If you are a new mom or mom-to-be, sooner or later you’re going to need a good supply of reusable nursing pads. Whether you plan on returning to work soon or you’re a stay-at-home/work-at-home mother who would like to wear real clothes and leave the house with her head held high, these will be your best friend.
While disposable pads are convenient, they can get expensive if you’re prone to leaking and need daily protection (especially if you leak a lot!) You’re also more likely to run out of disposable pads, so many women choose to have at least a couple reusable pads on hand even if they prefer disposables most of the time.
Do you know where you fall on the breast-leaking spectrum? Some women find that they leak all the time, especially when they hear a baby cry or hold another mother’s baby. Other women never leak while still others only leak when they can’t express milk on a routine schedule. For new mothers, it’s important to use good nursing pads while you determine where you fall on this spectrum.
Even if you rarely leak, you may have odd days where your breasts just seem ready to release milk. It’s always better to have pads on hand than to scramble around a bathroom trying to create your own in a moment of need.
Reusable Nursing Pad Selection Tips
Quality is important because your nursing pads keep close quarters with your nipples, and your nipples are the most important tool you have for nourishing your growing baby. When you consider each of the following selection criteria, you’ll have everything needed to compare pads and select the right ones for your nipples:
- Material: Cotton and bamboo are the best materials because they’re absorbent and allow adequate airflow around the nipple. These materials are also comfortable against the skin as long as each pad is properly washed and dried after each use. Look for pads made from 100% cotton or organic bamboo for the best options.
- Design: The job of a nursing pad is to absorb leaked milk so that it doesn’t make an appearance on your clothing. You only need a basic cotton pad to achieve that, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t want pads with lace overlays or other aesthetic features. These designs are purely cosmetic, but it may make you feel pretty and feminine after having a baby. Just make sure that the material beneath the lace is high-quality cotton or bamboo.
- Size: The larger the pad, the more it will blend into your bra smoothly so that it’s not easily detected from the outside. Most women also feel better protected when a larger area of their breast is covered. Finally, larger pads stay in place much better than small pads.
- Color: Pink and other light colors are best when worn under white or other light-colored clothing. When wearing dark clothing, the color shouldn’t matter.
- Thickness: This is the tricky part about selecting reusable nursing pads. Thinner pads are less noticeable from the outside, but you lose absorbency if you go too thin. If you leak heavily at times, you may want to go with something a little thicker to ensure that you’re adequately protected. When you purchase pads designed for nighttime use, you can expect three or four layers for a full night of protection.
Price is the last factor to consider when selecting nursing pads. If you buy the cheapest pads without further analysis, you’re likely to end up with a wet shirt and a red face. It’s best to analyze pads according to the above criteria and then select the best-priced options. You’ll also save some money just by using reusable pads instead of disposables.
Recommended Reusable Nursing Pads
Baby Zeli Organic Bamboo Nursing Pads: These pads are made from organic, hypoallergenic bamboo, so they get softer each time that you throw them in the wash. They’re large enough to blend in with most nursing bras for a discreet appearance on the outside, and the waterproof backing adds extra protection if you’re a heavy leaker. You get five sets of pads, each in a different color, as well as a convenient laundry bag. You can also buy nighttime pads from Baby Zeli. These are thicker pads with four layers, so they’re more obvious from the outside if you wear them during the day.
BeautyMood Ecological Cotton Reusable Pads: These cotton pads are a good option if you’re shopping on a tight budget. They come in soft colors and are large enough to blend into most nursing bras, and they’re very soft and absorbent. Each pad has three layers, which is adequate for most women. The downside is that they don’t have the waterproof backing that comes with many pads selling for a slightly higher price.
Bamboobies: If you want something a little more fun without sacrificing quality, you can’t go wrong with a box of Bamboobies. Each box includes thick pads designed for nighttime use as well as ultra-thin pads for discreet appearance during the day. Some are shaped like hearts, and they’re all crafted from velour bamboo that is soft against the skin while allowing adequate airflow. This is the perfect option if you’re adding nursing pads to a baby shower gift.
BabyBliss Organic Bamboo Nursing Pads: These pads are advertised as 100% leak-proof, and they come with a money-back guarantee to back that claim. They come in sets of 14 with a range of pastel colors, and they’re designed from organic bamboo that is incredibly soft against the skin. What makes them stand out from the crowd is the inclusion of a laundry bag and organza bags, so it’s easy to store away used pads if you change them while away from home.
How to Use Reusable Pads Correctly & Safely
Reusable nursing pads are the most economical option, but they also require a little more effort. As soon as you notice that your pad is a little damp, it’s important to change to a clean, dry pad as soon as possible. The longer your breast rests on a wet pad, the more likely you are to develop a yeast infection. These infections are uncomfortable and can interfere with your ability to feed your baby.
Quick and frequent changes will require you to have multiple pads on hand at all times. Used pads also need to be washed and dried quickly to remain sanitary for later use. Rather than using a liquid fabric softener, use dryer sheets. The liquid softener can decrease the fabric’s ability to absorb when reused. Dryer sheets also leave cotton pads fluffy and soft so that they remain comfortable in the long term. You may want to wash new pads before use so that they’re softer.
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