With a wide range of nursing bras available in the market, it can be challenging to determine the best one for you. Your choice of nursing bra should consider your personal preferences, size, and daily activities, whether you are going out, working, or working out.
Similarly, when selecting a pumping bra, factors such as the type of pump you’re using, whether you are exclusively pumping, or combining nursing and pumping, and your daily routine should be taken into account.
What is the difference between nursing bras & pumping bras?
While a nursing bra allows you to nurse your baby by easily dropping down the cup, a pumping bra is designed to hold the breast pump in place, allowing you to pump hands-free. Although most nursing bras with drop-down cups can also be used for pumping, most pumping bras are specifically designed for hands-free pumping, making the process more efficient and convenient. Additionally, some pumping bras can also be used as nursing bras, allowing you to nurse your baby on one side while you pump on the other. However, not all pumping bras are designed for all-day wear and are meant to be used only during pumping sessions. This means you’ll need to switch out of your nursing or everyday bra and put on the pumping bra each time you want to pump.
While a nursing bra allows you to nurse your baby by easily dropping down the cup, a pumping bra is designed to hold the breast pump in place, allowing you to pump hands-free.
Can I use nursing bras for pumping?
You can use a nursing bra for pumping, however as mentioned above, this usually won’t be hands-free. There are some hacks out there that allow you to use a nursing bra with a side sling for hands-free pumping, however doing this can impact the longevity of your bra as it stretches it out.
How do you use a breast pump with a nursing bra?
Using a bra with drop-down cups can be an option for pumping, but it may require you to hold the pump in place during the process. Additionally, if your nursing bra has an A-frame sling, it may be able to secure the pump for you, although this depends on its placement on your body and the size of your flange.
What different maternity/nursing/pumping bras are there?
There are three main types of pumps available, each requiring a specific type of pumping bra.
1. Detachable flanges: The flanges come away from the bottles and the pump apparatus. This is the most popular type of pump and is widely available.
2. Attached flanges: These pumps typically come as an all-in-one unit or a milk-saving/catching device.
3. In-cup: These are all-in-one pumps that tend to sit inside a bra cup. They catch the milk around the pump itself, eliminating the need for a separate flange to hold in place.
To use a detachable flange pump, you can attach the flange to your breast before or after putting on a pumping bra.
To use a detachable flange pump, you can attach the flange to your breast before or after putting on a pumping bra. The Lotus Hands-free Pumping Bra is an excellent choice for this type of pump as it has a concealed, folded-edge opening for the flange that won’t create visible bumps or lumps under your clothes. This bra is versatile enough to wear while sleeping or doing light exercise, as it has no uncomfortable adjustments that dig in and is easy to nurse and sleep in.
If you use an attached flange pump, you can only attach it to your body once you have put on your bra. To do this, you need a pumping bra that has this capability. Fortunately, most nursing/pumping bra brands offer this option, and the flange attaches from the external part of the cup.
There are now many maternity/nursing/pumping bras available, which is fantastic because you don’t have to switch between nursing and pumping bras throughout the day. One example is the Pumpkin Pumping Bra from Cake Maternity, which is a single layer spacer bra that comes with a double opening invisible zipper. This makes it easy to use for pumping or nursing, and it’s perfect for wearing under t-shirts or sweaters. With no fiddly layers or clips, you’ll become a pumping pro in no time.
The in-cup breast pump is another option. These pumps work well with seamless bras but can be more difficult to keep in place when wearing a tank top. To accommodate the breast pump, we suggest buying a bra that is 2-3 cup sizes larger than your regular size. This will help prevent unwanted pressure on your breast, which can lead to blocked ducts and problems with milk flow and collection for your baby.
When choosing a bra for the in-cup pump, look for a durable seamless style with the following features:
- Multi-cup fitting to accommodate the extra cup size needed for the in-cup pump.
- Double-layered for durability and to stay in place.
- 6 hook and eyes to ensure a secure fit when using the in-cup pump.
- High elastane content for stretch and recovery, so the bra still fits when not using the in-cup pump.
No matter what type of pump you prefer, there are plenty of bras available in various colors, styles, sizes, and accessibility.
If you’re in the C-G cup range, try Cotton Candy or Rock Candy. For G-K cup sizes, check out Popping Candy. These bras have all the features you need to comfortably use an in-cup breast pump.
No matter what type of pump you prefer, there are plenty of bras available in various colors, styles, sizes, and accessibility. Just like the selection of bras you used to wear every day, maternity brands are now answering your distress calls to make sure you feel supported, comfortable, and able to continue breastfeeding or pumping for longer. This is not only beneficial for you but also helps make the world a better place.