Best Nursing Top of 2020
The BOOB Classic Short Sleeve is our dream t-shirt. The simple design consists of a single additional panel of fabric layered over the top half of the shirt, cutting off just below the bust and creating a cute empire waist. We love that the style of the opening makes it easy to nurse discreetly and does not feel like you have to work through a puzzle of fabric just to feed your baby. With the perfect amount of stretch, the thick material has a solid feel to it; these Tees have the quality to last. The snug, yet flattering fit works well for a wide range of sizes, and moms with an extra-large bust will appreciate the BOOB top even more. We like the use of organic cotton and feel that the material is soft enough to avoid irritating sensitive skin. If you are looking for a warmer version of this perfect tee, BOOB makes a long sleeve version as well.
We struggled to find any flaws with this top. It's simple and versatile enough to go with anything in your wardrobe; however, if you want something with a little more flair, this may not be the shirt for you. It only comes in solid colors and has no extra frills or fancies. Likely the only thing holding back most moms from filling their closets with these t-shirts is the price. For such a simple piece, the BOOB Short Sleeve is one of the most expensive products in our review. However, we feel the quality lives up to the price, and this is the shirt our testers wanted to wear every day, and we think you will too.
The Seraphine Cotton Stripe Top is a stylish maternity and nursing top that steps it up a notch from your everyday wardrobe. This 100% cotton blouse features an empire waist gathered with an elastic band that looks cute over a baby bump and is flattering to a postpartum belly. The front panel of fabric has discreet zippered openings on both sides that allow quick nursing access. We like that the material is lightweight yet structured and cut in a way that will never look slouchy. The subdued yet fun grey stripe pattern and optional bow make this an excellent choice for dressier events. If you are looking for something that is more office appropriate, Seraphine has lots of options.
Because it is strictly cotton, there is no stretch to the fabric. We did not feel restricted by this, as long as you are sure to purchase the correct size. If you are unsure, we would recommend sizing up to avoid any tightness or discomfort. Also, the zippered access points require two hands to open, meaning you will have to place baby elsewhere while you prepare to nurse. Our tester also noted that although the opening is nice and long, it is a bit too far to the side to be convenient for nursing. Despite these few drawbacks, we love the feel of the fabric and the fact that the cut is comfortable while still being somewhat dressy. We think this is a fantastic top to have on hand while pregnant or nursing.
The Bralido Maternity and Nursing Camisole may end up as your go-to underlayer during your nursing days. You can wear it to provide a bit more coverage while nursing in a regular old top, so you don't have to expose your entire torso to the world. The stretchy nylon/spandex blend fabric fits snug to the body but is not restricting. The clip-down access will feel familiar if you use a nursing bra, and is easy to operate with one hand. Although there is no built-in shelf bra, nursing pads are included, and the fabric is gathered in a way that supports your bust so you may be able to skip right past the nursing bra altogether. Perhaps one of the most attractive features of these tanks is the price; the Bralido Camisole is one of the lowest cost items in our review. It is the perfect option if you are looking for a feasible nursing solution but do not want to replace your entire wardrobe for a few short months.
As with many lower-cost products, the quality of the Bralido is not as good as some other nursing tops. The fabric tends to pill easily and loses elasticity over time, making this tank a better short term option. While the overall fit was comfortable and offered good coverage lengthwise, we experienced some side gapping around the straps and found that the bottom hem rolls up throughout the day. However, we did not find this to be an issue in terms of layering or comfort. We love the versatility offered by the Bralido Camisole and appreciate that it is available to all budgets. We recommend keeping a few in your closet through your nursing days, as they seem to come in handy time and again.
The Ingrid & Isabel Double Layer Woven Top is a loose and airy top perfect for summer or beach days. The light rayon fabric is breathable, while the long sleeves offer some sun protection. We like that you can dress this top up or down depending on the occasion, and find it to be highly versatile and comfortable. With a lift-up access style, the looser flowy layer on the upper half of the shirt acts as a barrier, offering a bit more privacy while nursing than some of the competition.
Because it is essentially two separate shirts sewn together at specific points, this Ingrid and Isabel top can be somewhat complicated to put on and take off. It is easy to get tangled up in all the loose fabric and seemingly random openings. We also found the nursing access to be a bit tricky. Lifting the upper layer is no problem, but the opening in the lower layer is a relatively small slit in the fabric that is not stretchy. However, it is still manageable with one hand. Overall, the style and feel of the Double Layer Woven Top make it an item we love for warmer temperatures, and we recommend it to those who are pregnant or nursing during summer months.
If your baby is due for a winter birthday, or you just tend to run cold, the Nursing Queen Cowl Neck Pullover is the perfect cozy sweater. It is comfortable and warm without looking slouchy, thanks to the color block pattern and cowl neck style. The cut is flattering on a variety of body types, and it has the extra length and width in the torso to accommodate a baby bump. Many parents like to size up to achieve a cozier feel and allow room for layering. The zippered opening reaches from seam to seam, making it large enough to comfortably nurse or pump. When closed, the tiny zipper disappears, and it is impossible to know that it is anything other than a stylish pullover jacket.
