I bought all my nursing bras from Target, and I hate them all. Target makes great nursing camisoles (with shelf bra) which I was wearing all the time on maternity leave earlier this summer and will wear as undershirts when the weather gets colder; if you are small-busted, they have adequate support and are very comfortable. But Target’s nursing bras, all 3 different styles I bought, are uncomfortable, stiff in the wrong places, and oddly proportioned, at least compared to my body. One style looks really lumpy under clothes, while the others are so padded that it’s difficult to get the cup out of the way for nursing.
While I was pregnant, I bought a few bras of the same style I had been wearing for a few years before, but in a larger size. I am thrilled to discover that they work as nursing bras!!
UPDATE: That brand stopped being made within a year after I recommended it (why does that always happen??) but I have now found essentially identical bras made under a different name! They are Hanes Ultimate Invisible Look Wirefree Convertible T-shirt bras, sold at Kohl’s and other stores.
They have “convertible straps” which means the front end of the strap detaches from the cup so that you can crisscross the straps if you want. The fastener is a snap kind of thing that stays together really well (never comes undone in the washing machine, even) but can be quickly undone with one hand when you want to, with a little practice. Here I am holding it with two hands just so you can get a good look at what kind of fastener I mean.
To open it with one hand, place your thumb on the back of the fastener and your fingers on the front, with your index finger on the top clippy thing and your middle finger on the bottom one. Now press with both fingers and thumb. Click! It comes apart.
It took more practice to get good at refastening it with one hand, but now I’ve got it down. The fastener itself is less of an issue than the fact that when it’s undone the strap is totally detached from the cup, and it’s stretchy, so if you move around while nursing the strap can escape down your back. Still, this is a good enough solution (and so comfortable!) that I’m not looking for other nursing bras unless I see a big sale.
I’m glad to find that these bras work for nursing because now I’m getting more use out of my pregnancy bras, and if I get less buxom as Lydia begins eating solids and nursing less frequently (as happened when I nursed my first child) then I already own five of these bras in my normal size. I’ll be able to wear them some more before the elastic deteriorates with age. I know from experience that these bras are durable, smooth and shapely without being absurdly padded, machine washable, less steamy than other padded bras, and less odor-retaining when they do get sweaty.
Skipping nursing bras would save me a lot of money if I hadn’t bought those 3 uncomfortable nursing bras…but one of them was purchased with a “20% off a nursing bra” coupon, one was part of a “$10 off when you buy $50 of baby-related merchandise” coupon, and the third was purchased with a gift card that I got in exchange for some duplicate baby-shower gifts that I returned to Target…so I didn’t spend much on them. And I may be able to donate them to someone who finds that they work better for her!
So if you are shopping for nursing bras, try on a bra with convertible straps. You may be able to keep wearing it for years!