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Do you wear a nursing bra with a nursing tank?

Are you confused with whether you should wear a bra with your nursing tank? Some tanks are pretty tight. Would a bra even fit underneath? Do you even need a nursing bra if you are already wearing a nursing tank? This article answers all these questions and more.

You will need to wear a nursing bra with your nursing tank if you are wearing a tank without a built-in bra. Other reaons to wear a bra underneath your nursing tank are if you need more suppport and coverage or you want to pump breast milk.

Which nursing tanks do you need to wear a bra with?

You’ll need to wear a bra if you’re wearing a loose nursing tank with pull-up flaps or side flaps.

Like this one:

Ekouaer Nursing Maternity Top Pregnant Breastfeeding Shirt Women's Cotton Round Neck Ruched Waist Double Layered Summer Tank Black M

Check it out on Amazon

These tanks don’t come with built-in bras and don’t offer any breast support at all.

If you are wearing a nursing tank with a built-in shelf bra, you might not need to wear a bra underneath.

Like this one:Cake Maternity Ice Cream Nursing Tank Top, Nursing Tops for Women Breastfeeding with Built in Bra (for US B-E Cups), Grey, X-Large

Check it out on Amazon

You’ll find that most nursing camis come with built-in shelf bras. These tank bras function as a nursing bra as well, providing light support.

Check out my review of the best nursing tanks with built-in bras.

Unfortunately, your larger and heavier milk-laden breasts will need more support when you’re up and about. Unless you have small breasts, you probably need to wear a separate nursing bra underneath the tank bra just to make sure your breasts are adequately supported.

However, if you are wearing a nursing bra with built-in bra for sleep, you’ll be just fine without a bra underneath. The support it provides is enough when you’re not working against gravity. The light padding is enough to absorb any nocturnal milk leaks and protect your bed sheets.

This Motherhood Maternity nursing tank is made of breathable cotton, great for warmer nights:

Motherhood Maternity Women's Maternity Clip Down Nursing Tank Top Cami, Black, MediumCheck it out on Amazon

Read Nursing Bra vs Nursing Tank: What to wear when?

Why wear a bra with your nursing tank?

More breast support

If you have large breasts, you will definitely need to wear a bra with your nursing tank, even if it has a built-in bra. Without adequate support, you will run into troubles with shoulder and back pain as well as increase your risk of saggy breasts after breastfeeding.

Check out my reviews of the best nursing tanks for moms with large breasts.

Better breast coverage

A nursing cami with clip-down cups is convenient and offers great coverage for breastfeeding in public. However, this coverage is all below the breasts. If you wear a nursing bra with an A-frame sling, it provides a bit more modesty when you drop-down your bra cups in public.

This is a nursing bra with A-frame:

Cake Maternity Croissant Soft Wire Nursing Bra for Breastfeeding, Full Cup Flexi Wire Supportive Maternity Bra, 34FF UK/ 34H US, NudeCheck it out on Amazon

Prevent uni-boob

Nursing bras with molded cups will give you a better sillhoute under your tank. it prevents the uni-boob look that can often happen with nursing tanks, and gives your breasts better shape.

For hands-free pumping

There are pumping tanks on the market. However, if you have a regular nursing tank and plan to pump on the day, wearing a hands-free pumping bra underneath will take the stress out of pumping.

What are the best bras to wear with nursing tanks?

If you are going to wear a bra with your nursing tank top, you’ll want the right one. Nursing bras are the better option because they are made just for breastfeeding and offer more support than a regular bra.

But there are so many types of nursing bras to choose from. Which one will work best with nursing tanks?

These are the features to look out for when choosing the best nursing bras to wear with your nursing tanks:

Drop-down cups

Clip-down cups involves less manouvering underneath your nursing tank when it comes time to breastfeed. The way most nursing tank flaps are positioned, it’s easier to reach inside the flap to clip-down a cup rather than pull aside another flap.

The Kindred Bravely Simply Sublime Nursing Bra is one of the best nursing bras with drop-down cups:

Kindred Bravely Simply Sublime Seamless Nursing Bra for Breastfeeding | Wireless Maternity Bra (Grey, Large)Check it out on Amazon

Thin material

Especially if you’re wearing a nursing tank with a built-in bra, you don’t want another bulky bra underneath. Look for nursing bras that are made of thin but strong fabric.

The Motherhood Maternity Nursing Bra is light, seamless and almost invisble under tops.

Motherhood Maternity Women's Maternity Seamless Clip Down Nursing Bra, Black, MediumCheck it out on Amazon


Since you’re wearing at least 2 layers, you’ll want a nursing bra made of breathable material to prevent sweating. Especially in warm humid weather, nursing bras made of natural material like cotton and bamboo are the way to go.

This is my favorite bamboo nursing bra. I’m done with breastfeeding and still wearing it:

Cake Maternity Tutti Frutti Bamboo Wire Free Nursing Bra for Breastfeeding, Wireless Maternity Bra (for B-E Cups), Rust, X-LargeCheck it out on Amazon

You might also want to read my reviews on the best cotton nursing tanks on Amazon.

Combined nursing and pumping bras

If you intend to pump when you’re out, wear a pumping bra that functions as a nursing bra as well. This will allow you to wear it all day without the need to change in and out of different bras.

Another favorite that I still wear, the Lotus Pumping Bra is a nursing bra, pumping bra and sports bra all rolled into one:

Cake Maternity Lotus Pumping Bra Hands Free, Maternity Sports Bra, Large, Tie-dyeCheck it out on Amazon

Check out my review of the best hands-free pumping bras you can wear all day.

A-frame nursing bras

These bras offer the best coverage for breastfeeding in public. They are exactly like nursing bras with side slings but have an A-frame to better support your breasts when the cup is down. They also arch across the upper part of your breasts, giving you that little bit more coverage from prying eyes.

The Cake Maternity Croissant Nursing Bra is buttery soft and supportive, especially for large breasts:

Cake Maternity Croissant Soft Wire Nursing Bra for Breastfeeding, Full Cup Flexi Wire Supportive Maternity Bra, 38E UK/ 38F US, MauveCheck it out on Amazon

For more A-frame nursing bra reviews, read this article.

To wrap up

Wearing nursing bras under nursing tanks are helpful for breastfeeding moms with, or without, large breasts. They are especially important if you are wearing nursing tanks without a built-in bra or intend to pump.

You might also be interested in reading my nursing tank guide. Among other things, it goes into detail about what you should look out for when buying a nursing tank.

Sharon James

4 thoughts on “Do you wear a nursing bra with a nursing tank?”

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