Courtney here and this post has been in the making for a long time. When I wrote the first part of my Bra Guide series, I was inundated with questions about nursing bras. In this post I’m going to give you some simple, constructive, and easy-to-understand tips on how to find the perfect fitting nursing bra for you. I’m even going to give you recommendations on my favorite nursing bras and answer your questions about how they should fit, when you should purchase one, and the debate over underwire vs non-underwire.  

Finding a nursing bra doesn’t have to be an awful experience. Once you understand the basics of what you should be looking for in a nursing bra, it will be a quick and painless trip to your local lingerie boutique or our website!

First Step

I wish I could tell you that there’s a nursing bra that has everything and is perfect, but the sad truth is I haven’t found the perfect nursing bra yet. Just like in life, there’s not one perfect man, perfect job, perfect house, perfect body, etc. This is the same case with nursing bras. The first step deciding what is important to YOU. This can depend on your lifestyle, your bra size, and your budget. Some of the decisions you’re going to have to make are the following:

Do I have the budget to purchase multiple nursing bras?

Do I want to look more shapely in my nursing bra or do I want to look more minimized or flat?

Do I want a smooth look underneath my nursing bra or do seams in the cups not bother me?

Do I want a feminine or pretty looking nursing bra, or do I want something that is more versatile and basic?

Do I prefer a molded cup or a soft cup?

Once you answer these questions, this will help you to clarify what you're looking for in a nursing bra and therefore will make finding the right one for you a lot easier.

Second Step

The second step to finding the perfect nursing bra is knowing what size you are.  If you are close by, you can always book an in-person fitting at our bra shop! If not, we have virtual fittings available or feel free to use our online Bra Size Calculator.

Third Step

The third and final step is finding that perfect-fitting bra. Whatever method you choose to do: going to a department store, a bra boutique, nursing bra store, or having myself or one of my fitters help you, there’s some more tips to making the process easier:

  • Don’t go nursing bra shopping when you’re rushed, stressed, or have all of your kiddos with you. You know how children and shopping always turn into a disaster? It’s totally worth it to get a babysitter and go alone.
  • Know what you’re looking for and what you want in a nursing bra before you go shopping.
  • If you can't come to us, ask your friends or family for referrals of a reputable bra shop to get fitted.

Here are some most frequently asked questions I get asked about nursing bras.

1. When should I purchase a nursing bra?

There are two times I recommend you to start shopping for a nursing bra. The first is sometime during your last month of pregnancy, or closest to your due date. This is when I recommend purchasing a "transition" bra. These nursing bras are wireless and roomy, perfect for changing breasts before your milk comes in and is fully regulated. These bras are perfect for moms transitioning home from the hospital with your new babe. They can also be used as sleep bra or just a bra to wear when you want to be really comfortable.

The second is to get fit for a nursing bra about two weeks after your baby is born. By this time, your milk has come in and is regulated. This is the optimal time to purchase everyday nursing bras.

2. Should I wear an underwire or a non-underwire nursing bra?

Here are my two cents on this. I like both and recommend them to women for different reasons. First, like I’ve mentioned above, you need to decide what is important to you. Do you want to be shaped and supported, or is comfort more important to you?

Underwire shapes and supports the breast a LOT better than non-underwire. Your breast size can change by the day, hour, and minute when it comes to how engorged you are when nursing. Because of this, sometimes underwire can cause irritation to the breasts and can be uncomfortable when your breasts are engorged. This can cause the underwire to rub against your breasts. Some women blame blocked milk ducts and mastitis on underwire. From what I've read, there’s no scientific research saying that underwires cause this. My philosophy is to avoid any additional irritation to your boobs during nursing because it’s already uncomfortable nursing at the beginning.

Nursing bras with underwires tend to look more feminine looking. Wireless nursing bras tend to be more comfortable, but don't shape and support the breasts as well as an underwire. If you’re a large busted gal and want to go non-underwire, I’d recommend you getting a nursing bra with seams in the cups. The seams will shape and minimize your breasts a lot better than if you get a non-underwire nursing bra without seams.

When getting a non-underwire, make sure your band is fitting correctly, snug on the loosest hook. This is where your support comes from and with the lack of an underwire, this is even more important. To learn how your bra band should fit, go here.

3. Where are the best places to find a nursing bra?

We have a great selection of nursing bras in our shop. We carry sizes from a 28D all the way to a 44HH UK / 44L US.

There are a couple of places I do NOT recommend for getting your bra. Victoria’s Secret doesn't carry nursing bras and my least favorite place is Motherhood Maternity. After reading this paragraph you might think of me as a snob, and I have to admit, I am when it comes to my boobs and bras. I went into Motherhood Maternity when I was pregnant with Amelia just to see how they “fitted” women.  Let’s just stay I left laughing because they tried to measure my band size with my clothes on. I wanted to say to the lady helping me, “Do you know by measuring over my thick wool sweater is adding 2-3 inches to me?” She measured me a 36B, which was way off of what I was. They do not carry a wide selection of sizes and their bras are poor quality. Don’t waste your money. Invest in your bras, it’s well worth it.

