Breastfeeding & Pumping

Nursing Bras vs. Pumping Bras: What's the Difference?

Nursing Bras vs. Pumping Bras: What's the Difference?

With so many different types of bras out there, it can feel overwhelming when trying to find what type will work best for you while you go along the breastfeeding journey with your newborn baby. You will want to look for some similar features as you would in a regular bra, such as a comfortable fit, correct bra size, and proper cup size, but there are also some other features to learn about that will differ from your pre-pregnancy bras.

The most important factor in any bra is learning how to get the right size. This can be a little bit tricky as your milk supply, breast tissue, and body are going to be changing at a fairly rapid rate from the beginning of pregnancy throughout your breastfeeding journey.

If this is your first baby and all of these terms and styles seem like a lot, stick with us, we are excited to help you along this journey! If you are a seasoned mom but looking for something better than you had in your last experience, we are ready to help you make a good choice for this pregnancy. 

Nursing Bras

There are a variety of different types of nursing only bras, however, many of them can actually double as nursing or pumping bras.

A few of the main characteristics of a good nursing bra include

  • Easy access from either pull-aside flaps or drop-down cups
  • Extra support to compensate for breast size changes during the pregnancy and postpartum phases with wider bands and better materials
  • Some styles will have a nursing clasp that can be undone with one hand

It’s a good idea as a new mom to think about what your pregnancy and the postpartum journey might look like when deciding the best type of bra for you. If you will be spending a lot of time with your baby and plan on more nursing than pumping sessions, a regular nursing bra might be the best option.

Pumping Bras

Pumping bras can be an amazing tool in your new mom’s toolbox! They are designed to hold breast pump flanges in place so that you can easily pump hands-free with most standard electric breast pumps. If you are going to be doing any amount of pumping, you will want to find a great pumping bra and then buy it in every color!

Strictly pumping type

These bras are designed to be worn when pumping but do not support nursing.  For example, these can be a bandeau or bustier type that you zip on and then remove when you are done pumping.  This option might be better suited for exclusively pumping moms that don’t have a need for the nursing functionality.  They are typically more affordable, and lower quality as a mom is not wearing them for a full day. 

Nursing and Pumping Type

There’s a range of products out there, and we pride our collection to be made with high-quality materials and stretchy fabric to provide support for your growing breasts through any pumping session and to accommodate pump parts - while being worn all day long.

An all-in-one pumping bra will typically have a mechanism to expose your breast and nipple for breastfeeding and an alternate method for holding your flanges in place, keeping your hands available for any other task, As it is designed to work with pumps and nursing access from the breast, these type of bras can be worn all day long and are designed similarly to typical bras and include a band, cups and shoulder straps. You can use your pumping bras for everyday wear, and some that are softer and include less hardware can even be used for sleeping, which is great if your baby is sleeping through the night and you need a midnight pump or quick access for feeding in the morning. Just make sure that you have the right fit and that they aren’t super snug, as that can affect your milk supply.

As a new mother, being able to wear your nursing bra while using either a traditional pump or a wearable pump can be such a game-changer for ensuring that you can get things done while still being able to lengthen your breastfeeding journey. You can also use your bra to hold breast pads to help increase the longevity of the bra by protecting it from any leaks while you wear it.

If you plan on having frequent pumping sessions throughout your breastfeeding journey, you can find some of the best hands-free pumping bras from right here at The Dairy Fairy here!

Finding Bra Styles to Fit Your Lifestyle

There are many bra styles out there that can offer you many benefits along your pregnancy and postpartum journey. Often finding the right bra will come down to your personal preference for different colors as well as how you need the bra to work for you.

No matter what particular style you are looking for, a few key factors to keep in mind are

  • Getting the perfect fit-find that measuring tape if you are going to be ordering online as your body is going to be different than the size you normally wear
  • Finding a bra made with soft material that can work with your body yet still supportive
  • Working with the adjustable straps and making sure they are wide enough that they aren’t cutting into you

Another great option to keep in mind if you are struggling with deciding on what type of maternity bras to buy would be to reach out to a lactation consultant, as many of them will have experience with a variety of stories and styles and can help point you in the right direction 

We encourage you to check out our great selection of Nursing and Pumping Bras as well as some information on how to care for them so you can continue to use them for as long as needed!

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