Your nursing journey will be unique to you—for example, some moms breeze through newborn breastfeeding, some find it to be the hardest thing they’ve ever done. Some moms practice extended breastfeeding for years, others call it good after a few months. Regardless of what path you take, all breastfeeding mamas share one thing in common: the need for comfortable and supportive nursing bras.

How do nursing bras work?

You might wonder if nursing bras are really necessary—can’t you just get away with a regular bra? Well, if you’re a breastfeeding mom, your top priority should be making your body comfortable and access to your breast as seamless as possible for baby. That’s why breastfeeding bras are important. Rather than having to completely undress or awkwardly move your regular bra to the side or under your breast, which could constrict milk ducts, impede milk flow, and increase your risk for mastitis, a nursing bra usually has a clip that, when undone, allows for the material to flap down and baby to have access to the breast.

Related: True life: There was SO much about breastfeeding I didn’t know

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What should I look for in a nursing bra?

We went to an expert to get you the best info possible. Chrisie Rosenthal, an IBCLC with The Lactation Network, offers this valuable info: “Fit is important. Generally speaking, expect that you’ll need at least one cup size and one back size larger than what you wore pre-pregnancy. The bra itself should be supportive, but not restrictive. Underwire bras are not recommended because they can lead to plugged ducts and/or mastitis. Make sure you can unclip the nursing bra with one hand. You’ll find you’re often holding a baby, a pump, or supplies, and easy access to the breast is key!”

And, Chrisie Rosenthal also goes on to remind us that far too often women wear the wrong size bra—breastfeeding or not. But during this challenging time in your life, wearing the correct bra size is important as it will impact your comfort, overall breast health, and ability to properly feed and ensure your baby is getting enough milk. She recommends that new moms visit a baby boutique that sells nursing bras or a store with employees who are trained in fitting women with the correct size.

Related: 10 best breastmilk cooler bags that will keep your breastmilk fresh and cold for hours

When should I buy nursing bras?

Believe it or not, the experts say you should wait until you’re about 2-3 weeks postpartum, as that is when you’ll know your true size. “Your breast size changes significantly in the first 2-3 weeks of your baby’s life,” Chrisie Rosenthal explains. “For that reason, most breastfeeding parents will not know their bra size until the baby is about 2 weeks old. That’s not usually a problem though, because during this early stage, many parents choose to go without a bra. Newborns feed frequently, and parents of newborns may experience some nipple tenderness during the initiation of breastfeeding. For both of those reasons, most parents often spend the first few weeks without a bra, wearing shirts that open easily in the front (for example, a button-up) or big, loose shirts.”

Once you hit that two-week mark, however, you should be good to go!

Related: 9 nursing pillows that make breastfeeding a little easier

The truth is, moms need postpartum support—in every form—and a properly fitted nursing bra is one piece of that puzzle. Breastfeeding bras offer support, protection against leaks (and leak you will!) and will make you feel more comfortable in general, especially when your breasts are particularly full. Don’t skimp on this one, mama. You’re already investing in everything baby needs, so don’t forget your own needs too.

Best nursing bras that provide the support you need

dairy fairy ayla nursing bra

The Dairy Fairy


Ayla Nursing and Hands-Free Pumping Bra

A wireless style for larger busts, this bra offers a supportive and uplifted fit for mamas with up to J cups. (Just be sure to check the size chart to convert the sizing!) It’s also one of the prettiest nursing bras we’ve seen, with a lace design that’s sexy enough for date night yet comfortable enough for the inevitable post-date night feeding. (Plus-sized mamas can check out their sister line, Milkful for lacy beauties that fit up to a band size of 52.)

Bodily The Effortless Bra

Bodily The Effortless Bra


The Effortless Bra

From its clip-free design to its silky-soft fabric, every detail of The Effortless Bra from Bodily is thoughtfully designed with a lactation consultant to optimize breast health and make breastfeeding as easy as possible. It’s incredibly stretchy with an extra wide band under the bust to accommodate size fluctuations without restriction. (As any mama who has ever battled engorgement or mastitis knows, a too tight bra is something to be avoided at all costs!) There’s also five clip positions at the back to provide even more size variability. When it’s time to nurse, just pull it down. The high-stretch, low-tension straps provide easy, comfortable access without compromising support. And honestly, it’s so comfy you’ll wear it long after your nursing days are over!

