If you have decided to breastfeed you are probably finding out very quickly that you do need more equipment than just the things on your chest to comfortably get the job done. Nursing bras may seem unnecessary but they are a much easier way to access your breast while nursing than traditional bras.
Newly nursing moms or pregnant moms will quickly come to realize the importance of a nursing bra. Being physically comfortable is a large part of being a happier mom, and clothing plays a huge part in that. Research has found that the type of clothing you wear and how comfortable you feel in it can play a part in your emotional response. In other words, if you aren’t comfortable in your clothing you may become irritable more easily. Couple that with sleep deprivation and you could be in store for a very grouchy mama. And no one needs that.
What Exactly Counts As A Nursing Bra?
A nursing bra, also often called a maternity bra, is a specially designed bra that allows easy access to the breast for nursing. They also are often wireless since wires are often very uncomfortable for moms-to-be and new moms as our breasts are often very sensitive- either from hormonal changes, painful nursing sessions, or engorgement. Many nursing bras are also pull-on style, much like a sports bra, in order to limit the number of closures and clasps that are often uncomfortable.
Most maternity and nursing bras are made with cotton or bamboo with a small amount of spandex or elastic for added support and stretch. The spandex and elastic often help with keeping the shape of the nursing bra over several wears, feedings, and washes.
Why Do You Need a Nursing Bra?
Nursing bras make breastfeeding much simpler. Although a regular bra can be used to nurse if you are able to effectively pull down the cup, they aren’t nearly as comfortable or convenient to use while nursing. Oftentimes, regular bras cannot fully expose the breast, causing it to be squished up and preventing your baby from getting a full latch around the nipple. Frequent pulling of the cup may also cause it to lose its shape and functionality, giving you a poor-fitting bra for the rest of your breastfeeding journey and beyond. In addition, your breast size will probably fluctuate during pregnancy and the different stages of nursing. Nursing bras, usually made with cotton or bamboo, to do not have prescribed cup sizes so they can easily fluctuate with your changing breast size while still giving you a good amount of support.
Regular bras also often have several different pieces of metal within the bra. Back hook clasps and underwires are very uncomfortable for most women who are not pregnant or nursing. When you have a baby attached to your body basically 24/7, you want to be as comfortable as possible without something else poking and prodding you. Nursing bras often do not have any underwire, clasps, or hooks, giving you ultimate comfort while still providing support.
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Different Types of Nursing Bras
There are a few different types of nursing bras. The type you get will depend on your preference for access to the breast, the preference on material, your style preference, and your needs:
- Pull-Over– Pull-over bras are much like sports bras in that they do not have back clasps, hooks, or closures. You simply put it over your head to put it on.
- Pull-Down– Pull-down bras refer to those nursing bras in which you pull down the front cups in order to access the breast.
- Front Flap or Hook Access– These nursing bras have a clasp on the bra strap that unhook in order to access the breast.
- Front Clasp– These nursing bras have a clasp in the middle of the bra, opening up the access to the left or right to access the breast.
- Sports Bra– Active moms may want to try a nursing sports bra. Normal sports bras are extremely difficult to nurse in since they are typically very tight and do not allow for mobility around the fabric. Nursing sports bras often have a front flap hook access for you to clip down and access the breast in between your workout sessions. They also have a racerback design which is great for atheleisure wear.
- Underwire nursing bras– Larger busted moms may need the support of an underwire nursing bra. They are a little harder to find since many moms do not like to have an underwire while nursing since it’s uncomfortable, but those with large breasts may find it necessary for additional support.
The Importance of Eco-Friendly Fabric in Nursing Bras
Like all clothing, you have a choice in what kinds of fabrics you chose from when choosing your maternity or nursing bras. As a parent, we want our children to be safe and healthy, so it is important to choose a nursing bra that is made from eco-friendly and sustainable fabric so that they are not exposed to any toxins or chemicals that are typically in commercially made clothing. Some of the fabrics and certifications to keep in mind are:
- Organic fabrics like cotton or bamboo
- Eco-friendly certifications like OKEO-TEX, Bluesign, or Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
- Recycled fabric
Choosing maternity and nursing clothing with these fabrics and certifications will ensure that your little one is not exposed to harmful fabrics or chemicals.
