How to Pick a Nursing Bra

After creating and delivering an infant, you are pretty much She-rah: teaming with superhuman pro-creative powers, one being your mother’s milk. But this strength must be controlled, protected, and supported.  Start with a supportive guise. Exposing your super powers recklessly is uncomfortable, possibly embarrassing, and potentially dangerous.

  1. Measure. Preferably after your milk has unpacked its suitcases.  A two to three cup size increase in the lady eggs, post child arrival, is not altogether unusual.
  2. Avoid underwire: Underwires are like nursing kryptonite.  At least during the first few weeks following birth when the breasts and milk flow are most volatile.  Underwire  can confine the growth changes in breast size and shape during pregnancy and restrict milk flow during breast feeding.
  3. Quick Draw: Try it on and make sure you can unfasten, unzip, unclip, or slip as necessary with one hand.
  4. Soft Cottons: Even if the cup has some lace or alternative fabric on the exterior, the interior should be lined with seamless, sweet cotton. Anything else can chafe your tender teats and may not keep them cool, dry, and free of infections.
  5. Perfect fit: Your getup shouldn’t bind the breast in any way that will interfere with milk flow. This means wearing a regular bra or one that doesn’t fit isn’t an option. Not only because of the sad visual state it leaves your milk maids in, but also because it can inhibit your milking powers all together, replacing it with crippling pain.

Meeting these requirements may require an entirely new collection of nests for your lady eggs, and if you plan to order online and enjoy the diversity of sizes and styles available to the informed shopper, not to mention the convenience of ordering at home in your postpartum stretchy pants, you will need your previously acquired diameters.

If you are shy of self applied measuring tape, go to a well-equipped department store or bra boutique and get a professional to calculate the nest size for you. However, I must warn you, my favorite department store only carried one style of nursing lingerie, and I had to button a pair of trousers and pack a double stroller to capacity to get there.

With fleshy diameters calculated and restrictions observed, you are now ready to receive my top 5 Nursing Bra recommendations.

Elle Macpherson Intimates Maternelle Maternity Bra

Comfort: 10, Flexibility: 10, Support: 6, Prettiness: 7,
Fits True to Size

In the first few weeks following your wee milk-a-tarian’s arrival, when your lactation officials are sucked sore, not to mention incessantly shifting, this is the balm I recommend.  It offers an exceptionally soft cup and lace that ascends to a luxurious level of modesty , a strong contrast to the amount of exposure you currently endure, and resembles a fancy camisole when glimpsed peaking under blouses.


Bravado Bliss! Women’s Nursing Bra

Comfort: 9, Flexibility: 8, Support: 8, Prettiness:8
Fits True to Size

If I could recommend only one basket in which to place all nursing flowers, this would be it.  Bravado offers a soft cup with the strength of seaming and underwire.  It both calms and camouflages tender teats.


Le Mystere Sexy Mama Underwire

Comfort: 7, Flexibility: 6, Support: 10, Prettiness: 10
Fits True to Size

Once your milk supply has stabilized and pretty become a primary consideration, test drive this Cadillac of the nursing kingdom. Whether you’re concerned with shape under a blouse or seduction sans buttons, both views are lovely.


Gilligan & O’Malley Underwire Nursing Bra
Comfort: 6, Flexibility: 6, Support: 9, Prettiness:8

Fits True to Size

If you want an affordable effect similar to Le Mystere with only a slightly diminished amount of support and prettiness, I recommend this price sensitive compromise.


Simple Wishes Hands Free Breast Pump Bustier
Functionality: 10, Prettiness:0
Adjustable Fit

While not even tangential to attractive, I adore the function of this nursing aid.  My hands prefer several activities to the banality of nursing pump support.

 Pray tell, what succors your sucklings?  Share your wisdom in the to pick a nursing bra


  1. 1

    HILARIOUS! Being a mommy of two under two and going on what feels like my sixth straight year of nursing it’s fun to have a laugh at the monotony that has become my “bra life”. I wore the plain straight forward non-padded bras for several weeks around the house, but when it was time to venture out I HAD to have padding and an underwire! It is seriously awkward to see your disposable nursing pads through a tighter fitting shirt!

    Thanks for the laugh this morning!

  2. 2

    This is what I needed to read! My son is 3 weeks old and I have yet to find a good bra! Thanks Reachel!

  3. 3

    Thanks for the recommendations! I’ve been looking for a new nursing bra for a while now, but haven’t found anything I’ve been willing to take the plunge on.

  4. 4

    Where was this 7 months ago? I sooo could’ve used this bit of insight in December,before my little girl came along in January. Still super helpful as there will be more nursing bras needed in the future. A problem I had with purchasing a post-baby nursing bra is do you buy a bra fit for more towards the bigger, fuller size you are, or to the smaller, emptier size? Common sense tells me go for the bigger size, so you’re not dying come feeding time, but I’d love an expert opinion!

    • 5

      Your common sense is so sensible. Fit the bra to your most vigorous side. Once you finish nursing, if you still feel off balance, you can choose to add a “cookie” or removable pad to the cup of the less full breast.

  5. 6

    Here’s another option for a handfree bustier that at least attempts to be attractive. And the PumpEase Pumping Bra is currently over 40% off at Zulily.

  6. 7

    With my first baby, I picked out a few different bras in different sizes and had them at home ready to try on. I knew that bra shopping was not going to be high on my list post baby. So, I picked out the one that I liked best and wore and wore it the first few days. I knew I needed several more like it to make it through. I ended up having a c-section and really was stuck at home recovering. I sent my best friend (no kids) to the store with a photo of the bra and the size. I thought she was going to throw up when I gave her the picture. It had yellow lanolin spots on the nips and ring of dried milk from that day. Yeah, it was gross. She was like, “oh gosh, what is happening to your body!” She just had her first baby this summer and I’m sure gets it now.

  7. 8

    I just had baby #4 on Thursday!! You would think after 4 kids I would feel like I knew a thing or two about nursing bras, but I’ve never found one that was even workable for me, so I’m back at square one again! This time, I got the original Bravado bra, since I’m a large cup size with a small band size. (The bras I was wearing before baby came were 34 or 36 DDD.) I got the M plus size, and when engorgement hit today, I’m wishing I got the next bigger cup size. I’m so uncomfortable! The bra is okay, but not nearly as supportive or shapely as I’d like. I feel a little bit like I have one big saggy uni-boob. :( Do you have any advice for a shapely and supportive nursing bra for larger breasted women?

    • 9


      While I haven’t tried this brand personally (I have tried on dozens upon dozens of nursing bras and personally own every one of the bras I recommend above), I have heard excellent things about the Anita line of nursing bras for supporting fuller breasts. This one in particular has been recommended by several of my clients:

      If you try it, let me know what you think. Overall what you want to look for is wider shoulder straps and even more importantly a wide supportive back strap. The majority of your support should be coming from the latter, not the former.

      Good luck dear!

  8. 10

    Since I nursed my toddler throughout my pregnancy with my second kiddo, then tandem nursed for another year, then kept nursing my second kiddo until she weaned herself, I wore my Bravado nursing bras, and ONLY my Bravado nursing bras, for a total of five years–yikes! My favorite part was the Velcro cup attachment–even a snap was a little too tricky for my brain, and it felt like I could adjust the Velcro to be a little looser or snugger of a fit depending on my milk supply.

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