I’d like to think of myself as someone that is fairly organized and prepared. When I was expecting my first child, I read various articles and drafted several lists of what I was going to need in those first few months the baby was born. Everything from fitted sheets, cradle cap cream, nipple cream, medela breast pump, cloth pads even formula milk in case I needed it, appeared on that list as we don’t live near any shops but the one item that somehow slipped my mind were the silicone nursing pads or washable breast pads.
Perhaps I thought that I didn’t need them but boy, was I wrong. I needed to start wearing super soft breast pads even before the baby was born! Needless to say, I had a good milk supply and had to beg my husband to take me to the nearest store in order to purchase some breast pads to avoid leaking or as I like to refer to it: embarrassment.
Much like maternity pads, breast pads are not really a topic I have heard new parents discuss (unlike bottles, pacifiers, swaddling techniques, diapers and yes, even the color of the baby’s stool!) so standing in front of a wide variety of products while pressed for time (leaking here), was quite intimidating. So I did what most people do, I grabbed the closest, cheapest box of breast pads that could fit in my bra, but since then, I’ve had some time to do a little research and look at several other options as well which is why I cover today some of the best nursing pads to get.
Do I go the disposable or the reusable route?
Like anything else baby-related, both items have their pros and cons. The box I grabbed at first glance were disposable nursing bra pads simply because at the time, they seemed much cheaper. Although reusable pads seem more expensive, I do believe that they can save you quite a bit of money in the long run, especially if you have ample milk supply and if you plan on having more kids but yes, acquiring enough reusable breast pads can be a costly exercise.
They are also more eco-friendly than disposable nursing bra pad which more often than not, contains plastic at the back and comes in plastic wrapping. This also makes airflow in disposable pads more difficult which keeps the breast warm and moist – a perfect breeding ground for bacteria such as thrush.
It has to be said however that the waterproof layer usually keeps any moisture from causing leakage and those embarrassing leaks in public are avoided. Disposable pads also usually comes with adhesive tape, at the back which makes it easier to hold into place but my experience has been that they don’t stay “sticky” for very long.
They are very convenient because they don’t need any washing – simply take them out of the box and because they are likely to be individually wrapped, you can tuck a few in the diaper bag or your handbag in case you need them without having to worry about hygiene.
Most disposable pads are also very thin which means they are easy to wear and hard to spot under your clothes whereas reusable pads can soak up more moisture but without the plastic, can cause you to have a leaking accident, especially in those early days.
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Best Nursing Pad Recommendations
I’ve put a few disposable and reusable breast pads to the test using criteria such as comfort, convenience, price, how discreet they were and most importantly, their ability to keep your breasts from leaking. Here are my recommendations:
1. Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads
Often recommended by midwives and hospitals, these disposable nursing bra pads really are worth every cent. They are individually wrapped, comfortable, and super absorbent. The breast pad comes with two pieces of adhesive tape at the back in order to hold them in place and gives a nice fit due to a slight bend on the sides of the pad.
Even though the back of the pad is plastic and waterproof, the pad does contain a special layer that turns liquid into gel, making it more absorbent. It’s also a very thin, discrete pad, so you can wear it with ease in your bra. The pads are also great if you have sore nipples and you are applying a nipple cream and you don’t want to mess with your underwear.
On the downside, should the breast pad become too saturated, the gel may break which causes quite a bit of mess
2. Medela Disposable Nursing Pads
The disposable Medela nursing pads are rather absorbent and at the same time, very breathable which is a bonus during those hot summer days.
Although they are fairly discreet, they do tend to feel a little bulky in comparison to the Lansinoh pads. They also have two sticky tapes that help keep the pad in place. I have to admit though that I have read some reviews of consumers complaining that the pads stick to the nipples when wet, causing them to be slightly uncomfortable.
