Do You Need a Nursing Bra?

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A nursing bra is a functional undergarment designed to make your breastfeeding experience easier. It has a flap on each cup that can be unclasped to expose your breast and provide access to your nipple. This allows you to breastfeed without removing your bra or lifting the entire cup above your breast. As convenient as it is, do you need a nursing bra?

Do You Need a Nursing Bra?

No, you don’t need a nursing bra in the most strict sense. However, since breasts can feel heavier and more tender during breastfeeding, some women prefer the support offered by a bra. In that case, a breastfeeding bra might be more convenient. In the end, it all boils down to your personal preference.

A brown nursing underwired bra with front clips placed on a white mannequin

Many women who breastfeed prefer to go braless as they find it the most convenient and easiest, while others opt for a nursing bra. You can go for a bra while breastfeeding for one of the following reasons.

Heavier Breasts

It is always recommended for women with a large bust to use a bra throughout the day. The supportive features of the bra help stabilize your breast tissues and prevent the weight of the bust from straining your muscles.

Hence, if you plan to breastfeed, it is easier to opt for a nursing bra that will offer support and has the added functionality of making nursing easier.

Going Out

Many people prefer wearing a bra in public. If you have to breastfeed outdoors, it is better to have a nursing bra on. It allows you to quickly open the flap and feed your baby, without removing the bra entirely.


Getting your work out in is hard enough, but with much larger breasts from nursing, its even harder. If you plan to exercise while breastfeeding, you will probably want the best nursing sports bra. They give you quick access with all the support you need for your tender, large breasts.

Do Women With Small Breasts Need a Nursing Bra?

Buying a nursing bra is a personal choice. Contrary to popular belief, women with smaller breasts can go braless without any long-lasting implications. However, the breastfeeding bra may help you even if you do not require support.

It is common for new mommies to leak milk in the early postpartum days. Moreover, another common postpartum issue is sore nipples. Hence, a nursing bra can be a carrier for disposable nursing pads, breast shells, or reusable breast pads.

All these simple contraptions can soak the milk and prevent it from staining your clothes. They can also act as a barrier between your sore nipples and your bra to protect your nipples from fabric abrasion and provide some relief.

Nursing Bra Considerations

The New York Times term nursing bras as one of the postpartum essentials for new moms. Whether you decide on purchasing a breastfeeding bra or want to use an old bra while nursing, make sure it has the following features:

Graphic image of a blue bra that states that the best nursing bras are comfortable to wear and fits well under shirts
  • Wireless cups
  • Natural Material
  • Flexible Design

No Underwires

Since your breast size and shape can fluctuate between feeds, it is best to avoid underwired bras. Underwires tend to conform to your breast contours, which is not ideal while breastfeeding.

If you have to have the support from underwires, consider this option from Anita. They do a good job with creating a flexible bra that does have wires.

Natural Material

Most breastfeeding moms experience varying types of pain ranging from breast tenderness to nipple soreness and sensitivity. Therefore, your nursing bras should be constructed from natural materials like cotton. These fabrics are more breathable and less abrasive compared to synthetic ones.

Flexible Design

Finally, the breastfeeding bra should be flexible to adjust to your changing breast size before and after a feed. In addition, it should have just enough room to place breast pads inside the cups if needed. However, this does not mean that the bra cups are loose!

Pro tip: Always buy more than one breastfeeding bra, so you have a change of bra in case your current bra becomes dirty due to milk leakage, baby spit-up, sweating, or body oils.

A woman in a blue t-shirt and denim jeans holds a nude nursing underwired bra with front clips

Can You Find Beautiful Nursing Bras?

Yes, you can find beautiful nursing bras! While the practicality of a quality breastfeeding bra is of utmost importance, it is also imperative for you to feel good in your lingerie. New mothers often feel drained and overwhelmed by the challenges of motherhood.

Sometimes, something as simple as wearing a pretty bra can uplift your mood. Thus, you can find nursing bras with lace detailings, mesh designs, and soft embellishments that combine practicality with exquisite designs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should You Sleep in a Bra While Nursing?

You can wear a bra to sleep while breastfeeding, especially if you tend to leak and milk seeps through your clothes and on the bed sheet. However, it is not compulsory or necessary. It depends on what makes you feel most comfortable.

When Should You Start Wearing a Nursing Bra?

You can wear a breastfeeding bra immediately after giving birth. However, the best time to shop for one is when you are around 36 weeks pregnant for the optimum fit. Make sure the bra is stretchable, with enough room to accommodate your breasts after you give birth and your milk comes in.

What Is a Nursing Bra?


Wearing a nursing bra is unnecessary while breastfeeding, especially if you prefer going braless. Contrarily, if you prefer the comfort and support of a bra, a breastfeeding bra might be the most convenient option while nursing. It is most ideal for women with a fuller bust, who experience leaking, or who suffer from sore nipples.


Allena is the Founder and Editor of The Better Fit, a platform dedicated to empowering women with practical advice on bras and fitness, inspired by her own revelation of the widespread issue of incorrect bra sizing. Her expertise and tips have been recognized by major publications such as Cosmopolitan, Better Homes & Gardens, Insider, and NBC, making her a trusted voice in women's wellness and lifestyle.