As mamas, and pregnant women, we read everything to be prepped and ready for when bb arrives. We do our homework like the best straight A student looking to ace this thing called #momlife. Fast forward nine months and our beautiful baby is here. Then we decide to nurse and suddenly the reality of mom-hood has come to kick our ass!
Did you know that you needed a hands-free pumping bra?
The answer is yes. Yes you need one. Yes you need it now. Basically, without one of these, you won’t be able to do anything while nursing. Forget about making calls, checking emails, eating lunch (oh that was already forgotten…). A hands free pump bra is exactly what it sounds like, a specialized bra that gives us multitasking freedom (life changing!) when we’re otherwise tethered.
The best hands free nursing bras can be worn 24/7. They allow your flange to stay snug to your nipple, and have room to expand or contract as your breast size changes throughout the day. No idea what bra size you are anymore? Join the club! Pumping bras can have different sizing across brands, so make sure to measure before committing. First, measure under the bust where the band would sit. Then, measure across the fullest part of the bust while full. Compare these measurements to brand size charts and viola. When in doubt, round up! If they are basic sizes like s/m/l/xl, what size shirt would be able to button closed when your breasts are engorged? Again, round up, and don’t feel bad, we’re all feeling pretty huge about now.
One mama who took note of the need for hands-free nursing was Emily Ironi, founder of The Dairy Fairy. Emily, herself a nursing mom and all around superhero to the rest of us, jokes that she “gave birth to two babies six months apart.” After bringing home her beautiful baby girl, she noticed a serious hole in the market for pumping and nursing mothers. Within weeks, the idea for her second baby was born. Today her Dairy Fairy brand offers pretty bras for real moms in 12 styles, multiple colors, and 7 different sizes.
Moral of the story— nursing/pumping moms need a hands-free bra. Don’t make the mistake of trying to hold your flanges every two hours. Learn from our mistakes!
Best All-in-One Pumping and Nursing Bras
You already feel completely unattractive as engorgement sets in to match the bags under your eyes, and now you need to think about switching from nursing to pumping? Who has time for that? The Dairy Fairy Rose Hands Free Pumping and Nursing bra is the fairy godmother you wish for at 2am. Since you barely have time to shower, nevermind changing your bra, this one goes from day to night and back again. Cleverly concealed pockets allow for your flanges to slip right in, but it also has traditional clips for when you really just need to whip it out to nurse. This Cinderella moment is available in multiple color options and in sizes that accommodate from as small as a 30” band up to a 42” band and up to an H cup. Additionally, the straps can be worn in multiple styles (wide, narrow, or crossback) to accommodate your changing body from your best maternity bra to your best nursing and pumping bra as fast as you can say Bippity Boppity Boo!
Available in 4 color choices (none of them icky beige!) this Simple Wishes Supermom bra is really just that. No one has time to be changing their bra every two to three hours Clark Kent style. This All-in-One option lets you put it on and keep it on all day, from morning nursing sessions to lunchtime pump breaks, back home again for the evening feeding. The convertible straps lets you rock your fabulous exterior fashion (or your sweats – no judgement!) while still wearing your functional mom bra on the inside. Isn’t that the definition of superhero? For those not so slim and trim days, this bra comes with an extra 2” of bandwidth to adjust for maximum comfort no matter what curve postpartum life throws at you. Band sizes range from 32-40 regardless of color choice. In Blush, cup options range from C-H, whereas the all over lace option ranges from C-DD cups. The seamless fabric is a friend to every cup size!
Best Hands Free Bras for Larger Bust (DD+)
Offering medium to high support with demi underwire, the Ayla bra from The Dairy Fairy puts this pumping bra in the pretty lingerie category. One mom described this bra by saying “It fit great and was comfortable, but also pretty. I didn’t feel as grandma-y as I did in other bras, plus it is an all-in-one bra, so at the office I could wear the bra under clothes but then also could use it for hands free pumping and didn’t have to change into a different one.” Ayla is founder Emily Ironi’s number one style. “It’s the most striking visually, it does not look like a nursing and pumping bra.” Beautiful and all inclusive in 5 colors, the Ayla bra is available for up to I/J cup (Size 7) on the Dairy Fairy website, up to G/H cup (Size 6) on Amazon.
