Breastfeeding & Pumping

How to Care for Your Pumping and Nursing Bras

ruby plus teal pumping bra image from the front, woman lounging

The early months as a new mother can easily run together and you might lose track of the last time you took a shower, let alone when your bra made it into the laundry bin! With so many things on your mind, we want to offer some simple hacks on how to care for your pumping and nursing bras as well as some tips on how to extend the life of your new bra!


Whether this is your first baby or you have been a nursing mom or pumping mama before, we have some great information for you!

How Do Nursing Bras Work?

Pumping and Nursing Bras are designed with extra fabric, and typically without wires, to expand with your breasts for size changes that occur while your milk supply is transitioning from colostrum to mature milk which brings with it engorgement. While uncomfortable this is a crucial step in the process as it supports a healthy milk supply and can help avoid clogged ducts and mastitis. Unlike a regular bra that is built for just support, pumping and nursing bras have a lot of jobs to do to work with your body as it is constantly changing through this process!

There are many different types available and it’s important to understand what some of your personal needs will be when deciding which one to buy. Thankfully here at The Dairy Fairy, we have put in the hours of research to bring you a wide variety of great pumping and nursing bras that will help you through this wonderful, crazy, exhausting, sometimes overwhelming, yet simply beautiful stage of being a new mom!

It's also a good idea to take the time and make sure you get a perfect fit in a good nursing bra. Taking the time to get out your measuring tape and allow for some growing room will help get the most accurate size for your pumping and nursing bra. Many moms also like the wide shoulder strap for extra support and soft cups since your breasts will be very tender, especially in those early weeks.

How Often Should You Wash Your Bra?

A typical rule of thumb is to wash your bra around every 3-6 wears. Now, this can vary greatly when you are nursing because accidents happen and sometimes your milk doesn’t go exactly where it should, and you definitely don’t want to keep wearing a bra that is dirty. This is also true during pumping sessions as the body can be a very unpredictable thing! Continuing to wear a solid bra will promote skin irritation such as redness or itchiness and can then grow into something worse such as mastitis or other infections which is the last thing you need going on at this phase!

A great option is to have at least three pumping and nursing bras on hand. One you can be wearing, one in the washer, and one ready to wear in case of an emergency mess situation! With its soft material, you will quickly find your nursing bras becoming your favorite bra that you grab every day!


How to Wash Your Bra by Hand

We highly recommend that when possible wash your pumping and nursing bra by hand. This is easier on the fabrics and hooks and can prolong the overall life of your bra. You can soak it in cold or lukewarm water with some mild detergent.

If your bra is needing a bit more than just a routine cleaning you can dunk it in and out of the water as a sort of agitator and then lay it flat to dry. You can also allow it to soak for a longer time if needed.

How to Wash Your Bras in the Washing Machine

We all know that sometimes a nap is more necessary than spending time hand-washing items in the early days of motherhood so if you’re in a pinch and need to get that pumping and nursing bra in the washing machine to clean it up, that is also an option when necessary.

Steps to Wash Pumping and Cleaning Bras in the Washing Machine:

- Purchase a Lingerie Bag and place your bra in it

- Use cool or cold water

- Add mild detergent

- Set the washer to the delicate cycle

- Hang dry or lay flat (Don’t put the bra in the dryer!)


Ways to Spot Clean Your Bra Between Washes

If your new routine has been interrupted by too many messes in too short of time you can spot-clean your bra in between washes to help fight against unnecessary bacteria and smells developing on your pumping and nursing bra.


Most new moms have wipes on hand for their newborns, but you can also use these wipes to spot-clean your bra when in unpredictable situations, which at this stage, there will be a lot of! The next time you find yourself with leaked milk all over your bra the easiest way for a quick clean is to grab a wipe from the diaper bag and wipe off as much as you can until you are able to get home and get it washed the following day.  It's not necessarily the ideal way to clean your bra but it's a great solution when you really need it!

How Long Do Pumping and Nursing Bras Last?

With proper care, your pumping and nursing bra should last around 6-9 months. Since they are made with more padding and a less structured framework multiple washes and wears can tend to break down the fabric a little bit faster than your standard bra.

One way to help extend the life of your pumping and nursing bra is to use disposable pads to help prevent leaking onto the bra itself between nursing and pumping sessions. This can also help prevent skin infections and other issues as you won’t have moisture building up inside your bra.

With proper care along with a basic rotation schedule, your initial investment in the right pumping bra can help you all the way through this stage of motherhood not only feeling more comfortable but also feeling beautiful! Finding the right fit, correct band size as well as cup size will be a game-changer whether you're a full-time nursing mom or a mix of nursing and pumping mama.


Here at The Dairy Fairy, we strive to give you great options in both essentials and luxe styles that are all backed by research and experience from real moms in this niche! Be sure and check out our pumping and nursing bra options as well as the pumps and accessories for a complete package that a lot of moms have come to love. We look forward to hearing from you soon! Find us on social media  @TheDairyFairy

and let us know which was the best bra for you!

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