While there is so much to love about this pullover, we have a few complaints. The fabric is a cotton/spandex blend with good stretch, but the weight is closer to a thick t-shirt rather than a heavyweight sweatshirt. There is also no hood. Due to these factors, Nursing Queen is not a suitable replacement for an ultra-cozy stay-at-home sort of hoodie. Additionally, because the nursing opening is so large, it offers less coverage than some other tops. However, you likely will be wearing a shirt of some sort underneath, and privacy may be less of a concern. With these things in mind, we still think that the Nursing Queen Cowl Neck Pullover is a perfect layering piece for moms who are pregnant or nursing during the chillier time of year.
If you want a slimming, smoothing, and supportive top to wear after the baby arrives, the BLANQI Everyday Pull-Down Support Tank is the one for you. This high-quality tank is made from a blend of nylon and spandex and offers multiple layers of compression to help support weakened abdominal muscles after pregnancy. The pull-down access style is one of the simplest out there, and the stretchy neckline retains its shape well over time. The simple cut of the top is reminiscent of a workout top, and it can be worn as a layer or on its own. Thanks to the snug fit of the tank, it can be worn without a nursing bra, although you may consider purchasing some nursing pads to use with it.
Although BLANQI also makes many products for pregnancy, the Everyday Pull-Down Support Tank is strictly for postpartum use, limiting its versatility and its lifespan. It is also one of the most expensive tops in our review, which, combined with its shorter usage span, may hold some parents back. It also requires special care when washing or the fabric will pill and wear out faster. Lastly, BLANQI only offers sizes S-XL, and may not fit petite or plus size mamas. While not a necessity in our books, the BLANQI Support Tank is a high-quality nursing top that we would be happy to have, but would hesitate to splurge on if budget is a concern.
If you're a dress person, then we've found the perfect one to take you through your pregnancy and nursing months. A Pea in the Pod Lift Up Nursing Dress is a casual midi length dress with an inner stretchy jersey knit layer, and a lightweight outer rayon layer. The lift up and pull to side access style is effortless to navigate and can be done with one hand no problem. The loose top layer provides a bit more coverage while nursing, and the rayon/spandex blend is super soft against the skin. The style of the dress is cool and breathable, making it a perfect summer dress, and the material is stretchy enough that it will form to fit many different body types.
As with any multi-layered article of clothing, getting in and out of this dress can be a bit of a hassle, and the inner layer tends to bunch up, especially at first. You must correct the bunching throughout the day with small tugs and adjustments. Although we love the style and the quality of the Lift Up Nursing Dress, you will pay a premium for these features. However, we can see this dress working well through pregnancy, nursing, and many years beyond, so you are likely to use it often. We recommend the Pea in the Pod Lift Up Nursing Dress to any mom looking for the perfect summer dress for nursing and pregnancy.
The Kindred Bravely Davy Sleepwear Set uses fabric that is a breathable blend of viscose and spandex, making them uber soft and smooth on sensitive skin. The waistband of the pants is sturdy but does not cut into the belly. The top has a double layer opening that finds the perfect balance between ease of access for midnight feedings and good sleep coverage so you won't worry about falling out. The fabric is stretchy enough to accommodate a changing body, and our tester could not get over how incredibly soft they are. Many moms love to bring this set to the hospital with them when giving birth, so they have something comfortable to wear before and after. Others find that if paired with jeans, the shirt is cute enough to wear as a regular top.
A few moms found the fit of the Sleepwear Set to be a bit odd. The top and bottoms are sold exclusively as a set, so if you are a small on top and a medium on the bottom, you may have to sacrifice the perfect fit somewhere. The pants are also much longer than most people need and must be either rolled at the waistband or worn above the belly button to accommodate. Our tester noted that the pull-down layer of the top might not stretch low enough to be convenient for everyone. However, the overall performance of these pj's impressed us, and we recommend the Kindred Bravely Davy Sleepwear Set to any mom who wants to spend her pregnancy and nursing days in ultimate comfort.
The Ekouaer Tank Top has simple, solid-colors with wide straps and is a stand-alone top. The rayon/spandex blend fabric is lightweight and stretchy, so it is accommodating to many different body shapes. Boob access is through a side opening that is wide and long, allowing plenty of room for adjustment and keeping fabric out of baby's face while nursing. The Ekouaer is very affordable and would be a functional closet staple for someone who does not want to spend that much on maternity and nursing clothes.
Although the design is as a maternity top in addition to nursing, we do not like the way it fits over the belly as much as some of the competition and would recommend it more for postpartum use. We also feel that the pull-to-side nursing access is not as flattering as some other styles, and find that the opening falls at an odd angle. Lastly, as affordable as it is, the quality is not that great. This top quickly shows signs of wear, and you will likely have to repurchase later on if you plan to nurse for an extended period. However, if you are in a pinch, and would like something simple to augment your maternity wardrobe, the Ekouaer may be the right nursing top for you.
