Lactation requires regular extraction of your breast milk. The timing of which gives no consideration to your environment.
Either your baby needs to be fed, or you need to pump to relieve the pressure. This means being ready for action at all times no matter where you are.
Most of us are not all that comfortable whipping the boobs out in public (or at work?!). Even if we are, not everyone around us will be accepting of it.
In consideration of our own self-consciousness, and out of respect for others, having a reliable nursing cover ready to go will provide at least some privacy at all times.
We will guide you through the key features of the best nursing covers available. Including a number of different styles such as aprons, shawls, and ponchos.
All are suitable for both breastfeeding and pumping when you need to cover up.
In this article we will review the following breastfeeding covers in 2023:
- Arrow Nursing Cover
- Bebe Au Lait
- Boppy Nursing Cover
- EN Babies Nursing Poncho
- Kefee Kol Multipurpose Nursing Poncho
- KeaBabies Multi-Use Nursing Scarf
- Covered Goods Nursing Scarf
Nursing Cover Designs
In our search for the best nursing cover, we have included all of the different types of nursing covers. This includes the:
- Breastfeeding Cover – This is the standard nursing apron with adjustable neck strap, wide coverage, and a rigid neckline. Typically rolls up into a small storage bag.
- Infinity Nursing Scarf – A bit more stylish and usually consists of light and stretchy material. Often small and compact, but requires a bit of technique for proper coverage.
- Nursing Shawl or Poncho – A broad piece of light cloth that can slip easily over your clothes. Not the most stylish, but comfortable and effective.
- Multi-use Purpose Cover – These are very stretchy and can also be used as a stroller or car seat cover, and a range of other practical uses to help Moms on he go.
Best Nursing Cover For Breastfeeding of 2023
While other covers have a burp cloth included, these are usually intended to be used to wipe down a baby’s mouth after feeding.
The Arrow is completely different! This cover allows you to thrown the cover over your shoulder and burp your baby. This negates the need for a separate towel, and is a very convenient and clever inclusion.
For this reason the Arrow is our selection for the best nursing cover.
With a wide apron, and the extra weight in the base that the burp cloth provides, you end up with a self securing cover that is held in place by that weight.
You also have the wired neckline – as is the standard for this kind of cover – but is made of good quality material.
- Extra large burp cloth sewn into the cover
- Boned neckline
- Quality materials
- Heavier than some other covers
It is made from 100% premium cotton, is large in size (36-inches wide, 26-inches long) for broad coverage.
With the Rigiflex open neckline, and interlocking cap system is unique to the range. This ensures a full view of your baby so they are comfortable, and you can be sure that airways are clear at all times.
This also provides great ventilation and a comfortable environment for feeding. Great for keeping your baby cool during the summer months.
With two cloth pockets sewn into the design provide convenient access to cloths for cleanup and storage.
It is super easy to wash. Just throw it in the machine and you are good to go. No need to cry over spilled milk.
- Rigiflex open neckline,
- 100% premium cotton material
- Two internal terry cloth pockets
- The neckline can be tricky to fold up
- The attached pouch is not as narrow as some other models and easy to pack away when balancing your baby.
- Includes a sliding ring that helps you keep track of which side your baby last fed from.
Even though I exclusively breastfed with this cover, I would recommend it more for the pumping mother.
It runs a bit small (narrow), so once your baby reaches the age where she is a bit more active, it is very easy for her to move the cover just enough to expose you.
The cover packs up easily into its attached pouch, reducing it to a compact 8” x 6” size, making it possible to throw it into any bag while taking up almost no space.
The design includes a sliding ring feature that is great for keeping track of which side you are feeding on. With everything else going on with your little one, this feature takes one more thing off your mind.
This product boasts an open, rigid neckline, but it is made of soft plastic so that it can fold up small enough to fits into its pouch. Because of this, it wears out quickly and makes it hard to see your baby.
Rather than being rectangular in shape, it is shaped more like a trapezoid. This means that it is very narrow at the bust, where you need the most coverage. You will likely wear this cover over your shoulder rather than your front to make sure you stay covered.
