Much has been written about the importance of getting enough sleep, and when you’re a new Mum, you’ll take whatever shut-eye you can get!
With new born babies needing to feed around every 2-3 hours, and at least once a night when they get a little older, it’s important that your sleepwear is comfortable and provides quick access for feeding.
For this reason, what you wear to bed can make the process of feeding during the night SO much easier, not to mention more comfortable. But how do you know what to wear to sleep when breastfeeding? Should you wear a bra to bed while breastfeeding? Will sleeping in a nursing bra prevent sagging? And what are the best maternity pyjamas?
We’ve got you, Mama.
Read on for everything you need to know about the best sleepwear options for maximum comfort.
Nursing Bras for Sleep
Nursing bras differ from everyday bras and - even maternity bras - in that they have been specifically designed to make breastfeeding easier and more comfortable.
Many regular bras have underwire cups, which aren’t practical or comfortable for nursing. They’re also made from materials that, while very pretty, aren’t the best in terms of comfort.
Maternity bras generally have soft cups, wider straps and more room to adjust in the back band, but don’t always offer easy access for feeding.
The logical choice for breastfeeding mums is a nursing bra.
Nursing bras have most, if not all of the features of a maternity bra, with the added feature of easy nipple access, without having to remove your bra.
Nursing bras are also underwire-free, which is really important when it comes to milk production and blood flow – if either one is restricted, you may have hampered milk production or develop mastitis. Your breasts will increase and decrease in size thoughout the day and throughout your breastfeeding journey, so it’s vital that you don’t put unnecessary pressure on them.
Many nursing bras also have what we call a ‘drop cup’ – that is, a clasp at the top of the cup that you unclasp in order to pull the cup down and feed. This allows for easy and discreet feeding. Other options include front-opening styles and pull aside styles, both of which are common in sleep bras.
Should you Wear a Bra to Bed While Breastfeeding?
Many women find that wearing a bra to bed is more comfortable than going without.
There are three major considerations when it comes to choosing whether or not to wear a bra to bed: breast size, comfort and leaking.
For women with medium-to-large breasts, a sleep bra can provide support and comfort, particularly when the breasts are fuller than usual. Women with smaller breasts have also reported feeling more comfortable wearing a nursing bra to sleep for the duration of their breastfeeding journey.
Comfort is key when you’re not getting a full eight hours of sleep a night – and the last thing you need is to feel the discomfort of scratchy fabrics, straps that are too tight or an underwire digging into your breast! We recommend a cotton bra with soft cups in order to have no disruption to your sleep… from your bra, anyway!
Finally, if you’re breast feeding, there’s a very real chance that you’ll experience leakage. Leakage doesn’t discriminate between small and large breasts, and it can be exhausting to have to change your sheets every day. The solution? A nursing bra with pockets to add breast pads.
What are the Benefits of a Sleep Bra?
When breastfeeding, a sleep bra can help you to feel supported and comfortable, but still have quick and easy access for feeding without having to remove your bra. Wearing a sleep bra during the night can also help you to get back to sleep faster yourself, as you’re not taking pieces of clothing on and off in order to feed.
Will Sleeping in a Nursing Bra Prevent Sagging?
Wearing a bra to sleep supports the structure of your breasts, particularly the Cooper’s Ligaments – the ligaments that give your breast shape, that can be pulled and stretched with the extra weight that comes from breastfeeding. Our Della Bra is designed specifically to support the ligaments from both the side and from below to maintain your bust shape. You may find that you want to continue wearing your sleep nursing bra long after you’ve finished breastfeeding!
We know that choosing the right bra can be confusing. That’s why every Queen Bee bra has a detailed product listing on our website to help you make the best choice for your body and lifestyle.
What Sleepwear Options are Recommended for Breastfeeding?
There are a few things to consider when choosing sleepwear while you’re breastfeeding:
Firstly, comfort. You’ll want soft seams, gentle waistbands and easy-to-wash fabrics. Your body can be quite sensitive following birth, so it’s important that you choose comfortable sleepwear options that won’t irritate you.
Secondly, ease of access. It’s definitely a consideration for nursing and sleeping bras, but it’s also a consideration if you choose to go without a bra. Many of the pyjama sets designed for nursing have crossover necklines or are easily pulled down for feeding.
Finally, style! Just because you had a baby, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your favourite colours and patterns! In fact, when you’re having one of ‘those’ days, comfy PJs in your favourite colour can be a real mood booster.
In addition to nursing pyjamas, a nursing gown can provide all of the above for those who prefer a nightie-style sleepwear option, or live in a warmer climate.
What are the Best Maternity and Nursing Sleepwear Options?
We’ve found that new Mums are fairly evenly divided into two camps: those who love pyjamas, and those who prefer a night dress. Luckily, we have both camps covered!
If you’re a fan of traditional shirt-and-bottom PJs, this style (thankfully) is perfectly suited to nursing. Avoid the hassle of dealing with buttons by choosing styles like the Abrielle 3-piece Hospital Set, which comes with an adjustable camisole top, PJ pants and a gorgeous lace-trimmed cardigan.
Jersey maternity and nursing sets are next level comfort for new mamas. The Lilou Long Sleeve Loungewear Set has a crossover v-neckline with a modesty panel for feeding, and comes in a fitted legging style.
If you love a more traditional pyjama, you may prefer the Fleur Short Sleeve PJ Lounge Set. This comfortable rayon jersey set has a crossover v-neckline in the top, and a high waist with adjustable elastic in the pant.
For those that live in active wear, then the Diore 'Mama Made' PJ Short Set has taken the comfort you’d expect from a lounge set, and added in access for easy feeding.
Nursing Night Dresses
One of our best sellers, the Moselle Chemise is a soft cotton blend chemise with adjustable shoulder straps, removable padded cups and a gorgeous lace trim. Available with a matching robe in selected colours, the Moselle Chemise is a firm favourite among our Queen Bee mamas.
REVIEW: “Really love this chemise, it’s extremely comfortable and the gathering at the front has been great to make space for my belly without lifting the front like others do. The adjustable straps are also super helpful with the changes in chest size” Emily
For those wanting a little more coverage, the Floressa Hospital Nursing Gown gives you a little extra coverage without sacrificing comfort – or style! With seasonal prints and options in both short and long sleeves, we recommend if you see a style you like pop it in your shopping cart straight away. All Floressa prints are limited edition and cannot be restocked.
REVIEW: “I absolutely love the Floressa Tahlia Lilac Hospital Nursing Gown - it is a lovely soft fabric and so discrete (sic) for breastfeeding. Definitely packing this one in my hospital bag! I bought x2” - Gemma
The Alba Nursing Lounge Tunic is the perfect option for when you want to look like you’re not in your nightie, when you’re still in your nightie! Made from soft stretch jersey, the snap button front is nursing friendly, and the front bodice has removable pads.
For those living in warmer areas, or nursing during summer, the Nadaleine Lace Chemise and Robe Hospital Set is the perfect option for keeping cool. This set is ideal for your hospital stay, or for those first few weeks when visitors are popping around to meet your new baby.
Not sure which sleepwear option is best for you? Explore our entire range of nursing sleepwear, from camis and robes to nursing gowns and pyjamas, here.