The Best Clothes for Pumping: A Poll


2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on the best work clothes for pumping milk, but you may also want to check out our new page on tips for pumping at the office. This 2017 threadjack also includes a lot of great advice from working moms about which clothes they wore to pump at the office. 

Ladies, let’s take a poll today on pumping habits, and the best clothes for pumping.  How do YOU pump? Bra on, bra off? Shirt pushed up, shirt opened?

For my $.02, I have always found it easiest to pump with a nursing bra and a nursing bustier — so for me just pushing a simple shirt (t-shirt, sweater, whatever) up around my neck is easiest. However, I know a lot of readers have commented that they just wear regular bras and will get undressed all the way (even pumping in sheath dresses!), and others love wrap blouses and dresses (I’m guessing you guys are omitting the hands-free bustier?). Do you feel less naked with your shoulders covered? So let’s discuss:


(Pictured: There’s a great sale on this Pleione faux wrap blouse, one of the reader favorites for pumping — some colors are up to 70% off, marked as low as $20. This black and white is higher at $40, but I love the versatile pattern — great for hiding a host of stains, leaks, and more. The blouse was $68, but is now marked to $19-$40 at Nordstrom.) Pleione Faux Wrap Blouse



  1. Watermelon says:

    Freemies in a nursing bra and a wrap dress or other top that lets me put my Freemies in from the top. I get so sad on the rare occasion I have to use a traditional pumping system and have to be half-naked in the office.

    • Can you tell me how you like using freemies? Pro/con? I’ve used a Pump In Style for my first two kids and am now pregnant with my 3rd. I was never an overproducer but did OK enough with both kids to pump for a year (or close to). I love the idea of the freemie’s convenience but am curious to know if it actually works.

      • Watermelon says:

        Freemies have worked well for me and I haven’t noticed a difference in production as long as I’m wearing a bra that fits well (in particular, isn’t too big). I love staying dressed and having a bigger range of motion than with the horns and bottles. Pumping is still annoying, but Freemies make it so much better than the traditional horns and bottles setup.

  2. Anon S says:

    Good morning ladies, on the topic of pumping and nursing, does anyone have recommendations for nursing pajamas? I am due in April and I wanted to buy a few pairs of nursing PJ’s to take to the hospital. Thanks in advance!

    • mascot says:

      I wore regular pjs (super soft, dark in color and the stretchiest waistband I could find) with a nursing tank underneath. It was easy to take off the pj top or pull it up, but still feel covered.

    • Katherine K says:

      I second what mascot said – look for stuff that is really soft, dark colored, and comfortable in the waist.

      For maternity leave, I really liked cotton Target nursing tanks with clips and a soft pair of yoga pants during the day (… so fancy, I know!) and pajama bottoms at night. That way if you’re cold, you can throw a cardigan or zip front sweatshirt on over the tank, and still have your arms covered while you nurse. That might not be a huge consideration for you since you’re delivering in April, but I had my second baby in February, in Wisconsin, during the polar vortex, and I remember being freezing when I nursed in the middle of the night during those first few days at home. I still use the Target tanks for pajamas, since I’m still nursing.

      Best of luck!

    • Katarina says:

      I got nursing pjs from motherhood maternity, and I liked them.

    • I really like the button up super soft ones from target. Button up top and nice, soft stretchy pants

    • OCAssociate says:

      I got nursing pajamas from Hot Milk, which are very soft and comfortable.
      In the winter, I’ve used button front pjs – soft flannel Victoria’s secret ones and another great pair that my SIL got me – not sure what the brand was.

    • Spirograph says:

      I got a couple “Baby Be Mine Maternity Nursing Nightgowns” from Amazon. I ordered my pre-pregnancy size and didn’t take them out of the package until I was in the hospital (there’s no way they’d have fit in my third trimester). They’re comfortable, not-ugly, and easy to nurse in – just pull the neck down. The elastic is fairly resilient, and I haven’t had a problem with it getting stretched out.

    • Anonymous says:

      I laugh at this question, only because I had the same ideas / intentions. Now, one year later, I sleep with my baby and I inevitably wake up every morning with my tank top around my neck and both boobs hanging out. My poor husband!

      • NewMomAnon says:

        Yes, nursing tanks make the best pj tops if you are nursing – I always wear them with a soft waterfall cardigan (no zippers to scratch baby’s face). I found that most “nursing tops” took actual effort to keep the neckline down or the flap open or whatever. I liked pj tops that either buttoned up the front so I could just leave them open (and get these in cotton, because postpartum sweat in silky material is no fun – ask me how I know), or nursing tanks so I could just unhook one strap and doze back to sleep while baby nursed.

        I’d actually get a nightgown and a pair of regular pants pj’s, just in case you need a C-section.

  3. Philanthropy Girl says:

    A caveat to the “it doesn’t matter” option – it matters to a degree. I always wear separates (no dresses), because while I don’t mind stripping my shirt, I really won’t sit around with nothing on at all.

    But man I miss wearing dresses.

    • Agreed. I don’t think I wore a dress the entire time I was pumping. They usually make up the majority of my wardrobe, so I missed them.

      I had a private office and a door that I could lock, so my pumping-at-work wardrobe usually consisted of: Glamourmom or Bravado nursing tank, cardigan/sweater/v-neck top (in the summer), and a skirt or pants. I would take off the top layer, un-clip the tank, put on my hands-free pumping bra and just sit at my desk. I liked the tank because I didn’t have to get totally undressed each time.

    • Rachel says:

      I also miss dresses, and I also miss fitted tops. I wear separates and only like to wear tops I can push up. I wear an undercover mama tank with a nursing bra everyday, and I just unclip the nursing bra and put the handsfree pumping bra over it.

