Nursing Bra vs Nursing Tank – What to wear when?

There is a lot of confusion surrounding what best to wear when breastfeeding.

What bra do you use? What tops do you wear? What’s the best way to breastfeed in public without exposing too much skin?

I’ll break down the differences between nursing bras and nursing tanks and help you decide what to wear when.

In a nutshell

Nursing tanks are great for breastfeeding in public but nursing bras provide much better boob support.

What is a nursing bra?

A nursing bra is a specially designed bra to allow moms easy access to their breasts while nursing. These bras either have drop-down cups or pull-aside flaps. While they are made with the breastfeeding mom in mind, you can also easily wear them as a maternity bra during pregnancy.

Check it out on Amazon

Read: Nursing Bra vs Maternity Bra: Are they the same?

What is a Nursing Tank?

A nursing tank looks exactly like a regular tank top but has features that make breastfeeding easier. Most nursing tanks either have drop-down cups similar to nursing bras, or pull-away flaps.

 Check it out on Amazon

Read: What Is A Nursing Tank And How to Choose the Best Nursing Tank for You?

What is the difference between a nursing bra and a nursing tank top?

Differences Nursing Bra Nursing Tank
Clothing type is a bra is a tank top or camisole
Post-partum tummy coverage Doesn’t cover tummy Covers tummy and sometimes even your bum
Support provides great support only provides gentle support
How to wear has to be worn with a top can be worn by itself

What are the similarities between a nursing bra and a nursing tank?

  • both provide easy breast access for nursing
  • both are made of stretchy and soft fabric
  • both are designed for comfort
  • both are usually wireless
  • some nursing tanks have built-in bras
  • both can be worn throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • actually, both can be worn even after breastfeeding is done as a regular bra or tank

Benefits and disadvantages of nursing bras


  • provide superior support for heavier breasts
  • great for keeping nursing pads in place
  • has hook and eye closures so you can adjust the bra to suit your changing body throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • bras with molded cups provide separation and give you a nice silhouette under tops
  • there is a wider range of sizes to suit the smallest breasts to the largest.
  • comes in a variety of styles to suit your needs – wireless, flexi-wired, nursing sports bras, pumping bras, and sleep bras

Check it out on Amazon


  • doesn’t cover your tummy
  • can’t be worn by itself (but you can if you want to)
  • most are made of synthetic material

Read: How does a nursing bra work?

Benefits and disadvantages of nursing tanks


  • can be worn by itself as a nursing top
  • you don’t need to wear a nursing bra when you wear a nursing tank with a built-in bra
  • cooler in summer
  • great for breastfeeding in public as you don’t have to pull your top up
  • some tanks even provide tummy-control for a slim look
  • comes in an amazing variety of styles and designs – form-fitting ones, empire waists, spaghetti straps etc.

 Check it out on Amazon


  • inadequate boob support, especially for moms with large breasts
  • stretch out a lot easier than nursing bras

Check out the best nursing tanks and camis on Amazon.

When to wear a nursing bra, nursing tank or both?

When to wear a nursing bra?

Some situations call for a nursing bra rather than a nursing tank:

  • moms with large breasts and those wanting more boob-support – nursing tanks (even those with built-in bras) just don’t cut it
  • during sports, even if you’re going for a slow walk. You need to stop the jiggle to prevent breast sagging later!

When to wear a nursing tank?

Nursing tanks are the better choice in these situations:

  • in hospital – nursing tanks with built-in bras are perfect for new moms. It provides gentle support while giving you some privacy when you breastfeed.
  • for sleep – why wear a bra when a light-weight sleep tank will do just as well?
  • if you have small breasts, you can probably get away with wearing a nursing tank and not worrying about back pain and saggy breasts.
  • for breastfeeding in public. This is wear a nursing tank shines. If you had a regular top on, you would have to pull it up or down while fiddling with the clasps of your nursing bra. No such issues with a nursing tank.
  • for lounging in summer – I’ve not lounged since my first child was born but hey, if you’re a lounging kinda’ mom, a nursing tank is more comfy to hang out in.

When to wear both a nursing bra and a nursing tank?

  • when you are wearing a nursing tank without a built-in bra, you’ll definitely need to wear a nursing bra underneath
  • at work – you’ll probably be pumping so wearing a pumping bra makes sense. You can wear regular tops but if you wear a nursing tank, you’ll be able to pump covered.
  • if you have large breasts or want more boob support, you can wear both a nursing bra and a nursing tank at the same time. Just keep in mind that you might need to fiddle with 2 sets of clasps each breastfeeding session.

To wrap up

Both nursing bras and nursing tanks are important to a breastfeeding mom. .Grab a few of each and you’ll be all set for a successful nursing journey.

Quick links:

4 thoughts on “Nursing Bra vs Nursing Tank – What to wear when?”

  1. Pingback: What Is A Nursing Tank And How to Choose the Best Nursing Tank for You? - The Sensual Mom

  2. Pingback: The 15 Best Nursing Tanks and Camis on Amazon

  3. Pingback: The Ultimate Nursing Bra Guide: Everything You Need To Know

  4. Pingback: The 5 best cotton nursing tanks for mom and baby

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *