After the birth of my first baby, I quickly learned that my regular bras, pretty as they were, weren't going to cut it anymore now that my boobs had turned into milk machines. My new bras for nursing and pumping came with all sorts of flaps, straps, and hooks — some of which I didn't quite understand at first — but they made it much easier and faster for me to feed my son.
We mastered nursing within a few painful weeks, but pumping was painful in a different way: You just have to sit there, without the use of your hands, and you don't even have a cute baby in your arms to fawn over. Fortunately, a kindhearted friend introduced me to specially designed, hands-free bras for pumping that gave me back the freedom to use my hands and left me leaving much less stuck.
Pumping bras work by incorporating a hidden opening in the cup – picture a large button hole – in which you slide your breast pump's flanges, allowing you to pump while sending emails, cooking dinner, or even just sitting on the couch eating ice cream and watching TV. (No judgment: I've done it.)
Take a look to see how form meets function in this round-up of the best bras for pumping.
1. The Lace Go-To Bra
UTOVME Underwire Hands-Free Pumping Bra (36B-40D)
There's nothing boring about this beige beauty: This lacy, nude bra is pretty and sweet, but form doesn't neglect function. Simply lower the lacy flap, and you'll be ready for pumping relief.
2. The Subtly Sexy Bra
The Dairy Fairy Ayla: Underwire Nursing and Hands-Free Pumping Bra (1-2XL)
I imagine the model wearing this casual, yet subtly sexy lace bra around her fabulous apartment while leisurely making pancakes on a Sunday morning, all while preparing her baby's morning bottle at the same time thanks to the hidden flange openings.
3. The Best-Selling Bustier
Simple Wishes Hands-Free Breastpump Bra (XS-L)
A top pick of pumping moms everywhere, the Simple Wishes pumping bra offers a comfortable, secure fit that can be customized for your body, and the cotton and spandex fabric keeps its shape even after repeated washings. Over 5,000 moms on Amazon have reviewed this bra positively, so if you don't take my word for it, take theirs! Note that you will have to undress to put this on, but once you do, it'll keep the flanges in place like no other.
4. The All-In-One Bra Tank
Rumina Classic All-In-One Nursing and Hands Free Pumping Tank (XS-XL)
Designed by a mom, this tank is all you need for pumping (or nursing) on the go, especially if privacy is important to you. The long, all-in-one tank will keep your stomach totally covered, and multiple layers of fabric will keep things discreet, if that's your preference. The tank also patented side openings, aligning your pump with the chest the way a baby would for more effective pumping.
5. The Nude Bra For Fans Of Minimalistic Style
Vigoo PINK Motherhood Nursing Hands Free Pumping Bra (M-XL)
It may not have underwire or lace, but this bra may soon become your favorite, thanks to its supreme comfort. The soft cotton pumping bra features a touch of spandex for shape, and the included fastener extension ensures a perfect fit, even as your body fluctuates between pregnancy, postpartum, and pumping.
6. The Patterned And Playful Bra
PumpEase Hands Free Pumping Bra (S-XL)
The queen of versatility, this patterned, bandeau-style pumping bra can be worn alone, or used directly over a nursing bra for additional support and coverage. PumpEase makes a variety of colors, including — wait for it — TaTa Turquoise. Who says all nursing bras all have to be beige?
7. The Black Bustier
Vigoo Hands Free Pumping Bustier Bra (XS-2XL)
Thanks to the clever front zipper, this black bustier easily slides on or off, which saves you from having to fumble around behind you to try to clasp your bra. Some moms wear this all day, but others (particularly those with a larger chest) simply zip it on when they need to pump, and then zip it off when they're done.
8. The 24-Hour Bra
Rumina's Classic Nursing Bra (XS-XL)
When I'm not lactating, I'm an "oh, is it already 2pm? Better take my bra off for the night!" kind of girl. When I am, though, I can't go without a bra — even at night — so I look for ones that are comfortable enough to wear when sleeping. This comfy, hands-free bra fits the bill, and it also comes in a racerback version, so you'll be able to wear it with virtually everything in your wardrobe.
9. The More-Than-Just-A-Pretty-Face Bra
The Dairy Fairy Arden: All-in-One Nursing & Pumping Bra (S-2XL)
This all-in-one nursing and pumping bra is comfortable enough to wear all day, but it's figure-flattering and trimmed with lace to make it just a little bit special. In another innovative feat, the top layer can easily be adjusted to connect to one of five different settings, ensuring a perfect fit whether your baby has just eaten or if you're in the "my boobs are rocks" phase — in which case, go put that hidden flange opening to work!
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