If you’re breastfeeding, you’re going to need a sleep bra. That’s pretty much guaranteed. You might not think it now, while you’re pregnant with your lovely big boobs that behave just how they’re supposed to, but wait until your milk comes in.
If you thought you had big boobs now, think again. Full of milk and ready to feed your beautiful new baby, those breasts are going to have a mind of their own. Without a good sleep bra, they’ll be downstairs making a cup of tea while you’re still asleep in bed (albeit for half an hour before your baby wakes up again).
Yes, this is spoken from experience.
Invest in some good sleep bras and they’ll look after those precious milk makers while you try to get some rest. Then, when the baby is ready for another night feed, your nursing sleep bra will allow you to easily and quickly remove a boob for instant feeding.
After giving birth, and onwards if you're breastfeeding, your breasts will continue to change shape; they're working hard to feed your baby, and there's still a lot going on in your body. So the right supportive underwear is important, during the day and the night.
We talk a lot about finding the right position for feeding your baby, and the right underwear is important to make sure you're comfortable while you're breastfeeding. Support and comfort are important 24/7 - before you had your baby, you probably didn't have to worry about looking after your breasts while you sleep. But now, it's more vital than ever that a good sleep bra is supporting you while you rest.
What you need to look for in a good sleep bra
- You'll want a sleep bra that's soft and comfy to sleep in, but also supportive and big enough to allow not only for moving around in your sleep but also for the changing size of your breasts as they fill up with milk before the next feed. So make sure you choose a nursing sleep bra that is flexible, soft, and with room to move.
- Make sure they're not compressing your breasts - you want comfort, and also you don't want to cause blocked milk ducts, which can lead to mastitis.
- Comfort is obviously vital for a maternity sleep bra - so definitely don't choose one with underwires, and keep clasps and clips to a minimum. For most sleep bras you can just pull them on, rather than doing them up.
- You also want to make sure there's room inside the sleep bra for breast pads, as you'll likely find that your boobs leak a lot overnight.
With all this in mind, we've rounded up the best maternity sleep bras you can buy today. Ideally get three or four bras, so that you'll have spares when they're in the wash.
Best maternity sleep bras
A well-known brand when it comes to breast pumps, Medela also does a range of maternity clothing including these super sleep bras - available in black and white. The racer back makes them really comfortable to sleep in, while they stay snuggly in place to keep those breast pads safe. The material is moisture-wicking, helping to keep you cool overnight, and they're stretchy to support your boobs. Highly recommended.
This two-pack nursing bra set from H&M will offer you great support when around the house. The band stretches enough to allow for growing breasts, just fits comfortably without loosening. You can choose from dark grey/black or black/powder beige.
Our favourite sleep bras; these are simple and easy to wear. You won’t realise you’re wearing a bra underneath your PJs – they’re soft and lightweight, but supportive enough for those sensitive and hardworking boobs. They’re available in black or white, and they wash well, keeping their shape. You just pull these bras on, there aren’t any clips to worry about.
Really comfy but also pretty with lace trim along the bottom, a lovely sleep bra that does the job while not looking too mumsy. It’s another pull-on style with no clips or clasps. Comfy to wear all night long and nicely supportive for your boobs.
Comfy during pregnancy while your boobs are sensitive, and after your baby arrives if you need a nursing or sleep bra. It’s available in black or beige.
Available in black, deep pink, or dusty pink, these sleep bras are soft, practical, and cute too. And if you can manage to make a maternity product cute, then it's a winner with us. Unlike most of the others on our list, these have adjustable straps, which is handy as your boobs change shape. The fabric is called Petal-Soft™ and it really is super soft against your sensitive skin. I'd happily wear these bras during the day while nursing, as well as at night-time.
Primarily nursing bras, but these are comfy and soft enough to wear in your sleep too. They’re supportive but easy to wear, plus breastfeeding is a synch as the clips are simple and quick to release – especially for the nightfeed when you’re not quite awake. They fit like a normal bra with the hook and eye clasps at the back. They're made from bamboo which is hypoallergenic, moisture wicking and antibacterial.
Simple but effective, these cotton sleep bras are comfy all night long and give you enough support while you sleep. Plenty of room to slip in breast pads too - which are really important if you're breastfeeding. There are three colour combinations - black, blue and beige; black, grey and purple; and black, white and pink. There are no wires or clasps, so just pull them on; we'd recommend getting a size bigger than normal, though, as they come up a bit small.
Dare we say it, this looks a bit sexy, which isn’t something you’d necessarily expect at the moment – but it’s important to keep feeling good about your body after all the changes you’ve seen during pregnancy, and continue to see now baby is here. So if a bit of lace on your sleep bra helps, well, we’re all for it. It’s soft and comfy while you sleep, and you can wear it with breast pads tucked in too. Available in black or white.