3. Bamboobies Disposable Nursing Pads
The Bamboobies Disposable nursing pads are manufactured from viscose bamboo, rendering the product more eco-friendly than the first two nursing pads that made the list. It also produces a more breathable material due to its unique design: It has a viscose top layer that is soft and contains natural antibacterial properties, while the inner core is designed for ultra-absorption.
The pad also contains a “milk-proof ™” backing instead of using a standard plastic at the back. They have two sticky strips at the back in order to hold the pad in place and each pad is wrapped individually for your hygiene. Even though it wasn’t part of the criteria when assessing different breast pads, I also really enjoyed the cool and funky packaging. Somehow it made shopping for this mundane item a little more fun and sexier compared to other products.
4. CannyMum Reusable Nursing Pads
I recommend CannyMum nursing pads reusable mostly due to their luxurious look, ultra soft feel, great absorbency and the fact that I can wash them and use them again. These cloth nursing pads are slightly more expensive than other reusable breast pads but the bamboo fabric is nice and soft, turning them into a breast pad that you will actually want to wear!
They are also available in three different colors (black, white and natural) which makes it possible to coordinate with your clothing and underwear. Sadly though, they are rather thick and will probably show through clothes but in all honesty, I didn’t leave the house much within those first three months and comfort was at the top of my priority list especially since I also used them as overnight pads too. * These are only available in the U.K. currently.
5. Bamboobies Washable Nursing Pads
Okay, I’ll admit it – I’m in love with the packaging and shape of the Bamboobies machine washable nursing pads, which is probably why it made both the reusable and disposal breast pad list, but fortunately, it is not the only reason.
Not only the heart-shaped washable breast pads are super cute but they are also functional, surprisingly fitting the breast well.
These pads are also ultra-soft on the skin and are made of absorbent materials which is a very crucial criterion. They come in different colors but what really caught my attention was that they also offer daytime and nighttime pads, the night time pad being more absorbent which is nice considering that you often tend to leak more during night time due to extended periods of the baby not feeding. I have to mention though that I’ve heard some moms complaining that certain nipple creams and ointments such as lanolin, prevents the pads from soaking up the moisture effectively.
6. Kiddo Care Organic Bamboo Nursing Pads
The Kiddo Care Organic Bamboo Nursing pads are reusable and perfect if you want to go organic where breast pads are concerned and if you have sensitive skin. In my personal opinion, I feel that they have been designed for women with slightly larger breasts.
The pads are large and fold or wrinkle a little if you have smaller breasts such as myself. They are ultra-absorbent, probably due to its size but also the 3 layered leak-proof design they’ve used, and are made from good quality bamboo fabric. The best part is that you can put them in the washing machine and use them again without spending too much money.
Considering the quality of the pads, they should easily last you for more than one kid and I would highly recommend them if you are expecting your first child and plan on having more later on.
They also come in a range of delightful pastel colors which, if you are anything like me, will brighten up your day. The only drawback as mentioned previously is that the design fitting better for women with larger breasts but should you fall into that category, you will surely love this product.
FAQ’s About Nursing Pads
Yes, but it might be better to use a comfortable nursing tank where you can place disposable or washable cloths in order to prevent leaking and waking up wet.
This all depends on the leakings you are having. If you are having heavy leakings, you might need to change them every 3-4 hours, and if not, you can change them every 6 hours. This is where you will have to decide whether reusables or disposables would benefit you more.
This is all a personal preference, and while some moms prefer to be dry all the time others prefer to only wear them in public. This is completely understandable as sometimes the skin has to breathe and it might be good to make pauses from wearing them.
Moms should stop wearing nursing pads when their milk supply is steady which is usually 2 to 3 months after giving birth. However, some women might have to wear them during the whole time while they are breastfeeding as there can be leakings.
Now you know all of the best nursing pads according to us and their pros and cons, and we hope that you will find some of your favorite whether it’s cloth pads or disposables and that you will be able to avoid leakage in public thanks to these.
There is no right answer which you should opt for as its all a matter of personal choice, but rest assured that you will not go wrong no matter what you choose.
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