So maybe you’re not quite ready to reclaim your sex kitten status and your idea of a good time is a sports bra and yoga pants. Meet Arden. The Dairy Fairy Arden bra fits like a lightly lined sports bra with the pretty appeal of lace. Although The Dairy Fairy bras are designed to work with any pump making them as utilitarian as possible, the Arden bra and the Willow pump work together seamlessly. The two layers of cup coverage provide plenty of support for holding the Willow pump (or your girls) in place, but also the outer layer can adjust to three different bra strap positions. Did baby drain one side and you’re still engorged on the other? The cross over design lets you adjust to fit your size at the moment. The ingenuity of this bra fits up to an I/J cup.
Best Hands Free Bras for Smaller Bust (A-DD)
The Medela Easy Expression Hands Free Pumping Bra is the Honda Accord of pumping bras. Reliable, not really sporty or stylish, but a really and truly old faithful when you need it. This hands-free workhorse zips up the front for easy in and easy out when time is of the essence. We have even layered it over a regular nursing bra when needed and unzipped when done. The sizing heavily favors those smaller than a D cup, but others who are well endowed have made it work. The ace bandage-like feeling of the bra holds your flanges in place so that your hand can be doing other things… Reading…. Responding to emails… Painting your nails… You get the picture. While marketed to fit only Medela pumps, we have seen it work just fine with Spectra brand as well, you just have to be a little clever with how you insert your flanges.
This contraption is less of a bra and more of a bra frame since you wrap it around your existing tank or nursing bra. Designed to fit any and all band sizes, the Pump Strap uses breast compression to increase the natural flow of your milk. Right— because after waiting three hours to pump you need help letting it flow? But seriously, the Pump Strap allows for more in less time meaning you can get back to the more important parts of your day faster! Available in a variety of 5 fun colors (bonus, when you are extra tired and out of it the dayglo colors will find themselves in your pack mule lactation bag) and fits bra cup size A-DD. The openings on this bra are wider than most other pumping bras allowing for ease of insertion of flanges from any brand of pump, even the Spectra!
This may not look like much at first, but it’s essentially a bra sling that holds your girls in place so you can get sh*t done. Compatible even with the Spectra pump (this is no easy feat, damn those one piece flanges!), this patent pending figure 8 opening on the Bravado! Designs Maternity Clip and Hands Free Pumping Bra clips easily over your nursing bra dujour. Officially it only clips onto other Bravado! Designs nursing bras, but we know better. Don’t we? So there’s no need to look like you’re wrestling an alligator as you try to shift from one bra to another. This bra is available in four colors, and designed to fit up to a G cup, however most reviewers say it runs on the smaller size so it’s best suited for those less endowed ladies.
Best Pumping and Nursing Bra Tank
Have a Zoom conference call but also need to pump? No problem. The Dairy Fairy Leila Cami looks beautiful layered under a blazer or sweater keeping it office appropriate always while still taking care of business. One reader told us she has been known to rest her bottles in her pulled out desk drawer while on video calls to keep them level. Office logistics aside, this cami is also perfect for those first moments in the hospital where you’re navigating both nursing and pumping and have zero privacy. This demi-underwire tank provides support day and night (in more ways than one!) and comes in both black and cream. Size ranges XSmall through XL, including a petite plus option for those gals who are a smaller band but bigger bust (think petite but curvy 32G). Be sure to check the size card as The Dairy Fairy uses non-traditional sizing to allow for those band and cup adjustments as your body continues to change.
Rebooting your wardrobe postpartum? Keep reading for more of our busy mom fashion finds.
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