Long ago, when I lived in Miami, tank tops were a huge part of my wardrobe. I had them in every color imaginable and in every style too. Even when it got slightly cooler out, I’d drape something over them, and voila! I was high-fashion.
Now that I’m in Northern California, I tend only to flaunt my tank tops when the weather warms up. I’m such a sucker for cold weather that I have to indulge in my full fall and winter wardrobe when possible.
The other day, I started cleaning out my closet, moving heavier clothing into my storage boxes, and moving lighter apparel in. And that’s when it hit me…you guys could do with a little support for nursing tank tops.
In China, I had a few of them sent to me from abroad, thanks to family. I can’t remember the brand, but these were great. I also used my regular tank tops when the nursing ones were in the wash, which was a little trickier, depending on what else I wore. I definitely preferred my breastfeeding tank tops. The subtleties are so simple, but a maternity tank top really is a must in your wardrobe as a breastfeeding mama. 😀
Why Do You Need Nursing Tank Tops?
You might wonder, “Leslie, why do I need a tank top for breastfeeding? Can’t I just use any tank top?” Well, yes, you could. But I think you should stock up on breastfeeding tanks while pregnant, in all honesty.
Here’s my quick list of reasons why:
- Your breasts! OMG, they get so tender during pregnancy, and they will really get engorged with milk soon enough. You will have much more room to grow and be comfortable yet stylish. Your regular tanks can’t do that.
- Built-in support! Most are nursing tank tops with built-in bras that give you coverage and support without making you feel constricted.
- It’s cooler! Trust me, when it’s hot outside, you’re going to be miserable when you have a nursing bra and a shirt on, plus the body heat of that sweet baby suckling away. A breastfeeding tank top is an easier and more comfortable solution.
- You can layer it too! In colder weather, it gives you easier access to the goods when you need to breastfeed or pump.
- They’re great for bed too! When you’re bleary-eyed in the middle of the night, you’ll thank the lucky stars you have a nursing tank top to use to give your baby those late-night feedings.
Different kinds of nursing tank tops
In addition to the incredible array of styles, colors, and fabrics, there are different styles of maternity tank tops.
Here is what you’ll usually see:
- Clip-down: With a clip-on strap, you simply undo it, and it folds down the top part for easy-access nursing. You’ll usually find a built-in bra in these. They’re great as the bottom layer for clothing.
- Pull-down: Most of these are V-neck or crossover in style. You simply pull down to let your baby get that milk. They’re typically more casual in style, which makes them an excellent choice for loungewear or sleeping.
- Double-layer: With these, a top layer can be pulled up while the bottom layer can be pulled down. It’s ideal for going out because you minimize how much skin you show when you nurse in public.
No matter which style you like best, you should look for the following features to have in the nursing top for the most comfort and ease when breastfeeding:
✓ Straps that adjust:
This gives you a better fit, which is something you definitely want. As your breasts grow and change, being able to adjust the straps will ensure you’re comfortable and supported.
✓ Bra built right in:
It’s silly to fuss with too many layers on a hot day in particular. This gives you an extra hit of support and coverage without more clothing.
The easier it is to care for, the better it is. You don’t want dry clean-only clothing right now, especially with how often your breasts will trickle out milk.
While this isn’t mandatory, you should see about pockets for nursing pads. If you’re going to wear your tank top as a bra, you don’t want any leaks making themselves known. I remember being out at the market with my husband and my eldest.
Another baby cried, and my breasts started leaking. Thankfully, I had a layer to protect me; otherwise, all of China would have pointed and gawked at the foreigner with leaky boobs.
11 Best Maternity Nursing Tank Tops Review
Anyway, now that you know why you need a nursing cami, we’re going in for 11 of the best I’ve found for 2023. Whether you need a tank top with built-in bra cups or a plus-size nursing tank, I’ve got the best nursing cami list to review right here.
Ekouaer Double Layer Maternity Shirt
Extra-long nursing tank stylish enough to wear even after breastfeeding!
When I saw this breastfeeding tank, I wanted one, and I’m not going for any more babies. Ekouaer makes this with a blend of rayon (95%) and spandex (5%), resulting in a really soft and breathable material. The colors and patterns are perfect for any occasion. I would have loved to wear this with my favorite maternity jeans.
Aside from style, though, it has you covered with its smart design. It has a double layer plus drop-down cups, so you can easily feed your baby or pump your milk anywhere without anyone noticing. It’s stretchy enough to keep you comfortable and covered from the beginning of your pregnancy all the way through to the last days of breastfeeding before weaning her. And likely, because it’s so fashionable and versatile, it will work its way into your regular wardrobe too.
