How to Wear a Nursing Bra

Having the right maternity and nursing bra makes all the difference when it comes to comfort and easy breastfeeding or pumping accessibility. Here's how to ensure it's properly fitted and sized - and how to best wear it for your needs.

It’s true, mama - Where nursing bras are concerned, size matters. If it’s too loose, it'll be a struggle to even secure your breast shields. If it’s too tight, you could impede milk production or even unintentionally injure yourself. 

With that in mind, it’s important for your breastfeeding experience that you choose a properly sized nursing bra that takes comfort, support, and access into consideration. Still, it can be challenging – particularly as a first-time mom – to know if your bra is truly the right size, how it should fit, what should be worn with it, and even how long you should wear a nursing bra.

How a Nursing Bra Should Fit

Most nursing bras have a bit of stretch to them, which allows them to easily adjust to your changing shape throughout pregnancy and during your breastfeeding journey. In fact, some women can gain anywhere from one to three cup sizes during this time, so you’ll want to size accordingly.

A well-fitted nursing bra should be snug and supportive without being overly tight. If your breasts are spilling out of your bra, it’s too small. Your straps should support your breasts without digging into your shoulders and, finally, the adjustable band in the back should sit comfortably without riding up.

How to Use a Nursing Bra for Pumping

Many nursing bras are versatile and designed to accommodate pumping too. When it comes to using a multipurpose nursing and pumping bra, being able to secure your breast shields is most important.

Consider a versatile bra like our 3-in-1 Nursing and Pumping Bra, which is lightweight, ultra-breathable, and designed for nursing, pumping, and in-bra pumping. Additionally, our Keep Cool™ line offers three distinct bra styles featuring integrated breathing zones and built-in temperature regulation for comfy, cooling support that helps balance your body temperature while minimizing sweat. "When I tried it on, I was amazed at how comfortable it was!" notes a verified review of our Keep Cool Sleep Bra. "It is so stretchy and soft!"

All three Keep Cool bras also feature either a functional cross-over design or fully fold-down cups to maximize skin-to-skin contact with your baby – and encourage all those sweet baby snuggles!

What to Wear with a Nursing Bra

Guess what, mama? You can wear whatever you want while nursing! While some clothing will give you and your baby easier access to nurse (or pump) when needed, most nursing bras today look very similar to a regular bra. If you’re concerned about unexpected leakage, toss a handful of disposable nursing pads into your purse or pump bag so you have extra protection whenever you need it.

You may want to consider clothes that zip or wrap for quick access or layering up with a tank top or cami. Pullover hoodies and tops with material that is scratchy or uncomfortable on your skin can go to the back of the closet for now! 

During colder seasons, a thick, fluffy scarf can pull double duty – Not only will it help you stay warm, but it’ll also provide you with some extra privacy (if desired!) when you need to nurse or pump in a public space.

Where Can You Wear a Nursing Bra?

The short answer? Anywhere. Because nursing bras are meant to be both comfortable and supportive, you can wear them wherever you are. 

With that in mind, you shouldn't wear a nursing bra for longer than two consecutive days before washing it. Of course, this can vary depending on your activity level, the time of year, and if there is any breast milk leakage. Most women wash their nursing bra after every wear to ensure cleanliness and have several on hand to switch between when others are in the laundry.

Our maternity and nursing apparel adapts naturally to your changing shape and keeps you comfortable while nursing, pumping, and all the things in between. While every woman’s body and comfort needs are different, our supportive, quality apparel is designed for you and your breast milk feeding journey.

Related Products
Medela Keep Cool black bra
Keep Cool™ Bra
Medela Keep Cool Sleep Bra in black
Keep Cool™ Sleep Bra
Medela 3-in-1 Nursing Bra in chai
3-in-1 Nursing and Pumping Bra