The Best Clothes for Breastfeeding Mothers

If you're planning to nurse your baby, or if you're already breastfeeding, you've probably asked the question, "What should I wear when I'm breastfeeding?" This is an important question to ask before you nurse, as some clothes are much easier to wear than others.

You may have had friends offer suggestions, and after nursing awhile you'll probably be offering other friends the same tips. Having the right clothes can, and will, make your life easier during your busy days with your new baby.

Best Clothes to Wear

You don't have to buy special breastfeeding clothes to be able to breastfeed comfortably. A button-down blouse that you can quickly open or tee shirt that you can pull up to expose your breasts will work just fine.

If you would like to purchase clothing made for nursing mothers, however, there are plenty of designs and styles to choose from. With a slit or a flap in the front of the garment, nursing clothes can make breastfeeding easier and more discreet.

Wear This
  • Comfortable nursing tops

  • Nursing bras

  • Nursing tank tops

  • Nursing wraps, or button-down dresses

Not That
  • Jumpsuits or rompers

  • Dresses without front buttons

  • Excessive layers

  • Regular, underwire bras

  • Tight or flimsy tops

Tips For Picking Clothes

We will look at specific clothing articles below, but a few general tips for your wardrobe are a great way to begin planning.

  • When picking out pieces for your wardrobe, keep in mind that patterns, prints, and darker colors will help hide any unexpected leaks much better than solids or light colors.
  • You may also want to wear breast pads inside of your nursing bra to help soak up any breast milk from leaky breasts and prevent stains from reaching your clothing. While these are helpful, many new mothers will tell you that breast pads only help to a degree. 
  • Jackets, vests, and sweaters are good to have on hand in case you need to quickly cover an embarrassing stain. They can double as a nursing cover allowing you to breastfeed more discreetly as well.
  • Scarves and shawls are also great accessories that can cover leaks and help provide privacy if you will be breastfeeding in public.
  • Try to stay away from tight-fitting bras, tops, and blouses. Pressure from tight clothing on your breasts can be uncomfortable and could lead to sore nipples, plugged milk ducts or mastitis.

Types of Breastfeeding Clothes

From casual wear to professional outfits and even formal wear, you can find a variety of blouses, shirts, tank tops, dresses, and sleepwear made especially for breastfeeding moms. Breastfeeding clothes are found in maternity shops, department stores, or online.

Here are some examples of the types of nursing clothes available that you might want to add to your wardrobe:


Nursing Shirts and Blouses

mother breastfeeding baby son on sofa

JGI / Jamie Grill / Getty Images

Breastfeeding fashion has come a long way. Nursing shirts and blouses come in so many different styles and colors. Nursing tops may have sides that pull over, button-down, or pull up.

There are also styles that don't look like nursing tops at all. You might even continue to wear some of your nursing tops long after you wean your baby. 


Nursing Bras

Breastfeeding Clothes: A Nursing Bra

Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images

nursing bra has flaps or panels that move over or pull down so you can breastfeed without having to take off your bra. A good nursing bra will be comfortable, fit you well, and provide support for your heavy, milk-filled breasts.

When possible, choose a bra made from a natural, breathable, absorbent fabric with soft cups. It's easy for nursing bras to become wet, even with nursing pads, and an absorbent fabric will leave you feeling much more comfortable.


Nursing Tank Tops

Breastfeeding Clothes: Nursing tank tops are a good option for day and night.

Tony Anderson / Taxi / Getty Images

The nursing tank top, also called a nursing cami, is a great addition to your wardrobe. With sides that you can unclip and pull down like a nursing bra, these comfortable tops allow easy access to your breasts for breastfeeding.

You can wear a tank top on its own if you're feeling warm, or layer it under other items of clothing. You can also wear these soft, comfortable tops overnight.  


Nursing Sleepwear

Mother breastfeeding

Camille Tokerud / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Whether it's a nursing tank and yoga pants, or a nursing nightgown, sleep in something comfortable that allows easy access to your breasts for those nighttime feedings. 

If you only make one purchase designed specifically for breastfeeding, nursing sleepwear might be a good choice.

Good nursing sleepwear will allow you to nurse your baby as easily as possible and get some more shut-eye before the next feeding.


Nursing Dresses and Formal Wear

Family portrait at traditionnal baby baptism outdoors.
martinedoucet / Getty Images

When you want to dress up a little, go out to dinner, or head off to a family party, you don't have to worry about what to wear. Stylish and flattering nursing dresses and formal wear are available. 

Bottom Line on Breastfeeding Clothes

Taking a little time to think about your wardrobe before your baby comes will help you free up more time after she is here. You will be feeding your baby often, and having clothing that provides easy access to your breasts can make feeding that much easier.

1 Source
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Faguy K. Infectious and Inflammatory Breast Disease. Radiol Technol. 2018 Jan;89(3):279M-295M. PMID: 29298955

Additional Reading
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics. New Mother’s Guide To Breastfeeding. Completely Updated and Revised Second Edition. New York: Bantam Books; 2011

By Donna Murray, RN, BSN
Donna Murray, RN, BSN has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Rutgers University and is a current member of Sigma Theta Tau, the Honor Society of Nursing.