The best nursing sports bras for getting back to workouts

The best nursing sports bras for getting back to workouts

by Kat de Naoum |
Updated on

During pregnancy and nursing, the best nursing sports bra will help to prevent any sagging, in addition to stopping your super-sensitive chest from hurting during exercise, so you can get fit whilst preventing damage to your breasts.

If you’ve decided to get back on the workout wagon or up the ante now that you’re able to, a reliable sports bra that doubles up as a nursing bra becomes extra essential during these months and is perfect for holding everything in place. Especially as breasts during this time seem to take on a life of their own!

The best nursing sports bras at a glance:

• Best for intensity: Syrokan High Impact Front Adjustable Sports Bra - Buy now on Amazon UK

• Best for comfort: Natal Active Artemis Maternity and Nursing Sports Bra - Buy now on John Lewis

• Best for style: MAMA Seamless nursing sports bra - Buy now on H&M

Best for transitioning: Kindred Bravely Sublime Support Nursing Maternity Sports Bra - Buy now on Amazon UK

Some varieties are similar to breast pump bras and have removable cups, which are perfect for when you want more support but also need to get the baby to latch on quickly if they're hungry, so you don't have to get changed before feeding them. Others also have an elasticated band and adjustable straps that will comfortably adapt to your body as your chest grows and changes.

With so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to try and find the right sports bra for nursing fit for you, so we've compiled a list of some of our favourite brands which have both petite and plus sizes for you to peruse.

Best nursing sports bras 2023

Best for style

With a super trendy design, this H&M sports bra is available in multiple colours and can be used as a top for going out in when you're with your little one. It's double-layered and has minimal seams to ensure maximum comfort. Plus, there's space for breast pads!

One happy reviewer said: "I ordered this at 8 months pregnant. It's really comfortable now and will also be very handy for feeding postpartum. I find the sizing a bit unpredictable in H&M nursing clothes, but in this case I ordered my usual size and it is perfect, with room for when my milk comes in."

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Cute cropped design

Cons

  • More suited to walk or low intensity, rather than high impact
Material:Polyamide, elastane

Best for reliability

With its moisture-wicking, fast-drying fabric, this nursing sports bra from top sports apparel brand Reebok is great for staying dry, comfortable, and supported during sweaty workouts. It’s non-wired, has removable pads, adjustable straps, and easy-release clips for breastfeeding mums.

Pros

  • Padding is easy to remove
  • Non-wired comfort

Cons

  • Don't wash with fabric softener
Material:Recycled nylon, elastane

Best for intensity

If you find bra clips fiddly, the clever hook and eye Velcro tying straps of this moulded-cup bra from Amazon make feeding the baby super easy. It’s available in an impressive selection of 19 colours in sizes 32B to 42E.

One happy reviewer wrote: “The Velcro straps are so easy to open and you can adjust them throughout the day depending on how much little one nurses.”

Pros

  • Secure keyhole closure
  • Wide straps help to distribute weight evenly

Cons

  • Some users mention that it's not the quickest to put on
Material:Polyamide, lycra, polyester

Best for comfort

Natal Active are a brand focused on making maternity activewear comfortable. Not only will this brand see you through your pregnancy, but also post-birth with their nursing bras. Thankfully, they're also stocked at John Lewis too where you can get your hands on this brilliant brand.

This reviewer claimed: "Such a comfortable sports bra, love that it is adjustable with the extenders during pregnancy and will be amazing for nursing post-birth. The calculator was completely spot on. I bought a medium based on my measurements, which allowed for me being in my 2nd trimester. Love the colours and so far they’ve washed really well."

Pros

  • Machine washable
  • Bright colour

Cons

  • Doesn't include a cup size
Material:polyester, elastane

Best for transitioning

For more low-impact sports like walking, yoga, Pilates, or mat-work and stretching, this highly-rated maternity bra from Kindred Bravely on Amazon is just the ticket. It’s super soft, yet supportive, and has a comfortable elastic chest band and clip-down cups so you’re ready to provide a meal when baby needs it.

One reviewer wrote: "Bra fits as expected and has nice support. Easy to nurse in and works with tank tops."