Top Eco-Friendly Nursing Bras
The Kindered Bravely Extra-Soft Organic Cotton Wireless Nursing Bra is made with ultra-soft organic cotton and spandex so you will feel comfortable all day long as well as be able to move easily. The easy pull on style doesn’t have any straps or hooks, so you won’t find yourself pushing up straps or reconfiguring yourself throughout the day. It is wireless, too, so it makes for a great bra when pregnant for those with sensitive breasts as well as for nursing as the front flaps easily pull aside for easy access to the breast.
The Kindered Bravely Extra-Soft Organic Cotton Wireless Nursing Bra is designed for fluctuating breast sizes – it comes in sizes XS to XX-Large meaning that as your breast size changes, the Kindered Bravely Extra-Soft Organic Cotton Wireless Nursing Bra will continue to fit. It is also a great bra for everyday activities even when you are not pregnant or nursing like yoga or travel.
The Majamas Organic Padded Daily Bra is the perfect bra for pregnant and nursing mamas. Made with 91% organic cotton and 9% Lyrca, this maternity and nursing bra is stretchy and comfortable. It is wireless, so you don’t have any annoying pokes hurting you all day long. The pull-on closure means you aren’t messing with any straps or hooks throughout the day. It is also padded, so you don’t have to worry about showing anything in different temperatures and it also offers an extra layer in the case of leakage. The v-neck and scoop back design makes it a great option under almost all clothing.
The Majamas Organic Padded Daily Bra is made with 100% eco-friendly materials including organic cotton, spandex, and recycled polyester. The pull-aside and the pull-down v-neck layers make it easy to nurse. It is a multi-cup size so it will fit even as your breast size changes. It is a great option for daily wear, night nursing, and even after pregnancy and the postpartum period.
Boodywear is an eco-friendly line of clothing for men and women that offers environmentally sustainable clothing. For pregnant and nursing moms, their Boody Body EcoWear Women’s Shaper Bra is an everyday bra that can be worn throughout pregnancy and the postpartum period. It is made with 80% bamboo viscose, 13% nylon, and 7% spandex so it is stretchy, soft, and super comfortable.
Boodywear’s signature bamboo viscose cloth is cooling and comfortable, which is perfect for pregnant and nursing moms. There is also no push-up, clasps, fasteners, or underwire making it especially comfortable even to wear at night. The Boody Body EcoWear Women’s Shaper Bra pulls on easily and can be pulled down for nursing without worrying about over-stretching the fabric. It is a great alternative to cotton bras.
If you are an active mom who still wants to be able to get her daily workouts in even while nursing, then a nursing sports bra like the Kindered Bravely Sublime Support Low Impact Nursing Sports Bra is a great option. It is made from recycled nylon, polyester, and spandex so it still gives you the support you need in a sports bra without compromising on sustainability. Unlike other maternity and nursing sports bras, the Kindered Bravely Sublime Support Low Impact Nursing Sports Bra has an easy pull-on style that makes it ultra-comfortable even when you aren’t working out. The straps easily stay in place so when you’re running or jumping, you don’t have worry about pushing or reconfiguring yourself. They are also adjustable so you can form them to your body and make it as comfortable as possible while you’re working out.
The easy clip-down access makes it simple to get in a nursing session in between your sweat sessions. The supportive elastic chest band and racer-back style makes it perfect as a sports bra or even an everyday bra. The sweat-wicking material will keep you cool and dry even during your most strenuous activities like pilates, barre, hiking, yoga, or light jogging. The Kindered Bravely Sublime Support Low Impact Nursing Sports Bra is functional, stylish, and comfortable- everything you could ask for in a nursing sports bra.
