Nursing tanks are what many moms live in the first few weeks after baby comes: day, night, feeding, napping, and maybe an occasional walk around the block with another shirt thrown over the top. Tanks are on every mom’s list of must-haves, right up there with nursing bras and lanolin.
What separates the great tanks from the not-so-great? There are several angles to look at:
- Quality of the fabric. You want fabric that washes and dries easily (it will be washed frequently!) and that will keep it’s shape over the months to come. You want to be able to wear it immediately when your bump is still with you even without baby inside, but you don’t want it to get stretched out so it looks baggy as you get your shape back.
- Support. While you aren’t looking for major support, part of the beauty of a tank is that you don’t have to wear a bra underneath. Some tanks have sizing for different bust sizes, some have just a shelf bra and some have nothing.
- Style. There are variations in length and function that may have value to you. Color is always fun, but might limit the versatility of your tank.
- Nursing access. You want easy feeding access. The opening needs to match where your nipple and areola are so you don’t have to readjust everything to get baby latched on. The nursing clip itself needs to be intuitive enough so that you could un-clasp in your sleep (which you will want to do).
With that in mind, here is a run down a number of the better known nursing tank styles available.
Bravado Dream Nursing Tank
The Dream Tank from Bravado is a stellar re-design of their older Essential Nursing Bra Tank. It’s longer (the old tanks were unfashionably short) and the neckline is cut slightly higher. (The old one was just a tad too low for some moms to feel comfortable wearing the tank alone.) There are removable privacy pads in the cups which fit beautifully and invisibly. The front is rouched and sizing is by band and cup sizes (up to 40F/G). Historically, Bravado has had fashion colors in their tanks. But at this point, the new Dream tank choice is white, black and grey.
Cake Gelato Fashion Nursing Tank
Cake Gelato: This tank’s style definitely pegs it as an outer garment (not that it can’t be layered). There are non-removable privacy pads in the cups and rouching along the side seams giving a bit of a drape across the front to mask your post-baby belly. The straps are convertible so you can make them criss-cross or narrower in back. Sizes are S-M-L-XL.
Cake Toffee Nursing Shapewear Tank
Cake Toffee: Think of this tank as an undergarment. It’s silky-soft fabric stretches enough to hug your body and give breast support as well as a bit of midsection and belly support, too. It’s not a true support garment, but it feels really good on. Sized S-M-L-XL. Black and pale nude are available now; a new khaki/grey is coming soon.
Glamourmom Nursing Tanks
Glamourmom has a number of styles of tanks and sizes range from small to 2X. The basic style is straight across the front, has a shelf bra with a good wide elastic band and comes in two lengths. There is a round cut-out in the lining for nursing access. (Make sure this opening lines up well with your nipple.)
There is also a rouched style with a more generous bust. While this style is still a shelf bra, the elastic band has hooks and eyes in the back for adjustability, similar to a bra. These come in black, white, grey, brown, navy, purple, bright pink and a black/white pinstripe, depending on style.
Rumina Hands Free Pump and Nurse Tank
Rumina Hands Free Pump and Nurse Tank: These cotton knit tanks are multi-purpose for feeding and/or pumping. The opening pulls from the side to support a bottle and pumping flange, but unclips from the top for feeding baby. Rouched front styling, shelf bra and XS-S-M-L-XL sizing. Rumina’s Full Coverage style has a higher neckline which also makes these tanks suitable for those needing a cup size larger than E. Available in white and black.
Simple Wishes Supermom
Simple Wishes Supermom: Known for their hands-free pumping bustiers, Simple Wishes recently introduced a line of bras, tanks and slips for nursing and/or pumping. All three have the same bra structure; the tank and slip add fabric below the bra for more coverage.
This tank is made of polyamide (a synthetic fiber with wicking properties) and elastane for stretch, and drapes and feels like silky lingerie. The hands-free system uses overlapping layers in the bra cup to accommodate the pumps flange, and the cup has a removable pad to make a smooth look under shirts. Sizing is S-M-L bands with cup sizes up to H; available in nude and black.
Undercover Mama is the perfect solution for those who don’t want to give up their nursing bra, but would like the mid-section coverage a tank offers. The tank connects to your favorite nursing bra so your bra clasp drops both the bra and the tank with one motion. This undershirt is intended to fit close; the manufacturer recommends ordering one size smaller than your usual t-shirt size. The XS-S-M-L-XL-XXL tanks are generously long and some colors even come with an extra couple of inches of lace at the bottom. (So if you are very tall, these work great for you!) Black, white, grey, and bright pink.