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The Kindred Bravely brand gets a lot of love from large-cup friends in many of the pregnancy/postpartum groups I’m in. So I was excited to try their nursing and pumping combo bra, as well as their swim top in hopes of getting out to the pool with my summer baby. My reviews of each are below:

Sublime Hands-Free Pumping and Nursing Bra

While I talked in my last post about the difference between a regular nursing bra and a pumping bra, there are some bras that combine the two functions—the Kindred Bravely Sublime Hands-Free Pumping and Nursing Bra is one of those. There are two layers: the outer one is a typical nursing bra layer, and the inner one is a pumping bra layer with an opening for a pump flange. They each have their own clip, as seen here.

Hand pulling down the bra flap to show a two-tiered set of nursing clips
The two-tiered set of clips—the top one for the bra layer, the bottom one for the pumping layer.

You can unclip both to nurse a baby, or just the outer layer to pump. I talked in my last post about how finding and putting on a pumping bra is just one more step in what can already feel like a long process of getting set up to pump. The Sublime bra definitely eliminates that step—you’re always wearing your pumping bra. I loved the concept of this bra and the construction and fabric both felt good-quality and long-lasting.

Hand pulling the bra flap all the way down to show a second layer underneath, with an opening where a pump flange can fit through
Unclipping the bra layer to show the pumping layer.

Unfortunately, I could not find a good fit in this bra. Here you’re seeing me wearing the Small Busty. Even in the Busty size, this still compressed my bust uncomfortably and sent my breasts spilling over at the sides. You can see the side spillover in the photo above, and to some extent in the photo below. It might be harder to tell the compression is happening, but I can assure you it is—I felt very “flattened” in front.

Side view showing the bra overly compressing the breasts
Feeling too compressed in front, with spillover at the sides.

I tried sizing up to the Medium Busty, which you would think would improve the situation—slightly less spillover at the sides—but it had the same problem in terms of compressing in front. Just to experiment. I even tried the Large Busty which finally fit in the cups—but, as you’d expect, the band was way too big so no support underneath. (Sorry I didn’t get pictures of the medium and large!) Sadly, I ended up returning the Sublime bra in every size I tried. There are so many fans out there, but it just didn’t work for my body. I really wish it had because I’ve been pumping more often lately and it would be so convenient to have the pumping bra built in. Oh well!

Shoulder Tie Nursing & Maternity Tankini Top

Pre-baby, I generally purchased Freya or Fantasie bikinis, knowing they’d fit well in my usual size. Post-baby, I knew there was no way I’d fit into those same cup sizes! And I knew that some of the underwired styles or “bra” type styles probably would make it hard to pull down one side to feed. I was curious to try some styles that would work well for nursing. Kindred Bravely makes a tankini top with tie shoulders, so you can simply untie the side you want to nurse on. Not as convenient as having a nursing clip the way nursing bras do, but a cute style that could appeal to people even after they were done nursing. I ordered a size medium going off their size chart.

Front view of white woman wearing black tankini top, with straps tied at the shoulders
A front view of the tankini top.

The ties were easy enough to tie and untie, and the simply styled black tankini provided a lot of coverage across the midsection, meaning it would also likely work for at least part of pregnancy for many people. However…

Front view of person wearing tankini and pointing to the spot on the underside of the bust where the support band touches
Support band did not actually touch my torso.

Fit in the bust was, again, an issue. You can see in this photo how the fabric is straining across the bust. There’s also a built-in shelf bra inside the tankini, and my fingers are pointing to where the underbust hits on my actual bust—no part of it actually touched my torso, just the underside of my breasts, so it didn’t provide any support. I did not try another size in this style, but given that the band already felt pretty loose, I doubted a larger size would give me any more support even if it covered more of my bust. This is another case where I think this product probably fits some people beautifully, but over a certain cup size it’s just not going to work.

So what did I do about the pool? Well, unfortunately it took me so long to heal from birth that I never made it this summer! But at least I could return this tankini and decide just not to worry about swimwear for now. I hope to still be nursing next summer and I’d love to try a couple more nursing swim tops before then. (Especially because once baby can be COVID vaccinated, we want to sign him up for baby swim class at the indoor pool this winter!)

A shame to strike out with two Kindred Bravely products after all the love they get! I’d love to see them make a better bra option for larger cup sizes because I do really like the look and feel of their products—maybe a “Busty-Plus”? They’re still worth checking out if you think they might work for your body—and if not, try some of the recs I made in my last post that did end up working well for me.