Best maternity and nursing bras
We tested 16 of the UK's top maternity and nursing bras, and our overall winner is the Emma-Jane Mia. We love its high level of support and comfort, as well as its reasonable price tag, and found it ticked all the boxes. Here are our maternity bra reviews.
Nothing quite beats the feel of a good bra and that’s even before you’re pregnant.
Finding the perfect maternity boob-hugger is like gold dust, so we've put together a list of the best maternity and nursing bras that you'll actually want to wear.
What is a maternity bra?
Maternity bras are more supportive (and hopefully more comfortable) versions of regular bras. Features include wider straps, a cotton lining, extra hooks on the band, and the cups don't tend to be underwired.
There are a lot of options out there, so it's important you choose the right type and size for you.
To do so, it's best to get fitted professionally throughout your pregnancy due to your changing shape and size. Most women switch from a regular to a maternity bra at around eight to 10 weeks.
There are a few different types, depending on when or what you'll be using it for. These include:
- Regular maternity bras
- Nursing bras – the same as a normal maternity bra, just with clasps or panels for easy access to nipples for breastfeeding
- Maternity sports bras – usually have a T-back design and firmer straps to give you more support
- Maternity or nursing bra tops – these combine a nursing bra with a tank top
Blueberry? Papaya? Get weekly insights into your pregnancy, including symptoms to look out for and what size your baby is each week.
Here are the 5 best maternity and nursing bras on the market
Best Maternity Bra 2018
After weeks of lengthy research and thorough testing, we think that the Emma-Jane Mia is the best maternity bra for most mums.
It’s an absolute all-rounder and scored highly across the board. What is particularly special about this bra is the excellent support, comfort and shape it offers.
Verdict in 10 seconds
- Seam-free, wire-free and non-padded making it really comfy
- Adjustable to suit changes in breast size, with good breast support
- Made from a soft, breathable material
- Isn’t visible under clothing and actually accentuates the waist (hurrah!)
- Great for feeding – the material is also thick enough to absorb small milk leakages
The Emma-Jane Mia is a nursing bra so can be used from pregnancy and beyond, and is adjustable for inevitable changes in breast size. While it may look a little plain, this bra really does the job for its bargain price tag.
- Flexible sizing for changes in breast size
- Breathable and soft material to stop overheating and protect sensitive nipples
- Good coverage of the breast – no side boob or bra showing through the armhole
- Thin bra straps and low cut, so suitable to wear with tank tops or dresses
- Good yoga bra
- Not padded, so no cold nipple defence
- Only suitable for 32-38 B-F cups
How real-life comparative testing makes Mumsnet Reviews unique
In our mission to find high-quality bras suitable for the majority of mums, we trawled the Mumsnet forums to found out which products real parents were rating – including some of the very newest products around.
We correlated this research with expert recommendations from midwives and health visitors to produce a shortlist of 15 products to put to the test.
We recruited a number of testers with a range of shapes and bust sizes to test the bras over a two-month period.
At Mumsnet, we believe that one expert should test every product in the running (consistent scoring and like-for-like comparisons are crucial), so one tester tried all the products.
The bras were worn during light exercise (which included the likes of pregnancy yoga classes), for sleeping and nursing, and with virtually every outfit in our testers' wardrobes.
Each bra was tested for style (overall look and shape), comfort and support, washability, price and how good it looked under clothes. The five best bras were then awarded a Mumsnet Best Badge.
How we tested maternity and nursing bras
Our testing included both daytime wear and use overnight while sleeping. We tested for:
Overall look and shape
- Each bra was assessed for style and shape
- We looked at coverage, strap thickness, and whether it could be used with different outfits, looking out for bras that weren't visible under clothing and that lent themselves to all kinds of outfits (not just long-sleeved polo necks)
Comfort and support
- We looked at straps, wiring (if any), elasticated lining, padding and material – was the material soft and breathable and would it stand the test of time as any good maternity or nursing bra should?
- We also looked at whether they adjusted to suit breast size changes during pregnancy
- If they were nursing bras, we looked at whether they were suitable for (and provided some discretion when) breastfeeding
- If they needed to be used at the gym or in a yoga class, did they provide enough support?
- Each bra was washed and dried multiple times to see if it kept both its shape and colour
- We noted specific washing instructions and if the label said the bra wasn’t suitable for tumble-drying or a hotter wash, then we did it anyway
- We also had to take into consideration price and availability
- How affordable was the bra and was it available to buy in the UK?
