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Finding the right nursing bra can feel like pants shopping when you’re yo-yo dieting: Your body—in this case, your breasts—are fluctuating so damn much that a style that offers support and comfort one day can leave your boobs feeling saggy the next.

But, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, finding a well-made nursing bra is critical, especially when you’re faced with breasts that are not only enlarged but often sore as well. As the AAP explains, a nursing bra should never be tight or constricting—if it is, you could be more prone to clogged ducts. You also want one with a clasp you can easily detach with one hand, not just for moments when you’re trying to discreetly nurse in public, but for those times when you’re using the other hand to position a wiggly, hangry baby.

“I quickly learned that the best nursing bra was one that made it possible for the baby to have easy access my boobs—and fast,” says one new mom. “Also, you may want to bring more than one size to the hospital so you have options as your milk starts to come in.”

Lactation consultant Melissa Kotlen adds: “Comfort is key when looking for the ideal nursing bra. Your breasts are in such an uncomfortable place at this stage and you need a bra that will support you.” Kotlen also recommends checking out a breastfeeding specialty store (just do a Yelp search in your area) in order to get fitted and find your proper size.

But ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. That’s why we asked eight real moms to share their picks for the absolute best nursing bras. After all, they’re the ones who learned on the job.

RELATED: 50 Frequently Asked Questions About Breastfeeding

thirdlove nursing bra
ThirdLove

1. ThirdLove’s 24/7 Classic Nursing Bra: Best for Adjustability 

Sizes Available: A through I

ThirdLove just launched a nursing collection in April, and this guy has quickly become a favorite. For starters, it actually looks like a normal bra (a design feat, if you ask us). It’s also made from pima cotton and features memory foam cups that adjust to your body for added comfort, whether you’re empty or engorged. On that front, the moms were huge fans of its adjustability: “It comes with five different hook-and-eye closures, so you can really toggle the band to accommodate not just your comfort, but the status of your milk supply, whether you’re pre- or post-feed,” one tester said.

Buy it ($72)

bravado nursing bra2
Bravado

2. Bravado’s Seamless Nursing Bra: Best for Everyday

Sizes Available: XS to 2X

There’s a reason this nursing bra is a Mom’s Choice Award winner. Not only is it wire-free, it’s designed like a sports bra to offer support, but with four-way stretch fabric that hugs your changing shape. It also comes with molded cups and removable foam inserts to provide structure and separate the “girls” so you still feel put together. (Well, as put together as you can feel with a baby glued to your chest.) And how’s this for a ringing endorsement? Lactation consultant Melissa Kotlen says it’s her all-time favorite nursing bra. “It’s not dowdy or formal—it’s unbelievably comfortable and stretches with your daily supply fluctuations without stretching out.”

Buy it ($40)

Cadenshae nursing sports bra1
Cadenshae

3. Cadenshae’s Swift Sports Nursing Bra: Best for Working Out

Sizes Available: XS to XL

True story: Before finding this clever pick, one of our moms was doubling up on bras every time she wanted to go for a run post-partum. This design is not only chic, it also provides loads of support thanks to padding at the shoulders and the option to crossover into a racerback. “This bra was seriously comfortable, but it was snug enough so that my boobs weren’t bouncing all over the place when I got back into exercising post-baby,” she says. And thanks to easy-to-undo clasps, nursing post-workout is easy. Cadenshae's wide selection of nursing sports bras are also endorsed by lactation consultants and doctors who specialize in prenatal and postnatal care, so you can rest assured that your girls are in good hands. 

Buy it ($50)

wacoal nursing bra
Wacoal

4. Wacoal’s Underwire T-Shirt Nursing Bra: Best for Lift

Sizes Available: C to G

This smart (and actually pretty!) nursing design will make you forget it’s functional: The bra allows you to adjust the band size as your body changes throughout your pregnancy but comes with a flexible underwire to offer support without digging in. (Per Kotlen, underwire bras can put undue pressure on breasts, which can lead to clogged ducts, but it’s fine to mix it up—especially for moments when you want to leave the house.) Another detail worth calling out: The cups are engineered to stay in place after unfastening until you pull them down, so you won’t suffer any embarrassing moments on the playground or on the go. One mom who nursed for a year and swore by this bra says: “This is hands-down the only bra that gives me a perky, normal shape while still being a nursing bra. The rest of the ones I tried—even ones at higher price points—made my boobs look low and sad.”

Buy it ($65)

lively nursing bra
Lively

5. Lively’s Mesh Trim Maternity Bralette: Best for Still Feeling Sexy

Sizes Available: 30A to 38D

We call it like we see it: Nursing is sexy. But even on the days when you feel like a bruised and milk-spattered cow, this bra will make you feel just a hair more alluring, thanks to a mesh design with peekaboo details around your décolletage. It also delivers on comfort and support with an extra-wide band and super-strong straps to keep everything lifted high. One mom attested: “This bra offered just the right amount of support as my milk supply leveled out. I wore it when I was feeding multiple times a day, but it also carried me through as I started to wean.”

Buy it ($35)

Kindred Bravely Nursing Bra
Kindred Bravely

6. Kindred Bravely’s French Terry Racerback Nursing & Sleep Bra: Best for Overnight

Sizes Available: X-Small to XXL-Busty

You have 90 full days to test this bra and return it free of charge. But chances are you won’t be disappointed: The crossover front and stretchy fabric make this nursing bra super comfy for sleep, and the moms we spoke to loved the fact that you can just pull aside the fabric for those bleary-eyed nighttime feeds. And don’t be fooled by the flexible shape. It still offers support, whether you’re out strolling with your mom friends or taking a yoga class. “This is my go-to bra for overnight but also for lounging,” one woman said.

Buy it ($30)

boob fast food classic nursing bra
Boob

7. Boob’s Fast Food Nursing Bra: Best for Full Coverage

Sizes Available: S to XL

Real moms applaud the fit of this nursing bra, especially those who prefer a larger cup. But it’s not just the full coverage that makes this a standout: The cups come with a double layer of material for added support and the band features an extra-long hook-and-eye panel, which makes it easy to adjust as your size fluctuates. One woman we talked to bought this in her third trimester and wore it straight through delivery and beyond: “The fit and coverage is great, but it also felt pretty and stylish, too.”

Buy it ($59)

gratlin nursing bra1
Gratlin

8. Gratlin’s Wirefree Nursing Bra: Best on a Budget

Sizes Available: S to XL

Says Kotlen: “Gratlin is one of the best full-coverage nursing bras without underwire.” But it’s also only $18, which is a real plus if you’re buying a bunch at one time. (Trust us, you’ll want to wash your nursing bra frequently—or else endure the wafting aroma of sour milk.) Other details that make this a standout: The tightly knitted underband and the soft and smooth fabric, which comes with body-hugging stretch but also a side panel to help reduce under-arm bulge. “This bra checks all the boxes,” one mom added. “I recommend it constantly.”

Buy it ($18)

RELATED: 14 Celebrity Moms Get Real About Breastfeeding

 

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