Should you wear a bra to bed when breastfeeding?

By Lynn •  Updated: 10/31/22 •  5 min read
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There are a lot of nursing sleep bras and selecting the right nursing sleep bra that is the best for you can be quite a challenge. To wear or not to wear a bra to bed when breastfeeding is a question that many nursing moms struggle to find an answer to.  Some moms argue that when they wear a bra to bed they feel restricted while others feel that not wearing one makes them leak more. I believe the answer to this question comes down to personal preference. Lactation experts, however, give more detailed information regarding this and provide recommendations for breastfeeding moms who prefer to sleep in a breastfeeding bra.

Why should you wear a bra to bed when breastfeeding?

  • For support

According to lactation experts, sleeping in a bra provides the much-needed support especially when your breasts are full, which prevents leakage and keeps your milk supply steady.

should you wear a bra to bed when breastfeeding
  • Minimize leaking

You will realize that when you walk around the house without a bra, milk starts to leak. I guess this happens mainly due to the law of gravity. So to prevent this, wearing a well-fitting bra as you sleep, helps to reduce leakage at night.

  • To hold breast pads

If you are one of those nursing moms whose milk leak excessively at night, wearing a bra is important so as to hold the nursing pads .

  • For comfort

When you start breastfeeding, your nipples may become extra sensitive and painful when they rub against your dress or top. A good bra will keep your boobs contained and protect the nipples; hence giving you comfort as you sleep.

What kind of bra to wear while breastfeeding: Recommendations

  • Wear a sleep bra

If you have to sleep in a bra, a sleep bras or a maternity bras provide the much-needed support and comfort compared to a normal bra. This is because breastfeeding bras are made of a unique material that stretches easily giving your boobs room to expand and prevent engorgement. Also, they do not have an underwire, they are soft, and do not have back fasteners.

  • Get a bra that does not have an underwire

Most normal bras have an underwire that may block the milk ducts and cause engorgement. Sleep bras, on the other hand, do not have an underwire. You should also bras with an underwire because they may interfere with the flow of milk or affect your breathing while sleeping.

  • Ensure it is not tight

A tight bra will definitely make it difficult for you to breath. It will also affect the flow of milk since it leaves no room for your breasts to expand as you sleep. A loose bra will be more appropriate since putting a lot of pressure on your breasts will prevent milk flow.

  • The bra should fit breast pads

If your main reason for wearing a bra while sleeping to prevent milk from leaking and messing your sheets, then put breast pads under your sleep bra. Sleep bras stretch easily; hence, they hold the breast pads quite well.
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  • Wear a nursing tank with a built-in/shelf bra

Some nursing tank tops have a built in bra that serves well as a nursing bra. The built-in bras come with removable pads. You can add more pads or replace them with thicker breast pads to prevent leaking of milk. If you want to get yourself a good nursing tank or bra to sleep in, check out this review. 

Is it ok to not wear a bra to bed while nursing?

To conclude, there are no written rules regarding whether or not you should wear a bra to bed when breastfeeding. If you feel comfortable wearing one, then go ahead but make sure you observe the recommendations discussed above so as not to affect milk flow.  But if you feel restricted and uncomfortable then avoid them.


Q. Can I wear a sports bra while breastfeeding?

Some nursing moms argue that wearing a sports bra reduced their milk flow while others say that it did not have any effect on them.
Sports bras do not have an underwire but they tend to be a bit tight since they are designed to hold your breasts during exercise. They have a band that puts a lot of pressure on your chest and may cause the milk ducts to clog.
Luckily, some companies like Motherhood Maternity have introduced sports bras that are appropriate for nursing moms as they do not put a lot of pressure on you. I believe it is okay to wear these maternity sports bras rather than the normal ones made for sports only.

Q. Are nursing bras really necessary?

This is a question that many nursing moms or moms-to-be ask quite often. Why can’t I wear a normal bra or a sports bra?
Well, as we discussed earlier, normal bras have an underwire that not only makes you uncomfortable when nursing but may also clog your milk ducts and cause engorgement.
Sports bras as we have discussed above are too tight and exert a lot of pressure on your breasts. So they may also cause clogged milk ducts.
So yes, nursing bras are really necessary.  This is because they do not have an underwire, they are easy to pull down when breastfeeding and come in different sizes depending on your size.


Lynn is a freelance writer, a wife, and a mother of two beautiful kids. Lynn started Infant Empire with the aim of making parenting easier for fellow mums and dads. She believes the parenting tips provided here will be of great help to all parents.

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