Larger busted moms might have trouble finding a nursing bra that is comfortable for them. But the iloveSIA Women’s Full Bust Nursing Bra is made specifically for larger busted women, offering a 4-way stretch fabric that is comfortable to wear during pregnancy and postpartum periods. It is wireless and seamless so it is comfortable enough to wear while you’re sleeping or throughout the day under your favorite clothes.
The clip-down nursing feature makes it easy to nurse throughout the day. The straps are adjustable so they can fit your body perfectly. There are also molded cups and removable padding that gives additional shape and discretion while nursing. The iloveSIA Women’s Full Bust Nursing Bra also has a ribbed elastic band and ribbed center adds additional support and extra lift for larger busted moms.
The iloveSIA Women’s Full Bust Nursing Bra is made with sustainable fabrics and certified by Oeko-Tex requirements so there are no harmful substances. It also comes in a 3-pack of neutral colors of black, beige, and light pink so it is a great option for all your different maternity needs and under most clothing.
An alternative option to cotton, which uses larger amounts of water and energy to produce, is bamboo. The Our Green House Organic Nursing Bra Barbara Bra is made with 100% organic cotton and is super soft- it even gets softer with every wash. Bamboo is also naturally cooling, so it is a great option for co-sleeping moms or babywearing moms who often have additional body heat attached to them.
The seamless feminine design is comfortable and attractive. The seamless design makes it a great option for underneath even the tightest shirts or dresses. The clasp-down system makes nursing a cinch and the back hook closure helps you to fit it to your body size. It is wireless so it is comfortable to wear all day long and overnight.
The Lamaze Organics maternity and nursing bra is a comfortable 100% organic cotton bra that is perfect for the days you are hanging out at home. It is seamless and there is no elastic, so it is a favorite among moms for post-birth hospital stays or your first days at home. The pull-down front makes nursing simple and gives you easy access to the breast for your undoubtedly hungry little one.
The wide shoulder straps of the Lamaze Organics Sleep Bra for Nursing give you the support you need all day long. Although it is made for sleep, it can easily be worn while at home or the days following birth as the total cotton design is barely noticeable.
All of Cake Maternity’s clothing and accessories are made consciously and sustainably. This Cake Maternity Cotton Candy Nursing Bra is made with NILIT Soften Microfiber Nylon giving it an extra soft and silky feel. It will quickly become one of your favorite nursing bras.
Since it is made from high tensile NILIT yarn, the Cake Maternity Cotton Candy Nursing Bra will hold its shape over several washes and wears. It is a pull-on design with a clip-down flap for nursing, and the elastic band on the bottom offers support in place of an uncomfortable underwire. The Cake Maternity Cotton Candy Nursing Bra also has OEKO-TEX certification, meaning that it is tested and certified to be free from any harmful substance. It is also a great option for those with sensitive skin as no chemicals are present in its fabric.
Active moms will need a couple of different options of sports bras in their nursing gear, and this Majamas Organic Sporty Racerback Nursing Sports Bra is great for racer-back style atheleisure wear or low-impact workouts like walking, yoga, barre, and pilates. It is made from 91% organic cotton and it has a 100% recycled polyester lining. The fabric is also moisture-wicking so you will stay cool and dry even through your workouts. It has pull-aside nursing access and is comfortable enough to wear all day long, overnight, or while doing low-impact workouts.
Even if you are nursing, you obviously still have days where you want to feel sexy. The Leading Lady Women’s Lace Padded Nursing Bra is great for those date nights or for larger busted moms who absolutely need underwire support. The elegant lace overlay is gorgeous and feminine, but it still has the functionality of a normal nursing bra as it has a clip-down mechanism for easy access to the breast.
The back hook closures make sure that it fits your body exactly how you need it to, but you can still access the breast with just one hand using the clip-down design. It is a comfortable yet elegant nursing bra that can be worn regularly or for special occasions.
Nursing is quite a journey for any mom, no matter if she is a new mom or a seasoned mom. A good, high-quality nursing bra that is comfortable and easy to use makes the journey a little easier. Finding the perfect one might take a little trial and error, but having one that works for you will make breastfeeding much more enjoyable.
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