32D normally, more when pg and nursing) and the Elle MacPhearson one worked great for me.

Heidi
Guest
Heidi

Haven’t had a chance to read the other suggestions yet, but I wanted to jump in with my favorite: the Medela seamless underwire. I wore their regular seamless softcup, sans underwire, for my first son, but it made me feel sort of shapeless (I go from a 34C to a 34DD for the first six months or so of nursing). So the second time around, I went against standard advice about wearing an underwire and was glad I did. It was comfortable, gave me support and shape, and never caused any problems with blocked ducts, etc. If you need to… Read more »

Liz
Guest
Liz

I go with motherwear.com’s bras. Most of them are pretty comfy and I think they have a wide range of sizes.

Liz
Guest
Liz

I go with motherwear.com’s bras. Most of them are pretty comfy and I think they have a wide range of sizes.

Chandra
Guest
Chandra

For me (34C), my fav is the Elle Macpherson one.

Rebecca
Guest
Rebecca

Figleaves.com has a beautiful selection of maternity bras that are practical and stunning. There are really great options for trendy, flirty, and also basic nursing bras. I wear the Elomi brand nursing bra, I have found it to be the most supportive bra of the brands I have tried. (I am full figured.) Amazon.com also has some good options. Good Luck!

http://www.figleaves.com/us/department.asp?dept=Womens_Maternity_and_Nursing&answerhandle=11220&searchhandle=A%253dwomenswear%2Bnot%2Bin%2Bolet%257eB%253dwomenswear%2Bnot%2Bin%2Bolet%257eD%253d12%257eK%253d4%257eL%253d1%257eM%253d336%257e&answerhandleback=11220

Trish
Guest
Trish

I loved my Bravado BodySilk. Comfortable enough to sleep in, supportive enough for out and about. I was a 36DD pre-pregnancy and a 38F while nursing. I had other nursing bras, but the BodySilk made me the happiest. Perhaps the best thing about it was that its sized as S/M/L/XL, so its not outrageously hard to get the right size.

Melissa
Guest

Oh my god, the Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra is a lifesaver. No kidding it totally changed my attitude during my last trimester, I was a much more pleasant person to be around. I was just so much more comfortable and it still fits even now that my son is a nursing 8 months old. It’s easy to get the right size because it allows for changes of your body, it’s SOFT and I never need to adjust the damn thing, and it looks brand new still (and I just throw it in the machine to wash all willy nilly).… Read more »

Melissa
Guest

Oh, and the Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra looks a thousand times better in person that it does in the picture. No uniboob here, not matronly, looks like a normal bra!

Kate F.
Guest
Kate F.

Ok, so I’ve exclusively worn Target’s Gilligan & O’Malley nursing tanks since my son was born 6 months ago, and I can’t figure out the logistics of nursing bras. Do you also wear a nursing tank, and pull down both cups? Or do you just wear a regular shirt and pull it up? Doesn’t your whole stomach show that way? Someone please explain!

Christine
Guest

Another vote for the Anita underwire nursing bra, for the big boobed (and small backed) – I’m wearing a 32F right now and have used one incarnation or another of it for most of the past five years, between two long-nursing children. I get them at Nordstrom, and have had no problems getting good fittings there.

I just have to note that I’m very happy I live in the US for this reason: in the UK, Ireland, and Australia you can’t find an underwired nursing bra for love or money.

Jenny
Guest
Jenny

I’m with Jess, the Playtex Women’s Nursing Underwire Bra worked best for me. The hooks make all the difference. Easy to undo and do. Plus the price was right and it was pretty comfy.

Olivia
Guest
Olivia

Kate F. – you do it however you want! I have always worn a nursing bra and pulled my shirt up (nursing tanks don’t support me). The baby covers my tummy pretty well. There are also options for tanks that don’t cover the breasts so that you wear the nusing bra and when you pull up the outer shirt the tank covers your middle, and one that doesn’t have straps that hooks to the bra so when you pull the bra cup down the tank moves with it. Personally, I woudn’t wear a nursing tank with a nursing bra because… Read more »

Kailee
Guest
Kailee

Having been blessed (cursed?) with an ample chest, I can sympathize with many of the posters! I have several nursing bras that I like. My utilitarian nursing bra is an underwire model from Bravado. I think it was around $60, which I think is pretty reasonable. I dunno, maybe I’m just used to paying top dollar for something supportive. I also have a HOTMilk bra. Pros: SO PRETTY. It’s nice to wear something a little sexy every once in awhile. Cons: No underwire, so not as supportive. But, PRETTY! I always order my bras from Linda the Bra Lady. Easy… Read more »

