how do nursing tops and nursing bras work?

If you want to learn about nursing bras, be sure to read the How Nursing Bras Work section below.

Why Milk Nursingwear?

All of Milk Nursingwear's styles feature hidden nursing openings to enable you to breastfeed discreetly and pump conveniently wherever you go. From the outside, no one can tell that these chic styles are nursing wear! Unlike most other companies that sell nursingwear, we have been designing nursingwear for over a decade! We are experts in designing nursing fashions, and our over 8,000 customer reviews attest to this. The advantage of Milk Nursingwear's nursing openings is that they are well-placed and well-sized, to enable you to latch on and nurse easily while remaining covered. There are no zippers or buttons to fuss with on our nursing tops or dresses, and they are so easy to breastfeed in discreetly. This means that you can RELAX, and nurse confidently and comfortably wherever you go. Our fashions also work well for nursing in a sling.When you are breastfeeding while wearing Milk Nursingwear, it is likely that people will just think that your baby is sleeping in your arms.

Types of Nursing Openings

We have four types of nursing openings. On our product category pages, you can filter your search by nursing opening type. Click each picture to check out one of our products in more detail. 


 Lift Up

Simply lift up the empire layer and push down the inner layer to access the breast.


Pull Down

Pull down on the cowl neckline and then lift up the inner nursing panel to access the breast. 


Move Aside

Move the front wrap to the right or left to access your breast for feeding.


Side Access

Access nursing openings hidden in the pleats on each side.

Helpful Nursingwear Videos

Here are some videos to show you how our nursing openings work:

Lift Up

Pull down

Move aside

Common Questions about Milk Nursingwear

Q: What is Milk Nursingwear, and Why Do I Need It?

When you breastfeed in a regular top, you have to lift your shirt above your breast to nurse. This inevitably exposes your stomach, sides, back and breasts. Nursing in a regular dress is even more difficult because you have to lift the dress up over your breast (or wear a dress with buttons and open it at the top).

Many women are not comfortable nursing in public or in front of others because it is hard to do so without exposing a lot of their skin. Some moms feel uncomfortable with the attention that this will draw and the reactions they will get.

Milk Nursingwear enables you to nurse discreetly, without showing any skin or needing to wrestle with your clothes.

All of Milk Nursingwear's styles feature hidden openings, so you can latch your nursling on discreetly and easily, and feed her while remaining totally covered! This helps you relax while feeding, which helps your milk flow more easily, which in turn makes your nursling very happy. This enables you to feel comfortable and confident going out and about with your nursling, and feeding her wherever you are.

Milk Nursingwear's styles look like regular, fashionable clothing from the outside. No one will be able to tell that you have on nursing clothes, so you can enjoy wearing your Milk Nursingwear long after your breastfeeding days are through. While you are saving money on formula, consider treating yourself to stylish clothes that help you look and feel great.

If you are pumping, the benefit of nursing clothing is that you do not have to lift up and wrinkle your clothing, or stretch it out over the horns of the pump. You simply slip them thru the nursing openings, and you are covered -- just as you would be if baby were nursing.

Q: How Does Milk Nursingwear Help me Nurse in a Sling?

If you wear your baby in a nursing sling, Milk Nursingwear is ideal! The bottom half of your shirt stays put, and your baby nurses easily through the nursing openings. It is convenient and no one will know you are breastfeeding -- meanwhile your baby will be very content to be nursing in the sling. The best types of openings for breastfeeding in a nursing sling are empire and move aside style nursing openings. With these you can easily latch your baby on without too much repositioning. A nursling in a sling is calm and happy!

Q: What if I Need to Nurse, and I am Not Wearing Nursingwear?

It may not be possible to wear nursing clothing everyday. A great solution is to carry a nursing cover in your diaper bag, and then you can nurse anywhere discreetly, without wearing a nursing top. If you are wearing a (non-nursing) dress and using a nursing cover, the dress needs to have buttons or some other opening at the top for access.

Milk Nursingwear offers a beautiful selection of nursing covers that are fashion statements! You will look terrific nursing in any of our nursing covers.