- Packs up into a compact 8” x 6” size pouch
- It is machine washable
- Handy sliding ring feature
- Neckline can wear out quickly
- Strange trapezoid-like shape
This is our top pick for the best nursing shawl/poncho style of breastfeeding cover.
There are many companies that now design clothes with nursing mothers in mind, and this poncho is one of the best out there. It is intended to be used as a nursing cover, combining both practicality and fashion.
The features of this product include 360° coverage, ensuring your sides and back are hidden at all times regardless of whatever fussing and squirming that may go on underneath.
Great for the breastfeeding mother who is looking for something a bit more subtle.
Very portable and easy to take with you, just like any old top. You can either wear it as a piece of clothing (especially in the cooler months) or throw it in your bag and go.
While it is one size fits all, this means that it is not adjustable. For a smaller framed woman, she may have trouble with a loose neckline or feeling like she is swallowed in it.
This does not have the same kind of open neckline. So you may not have the direct line of sight to your baby, and you have a reduced airflow.
It is not a simple wash and go piece. Made of a cotton/spandex blend, the care instructions include gentle washing and air drying, which may be a turn-off for mothers who are looking for simplicity.
- Fashionable and subtle
- 360° coverage that cannot be exposed
- Easy to throw in a bag
- One size fits all
- Unable to adjust the top in any way
- No open neckline for visibility
- Requires more care when washing
We have included the Kefee Kol as it is one of the few multi-use nursing covers that you can actually wear.
The typical multi-purpose cover is a hyper stretchy fabric shaped more like a rolled-up scarf, and doesn’t always make for good wearing (see the next on our list).
However, this is designed as a poncho first and foremost, which gives you full 360 degree coverage. But also has that stretchy fabric allowing it to be fitted over a car seat, baby carrier, stroller, and a shopping cart to protect your baby from the elements.
There are multiple patterns to choose from, but we like the simple black and white striped design.
Due to the neck hole being your only viewing window to your baby you may find that it is more difficult to watch your baby compared to the apron style cover.
- Comfortable to wear
- Useable as a car seat cover, stroller, and shopping cart cover
- Multiple patterns available
- Neckline only allows a narrow view of your baby
The KeaBabies cover is a different style to the Keefee Kol and is not really intended to be worn. But you can roll it up into an infinity scarf if you wanted to keep it handy.
But, if you take the wearability out of the equation it is our top pick for the best multiuse breastfeeding cover.
It can be used in all the same circumstances; shopping cart cover, stroller, carrier and car seat cover. Plus due to it’s smaller size it makes a useful baby blanket, and changing mat also.
Because it requires less fabric than the poncho style, you have this little compact and portable item that packs away easily.
A cute storage bag is included – which is not always the case for this style of cover – which helps you keep your diaper or handbag organized!
While the fabric will stretch easily, the neck hole doesn’t provide an easy view of your baby when no tension applied. But this can be a good thing depending on the surrounding conditions.
- Longest list of alternative uses
- Includes a storage bag
- Rolls up into an infinity scarf
- Neck opening is narrow
Last of all we wanted to throw in something with a bit more of the wow factor!
This nursing scarf also fits in the multi-purpose category and has similar features as the Kefee Kol. The big differentiator here is the range of louder colors and prints available.
None more so than this leopard print design! But this would be the most outrageous of them all, with plenty of other bright, and tastetful designs available for Moms who like a bit more color.
It has fallen down the list though as it is not the best value for money unless you really want one of those prints.
- Eye-catching prints are available
- Multi-use and stretchy fabric
- Rolls up into an infinity scarf
- Higher price point
Nursing Cover Assessment Criteria
If you are as lucky as I was to have your baby in the summer months, you are going to be nursing in the heat quite often.
Even in a cool room, you and your baby will be putting off enough heat to cause some sweating under your nursing cover.
You will want to select a cover that is lightweight, and is made from breathable material. This will keep you and your baby cool during feeding time.
It is also safer for your little one as heavy fabrics can be suffocation hazards.
Using a nursing cover means you are looking to be modest and covered. You do not want to risk accidental exposure, embarrassing yourself and shocking onlookers.
You are going to want to look for a wide apron that keeps you covered.