      • anonmama says:

        This is exactly what I did. I also missed dresses and fitted tops so much! My “uniform” was an undercover mama tank with a nursing bra, then a loose shirt over top that I could easily remove to pump, with a cardigan, and either pants or skirt. I would take off the loose shirt, unclip the nursing bra, and put my handsfree pumping bra over it, just like you did. Those undercover mama tanks were lifesavers but MAN did I miss dresses and fitted tops!

      • Sonny says:

        I do the same, except I leave my top shirt/ sweater on while I pump. I just pull it up.

    • Interesting. I switched to pretty much exclusively wrap tops and dresses while pumping.

    • Same.

  4. Katarina says:

    I voted I prefer to pull my top up, but this is what my answer does mean. I found pulling up a top easiest, but unbuttoning or completely removing the top worked fine too. I did not want to completely disrobe.

  5. Katherine K says:

    I’ll wear pretty much anything to work if I know I’m going to be in my office for the day. I have an office with a door, so getting totally undressed never bothered me (except when it’s freezing outside!) If I know I’ll be pumping “on the go” (in a courthouse, the car, a spare office at a deposition, etc.) I’ll make sure to wear separates, so I don’t have to be totally undressed.

    I don’t like the shape of my nursing bras under most clothes, so I just wear a regular bra. I made my own hands free bra by clipping two holes in an old sports bra for the pump parts, which feels more secure to me than the bustier.

  6. Carrie M says:

    I voted it doesn’t matter because none of the other choices described what I usually did. When I first started back, I wore a nursing bra, a nursing tank, and a shirt I could push up. I hated having my stomach exposed, so I had to have a shirt on that would keep it all covered (my tank). Then I would strap on a Simple Wishes bra over the nursing bra and tank. It was a bit cumbersome, but really only took about 2 minutes to change. I always kept a warm cardigan on my chair. You pump less if you’re cold!

    After a few months, I started wearing just one shirt or dresses that I could easily unzipper, and I made the switch back to regular bras. So I’d just unzip, let the top of my dress sit around my stomach, pull down the real bra, put on the Simple Wishes bra, and throw on a cardigan.

    At home when I pumped, I rarely used a hands-free pump. But I always did when I pumped in the car just because of the movement. I loved pumping in the car and wish I had tried pumping while commuting, but I just didn’t think I had the coordination to drive and pump!

  7. OCAssociate says:

    I have an office with a door I lock. (Technically I put up a sign and block the door from the inside.)
    I always wear 2 pieces (no dresses), with a camisole and nursing bra. I strip off the top, pull down the cami and bra, and use a hands-free pumping bra (the Simple Wishes one is so much better than the Medela one).

  8. I will either pull up a shirt or unbutton. I am totally ordering those Freemies…Thanks for the recommendation! This will further cement my new secret identity: double-o-breastmilk.

  9. I have been wearing a nursing tank under a crew neck sweater pretty often lately. I like not having to deal with tucking in a top and its easier not to deal with a regular bra. I love the support of bravado nursing tanks but now that I’m almost back to my pre-pregnancy weight the tops are too loose around my tummy to function as a smooth under later. Does anyone have other nursing tanks to recommend that are as supportive as bravado but slimmer through the waist?

    • Carrie M says:

      Glamourmom tanks!

      • I have found Glamourmom tanks to be soooo uncomfortable. The area where the hooks are in the back is pointy and really scratchy. They are so expensive and for me they are unbearable to wear.

  10. I could use some encouragement if anyone’s reading. We’ve been TTC for over a year now without a single late period. The closest I’ve come to thinking “maybe” is when I got my period in the evening instead of the morning. Now I am technically one full day late, as in it was supposed to come yesterday. I haven’t taken a test but my temperature was lower this morning than yesterday morning and slightly lower yesterday than the day before. It’s still a bit above my “normal” though. Based on the temps, I am guessing that I’m not pg., but for some reason I just do not want to take a test. Like, I am afraid of having it confirmed or something. It’s very irrational, especially b/c I know most people rush to take tests as soon as they feel anything. I think it’s driving my husband a little crazy because he is definitely the “we should just find out” type. He would obviously be fine with waiting a few more days, so it’s not like a pressure situation. I guess I am just looking for some thoughts as to whether I should just do it and how to deal with the disappointment of not getting the result we’ve been wanting again if that happens.

    • PregLawyer says:

      I think you should take a test. I was in your shoes so I know it sucks. I hated getting my period each month and I wasted so much money on negative tests. But, in my opinion it’s much better to have something confirmed on the pregnancy test than to have it confirmed by getting my period. There is just something so dang emotional about getting that period — not to mention the general discomfort.

      I don’t know enough about temping to give you advice either way on whether you might be pregnant. I do know that even the early result tests won’t confirm that you are pregnant until a day or two after your missed period. I think only a handful of women produce enough hormone to get that blue line days before their missed period. Anyway, I’d still take the test! At least you’ll know. And if it’s negative, you’re going to be disappointed either way, so just pull that band-aid off.

    • Newly pregnant says:

      I think you should take a test because if you are not pregnant I think it would be easier to bear than if you were surprised by your period. In my mind, it is always easier to handle bad news if I am prepared for it versus surprised by it. Hugs. I know how disappointing it is to get a negative result.

    • ugh. hugs to you either way! i used to make myself wait as long as I could before taking the test (my period was very out of whack.) I would try to give it a few more days if you can. Will be thinking happy thoughts for you!

  11. this topic is so interesting topic about to wearing clothes while feeding child thanks for sharing this great information with us.well done keep sharing