4. What options are there in larger cup size nursing bras?

When I mean larger cup sizes, I’m talking about DDD to a K US cup. There’s a good selection in underwire, non-underwire, seamed cups, pretty and feminine looking bras, and lots of colors and styles to choose from. Some of my favorite nursing bra brands for larger cup size gals are:

Elomi Molly Nursing Bra

Panache Katherine Wireless Nursing Bra

5. What options are there for smaller cup size nursing bras?

Most women grow one to two cup sizes when they're pregnant, but some women don’t grow at all. Most problems that small-busted women run into is that they want a molded cup so it covers their nipples and they want something that is going to enhance and shape them. We carry soft cups and molded cups in underwire and wireless options.

One thing to realize when you’re going for a molded cup nursing bra is the cups in the these bras tend to get creases in them due to the motion of pulling the cup down to breastfeed. These creases will show underneath your clothes, so something to consider if that is going to bug the crap out of you. A good friend of mine suggested instead of folding down the cup, roll it down instead and this will help decrease the creases in the cup.  Some of my favorite options for smaller cups are:

Hotmilk Nursing Bras (especially Temptation and Enlighten)

Miss Anita Wireless Nursing Bra

6. How many nursing bras should I own?

This depends on what your budget is. I would advise you to get two at a time so you can wear one and wash one. One thing to remember is when your milk comes in, your breasts are going to be very engorged and large, so get one bra that fits you when you’re at your largest. Most women, within a couple of weeks or months after nursing, start to lose weight and will notice that their breast size will decrease too. If you see gaps or puckering in the cups, or if your band feels loose, it’s time to get another bra.

Being a woman can get expensive! For an example, two months after having Amelia, the bra I bought when my milk came in was too big. So I got the same nursing bra but in a cup smaller. Make sure you get refitted when you notice your bra is getting too big because 90% of the time if you lose 5-10 pounds, it will affect your bra size. Most women think they just need one nursing bra in one size the entire time their nursing. That’s not the case. You want to pay attention to how you feel in your bra and how your bra looks. On average, you can expect to change sizes 2-3 different sizes when nursing.  

7. Is molded cup or a soft cup best? Seams or no seams?

Both have pros and cons. Molded cups are great for giving a smooth look underneath clothing, shaping, and for covering those protruding nipples caused by nursing, BUT they can be extremely difficult to fit especially with larger busted women. The reason behind this is because molded cups are shaped a certain way and if your breasts aren’t perfectly shaped, which most women don’t have unless they're augmented, the cup is going to gap at the top or on the side. For larger busted gals, I recommend soft cups with underwires because they’re easier to fill and fit. If you’re a smaller busted gal, molded cups are fine, BUT they tend to crease in the cup because when you pull down the cup to nurse, the foam cup inside the bra gets folded over. Repeating this motion many times will create creases in the middle of the cup and you’ll be able to these underneath t-shirts, thin, or fitted tops. Like I mentioned above, if you do wear a molded cup, make sure you roll the cup down instead of folding it over.

Seams are great for shaping the breasts.  When I mean by shaping, seams will shape the breasts to make them look a different shape. A seam that runs across the bra will make the breast look fuller, while a seam that runs up and down will make the breast look more centered. If you want the ultimate shaping duo, go for an underwire bra with seams. If you’re a larger busted gal and don’t want to wear an underwire, I recommend you getting a bra with seams. A non-underwire bra with no seams will pretty much give you tube boob effect. Bras with no seams will give you a very smooth look underneath your clothes. I recommend these for the following US cup sizes: A, B, C, D, DD, DDD, and G.

8. My nipples are constantly showing through my bra and clothes, any suggestions on how to hide them?

Yes!  Either wear a molded cup nursing bra, wear nursing pads, or try silicone nipple covers.

9. Can I wear a nursing bra when I sleep?

Yes! Personally, I find wearing an underwire bra to bed really uncomfortable, so that’s why I recommend the sleeping nursing bras or a shelf nursing bra like these:

Transitional Nursing Bras

10. What features should I look for in a nursing bra?

Try to go with a nursing bra that is easy to unfasten the cup with one hand.  This will make nursing a lot easier when you’re holding a baby in the other hand. Avoid front closer bras that snap in the middle, sports bras, or a bra that isn’t a nursing bra. This can make nursing a hassle. The con with front closure bras is when the brand stretches out, you can’t tighten it in the back. Try to look for nursing bras that have several rows of hooks in the back because after you have the baby you will lose weight, and by having more than three rows of hooks will allow you to tighten the bra, making it last you longer.

Buy what is comfortable to you. Buy a nursing bra that will work for your lifestyle.  If you’re a fashionista who loves lace and color, and wants to feel pretty underneath your clothes, then get one. If you’re going to be staying at home and want a nursing bra that will work with t-shirts, hoodies, and fitted tops, then go with something that is practical and will give you a smooth look.

It’s so important to wear a supportive bra when your nursing because you’re breasts are super-de-duper extra engorged and large during this period of time. If you’re not wearing a supportive bra, the delicate breast tissue in your breast can break and this can cause saggy breasts, so make sure the band fits snug on the loosest set of hooks.


The best way to make sure your nursing bra fits is to book an in-person fitting! If you can't make it in, try our bra fit calculator, shop our site, and book a virtual fit check when your bras arrive.