Nursing Bras 101: What to look for when shopping


Nursing Bra vs. Maternity Bra

So what’s the difference between a maternity bra and a nursing bra? The answer seems obvious: the nursing bra enables mothers to nurse their babies while wearing it by using clasps that can be detached and reattached. The features of an ideal maternity bra are similar to those of the ideal nursing bra, however, the maternity and nursing bra are vastly different when it comes to the time period in which it’s recommended to purchase them.

Maternity Bras: Support, Support, Support

Maternity bras can be worn early into the pregnancy. A woman’s breasts will grow as fat begins to build and the size of the milk glands increase, as well as an expanding ribcage. This change happens relatively quickly, with a woman’s breast size increasing by a full cup size (or more) within a few short months. A woman can gain two pounds in her breasts alone! As such, maternity bras should have:

  • wide shoulder straps
  • thick bands (ideally no underwire)
  • adjustable 4X2 hook closure
  • breathable fabric

Since the breasts continually grow well into the pregnancy, a soon-to-be mother can expect to buy several sizes of maternity bras.

A great option to extend the life of your maternity (and nursing bra!) is a bra extender, these attachments hook onto the hook and eye closures of your bra, giving you up to an extra two inches of band width – saving you the cost of purchasing a whole new bra (at least for a little while longer).

 Nursing Bras: Be patient

Attempting to purchase a nursing bra any earlier than late in the third trimester can be a shot in the dark. It’s recommended to wait to make a nursing bra purchase closer the delivery date since breasts continually grow during the pregnancy period. Waiting enables a woman would have a better idea what her breast size will grow to once the baby is born and the milk production begins. But the growing phase still isn’t over! Many women experience even more growth in their breasts due to milk production – so keep in mind you might need a couple bras with different size options during this stage as well!

  • Look for nursing bras that can easily by unclasped with one hand
  • Purchase bras that fit on the last hook of the closure, so that as your rib cage contracts over the next few months your bra can use the additional hooks to make the band tighter
  • Keep in mind if you require a nursing pad (to prevent leaking) and make sure that your nursing bra can accommodate

As your breasts and rib cage return to their normal size, a great option is a Nursing Camisole. Designed with the same purpose as a nursing bra, these camis are equipped with nursing straps that can be detached, allowing the the newborn easy access to the breast.

A word from a Cosabella Mommie:

When it comes to nursing bras, I can’t stress their importance enough! If you have breastfed for any length of time, you know what I am talking about! I LIVED IN nursing bras for the first year of my pregnancy. Comfort is key and these Cosabella ones are not only beautiful but they are extremely comfortable too! They come in a ton of different colors but if you are new to nursing bras, I would first suggest getting the basics: white, nude and black before branching out! They also carry regular bras as well which I am sure are fabulous, I just happen to really love their nursing bras – trust me, I have tried out almost every brand under the sun!


Guest Blogger Courtney Wyse of


About:  I am an on-the-go busy mommy to my sweet toddler Emmy, plus we have a baby boy on the way! I have loved clothing, jewelry and accessories ever since I can remember. When I am not fulfilling my mommy duties, I am putting together outfits, trying the latest makeup trends, styling product shots and being a total fashionista. I started posting my outfits to Instagram as Mrs Coco Wyse back in 2011 as a way to document different looks. I could never have imagined all of the incredible interactions and amazing people that I have met along the way. I love what I do and sharing my enthusiasm for family and fashion with all of you.

Checkout the great options that Cosabella has for new mommies:

Never Say Never Mommie Nursing Bra

Never Say Never Mommie Lace Nursing Bra

Same design as Cosabella’s bestselling lace bralette the Sweetie. Easy clip-on/ clip-off nursing straps for easy opening. Lightly padded cups with double layer sling for added support. No back closure. Pull over style.

Trenta Wireless Nursing Bra

Trenta Wireless Nursing Bra

Similar shape to the Trenta soft bra with distinct nursing features. Wirefree. Front hooks secure the cups. Lightly lined cups for nursing. Adjustable shoulder straps. Wide elasticized band under bust provides a comfortable fit and support. 4X2 hook-and-eye back closure.

Talco Wireless Nursing Bra

Talco Wireless Nursing Bra

Designed in Cosabella’s signature viscose, the versatile Talco™, has expanded into the yoga community thanks to its wear ability and breathability. Wireless bra in spacer fabric covered with Talco fabric. Easy clip-on/ clip-off nursing straps for easy opening and double layer sling cups for a supportive fit with full coverage. No back closure. Pull over bra.