Best Nursing Top
The BOOB Classic Short Sleeve is our dream t-shirt. The classic 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 lift-up opening makes it easy to nurse discreetly and does not create a fabric puzzle to work through when trying to feed your baby. While it is stretchy enough to accommodate a growing bump, the thick material has a solid feel; these T's have the quality to last without looking over-stretched. The flattering fit works well for a wide range of sizes, and moms with an extra-large bust will appreciate the BOOB top even more for the full coverage offered by the high crew neck. We like that the fabric is made from organic cotton and feel that the material is soft enough to avoid irritating sensitive skin. If you are looking for a version of this perfect tee that you can wear during the colder months, BOOB makes a long sleeve version as well.
We struggle to find any flaws with this top. It's simple and versatile enough to go with anything in your wardrobe and comfortable enough to wear while lounging at home. 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. However, we still think it is a perfect staple. Likely the most significant factor 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. This is the shirt our tester wanted to wear every day, and we think you will too.
The Seraphine Cotton Stripe Top is a stylish top that works for both pregnancy and nursing. The stiffer fabric and tailored cut are elements that step 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. An optional sash ties around the waist if you want an extra-feminine look. The front panel of fabric has discreet zippers on both sides that open vertically. These allow quick nursing access and are conveniently placed. We like that the material is lightweight yet structured. It is 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.
Because it is 100% cotton, there is no stretch to the material. However, the looser fitting cut should not feel at all restricting if you purchase the correct size. If you are unsure, we recommend sizing up to avoid any tightness or discomfort. The zippered access points require two hands to open, meaning you will have to place the baby elsewhere while preparing to nurse. Our tester also noted that although the opening is nice and long, it is a bit too far to the side to give ideal boob access. Despite these few drawbacks, we love the fabric's texture and the fact that the cut is comfortable but still somewhat dressy. We think this is a perfect 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 top, so you don't have to expose your entire midriff to the world. The stretchy nylon/spandex blend fabric fits snug to the body but is not restricting. The clip-down access feels familiar if you use a nursing bra, and it is easy to operate with one hand once you get used to the maneuver. Although there is no built-in shelf bra, it comes with nursing pads, 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 these tanks' most attractive features 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 convenient 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 of the other tops we tested. The fabric tends to pill easily and loses elasticity over time, making this tank a better short-term option. While the overall fit is comfortable and offers good coverage lengthwise, we experienced some side gapping around the straps and find that the bottom hem rolls up throughout the day. However, we did not find this to be uncomfortable or cause issues when layering. 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.
If your baby is due for a winter birthday, or do you tend to run cold? The Nursing Queen Cowl Neck Pullover is the perfect cozy sweater worthy of consideration. It is comfortable and warm without looking slouchy, thanks to the color block pattern and cowl neck style. The cut is flattering on various 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 and less like 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 taking your baby home, the BLANQI Everyday Pull-Down Support Tank is the one for you. This high-quality shirt 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 after many nursing sessions. The top's simple cut reminds us of a workout tank, and the thicker straps and moderate coverage allow it to effortlessly function as a layer under other tops or all on its own. Thanks to the tank's snug fit, 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 lifespan. It is also one of the most expensive tops in our review, which may hold some parents back, especially considering its shorter usage span. 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 necessary 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.
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 middle-of-the-night feeds 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 the shirt is cute enough to wear as a regular top when paired with jeans.
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, which means you cannot mix and match sizes if you need a small top and medium bottoms. You may have to sacrifice the perfect fit with one or the other. The pants are also much longer than most people need and must be rolled at the waistband or worn above the belly button to keep you from tripping over the hem. Our tester noted that the top's pull-down layer might not stretch low enough to be convenient for everyone—however, these pj's overall comfort and functionality impressed us. 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, accommodating many different body shapes. Boob access is through a side opening that is wide and long, allowing plenty of room for adjustment. It also helps to keep fabric out of the 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 for pregnancy and nursing, we do not like how it fits over the belly as much as some of the competition and 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.
