the best pumping bras for work

The best pumping bras for work

Going back to work for the first time when my baby was 4 months old was a bitter sweet experience. On one hand, I felt like I have been let out of prison. On the other hand, I missed my daughter so much my heart ached. I wanted to continue breastfeeding but work was so busy that I wasn’t sure I would find the time.

This led me to 2 milk-saving finds:

  1. My beloved Spectra S1 pump
  2. The Kindred Bravely Sublime Hands Free Pumping Bra

I’ll tell you why I love the Sublime Pumping Bra and my thoughts on a few other options.

Best pumping bra for work: Kindred Bravely Sublime Hands Free Pumping Bra

Check it out on Amazon

Why I love my Sublime Pumping Bra:

  • it multi-tasks as a pumping bra and a nursing bra – I can breastfeed my baby right before running out the door without having to change bras
  • save precious time at work – there is no need to waste time on layering separate pumping bustiers or clip-on accessories. Just clip-down, insert your pump flanges and you’re good to go
  • holds my pump flanges in place securely, even when the bottles are full. This leaves me both hands to have lunch and catch up with paperwork.
  • I use it with my Spectra flanges (Sharon uses the Cake Maternity Lotus Pumping Bra and swears by it) but it also fits all standard pump flanges for major brands like Philips Avent, Medela, Willow, Lansinoh and Freemie.
  • It’s made of the softest fabric (84% nylon, 16% spandex) and is comfortable enough to wear all day (and at night if you want to)
  • It is wireless but the thick under-bust band and straps provide great support without the risk of blocked milk ducts
  • has an EasyClip system featuring 2 clips – one for the pumping layer and one for the nursing layer
  • has a thin layer or removable padding – this gives me protection from milk-leaks and nipple show-through. It also provides a smoother silhouette under my tops.
  • Fits sizes 30B to 44E
  • Comes in 3 colors: beige, black and pink heather

What’s not so great about it:

  • The cups sit quite high. On one hand, it provides great support for larger boobs but on the other hand, I can’t wear some of my lower cut tops
  • Can feel bulky due to double layers and full coverage. Again, this works well for busty moms but would overwhelm a smaller-chested mom (If you’re interested: Best nursing bras for small breasts)
  • The removable padding sometimes moves about and has to be repositioned

There’s no perfect nursing bra but the Kindred Bravely Sublime Pumping Bra suits me really well. Especially if you are a larger-busted mom, try it out.

If you are a smaller-chested mom, I agree with Sharon that the Cake Maternity Lotus Pumping Bra ticks lots of boxes.

Best work pumping bra for moms with small chests: Cake Maternity Lotus Pumping Bra

Check it out on Amazon 

Why we love the Lotus Pumping Bra:

  • It’s a 3-in-1 nursing bra: You can use it as a ‘regular’ nursing bra to breastfeed, a hands-free pumping bra, and a yoga bra.
  • The double-layered cup design wraps around your pump flanges tightly and holds your shield and bottles in place even towards the end of pumping when the bottles are full of milk.
  • You save time when pumping since there is no need for separate accessories.
  •  The Lotus Pumping Bra comes in sizes XS – XL which caters to moms from bra size 30A onwards.
  • Unlike other pumping bras, you can breastfeed in it as well. All you do is pull the cup flap aside and loop it behind your boob.
  • The double-layered racerback design provides superior support. You shouldn’t use this bra for high-impact exercises (use these sports bras instead) but for any other activity, the Lotus Pumping Bra offers excellent support.
  • It is amazingly comfy. The Lotus Bra is made of soft, stretchy fabric (95% nylon/5% elastane) and is seam free and wireless.
  • The stretchy fabric also means it it flexible and stretches to accommodate fluctuations in your breast size.
  • You can wash it in your washing machine.
  • The bra is compatible with most pump brands – Spectra, Medela, Tommy Tippee, Avent, Pigeon, NUK, Minbee and Chicco.
  • It comes in 5 cool colours

What’s not so great about it:

  • The racerback sports bra design makes it hard to wear some tops like camis, spaghetti straps or tops with boat necks without showing a lot of bra.
  • It is unpadded so you will need to insert a removable breast pad to protect from milk leaks and nipple show-through, especially if wearing a tight top

For more options for moms with small breasts, read Sharon’s article on the best pumping bras for moms with small chests.

I’m a busty mom and I think the Kindred Bravely Sublime Pumping Bra is the best bra for moms with large boobs. But for a budget option, check out the Momcozy Pumping Bra.

Best work pumping bra for moms with large boobs: Momcozy Pumping and Nursing Bra

Check it out on Amazon

Why we love the Momcozy Pumping Bra:

  • It fits moms with bra sizes up to 40F/42G
  • It can be used as a hands-free pumping bra and a nursing bra
  • It uses an ‘X’ structure to hold your bottles and shield in place securely
  • It’s made of soft and breathable material (say good bye to boob sweat!)
  • You can wear the bra all day long
  • It has adjustable shoulder straps and comes with extra expanders for better fit and support
  • You save time during pumping as there is no need for separate accessories
  • The bra is compatible with most pump brands: Spectra, Lansinoh, Philips Avent, Evenflo etc.
  • You can convert the bra into a racerback (cross style) design or wear as a standard bra.
  • Affordably priced for better value-for-money

What’s not so great about it:

  • The fabric is thinner than the Kindred Bravely Sublime Pumping Bra and therefore less supportive
  • It’s a soft bra and lacks structure so it doesn’t look too shapely under tight tops or t-shirts

