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How do I Choose the Best Breastfeeding Top?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 17, 2024
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Choosing the best breastfeeding top is made much easier if you pick one with a built-in nursing bra. This way, you won't have to make sure you have a bra that fits the hidden openings in the nursing shirt or top. Consider the amount of coverage you want when choosing a breastfeeding top, as not all of them cover the entire breast during nursing. Using a baby receiving blanket to cover the area when out in public may solve the problem though. The best nursing top for you will also depend on how dressy you need it to be as well as your preferred clothing style.

Many nursing tops today are in modern styles with flattering shapes and completely invisible breastfeeding openings. If you don't want to fuss with snaps or clips at each shoulder, the stretchy type of breastfeeding top in which a form-fitting flap of fabric at the bust can be raised up, may be a better option. Jersey or pima cotton nursing tops are an excellent choice since they are soft for both you and your baby. It's important to choose a top without scratchy fabric or buttons.

Looser T-shirt style breastfeeding tops almost look like a short shirt with a longer section under it since the fabric flap covering the nursing openings is looser and larger. This style may have short or long sleeves and is much more casual than the stretchier versions. The flap on these nursing T-shirts lifts up in the same way as the form-fitting tops, just without stretch. Dressier types of breastfeeding tops with a crossover neckline feature an elastic edging which allows the shirt neck to be stretched for nursing, then put back into place again.

If you don't mind undoing a shoulder clip or snap to bring down the fabric for nursing, this type of top, which is usually sleeveless, can be extremely versatile. Either with thin straps or just a sleeveless shape, a camisole or tank style of breastfeeding top can be worn in warm weather as is or under blouses, sweaters or jackets in cooler seasons. This type of nursing clothing also makes a great sleepwear or loungewear top. A plain black tank style of nursing top can also be dressed up to wear with evening pants or a skirt.

Another advantage of the shoulder clip styles of nursing clothing is that you can wear any type of breastfeeding bra without having to exactly match any openings. A disadvantage is that this style of breastfeeding top usually bares a lot of skin, but a baby blanket can help cover this in public. Buying at least a couple breastfeeding tops with built-in bras, in addition to shirts in which you wear your own bra, can help you decide which style you like best.

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