The Smallshow Short Sleeve Nursing Top is a dressier t-shirt option for everyday wear. This shirt is lightweight and comfortable, made of the softest material, and the shirt's sleeve length and higher neckline make this top modest yet flattering. For boob access, lift the top layer to uncover a v-neck with plenty of fabric for discreet and easy nursing or pumping. It comes with three tops, and with multiple color options available, there is sure to be a set that fits your wardrobe.
The Smallshow does have a few factors to consider. The shirt's fabric is thin and easily wrinkles, plus users mention that breastmilk can leave stains. Under the top flap is a criss-cross v-neck; however, the loose material creates odd shapes under the top layer. The shirts are stretchy and fitting, not flowy, and not everyone will feel comfortable wearing them with their postpartum belly. If you're not comfortable wearing tighter, fitting tops, this option may not be for you. But, if you don't mind a top that hugs your figure, the Smallshow is a comfortable nursing top for around the house that doesn't look like you're wearing pajamas.
We had high hopes for the Motherhood Maternity Clip Down Cami. It is a cotton/spandex tank that has various color and pattern options. It is 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. The extra-long length fits nicely over a baby bump.
However, we think the shelf bra is way too small to offer any amount of support or even cover the entire breast, for that matter. At first, we wondered if it was just us, but then we found that 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 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 product selection and testing for this review. We evaluated each top's fit and comfort first, with a soon-to-be mother, and second, with a nursing mother. This allowed us to gauge each metric from both a pregnant woman's perspective and a breastfeeding mother's perspective. 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 fabric's stretchiness, softness, breathability, and then compared the form versus function of each product. In the end, the ones that combine the most perks into one top won awards.
Most pregnant or nursing women will agree; comfort is king. An ideal nursing top utilizes fabrics that are extra stretchy and breathable. The cut of the material can help prevent the discomfort of tight spots or awkwardly placed seams. One of our favorite options for comfort is the BOOB Classic Short Sleeve. The fabric is buttery soft, and it has 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 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. We included a wide range in figuring out which design works the best, from pulldown or unclipping to lift-up styles. We tend to like lift-up styles, such as the BOOB Classic Short Sleeve and the Smallshow Short Sleeve Nursing Top. We feel that it is easier to get the fabric out of the way and position yourself comfortably. In a looser fitting top, the lift-up portion can also act as a makeshift nursing cover.
Tops with zippered nursing access, such as the Seraphine Cotton Stripe Top, can be a bit more involved. They require two hands to pull down the zipper, and you must open them before positioning your baby, leaving you uncomfortably exposed for longer than necessary. The Nursing Queen Cowl Neck Pullover has a zippered opening that is perfect for layering thanks to its extra-wide span of the zipper. 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.
We appreciate the quality found in many of these tops; however, they come with a price tag to match. Thus comes the age-old debate of cost vs. quality. The number of kids you plan to have, how long you plan to nurse them, and your budget all influence the amount of money you would like to spend on maternity clothing. A t-shirt like the BOOB Classic Short Sleeve constructed from thick, durable cotton fabric will likely maintain its high-quality feel through spit-up, milk leaks, and being stretched in every direction.
However, if you plan to breastfeed for only a short time or only want the bare minimum that will get you through a single child, then you may want to opt for more budget-friendly clothing. 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. Available in a 3-pack, these tanks 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 styled layers to their advantage.
During pregnancy and through the months you spend breastfeeding, so much of what you do is for your baby. Getting a comfortable and flattering top is something you can do for mom. We're here to help you choose. After researching and testing the top brands out there, we selected tops with a wide range of access styles, comfort levels and included good options for different climates. Our favorite tops can be worn in various settings and combine the perfect amount of comfort and style. We are sure you will find something that suits your style and nursing needs from our selection here.
— Abriah Wofford