Nann
Guest

First be sure you are looking for/wearing an appropriate size. With my first child I suffered through wearing 44DD and 44DDD ill fitting nursing bras because I thought that that was my size. A few years later I went to a professional fitter (http://www.myintimacy.com) for my normal bra needs and turns out that I am actually a 36H. Now expecting my second child I went back to my intimacy in my 7th month for a refit and they outfitted me with several extremely comfortable Anita underwire (my preference) nursing bras. Once you are fitted you can order your bras from… Read more »

wendy
Guest
wendy

Do NOT NOT NOT even try to the ones with snaps or magnetic closures! I got suckered into both, in search of cup shapes that were less ‘granny’ and neither would stay closed! And they are soooo pathetic, I feel bad even giving them to goodwill. I love my cheapo black lace underwire target nursing bras. I had two and they were in heavy rotation for over a year, until one finally lost a wire. I wear the other one less now (at 19mos) because it’s lost some oomph, but it still works. The ‘smooth’ one i have now is… Read more »

Mariah
Guest
Mariah

Just got this catalog in the mail–wish I’d been aware of these and/or that they’d been around when I needed them. Ugly though they are, I made do with Medela bras mostly.

http://www.shopbounce.com/home.do

This one actually looks kind of pretty, even:
http://www.shopbounce.com/product/312800.do?w=nursing

ksmaybe
Guest
ksmaybe

Late to the party, and no time to read the prior responses, but I’m a 32C/D before pregnancy. The only nursing bras I’ve liked are: Bravado Original S+ comfy, easy to access, but not that flattering under clothes. Bravado bodysilk seamless much more flattering, especially with the removable foam pads not as tight in the band as time wears on and your band size begins to return to normal Elle MacPherson Maternell tons of hooks and adjusting in the band, not as fabulous in the cup/nipple region, but ok. I’ve found nothing perfect, but these have worked where countless others… Read more »

espy jane
Guest
espy jane

I just purchased you! lingerie bras. I’m a 36D and they totally have my size in stock (which was a concern because it’s an average size). The colors are fun (think pinks, leopard, outer lace) which was really important to me because I just became so tired of plain colors. The bras are very supportive (yay!), comfortable, and affordable. I’m extremely satisfied with them.

Heather
Guest
Heather

I think it so important to get fitted by a professional. Nordstrom is great. But it sounds like that may not be an option. Go somewhere that has a lingerie department and just asked to be sized! I hate nursing bras. Nothing makes me feel more dowdy than wearing a nursing bra. But, I think Elle Macpherson bras are the best! They are feminine, sexy and supportive. They are also available online. I love the pink & white striped one, so comfortable without the extra wide straps! I also have two others with underwire & do not recommend them (underwire).… Read more »

jess
Guest
jess

first advice – whether you are nursing or not, get fitted. whenever you might need a new bra, get fitted. it doesn’t cost anything, and REALLY makes a difference in fit. get fitted, find a bra brand/style/size you like, buy one in the shop, and order more online (where they may be cheaper). I am currently a 34G (also known as DDDD), who was a 32F/G pre-pregnancy and nursing. I also have short shoulders. I have tried many different brands over my 3 1/2 year nursing journey (no judging, people). I liked the Medela underwires, but they only came in… Read more »

Emily
Guest
Emily

I am a 30G nursing and normally a 30D. I got bras from Anita and Freya. Freya is the only brand that carries the 30 width in big sizes.

Neither Anita nor Freya is glamorous to wear, but each fits. Anita doesn’t fit great b/c it is a 32, but it fits well enough.

Good luck!

Danielle
Guest
Danielle

My problem wasn’t so much fit or support as it was sensitivity – my skin was so sensitive that most bras caused me pain upon contact.. till I found the Mama’s Best nursing bra made with bamboo. SO, So, So, soft and comfortable. I bought my first ones at the hospital lactation center (Northern VA) then ordered my second set from the Canadian distributors (http://www.breast-is-best.com/pub/bras.html).

Medela bras from Babies-R-Us aren’t bad for comfort, either, but not as soft and comfortable as the Mama’s Best.. 🙂 (and eco-friendly!)

lindsey
Guest
lindsey

Nordstrom will alter ANY bra you buy from them to make it a nursing bra through their alterations department. I haven’t tried it yet, but plan to! 🙂

Isabel Kallman
Admin

WOW! That is great info. Thanks for the tip. 100 gold stars for you.