Belabumbum Leakproof Nursing Bra



Leakproof Nursing Bra

There’s a lengthy list of reasons to love this wireless beauty from Belabumbum. For one thing, it’s one of the softest fabrics under the sun–a major plus when everything it’s touching is oh-so-sensitive. We also love the fact it’s ultra-absorbent and moisture-wicking thanks to four-layer removable pads that aren’t bulky in the least. What’s more, it can be worn over the shoulder or racerback style making it feel less like a utilitarian nursing bra and more like your everyday favorites. (Take 10% off with code MOTHERLY !)


belly bandit bda maternity and nursing bra

Belly Bandit


B.D.A. Maternity and Nursing Bra

Some mamas find padded or lined bras to be a nuisance while they’re nursing because the cups have the tendency to flip back up. The B.D.A from Belly Bandit, on the other hand, features removable pads that can help absorb leaked breastmilk or be left out entirely. The classic crossover design marries style with function to make it as comfortable for sleeping as it is for daytime wear.

Bravado! Nursing bra



Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra

One of the trickiest things about shopping for nursing bras is that your size usually fluctuates postpartum. This wire-free style has an easy S-2XL sizing system so you don’t have to overthink it, and soft, stretchy fabric that molds to your body’s changing shape. It also has removable foam inserts for a smooth, nipple-free silhouette under T-shirts.

BlissFit Leakproof nursing bra



BlissFit Leak-Proof Nursing Bra

If you’re searching for a nursing bra that does it all, this is it. Knix combined wireless comfort and support with innovative leakproof technology to create a new mama’s dream bra. It features stretch fabric that adapts to changes in size and has thin easy-to-clasp straps so you can secure the straps with just one hand. The best part? The super absorbent removable pads means you’ll never have to worry about leaking through (did we mention it’s anti-odor and quick-dry?) 🙌

sweat and milk lucie hiit scalloped high impact nursing sports bra

Sweat and Milk


Lucie Scalloped High Impact Nursing Sports Bra

Whether you’re actually working out or just working on getting this momming thing under control, the high-impact sports bra from Sweat and Milk keeps everything in place while also providing one-handed nursing access. The sweet scallop details make this one totally acceptable as a swim top or for the days you’re hanging around the house with a constantly hungry baby and zero plans of getting dressed.

belabumbum tallulah mesh



Tallulah Mesh

While we love the aesthetics of lace, sometimes it’s just too itchy to be worth it. Not in this case! Belabumbum’s Tallulah Lace Mesh bra features comfy cotton-lined cups and keeps the lace in just the right places. The wireless design provides shape and support while multiple hooks give you room to adjust from day-to-day. (Use code MOTHERLY for 10% off your order!)

Bodily So Easy Bra



The So Easy Bra

If futzing around with clasps and snaps isn’t your thing, Bodily’s The So Easy Bra makes things, well, so much easier. The stretchy bralette style is designed to simply pull down when it’s go-time, providing fuss-free access one-handed. Our favorite feature though? Aloe vera infused fabric that lovingly cares for a postpartum mama’s sensitive skin.

cake nursing bra

Cake Lingerie


Croissant Smoothing Flexi Wire Spacer Nursing Bra

Large-breasted mamas know how hard it can be to find bras in their size, let alone nursing bras. This smoothing everyday bra, available in sizes 32C to 40K, will keep your boobs feeling snug and supported all day long thanks to molded cups and flexible underwire. And when your ribcage decides to return to its pre-pregnancy size, use its six-hook extension to maintain that perfect fit.

boob maternity fast food soft sports bra

Boob Maternity


Seamless Nursing Sports Bra

With the firm support of a sports bra and the easy-open smart clips of a nursing bra, this racerback style was made for moms on the move. Moisture-wicking and fast-drying, it’ll keep you comfy while you’re jogging, doing yoga or dashing through the supermarket. We also love that it’s made with sustainable materials using responsible production methods.

third love 24:7 classic nursing bra

Third Love


24/7 Classic Nursing Bra

If underwire is a must, we recommend the 24/7 Classic Nursing Bra from Third Love. Made with modal fabric, it’s also buttery soft, and its tag-free design won’t cause any annoying itches in places you can’t reach. We think the front closure is super convenient, not only for dressing but for pumping, too.

Momcozy maternity / nursing bralette



YN21 Seamless Ultra Comfort Maternity Bra

This maternity/nursing bralette by Momcozy is buttery soft and has just the right amount of stretch to adjust to your changing breast size, while still offering support. It’s got the easy one-handed clasp and adjustable straps, but the real seller here is that this one is so seamless and smooth it feels like you’re not wearing anything at all! 

Hatch Dream Feed Nursing and Sleep Bra

Hatch Collection


The Dream Feed Nursing and Sleep Bra

The Dream Feed Nursing and Sleep Bra by Hatch is “crazy comfy” with an easy pull-down design. Made from a soft, breathable, stretchy cotton/spandex blend, this option is great if you’re looking for a bra you can sleep in—because honestly, is there anything more precious right now than a little shut-eye?

A version of this article was published July 21, 2021. It has been updated.