If you’re looking for a pretty pumping bra for work, the Dairy Fairy Ayla Pumping Bra is the prettiest one I’ve seen:

Prettiest work pumping bra: Dairy Fairy Ayla Pumping Bra

Check it out on Amazon

Why we love the Ayla Pumping Bra:

  • The delicate lace is so pretty! I would be happy to have this bra peek out.
  • It multi-tasks as a nursing bra as well
  • You save time during pumping as there is no need for separate accessories
  • It has hidden flange openings
  • It’s designed to be worn throughout the day
  • It’s one of the only pumping bras with a flexi-wire. The bra features a demi-underwire (half cup) to provide support and lift while preventing clogged ducts
  • Fits moms with bra sizes 32A to 40G

What’s not so great about it:

  • The lace can be itchy on sensitive skin
  • Sizes run small so make sure you try it on before cutting the tags off

I’m not a fan of budget options as I really think what you pay for is what you get but I understand that sometimes money is tight. If you’re looking for a budget pumping bra, the HOFISH Pumping Bra is one of the cheapest and most well-rated budget option on Amazon:

Best budget work pumping bra: HOFISH 3-in-1 Pumping Bra

Check it out on Amazon

Why we love the HOFISH Pumping Bra:

  • It’s one of the cheapest pumping bras out there
  • It multi-tasks as a nursing bra as well
  • Made of super soft nylon/spandex material and comfortable enough to wear all day
  • Comes with extra back extenders and adjustable straps for a better fit
  • Compatible with most breast pump flanges

What’s not so great about it:

  • Not supportive (or even large enough) enough for large busts
  •  Fabric pills and stretches with repeated washes

Looking for more combined nursing and pumping bra options? Read about the 7 best all-in-one nursing and pumping bras on Amazon.

By the time you go back to work, most moms would have a few go-to nursing bras in their wardrobes. If you want to make full use of your nursing bras, these are the best accessories to go with them:

Best pumping bustier for work: Simple Wishes Signature Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Check it out on Amazon

Why we love the Signature Pumping Bra:

  • Easily slipped on over your nursing bra
  • Fully adjustable 10 inch Velcro back panel
  • Zip-in center panel in the front allows for 1 inch of side-to-side movement for proper positioning of breast pump flanges.
  • 4-way layering support keeps tight seal of breast shields
  • Machine washable
  • Fits all standard pump flanges from major brands – Medela, Spectra, Philips Avent etc.

What’s not so great about it:

  • The velcro wears off over time
  • Can unravel at seams with repeated use

Best nursing bra clip-on for pumping at work: BRAVADO! Designs Hands-free Nursing Bra Accessory

Check it out on Amazon

Why we love the BRAVADO! Designs Nursing Bra Clip-on:

  • Has figure of 8 openings to hold pumping shields tightly and allows you to use it with non-detachable flanges like Spectra shields
  • Securely attaches to any nursing bra with ‘B’ clips so there is no need to remove your bra or top
  • Allows you to breastfeed and pump at the same time
  • Comes in a large range of sizes (30A-46F) and 4 colors
  • Mom’s Choice Award winner for being convenient, easy and discrete
  • More affordable than buying a separate pumping bra

What’s not so great about it:

  • It’s an extra few steps in your pumping session when you’re already rushing for time
  • Sizes run small so measure yourself with your nursing bra on

Other questions you might have:

How does a pumping bra work?

Pumping bras look like just nursing bras except it has openings to securely hold your breast pump shields in place so that you can have your hands-free to multi-task. Some pumping bras are purely pumping bras while others function as both a pumping bra and a nursing bra – allowing you to fold your cups down for breastfeeding when you want to.

Do I really need a pumping bra for work?

No you don’t. On occasion I double pump with a regular nursing bra. It is entirely possible to hold both pump shields in place with one hand (one shield in the crook of your arm and one in your hand) while multi-tasking with the other hand. However, as you can imagine, it is a lot more secure and convenient to use a pumping bra to pump.

How to choose a pumping bra?

  • Make sure it is made of comfortable material – especially if you intend to wear it throughout the day
  • Look for a convenient option – my favorite are pumping bras that double up as nursing bras. This way you can wear it throughout the day and there is no need for separate accessories when pumping
  • Make sure it works with your pump flanges. This is especially important if you have non-detachable shields (like Spectra shields). Read about the best pumping bra for Spectra.
  • Look for a good fit. Pumping bras should fit snugly (not tightly) to provide good support and hold your shields securely.

Further reading: How to choose the right nursing bra for you

Can I wear a pumping bra all day?

Yes you can. Especially if you buy a good quality nursing-and-pumping bra. This is where it’s worth spending a bit more for a better pumping bra. Some of the budget options are too uncomfortable to wear for any length of time.

How many pumping bras do I need?

If you are working more than a few days a week, I recommend buying at least 2 – one to use and one to wash. However, if you are working casually, one good pumping bra will do.

For more info, read: How many nursing bras do you need? Also read When to start wearing nursing bras (and why).

Further reading: The best sleep pumping bras on Amazon

To wrap up

I admit I was feeling a bit cheap about buying a pumping bra since I already had a few nursing bras I loved. But after going hands-free with the Kindred Bravely Sublime Hands Free Pumping Bra, it was worth every cent.

Want to know how I pumped more milk with my Spectra? Read this article.

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6 thoughts on “The best pumping bras for work”

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