Another solution is to wear a nursing cami under your regular, non-nursing clothing. In effect, a nursing cami converts your regular clothing into nursing clothing. A nursing cami is worn under your regular top. When you are ready to nurse, the cami covers up your sides back and stomach, so you can breastfeed discreetly.

If you are not wearing nursing clothing, do not have a nursing cover, are not wearing a nursing cami, and do not have a belly band, nurse your baby with pride knowing that you are doing a wonderful thing. It's all about your feeling comfortable with what you are doing.



How Nursing Bras Work

If you are a first-time mom, you have most likely not purchased nursing and maternity bras before.

Here is a quick guide to explain the difference between maternity bras and nursing bras, including suggestions of features to consider when shopping for a nursing bra.

Maternity Bras vs. Nursing Bras

A maternity bra is designed to provide comfort and support for your growing breasts during pregnancy. Most maternity bras have thicker straps, a petal soft lining in the cups and extra fasteners on the band. Many maternity bras are made without an underwire. If your regular bra has these features and will fit your blossoming bust size, you might choose to not purchase a maternity bra.

A nursing bra is different than a maternity bra in one important aspect. It allows access to your breast for pumping milk or for breastfeeding, without needing to remove your bra. These bras are typically made of very soft materials and have wider straps for comfort. They also accommodate breast pads to absorb breastmilk leaks. As with traditional bras, some nursing bras are soft-cup and some are underwire.

Types of Nursing Bras


Drop-cup Bra

The most popular type of nursing bra for daily wear is a drop-cup bra. These bras offer the support of a traditional bra, but they have clips at the top of the cup that unfasten so that you can pull down the cup for your baby to access the breast. Milk Nursingwear carries many different drop-down bra styles including the Bravado Body Silk Seamless Bra, and the Tee Shirt Underwire Nursing Bra by Melinda G. You can find bras in this category in a wide price range, from $34-$54.


Stretch Bra

The stretch bra is designed for you to pull the material down and over your breast to access for feeding or pumping sessions. These bras are designed so that the cup fabric crosses over at mid-chest. These nursing bras are usually not underwire, and they offer less support and structure than a drop-cup nursing bra. The Easy Bra by Majamas and the Coobie Seamless Nursing Bra are two of our best-selling stretch bras.


Sleep Bras

Sleep bras are designed to provide light support while you sleep. These bras are usually made from a light, breathable material with no hooks or seams. A sleep bra is designed primarily for comfort, and they also provide a way to keep breast pads in place during the night. We carry the Melinda G Dreamy Sleep Bra, and the Dreamy Sleep Bra by Melinda G at Milk Nursingwear.

Specialty Bra

Specialty Bras

You may also find that you need a few “specialty” nursing bras. Fortunately, Milk Nursingwear carries those as well. You can find the bandeau-style Strapless Nursing Bra and the Workout Nursing Bra both from La Leche League on our website. 

There seems to be a lot of talk about when to be fitted for your nursing bras. Most advice suggests that you purchase a bra that covers a range of sizes (i.e., S/M/L) until your milk production stabilizes and your breast size settles. While your breasts are large and full when your milk initially comes in, they will settle in and be smaller and less engorged, approximately 7-14 days after giving birth. At this point, you can measure yourself for a traditional band/cup bra.

How to measure yourself for a nursing bra:

Follow the steps below or watch the video by Bravado Designs to determine the best bra size for you.

To correctly measure for your bra size, you will need a soft tape measure.

The first measurement you will take is your band size.

To correctly take this measurement, wrap the tape measure around your back and then up under your armpits, above your breasts. This measurement rounded up to the closest even number is your band size.

To find your cup size, measure all the way around your back and over the fullest part of your bust. Round all fractional numbers up to the next whole number.

To find your cup size, subtract this second measurement from your band. The difference between these measurements, which is usually between 0 – 7 inches, will determine your bra cup size.

  • Up to 1” difference = A cup
  • 2” difference = B cup
  • 3” difference = C cup
  • 4” difference = D cup
  • 5” difference = DD/E cup
  • 6” difference = DDD/F cup
  • 7” difference = G cup