We had high hopes for the Motherhood Maternity Clip Down Cami. It is a cotton/spandex tank that comes in a variety of colors and would be ideal for layering under other tops for extra breastfeeding coverage. The clip-down style access is simple and easy to operate one-handed, and it even has a built-in shelf bra that should eliminate the need to wear a nursing bra.
However, we found that the shelf bra is way too small to offer any kind of support or even cover the entire breast for that matter. We wondered if it was just us, but other users had similar issues. The material is not as stretchy as we would have liked, and we experienced some extreme gapping around the clip area of the strap, leading us to believe that the overall design of this cami was not well-thought-out. Although they are not expensive, we still found that there are other layering options that we prefer, at a better price.
Why You Should Trust Us
Testers here at BabyGearLab have been evaluating and comparing gear for parents and babies for nearly a decade, giving us extensive knowledge of what works and what doesn't. Senior Review Editor, Abriah Wofford, has been part of the team since 2015 and led the testing for this review. We tested the fit and comfort of each top with a soon-to-be mother, which allowed us to gauge each metric from the perspective of a pregnant woman. Each shirt got its day in the sun, and the fit, comfort, quality, were assessed during long periods of wear through daily activities.
Analysis and Test Results
We tried each top and paid attention to the stretchiness and softness of the fabric, the breathability, and compared form versus function. In the end, we chose our favorite maternity and nursing tops for awards.
When pregnant or nursing, comfort is king. An ideal nursing top utilizes specific fabrics that are extra stretchy and breathable. The cut of the material can help prevent tight spots or uncomfortably placed seams. One of our favorite options for comfort is the BOOB Classic Short Sleeve. It has buttery soft fabric and no ties, zippers, or digging seams. The Kindred Bravely Davy Sleepwear Set is another option that we love for its ability to flex with your body. The fabric is light and breathable, and it never feels restricting or irritating.
The material of the Ingrid & Isabel Double Layer Woven Top is not stretchy, but the cut is loose, and the fabric is breezy and lightweight. We did not have any problems with this top being too restricting despite its lack of stretch. The Seraphine Cotton Stripe Top is probably the least comfortable of the group due to its use of zippers, buttons, and slightly stiffer fabric. That said, the thoughtful cut provided the right shape to make it pleasantly wearable.
Ease of Access
Nursing can be a tough enough job already, so you're going to want a shirt that helps the process rather than hinders it. There are various methods to reach the boob. From pull-down or unclipping to lift-up styles, we tested a variety of designs. We tend to like lift-up styles such as the BOOB Classic Short Sleeve or A Pea in the Pod Lift Up Nursing Dress. We feel that it is easier to get the fabric out of the way and position yourself comfortably.
Tops with zippered access, like the Seraphine Cotton Stripe Top, can be a bit more involved, requiring two hands to pull down the zipper. The Nursing Queen Cowl Neck Pullover is perfect for layering thanks to its extra-large opening that spans the width of the top. The BLANQI Everyday Pull-Down Support Tank has the most straightforward access style, only requiring you to pull down at the neckline. Generally, tops with bigger/less complicated openings will be more natural to nurse in, but you will also have to remember that they may offer less coverage while breastfeeding.
The number of kids you plan to have, and how long you plan to nurse them will probably influence the cost vs. quality of the tops you buy. A solid t-shirt like the BOOB Classic Short Sleeve will likely maintain its high-quality feel through spit up, milk leaks, and being stretched in odd directions. We also like the Ingrid & Isabel Double Layer Woven Top for its high-quality construction and style, allowing it to last through pregnancy, breastfeeding, and even after.
However, if you plan to breastfeed for only a short time, or only need something to get you through one child, then you may want to opt for something a bit more budget-friendly. The Bralido Maternity and Nursing Camisole is not of excellent quality, but it is highly functional and comfortable. If you only intend to breastfeed your baby for a short time, it could potentially be the only nursing-specific clothing you purchase. Coming in a 3-pack, they can easily add extra coverage to a regular top during your nursing days.
Everyone wants a nursing top that doesn't look like a nursing top. Our favorite styles seamlessly incorporated the openings into the design of the shirt to provide discreet breastfeeding access. The Seraphine Cotton Stripe Top has one of the most inconspicuous access points, and many people would not guess that it is a nursing top at all. Others use layers to their advantage. The Ingrid & Isabel Double Layer Woven Top and the A Pea in the Pod Lift Up Nursing Dress have a more flowy style that is perfect for summer and also super comfortable.
During pregnancy and through your nursing months, so much of what you do is for baby. Getting a comfortable and flattering top during this time is something you can do for mom. After researching and testing the top brands out there, we selected the best of the best to help you to make a decision. With a wide variety, we are sure you will be able to find something that suits your style and nursing needs.
— Abriah Wofford