All prices on this page correct at time of writingRead full review » Buy now
Best Pregnancy Bra 2018
M&S Louisa Lace Bralet
Verdict in 10 seconds
- Not sold as a maternity bra, but is still a great option during pregnancy
- Elegant and attractive as well as comfortable
- Well priced at only £9.50 – retailing at less than any leading maternity and nursing bra on the market
We found that a lot of women opt to continue using regular bras during the pregnancy journey, so we made sure to include these in our testing.
One that came out top was the Louisa Lace Bralet (£9.50 from M&S) for its comfortable fit and affordable price tag.
- Available in multiple colours with matching briefs
- Stretchy material
- Non-wired and non-padded
- Mesh inner lining is soft on delicate areas
- Supportive but not tight in any areas – thick chest band prevents any pinching
- Comes in sizes 8-18 (dress size rather than bra size though)
- Low cut V-neck shape – suitable for low-cut tops
- Chest band not adjustable
- No breastfeeding clips
- Not leak-absorbent
- Only goes up to cup size E
- Fitting is definitely required to get the right size
While the Louisa Lace doesn't offer the support that a proper pregnancy bra would, it's ideal for day-time use and will make you feel good at the same time too.Read more »
Best Breastfeeding Bra 2018
Mumba Maya Freedom Bra
Verdict in 10 seconds
- Has been specifically designed with breastfeeding in mind – from the soft fabric to the feeding clips
- The most leak-absorbent bra we've come across
- A little plain, but what it lacks in aesthetics it more than makes up for in comfort
The double-layered seamless fabric and elasticity of the Mumba Maya Freedom Bra (£29 from Mumba Bra) makes it very unlikely to pinch or irritate.
The adjustable chest band is also well padded and feels gentle on your back.
- Soft materials suitable for sensitive or irritated skin
- Feeding clips that remind you which side you are feeding on – helps to avoid engorgement
- Four-way stretchy fabric accommodates body changes as well as breastfeeding
- Thin, adjustable chest strap
- Available in three colours: white, purple and black
- V-neck design
- Discretion panel for coverage while feeding
- Comfy to sleep in
- Optional padded cup inserts that work as breast pads and offer support
- Feeding clips are quite bulky and can be seen when wearing a strappy top
- Not as supportive as some if the bras we tested
- Plain in style
If you choose to breastfeed, it can help to have a nursing bra that makes feeding as easy as possible. It's here that the Mumba Maya Freedom really comes into its own.Read more »
Best Bra for Non-Wired Support 2018
Hot Milk Show Off Luxe
Verdict in 10 seconds
- A snug and secure fit, which is the payoff for great support and lift
- Provides a lovely silhouette, even among plus-size wearers
- Offers unquestionable support for all women from A-H cup sizes
It's not too much to ask to get great support and style in a maternity bra. As a non-wired beautifully-designed nylon silk bra, the Hot Milk Show Off Luxe (£40 from Amazon) does just that.
The soft fabric lining stops the bra from pinching or squishing and it's also fitted with simple feeding clips and a discretion panel along the neckline so you have some coverage when the drop cup is down.
- Elasticated across the top of the cup to allow for breast growth
- Non-wired soft cup
- Beautiful design, using luxury fabrics
- Suitable for larger bust sizes (A-H)
- Soft high-quality feel
- Extra hooks for adjustable chest band
- Back strap is quite thick
- Not seamless, so could irritate your nipples
- Comes up high under the arm and is visible in some tops
This is the most expensive bra we are recommending, but it’s consciously done (honest). While it's true that price is not always indicative of worth, this bra is definitely worth those extra pennies.Read more »
Best for Style 2018
Hot Milk Temptation
Verdict in 10 seconds
- Designed to grow with the wearer
- The most stylish bra we tested
- At the premium end of the market but it offers support and looks nice too
If you're after a bit of luxury and a boost in what can be a trying time, a beautiful bra might be just the ticket.
With its chic lace overlay, the Hot Milk Temptation (£43 from Bravissimo) certainly looks great. It is both supportive and comfortable due to its flexi-wire and elasticated lining, and it's also non-padded.
- A-H cup sizes
- Flexi-wired – designed to support your bust and not dig into skin
- Thin, soft material – 100% cotton lining is gentle on your nipples if they are tender
- Fitted with feeding clips that can be used one-handed
- Back has an extra hook to accommodate your changing body
- Measuring and sizing guide online, so no need to go into a store
- Matching briefs available
- The neckline is a bit high, but is still suitable for low-cut tops
- Some lace detail can be seen if you are wearing a strappy top
The Hot Milk Temptation is ideal for all the changes your breasts will go through on your maternity journey. The fact that it looks good too is, frankly, a big bonus.Read more »
How we test
We've put hundreds of products through our exhaustive testing process to produce reviews that are accurate, honest and trustworthy. Here's what we did to test maternity and nursing bras to find the best of the best.Read more »