Best Nursing Covers

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
200 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best nursing covers

Last Updated October 2019

Breastfeeding is only natural, but that doesn't mean it's always easy to pull off in public. Nursing covers are the answer if you feel the need for privacy while nursing in a public space.

Today's nursing covers are far more than a blanket thrown over the shoulder. They're made in different styles — many are much like an apron or poncho. For added convenience, some have pockets lining the corners and burp cloths sewn into the back. In fact, a lot of the nursing covers available today can be used for more than just nursing.

The fabrics range from cotton and muslin to four-way stretch knits. The availability of numerous prints, patterns, and colors allows you to pick the nursing covers that make you feel most comfortable when feeding and bonding with your baby. If you’re in the market for a nursing cover, whether for yourself or someone special, read on to learn more about what’s available.

Does your baby need extra help latching on? A nursing cover that allows you to see your baby while she nurses can help you ease through those first awkward weeks of nursing. It also gives you a chance to make eye contact with your baby while she nurses.

Types of nursing covers

There are four types of nursing covers: the apron, the poncho, the scarf/infinity, and the shawl. Perhaps there is one style you love, and you can’t imagine trying anything else. Perhaps you will discover that having nursing covers in several styles gives you the flexibility to successfully nurse in different situations and weather conditions.

Nursing apron

These nursing covers look like basic kitchen aprons. A strap at the top crosses behind your neck to hold a large rectangular piece of fabric in place. The neck strap may be adjustable. Some nursing aprons have plastic boning in the neckline, creating an opening so you can help your baby get latched and keep an eye on things.

These covers may have pockets at the corners or a sewn-in burp cloth. They are often made of cotton or muslin and come in almost every print imaginable. Apron-style nursing covers are an excellent all-around option. However, as your baby gets older (or if you have a baby who kicks while nursing), it is possible that you could experience problems with the child “throwing open” the cover.

Nursing poncho

These nursing covers provide coverage at all angles, fitting over the head and draping over the shoulders, back, sides, and front. While the drapey fabric provides excellent coverage, a nursing poncho can be warmer than some other styles. They don't typically come in more than one size, so if your smaller or larger than average, fit could be an issue, too. For example, a smaller woman may find that the neckline is too large and falls off her shoulder; a taller woman may find that the poncho is too short for her.

Scarf/infinity

Scarf or infinity nursing covers look like fashion accessories. The light fabric can be worn around your neck when not in use. Some are made with a four-way stretch knit; others come in a non-stretch weave. When it's time to nurse, you can drape the scarf over your baby for modest coverage.

Shawl

Like scarf nursing covers, shawl covers can be worn as fashion accessories. These are larger than infinity scarves, and most are used by tying two corners together and draping the shawl over one shoulder. Shawls provide excellent coverage, though they can be larger than some of the other types.

EXPERT TIP

You're going to need more than one nursing cover. If you find a style or brand you like, stock up. Get several in different prints so you always have a clean one ready to go.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features to consider

Size

Nursing covers are generally one size fits all, but that doesn't mean they all fit everyone. Be sure to check the length and width before you buy. Some covers may be too short for taller women, leaving the midsection exposed. Some apron-style covers may pose a width issue for women who have broad shoulders or a large upper body.

Material

Cotton is almost always the best choice for a nursing cover due to its natural breathability, cleaning ease, and softness. Cotton weaves don't have any stretch and are used to make nursing aprons, ponchos, and shawls.

Synthetic materials like polyester can also be used to make nursing covers, but because synthetics don’t breathe as well, these covers will be warmer. You may not mind this in the winter, but in the summer, you may want something like muslin that is lightweight and breathable.

Some scarf-style nursing covers are made with a four-way stretch knit that hugs and encapsulate the body. This provides excellent coverage, but it can be warm in the summer. Consider the fact that some babies do not like to be restricted in their movement and may push and fight against this type of cover.

Coverage and stability

The coverage offered by a nursing cover is only as good as its ability to stay in place. Apron nursing covers use a strap to stay in place; ponchos wrap around the entire body using the shoulders as an anchor. Shawls and scarves tie or loop, using the shoulders much in the same way as a poncho.