You can machine-wash it too, something all mamas love, though do keep the water temperature from being too high. I always wash using cold water anyway to avoid any drama.
SUIEK Cami Breastfeeding Tank Top
Flowing style nursing cami with built-in bra covers all your bases!
Are you feeling a little self-conscious about your midsection? I was too, which is why I love this nursing cami by SUIEK. Fashioned from cotton (95%) and spandex (5%), it’s soft and airy with enough stretch to give you coverage. The cami design makes it loose at the waistline, concealing those areas still under construction postpartum.
I love racerback-style tank tops, but you might not get the support you need without a bra. This nursing cami has a built-in bra, so you won’t ever have to worry about that. Plus, it has an area to insert breast pads for added protection from leaks. The straps adjust, and you get one-hand nursing clasps on either side, which gives you fast access to dropping down the cups.
I have to admit that:
This style is so flattering with an empire waist, so it draws attention away from imperfections in your belly. I had something similar in China though it wasn’t a tank. But I loved that it totally hid my belly while I was working on getting back down to size. There are tons of colors and patterns to choose from, plus you can wear them for anything from going out and about to sleep. I would totally wear this everywhere, though!
HOFISH Breastfeeding Cami Trio
A nursing sleep tank that gives you easy access to breastfeeding while you’re on the night shift!
If you like to get more for less, HOFISH offers a trio of nursing tank tops in each order. They’re made of nylon (90%) and spandex (10%), which give you plenty of stretch and movement. Each side of the adjustable shoulder strap gives you an instant-release feeding clasp that you can undo with just one hand. The cups drop with ease, and you’ll be nursing easily too.
With this stretchy material, you’ll likely find these very comfortable even in the early stages of pregnancy. The cups are wire-free, and that is such a blessing. Even now, I hate underwire. I can’t tell you how many times it has come out the side and poked me. So there’s no worry about that with this clip-down nursing tank.
Another thing about these cups is that they’re triangle shaped to give you more room for growth as your body goes through all these changes. That’s nice because you’ll be normal one day, and the next day when that milk comes in, you’ll say, “Hello, Dolly!”
I’d definitely wear this for sleep though my only concern is that this trio of tank tops is dry-cleaned only. If you have a husband who regularly has his suits dry-cleaned, you could certainly toss this in with his stuff. But if you prefer something that doesn’t need such attention, I’d stick to machine-washable options.
Smallshow Short Sleeve Nursing Tops
Double-layer nursing top must-haves for your wardrobe!
Ok, these aren’t tank tops, but Smallshow’s short sleeve nursing tops definitely need recognition. Like the HOFISH set above, you get 3 of them, and they come in an array of basic colors that are very easy to accessorize and layer over.
What I love about this is that it has that double layer I discussed at the top. It’s a great style for wearing in public. When you meet your friends for lunch, you won’t worry that anyone will see a thing while nursing your sweet baby.
Yes, you have the right to breastfeed in public in all 50 states, but some of us are shyer than others. I always used a cover until someone sent me a shirt in this style. I loved it so much that my nursing cover stayed in the diaper bag when I wore it. I did not need to use it. Double-layer breastfeeding tops are so discreet.
These are made with a stretchy fabric to give you a comfortable fit that will serve you best after you have a baby. While it is machine washable, you should attend to stains at once so they don’t set; otherwise, the material will reveal them every time.
Bearsland Sleeveless Breastfeeding Clothes
This slimming nursing tank is one of the best for large breasts!
Can I just start by saying I love these? I found Bearsland’s trio of double-layer tank tops, and I knew I had to share them with you. These ruffles are so flattering, especially if your boobs are huge.
The material is made with rayon (93.1%) and spandex (6.9%) to give you a comfy yet stretchy and soft feeling when you wear it. These trios of nursing tanks are so impressive because the double layers allow you to lift them for easy breastfeeding, and because of the ruffles, no one will notice, so it’s perfectly discreet. Straps adjust so you can get the best fit.
They’re so fashionable in many colors and patterns you’ll love wearing them everywhere you go. While they don’t have a bra built-in, you can wear your own nursing bra or even a regular bra when you’re done breastfeeding because this style will stay true.
You can either hand wash it or use your washing machine. If it’s the latter, use cold water and put it in a lingerie bag to keep it looking good. It should be line-dried out of the sun regardless of how you wash it.
Leading Lady with Empire Waist and Lace Racerback
This flattering pull-down extra-long nursing tank puts style and comfort on your side!