Pros

  • Non-restrictive elasticated band
  • Simple pull-on style

Cons

  • Some report that it runs small
Material:Nylon, polyester, spandex

Best for breathability

Keep it simple with this high-quality sports bra made for use during pregnancy and nursing. The breathable material allows any sweat to evaporate quickly and the plunge back is brilliant at helping to keep your skin cool whilst you move your body.

One reviewer said: "I was blown away by the Nike Alate Sports Bra! This bra definitely met my needs during high-intensity training sessions. It offers superior support thanks to its compression fit. The bra holds everything in place, so I can focus on your workout without any distractions. Additionally, the bra is made with moisture-wicking fabric that is comfortable and kept me dry even during long hard workouts. Definitely recommend to all women!"

Pros

  • Super soft brushed fabric
  • Special mesh inner panel

Cons

  • Not ideal for high intensity workouts
Material:Recycled polyester

Best for keeping cool

nursing-sports-bra
Price: £17.99

www2.hm.com

Good old trusty H&M has this awesome and stylish nursing sports bra with many great features, such as a quick-drying fabric, a breathable mesh racerback, a wide elastic hem, and clip-on cups for feeds that can also accommodate nursing pads. It’s available in this lovely heather purple or plain black and is great value for money.

A reviewer said: "One happy reviewer wrote: "Brilliant product, there are no nursing sports bras at all out there so I'm amazed to find this one. Great support, and I also tried with star jumps! I am quite big up top and currently plus size 16-18, I got size XL and do recommend measuring your bust first."

Pros

  • Cooling racerbrack
  • Can be ironed

Cons

  • Not suitable for dry cleaning
Material:Polyester, elastane and polyamide elastane mesh

Best for easy access

A simple nursing bra with high performance, breathable fabric that will see you throughout your pregnancy and afterwards. Post-pregnancy after baby is born, simple drop-cup clips provide quick and easy nursing access.

Pros

  • Great for yoga or the gym
  • Breathable mesh

Cons

  • No varying colour options
Material:Nylon, Lycra elastane and polyester, nylon and elastane mesh

Best for versatility

Don’t let the underwire in this Hotmilk nursing sports bra worry you; it’s super flexible and all you will feel is supported. Designed for larger bosoms (up to 38H), it’s made from firm-fitting nylon and the straps can be crossed at the back for extra comfort.

One reviewer claimed: "The only nursing sports bra I could find in my niche size (30FF) that works. I’ve had it for a year and ran in it and CrossFit etc. measured myself using the abrathatfits.org calculated and sizing was spot on."

Pros

  • Adjustable straps
  • Flexi-wires are very thin

Cons

  • Straps may loosen over time
Material:Elastane and nylon

Best for longevity

Brand Lorna Jane has a tonne of maternity activewear, from maternity bike shorts to feeding tops, they're a brand that values comfort while also being stylish too. Quick-drying fabric and adjustable straps make this bra a great choice of activewear.

A reviewer commented: "So much more supportive than I expected! Bra is great for any kind of workout. I’d love it even if I wasn’t breastfeeding!"

Pros

  • Straps are nice and thin
  • Wide coverage

Cons

  • Perhaps not the most the most stylish of choices
Material:Polyester and elastane

Why choose a supportive nursing sports bra?

Breasts are composed of fatty tissue supported by skin and fragile ligaments, which can become stretched during repetitive or high impact sport.

This happens even more so when the breasts are bigger or swollen during those body-changing pregnancy and post-partum months, so just like you need to buy a maternity bra, you also need one specifically for exercise too.

The best nursing sports bras will help reduce movement, giving you a comfier, more supported workout while also protecting the chest.

How to choose the best sports bra

Victoria Shelton, a garment technologist from Figleaves.com, tells us, “Your sports bra should be a snug fit. Once you’ve got the bra on, stand in front of the mirror and move your arms around,” she advises.

“Your bra shouldn’t move or lift. Next, try jogging and jumping on the spot. Your breasts should be fully encased with no movement. If they are spilling out the neckline or underarm, try a bigger cup size.

Sports bras are designed to fit snugly and to provide firm support so will feel tighter than a normal bra, but they shouldn’t feel restrictive or rub.”

Kat De Naoum is a freelance writer based in the UK and Greece. She has written for many publications, and, as an advocate for female empowerment, loves to write about women’s issues, and helping fellow mothers feel supported and less alone.

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