Reader Question: How To Do Strapless Dresses and Tops While Nursing


Reader Question:

I’m about to have my second son and am very excited for summer outings with the boys. I love strapless dresses and tops with cute empire waists (to hide the baby pudge and stay cool), but I have no idea how to do the whole “nursing bra with a strapless top/dress” thing. Do they make strapless nursing bras? Do I just use a regular strapless bra and flip it down? We also have a few weddings to attend, so a strapless bra is going to be a pretty major staple in my summer wardrobe.

Love your ideas and insight. And I, too, am a Denver girl, so I feel your pain, longing for spring and summer! I’m over the winter maternity blahs!





Hi Jen!  Thanks for writing in!  Yes – they do make strapless nursing bras.  They look like this:

La leche league strapless tube nursing bra

The above bra is La Leche League’s Strapless Nursing Bra.  Attractive?  No.  Supportive?  Nope.  Can you nurse in it?  Not…really.  I actually reviewed this little number a couple of years ago, in the Best Nursing Bras For Summer article.

The good news, however, is that regular ‘ol strapless bras are really easy to nurse in.  Like really, really, easy.  Jen, your words, “flip it down” are key.  Find a strapless bra with seriously molded cups.  Bullet-proof looking bras. The cups in these bras “flip” down when you want to nurse, and the padded, molded material hides the weird nipple shape that you get immediately after nursing.

(NOTE FOR MOMS-TO-BE:  Don’t be scared, the weird nipple shape goes away after a few….minutes?  Hours?  In any case, it goes away.)

I’m currently loving my Victoria’s Secret Plunge Multi-Way Bra in nude for $50.

Screenshot 2014-06-27 07.32.48
The cups flip down easily for nursing.  Or try one of the strapless bras mentioned in our article Best Strapless Bras For Post-Nursing.  While this article focuses on strapless bras that help boost saggy boobs, both bras featured are all-around best sellers and may do the trick for heavy, milk-filled boobs.

After R was born, I rarely wore strapless bras.  In roughly nine months, I had gone from a 32A to a D cup size.  My boobs felt heavy, huge, and frankly, I wasn’t sure what to do with them.  I couldn’t stand the feeling of going bra-less, even to bed.  So a strapless bra always felt, well…horrible.  Not nearly supportive enough.

Now, however, I’ve been living with my new busty “girls” for 4 years (Yup – either nursing or pregnant for  the last 4 years).  And strapless bras no longer feel uncomfortable.  Partly because I’m no longer underestimating my new size (if you had asked me my cup size after R was born, I probably would’ve said, “a B?  Maaaaybe almost a C?”) and partly because I’m just used to how they feel.  But if you are just not ready to rock a strapless bra while nursing, I get it.  One of my old articles about nursing in maxi dresses recommended layering hubby-beater tanks under strapless dresses.  This approach still works.


(wearing:  on me –  Patterson J.Kincaid Patterned Maxi Dress, J.Crew Nylon Tote, Salt Optics sunnies, on R – Crewcuts slub pocket tee, Chinny Chin Chin porch shorts, Ecco sandal)

But if you are dying to rock a strapless look this summer (and YES.  Yes, I am.) then give the those scary-looking, molded-cup strapless bras a try. A few thoughts:

1.  Get measured – cup-size denial isn’t a good idea when dealing with strapless bras.

2.  Try on varying band sizes.  Despite the back-fat, I actually like my band size very tight when dealing with a strapless bra.  It makes me feel more supported (and all of my strapless tops are flowy and back-fat-hiding anyway).

3.  Try on several bras/sizes.  Bring strapless tops/dresses into the dressing room with you.  Practice flipping the cup down and squirm around – see if the cup stays flipped down or if it flips back up annoyingly. 

Thanks for writing in, Jen!!