With Leading Lady, you have lots of options to use this racerback cami for nursing. It does look more like something I’d sleep in, but it can be worn anywhere for expecting moms and busy nursing moms too. Made from cotton (95%) and spandex (5%), it provides a soft and cottony experience.
Each side features nursing clasps you can undo with one hand while the inner sling gives you comfort. Straps adjust to provide a custom fit, while the drop-down cups make breastfeeding or pumping a cinch as they lie flat against you without any obvious lumps. There’s also that pop of lace on the racerback style to make you feel sexy once again.
Leading Lady is a great option with wire-free support and a flattering empire waist if you’re looking for cotton tank tops with a built-in bra. On the downside, there aren’t as many colors to choose from as some of the other brands. It also recommends handwashing though there isn’t anything mentioned about how to dry it; wash carefully!
bravado! BASICS Slimming Breastfeeding Cami
A slimming nursing tank that’s big on comfort!
Featured at Target, bravado! BASICS created this slimming nursing tank top that you can wear in multiple ways for your best comfort. The seamless design made from nylon (88%) and spandex (12%) provides 4-way stretching, so you never feel like you’re being squeezed to death. I personally always hated that feeling.
You can crisscross the straps in the back or wear them normally to meet your own needs or style choices. Plus, they adjust, and you have one-handed clips that make nursing easy anywhere. Oeko-Tex certified this one was tested by real moms who adored the fashion-friendly, versatile, and comfortable design.
The good news is that:
This nursing cami with a built-in bra has removable pads to customize your look. The V-neck cut shows off your stuff, though if you’re feeling too busty, you may want something that covers more ground. I think the cut is just right without going too low. It also comes down for an extra-long fit, so you’ll have coverage everywhere else.
You can put it in the washing machine, but it’s best to line dry it or lay it flat. The only downside to this maternity tank is that it only comes in a few primary colors. But we all need those basic staples to round out our wardrobe before and after the baby, and it’s a great choice!
Kindred Bravely with Built-in Bra
Plus-size nursing tank with a built-in bra!
I know quite a few moms who love Kindred Bravely. I’d never heard of it, so I posed a question to my fellow mom friends on my private social media account and was floored by their enthusiasm. My friend Kim told me it was the only nursing tank she wanted to wear because the built-in bra was so comfortable that she felt like she was wearing nothing at all.
Others exuded the same joy for its sublime construction of nylon (93%) and spandex (7%), giving it a soft yet stretchable fit that you can wear from the first trimester and beyond. In fact, Kim confessed that she STILL wears hers around the house even though both her children are long past breastfeeding. “It’s what I wear when I don’t feel like getting dressed up, but if someone were to pop by, I wouldn’t be embarrassed being seen,” she explained.
Anyway, back on track. 😀
This nursing cami’s built-in bra has removable padding so you can feel comfortable and supported. No extra bra is needed. Regarding breastfeeding, you can flip the clip-down cups with one hand and feed the baby before she starts crying.
The long length gives you enough coverage, making it great for wearing outdoors in summer or as a layer. And Kim says it’s terrific for sleeping too. It also comes in larger sizes, perfect for anyone needing a little more room. There are only a few basic colors to choose from, but they pair well with anything to make matching a breeze.
iloveSIA Seamless with Build-in Bra
Great clip-down nursing tank with plenty of bra support!
With iloveSIA, you get 2 nursing tank tops with built-in bras. The basic colors and conforming fit are better suited to wear underneath another shirt or for support as you sleep. Made from nylon (92%) and spandex (8%), it features a seamless nursing bra built right in for incredible comfort.
This padded one has pad inserts in the bra that can round things out, but they’re removable. You can even put in breast pads instead to stop leaks from showing. The pull-down design comes undone with one-hand touch to drop down the cups for breastfeeding time. One of the things this particular breastfeeding tank is known for is giving you more chances for skin-to-skin.
The skimpy design would have me wanting to cover up, so I wouldn’t recommend wearing this solo unless you’re inside your own house. Underneath something, it will give you fantastic support or be a blessing during those late nights when you are trying to nurse your baby.
Undercover Mama Black and White Duo
Innovative clip-down nursing tank works with your own bra!
Undercover Mama has more than just a cool brand name.
They have a cool product: a duo of strapless nursing tanks. These are designed to connect to any bra you own, and then clip down so you can confidently feed your baby.
It provides extra length to keep you covered while smoothly stretching to fit your body. Because of the design, there’s no jumble of straps to contend with. According to the brand, sizes run small, so they advise ordering the next size up. Then you can attach it to your nursing bra following the simple included instructions.
