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how to use nursing bra

When it comes to post-pregnancy life, your nursing bras are possibly the most prized items in your wardrobe — and with good reason. These handy little undergarments can make breastfeeding much more comfortable as well as convenient. So naturally, you’ll want to take good care of these bras to preserve their longevity. Moreover, properly caring for your nursing bras ensures that they maintain their shape in addition to the optimal level of support.

Washing your nursing bras requires some special considerations. In this guide, we’ve outlined some must-know tips for keeping these pieces in tip-top shape.


First thing’s first: Always wash your nursing bras with like colors to avoid having any dye transferring and staining them.

To prevent the straps or other elements of the nursing bra from getting tangled or twisted up, make sure to close all clasps and hook-and-eyes before washing.

Always use a gentle detergent — ideally one specifically designed for lingerie. Most commercial detergents are too harsh on bras (remember: they’re formulated to clean bulky items like towels and bedding) and can wreak a lot of havoc on the delicate fabrics as well as damage the elasticity (which plays a key role in the bra’s support level).


As with your regular bras, it’s advisable to hand wash your nursing bras. This is especially important with your nursing bras, however, as they have extra features (such as clasps and drop-down flaps) that could easily get damaged in a machine. If you do opt to use a machine, make sure to choose a delicate cycle and place your bras inside a lingerie bag or small mesh laundry bag to protect them from getting tangled with one another or other items you’re washing.

Choose cool water, as hot water can cause shrinkage or fading and wear down the fabric of the bra faster, shortening its lifespan. Plus, cool water is more effective at breaking down the fat and protein in milk, so it’s better at warding off stains from settling into your bra. Don’t use bleach (or at the very least, only use non-chlorine bleach), as it can destroy the elasticity of the bra’s fabric.

Related: When To Buy Nursing Bras


While it may be tempting, don’t toss your nursing bras in the dryer — this could affect the fit, causing them to become misshapen. Not to mention, the extreme heat of a drying machine is too harsh for the delicate fabrics these bras are made out of. And if your nursing bras have underwire, it can easily become bent out of shape due to the heat and agitation of a dryer. Instead, lay your nursing bras flat to dry. You can lay them on top of a towel to absorb excess moisture, or over a drying rack. If you choose to dry them on a hanger, be sure to hang them by the center gore as opposed to the straps (which can stretch them out).

Final tips

Rotating your nursing bras will allow them to last much longer, so try to have several in your arsenal and avoid wearing the same one two days in a row.

As a general rule, nursing bras will last you four to six months. However, if you find that your nursing bras aren’t offering sufficient support anymore (or are otherwise ill-fitting), don’t hesitate to replace them before this timeline.

While it may seem like a lot of effort to wash your nursing bras, trust us: it’s well worth it. Taking the time to properly cleanse and dry them means you’ll be able to get far more use out of them. And given that quality nursing bras are an investment, you’ll definitely want to extend their lifespan as long as possible!

Related: How To Buy The Right Nursing Bra Size

We Highly Recommend

Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit well and feel good, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.

Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.

If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.

Happy bra shopping!

Featured image lingerie:
Leila Nursing Bra NB502 in Black
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Published by

Rebecca Strong

Rebecca is a Boston-based freelance writer who focuses on style, fitness, food, and travel. She has contributed to such publications as HuffPost, Elite Daily and U.S. News & World Report. When she's not writing, she can be found at home or in the studio working on the songs for her upcoming album. Her favorite bra is a black demi-cup style with all-over-lace — timeless and feminine.

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