If you’re returning to work soon and plan to continue to breastfeed, it’s a good thing you’re here.
Finding the best pumping bra for work is going to help you tremendously.
Your normal nursing bra just isn’t going to cut it, I’m afraid.
Back when I was a first time mom, I really didn’t know that there was anything else out there other than those ugly, non-practical pumping bras with the two HUGE nipple holes.
This is how a pumping session looked for me:
- Lock the door.
- Lift up my shirt.
- Unclasp nursing bra and move it up and out of the way.
- Spend WAY too much time awkwardly trying to put my pumping bra on without my shirt and/or my nursing bra falling down in the way. You need FOUR HANDS.
You get the point. The traditional hands-free pumping bra is NOT very user friendly. I mean, can it get any more complicated?
Luckily when my second baby came along I realized that there were other options. Options that were going to make the whole pumping process a little simpler.
Why Do You Need A Hands-Free Pumping Bra For Work?
There are so many reasons why you need to familiarize yourself with your hands-free pumping options.
You need to be able to pump hands-free if you are going to continue working while breastfeeding.
If you don’t have to work while pumping, you will still want the option to browse the internet, read a book, text a friend, watch videos of your baby (this will help with letdown and may result in increased output!), eat your lunch, and more.
Furthermore, if you are struggling to pump enough for your baby each day, you might want to pump in the car, pump and nurse simultaneously, or pump while doing household chores such as cooking dinner. It is going to be impossible to do these things without the ability to pump hands-free.
Getting a pumping bra for work is necessary for working mom breastfeeding success.
You also need a specific KIND of pumping bra for work. If you are pumping from home, it doesn’t matter so much.
However, for work you need a bra that is going to give you support and that’s going to look flattering under your work clothes. You also need a hands-free pumping bra that is going to give you easy access and allow you do to other things while pumping to pass the time.
Related: How Often Should You Pump At Work?
Different Types Of Pumping Bras For Work
Okay, first let’s talk about the different TYPES, and then below, I’ll talk about the best in each category.
The Traditional Hands-Free Pumping Bra
As stated above, if you use a traditional hands-free pumping bra the problem is that you can’t wear it all day long.
It has giant holes in the nipple area, and there is no way around that. I has to be stored in your pump bag and fitted on before each and every pumping session.
While putting this on and getting your clothes and nursing bra out of the way is in no way impossible, it might not be the best or easiest option.
Clip-On Hands-Free Nursing Bra Accessory
For this type of “bra”, you will clip it in the back (just like a regular bra) and to the b-clips on your bra (the two clips in the front that you unclip in order to nurse your baby).
At first glance, it seems very similar to the traditional hands-free pumping bra. There are two main differences.
- You can easily pump AND breastfeed at the same time with this accessory.
Trying to breastfeed while pumping using a traditional pumping bra is pretty much impossible. I was never able to get it to work and always had to hold the flange while I nursed my baby on the other side (until I ditched the traditional pumping bra). It was difficult, especially when my baby became more mobile and liked to pull on the cord of my pump.
- It is a little more structured and because it clips in three places versus only one in the back, it will more likely stay in place. This would be especially helpful for larger-chested mamas.
If you plan to pump at home as well as at work, a clip on nursing bra accessory might be the right option for you.
A Hands-Free All-In-One Nursing And Pumping Bra
This option allows you to wear one bra and one bra only. This bra can be worn to work, as well as used for nursing AND pumping. When it is time to pump, you do not need to put a different bra on.
This type of bra has detachable clips to easily drop your cups when it’s time to nurse your baby. When it’s time to pump, the bra’s unique X structure will hold your flanges in place while also being discreet when you are not pumping.
Have you decided which TYPE of pumping bra for work is best for you? Now let’s look at the best bras in each category.
Related: What’s In My Breast Pump Bag?
Best Hands-Free Pumping Bra
Simple Wishes Hands-Free Pumping Bra
The Simple Wishes hands-free pumping bra is nice for several reasons. It is very adjustable, with Velcro in the back so that you can adjust it as your postpartum body changes. This is definitely a huge plus, because once you find the perfect fit it will also help you to get the perfect suction while pumping.
It also zips in the front, making it easier to put on.
If you don’t mind putting a pumping bra on and off when it’s time to pump, this is definitely the best bra in this category.
Some women find that the Velcro in the back fails after repeated use. Others found that the bra started to come apart at the seams pretty quickly after purchase.
Best Clip-On Hands Free Nursing Bra Accessory
Bravado Clip And Pump Nursing Bra Accessory
Let’s say that you already have a nursing bra that you adore, but the Simple Wishes pumping bra doesn’t seem right for you.
The Bravado pumping bra is a little more discreet (you can clip it on THEN move your cups down) and a little more secure.
It’s also great because you don’t have to worry about the comfort as you will not be wearing this all day.
The Bravado Clip And Pump was specifically designed to be used with Bravado bras. While other moms have found that it works well with other brands, it is not a guarantee that the fit will be as secure.
As long as you get the right fit (follow the size guidelines closely, there seem to be very few cons to this product.
Best All-In-One Nursing And Pumping Bra
This category has two bras that are both great options for the best all day pumping bra.
Momcozy Hands-Free Pumping And Nursing Bra
The Momcozy pumping bra is the best of both worlds. It means you will need only ONE bra for your breastfeeding and pumping needs. The convenience of this bra is what sets it apart from the rest.
It is a wireless bra that can be used with any of the popular breast pumps on the market. The X design at the nipple also means that your flanges will stay in place much better than with a pumping bra that has holes where you need to insert your flanges.
Be aware: If you read the reviews of this product, the product appears to have changed recently. Some of the reviews talk about clipping it onto your nursing bra (like the Bravado bra above), however the product is now an all-in-one bra.
Some moms complain that this bra is not extremely comfortable and that it doesn’t provide enough support. Other moms complain that the sizing chart was off.
There is also a little bit of a learning curve as you have to learn how to stretch the fabric in order to insert your flanges.
Dairy Fairy Nursing And Pumping Bra
The nursing bras by Dairy Fairy absolutely do not LOOK like nursing bras. They are lacy, feminine and beautiful, and while that might not sound like a big deal, I assure you it is. My nursing bra that I wore with my first baby was pretty unflattering, and I really didn’t like for my husband to see me in it.
With this bra, you’ll actually feel like you’re wearing… a BRA!
This company was also founded in 2012 by an ACTUAL MOM looking for a beautiful AND functional bra. Pretty cool, right?
Some moms have found that their flanges don’t stay in place as well with this bra. It is also quite thin material and may not be able to be worn with a thin shirt.
I can’t do this post without mentioning Freemies.
I discovered them after my second child was born, and I don’t know how I ever breastfed for over a year the first time without them (and no, I’m not getting paid to say this. I just REALLY love the product).
Even though this post is about the best pumping bra for work, Freemies take the nursing/pumping bra completely out of the equation. You don’t even need one!
Even the best and most expensive nursing bras aren’t going to be as flattering or comfortable as your go-to bra. Freemies allow you to wear your regular bra to work.
Here’s how it works:
- Attach the Freemie cups to your pump tubing.
- Put your Freemie cups into the cups of your regular bra.
- Start pumping!
There is no need to unclip anything or take any clothing off. If your top is loose at the top you won’t even have to pull your top up or take it off.
While I personally didn’t have any issues with output when using my Freemies, some moms find that they do not pump as much with Freemies as they did with traditional flanges.
It is also more difficult to see if the placement of the Freemie is correct, however after a few weeks of use this was not a problem for me because I knew how to put them on.
Hands-Free Pumping Bra DIY Options
Now that you’ve seen the best bra options, let’s talk about some possible DIYs. These may not work for every mom, but it’s worth trying because A.) they’re free and B.) you never know when you’ll be in a pinch and need to try one of these out.
I have NOT tried these ideas out, so make sure that you test it at home before attempting these at work when you’re pressed for time.
- Cut holes in a regular bra or sports bra, then wear it with breast pads to cover the holes when not pumping. (I’m not sure how this would work, because I can’t imagine that the holes wouldn’t be visible under your shirt).
- Use two ponytail holders knotted together. Put one end into the clip on your bra and put your flange through the other end. Use your bra as additional support. You can find a more detailed tutorial of this technique here.
Also, check out my tips on pumping more milk FASTER while at work.
What do you think is the best pumping bra for work?