If you have a nursing bra that you love, then these duo nursing tanks will be perfect. Though be advised that they are designed to be worn under something else. Some women say the white is a little too transparent, which is fine if you’re sitting around the home but might make you feel a little exposed when you’re on an outing.
The Naked Nursing Tank Open Breastfeeding Cami Undershirt
Lets you wear your favorite low-neckline shirts with full support and coverage!
This is an interesting option for those of you that have those fun and free-spirited necklines you want to put to good use. Instead of dropping down, it keeps the bust area open, giving you full access to your favorite nursing bra. 😉
There are no hooks, loops, or clasps to contend with, while the rest of the tank covers your midsection to give you a discreet way to breastfeed in public.
Basically, you can wear any shirt you want over this, and when the baby is ready for her next feeding, you can discreetly nurse without flashing your belly or dealing with a bunch of clips and clasps. It works with any type of bra, even sports bras.
This is interesting:
Made from soft bamboo fabric, it’s really breathable, so even though you’re wearing it under another shirt, it keeps you cool and comfortable no matter how hot it is outside. Plus, this extra-long nursing tank gives you 4 more inches that prevent riding up, so you can tuck it in or layer it as you see fit.
FAQs About the Best Nursing Tank Tops
And now that I’ve covered my top 11 picks for the best nursing tanks, I’m going to field the most popular questions I’ve received about them. You asked I answered!
How do you use a tank top for nursing?
For mamas that are getting ready to have that little angel, you might be looking at all these choices and thinking, “OMG! How do I even do that?” Oh, but worry not, for it’s all elementary.
As I mentioned at the beginning, there are about 3 main styles you’ll see. If you’re not keen on clasps, you can get the pull-down or double-layer styles. These are the easiest to work with and give you added coverage, so you don’t have to be shy when you’re out with your baby.
Whichever style you choose, you should always practice at home first. When I had my eldest, I feared breastfeeding in public. My biggest fear was that I’d accidentally flash everyone and that all of China wouldn’t ever stop talking about the clumsy foreigner that flashed them. Looking back, it sounds so silly, but the fear at the moment is genuine.
So, I practiced nursing in front of a mirror at home and got comfortable with it. When I left the house with my eldest, I was fully prepared to nurse her anywhere. I became so adept at it that I fed her at major Chinese landmarks. You can too!
Are nursing tank tops necessary?
Let me answer your question with another question…is ANYTHING necessary? It’s all up to you. You can wear regular clothing, but be prepared to expose your belly and sides and get jumbled up.
When I received breastfeeding tanks as a gift while in China, I was so delighted. This made breastfeeding so much easier. There was no more fumbling or worrying that the baby would pull back the cover like exposing the Wizard of Oz.
I would definitely get them for summer to make nursing more manageable, and they’ll be extra helpful in winter when you have layers and don’t want your skin to freeze.
Are nursing clothes worth it?
Absolutely! Listen, you will not fit into your regular clothes for a while. Why force yourself to feel uncomfortable? Nursing clothes like breastfeeding tanks make life much easier. They give you support and plenty of coverage, so you don’t feel vulnerable and exposed.
Plus, most of these styles can be worn long after breastfeeding. Tank tops are a staple item in any wardrobe. You’ll be putting them to good use. And you’ll likely find those built-in bras are much more comfortable than any other bra. That’s perfect for wearing during your period when it finally comes back, so you feel less irritated.
What’s the best material for a nursing cami?
Most nursing camis come in a blend of cotton or nylon with spandex. What you choose is based on your preferences. Each one should have a bit of stretch to work with your changing sizes through pregnancy and beyond.
My biggest preference when choosing any clothing is that it’s machine washable. I don’t mind hanging things to dry, but I have always hated it when I forget to read the labels and buy something only to find it’s dry clean only. Even handwash is preferred. So, in short, I recommend buying something you can easily care for while at home unless your husband is happy to run them to the dry cleaners.
What type of bra do I wear with a nursing tank?
First, it depends on which type of breastfeeding cami you buy. Some of them have built-in bras, and for those, you don’t need to wear another bra with it. That’s bra overkill! But you should choose a nursing bra for those that don’t have bras built-in.
Nursing bras make it easy to get your nipples out in a flash so you can start feeding the baby as quickly as possible. You could technically wear any bra, but if you want to make less effort, either wear a nursing bra or buy a nursing top with a bra built into it.
And there you have it! Enjoy shopping for your new nursing tank tops, and wear them well! 😀