Some tops have 360° coverage, keeping both your front and back covered, which is key when you are lifting your shirt to nurse.
If you opt for the classic cape style, choose one that is wide and long, with an adjustable neck strap, which can accommodate your growing baby’s size.
For safety reasons it is critical that your baby is in full view at all times. Your baby will be nestled in close and there is a risk of asphyxiation if the airways are not kept clear at all times.
Any large apron should have a rigid neckline that should ensure there is a self-supporting viewing window when the cover is in place. This will ensure your hands will remain mostly free to support your baby.
Being able to maintain eye contact with your baby will also help them remain comfortable and settled. This reduces any additional stressors that could interrupt the feeding session.
Burp Cloths & Pockets
The extra little conveniences can help reduce the load in your hand bag or diaper bag on a day out. A number of the covers we looked at included a small piece of burp cloth fabric sewn into the corner of the apron area.
This allows you to clean up your baby for any small spills quickly and easily.
Having a pocket built into the cover also allows for easy access to a pacifier or anything else you need to temporarily put aside.
Preparing for an outing with your baby is quite the ordeal. You have a pile of things to pack into your diaper bag that now, suddenly, seems so small.
If you struggled with jigsaw puzzles before, you will likely become a master by the time your baby outgrows her diaper bag.
Finding a nursing cover that can pack easily takes one more thing off your mind. There are many that fold up nice and small into a pouch or bag that is included with your purchase, taking up almost no space in your already full diaper bag.
Nursing covers are intended for mealtime, and mealtime is messy.
You are guaranteed to either get something on the outside, like your own food or drink, or to have your milk spray on the inside. On top of that, you are looking at spit up and other bodily fluids from your baby.
Most nursing covers are machine washable, which makes them very easy to maintain.
Choosing one that is durable will ensure it lasts multiple washes, keeping its shape and size (no shrinking), and finding one that can be machine dried saves you time and headaches.
Do I Really Need a Nursing Cover?
We all wish we could nurse in the comfort of our own homes. Away from prying eyes, where we can just let it all hang out in our comfy chair, our favorite TV show, our ideal temperature, and our stocked fridge.
The reality is that this is just not always possible.
Whether you are pumping, breastfeeding (or a combination of both) there will be times when duty calls – about every 2 hours, actually.
You hear those hungry cries or you feel the pressure building up in your chest, and you start scouring the area for a place to park yourself.
But do you need to cover up?
When Nursing Public
Feeding in public has become a controversial and complex issue. There is no question that nursing in public is uncomfortable for some (rightly or wrongly).
Not having all the amenities available to you out and about that you do at home can make it physically uncomfortable, and the fact that there are other people around makes it conditionally uncomfortable.
Although there remains a stigma attached to public nursing, you may not even notice all of the looks from passers-by.
For me, I was more self-conscious about making sure I was covered that I barely glanced up to see if people were looking at me.
But if you want to avoid potential hassles from nosey people, the best thing you can do for yourself and for others is to use a nursing cover when you pump or breastfeed in public.
This helps to eliminate accidental “flashing” and helps you to feel more comfortable and covered.
There are many covers on the market today, so hopefully this article has helped you choose.
For The Working Mom
These covers are most important for the Mom who continues to pump milk day in and day out in the workplace.
It is a big job to keep a growing toddler stocked with milk after you have returned to work. Nursing covers can help you keep that level of privacy and cover up in the office if all you have to work with is a quiet corner.
I know that I used to just pump milk at my desk so I could just get on with my work.
This would never be possible (or appropriate) without a cover. Unfortunately, the buzz of my breast pump was already plenty to make me sink into my chair.
Knowing you are going to be nursing every couple of hours means that public nursing will probably be unavoidable. With this in mind, you are going to want a good breastfeeding cover up that will keep you comfortable, covered, and modest.
The Arrow Nursing Cover is our top pick for the best nursing cover. The oversized burp cloth sewn into the apron is such a great feature and is one of those things you will be super grateful for when you need it.
But if you are a stroller Mom, or your baby spends a lot of time in the car seat then something more functional like the
The biggest problem is deciding on the pattern that I like the most!