Any nursing cover that has a tie could potentially come undone and fall off. For example, a nursing apron attached at your neck could be kicked open by a wiggly baby.

Adjustability

People come in all shapes and sizes, and while nursing covers don't offer a wide range of adjustability, some covers do provide options. For example, the neck strap on an apron cover may be adjustable to provide more or less coverage as needed. A shawl nursing cover can be tied at varying lengths. Infinity scarf and poncho-style covers, however, cannot be adjusted except in how they're placed on the shoulders.

Don't be afraid of trying a new style as your baby grows. What worked when she was an infant may not work as she nears the one-year mark.

Prints and patterns

Stripe, floral, chevron, and paisley — the number of prints and patterns used for nursing covers are as varied as any other textile. There are enough options that you should be able to find something that fits your personality and style.

Multi-purpose

Nursing covers aren't just for nursing anymore. Some are designed to do much more. For example, there are nursing covers available that also function as blankets, infant car seat covers, high chair covers, and shopping cart covers.

Pockets and burp rags

Some nursing covers have a pocket or two, while others have a burp cloth sewn in the corner for extra absorbency. The pockets aren't usually very big, but they can stash a pacifier or an emergency baby wipe.

Nursing cover prices

As far as baby gear goes, a nursing cover is an inexpensive investment that falls between $10 to $40. You'll find every style at both ends of the spectrum. Models with plastic boning in the neckline, pockets, and sewn-in burp rags are typically at the higher end of the price range.

Tips

  • Even infants have preferences. For example, a baby who likes to be swaddled will probably be comfortable in a scarf nursing cover made of a stretchy knit. However, a baby who kicks her way out of every blanket may feel too restricted and resist that same cover. Base your choice on your personal preference, but be sure to take into account your baby's personality.
  • Will you need the cover for pumping and nursing? If you'll be pumping, a nursing cover that shields both sides at once makes the job easier. However, if you'll be exclusively using the cover for nursing, models that cover one shoulder at a time are perfectly fine.
  • Take into account your own level of comfort with modesty. If you want to make sure everything stays hidden no matter what, a poncho-style cover keeps everything from the shoulders to the waist out of sight.
EXPERT TIP

Fabric quality makes a difference. You'll be washing your nursing cover on a regular basis. High-quality fabrics will last longer and resist tears and fading.


Alissa  | Child Care Professional

Other products we considered

There are so many wonderful nursing covers on the market, we couldn't fit them all on our shortlist. Here are a few others that we love.

The Kids N’ Such Nursing Cover has a wide adjustable strap and boning at the neckline so you can keep an eye on things. With a sewn-in burp rag and carrying bag, it becomes a mobile feeding station.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive full-coverage option, the LUCINE Nursing Cover drapes over the entire upper body. What’s more, it doubles as a car seat and shopping cart cover.

The Milk Snob Nursing Cover is made of a four-way stretch knit that allows it to function as a cover for nursing, a car seat cover, a high chair cover, and even a comfy blanket.

A nursing cover can shade your baby’s eyes from the sun and protect her from the weather so she can nurse in relative comfort.

FAQ

Q. Are nursing covers machine washable?
A.
The vast majority of nursing covers are machine washable. After all, they're going to potentially get sweat, milk, and spit up on them throughout the course of a normal day.

Q. Will a nursing cover stay in place in the wind?
A.
A random gust of wind could dishevel your nursing cover. If this concerns you, consider a nursing cover made of stretchy fabric that hugs your body; these are most wind-resistant. However, as long as your cover is attached to your body by a strap, tie, or wrap, even if it blows out of place, it shouldn’t leave you completely exposed.

Q. Do I need a separate bag for my nursing cover?
A.
Some nursing covers come with their own carrying bag while others fold tightly into a pocket sewn into the cover itself. All of these methods are designed to shrink the nursing cover down to a compact size that can easily fit inside a diaper bag.

The team that worked on this review
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Stacey
    Stacey
    Writer

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