Breast pads aren’t like other pieces of baby kit. Unlike diapers and baby clothes, which are essential, not every new mother needs nursing pads.
With so many disposable and reusable nursing pads on the market, it can be hard to know what’s best and how you should use them. In this article we take a look at what nursing pads are and why you might need them.
What are nursing pads?
Nursing pads, or breast pads, are a protective breastfeeding accessory typically made from cloth or composite materials. Designed to be worn inside your bra, nursing pads help wick moisture away from leaking breasts to help prevent embarrassment, protect your clothing from leaks and keep sore nipples at bay.
There are many types of nursing pads available including disposable, reusable, hydrogel and silicone. You want to ensure your nursing pads fit correctly, so opt for a style that contours to your breast to avoid any mishaps.
When should I use nursing pads?
If you’ve decided to breastfeed your baby, you need to be prepared for your breasts to leak milk. Leaking is completely normal and affects nearly all moms in the early days of breastfeeding as your body adjusts to your baby’s feeding schedule.
Every mother is different; while some experience leaking for a few weeks, others do not experience leaking at all. Fear not, though – if you do experience leaking this won’t happen for long and usually goes away within the first three months after giving birth.
In the meantime, you can rely on breast pads to keep leaks away from your clothes and skin. Breast pads also help to keep infections such as mastitis at bay by keeping your nipples and breasts dry. They also help keep sensitive nipples comfortable too, putting a soft, dry layer between them and any wet patches.
Should I wear nursing pads all the time?
How often you wear nursing pads depends on how much you’re leaking. The more you leak, the more nursing pads you will need. That’s why you should think about whether you want to go for disposable or reusable pads.
Disposable nursing pads
Disposable nursing pads have adhesive strips to hold them in place in your bra and have been designed to be worn once, then disposed of. They’re available in a number of shapes and thicknesses to suit your needs. Disposable pads are a great option for when you’re travelling as you don’t have to worry about washing them. Over time, though, they can be an expensive affair.
Reusable nursing pads
Reusable nursing pads are a cost effective and eco-friendly solution to breast pads as they are washable and can be reused multiple times. They are a little thicker than disposables so can sometimes be seen beneath your clothes.
Whether you opt for disposable or reusable nursing pads, you should ensure you change them often to prevent yeast infections and nipple irritation. How regularly depends on a variety of factors such as how absorbent your breast pad is and how much your breasts leak.
Why use them?
Although not every new mom will need nursing pads it’s worthwhile having some around in your first few weeks after giving birth to help prevent any embarrassing moments. Milk leakage occurs because your body is producing more than enough milk for your baby. Once your baby’s feeding times and amounts become regularised, instances of leakage go down significantly as your body adjusts its milk production accordingly. However, it could still occur due to emotional or physical triggers.
Can you use pads as breast pads?
Believe it or not, nursing pads can easily be made at home. An easy fix if yours are in the laundry is to make use of the absorbent benefits of sanitary towels – simply cut out a circular piece from a sanitary pad and place them in your bra to prevent leaks. Alternatively, you could make a home made pad out of some fabric by simply folding them into overlapping layers or sewing a few layers together.
How many nursing pads do I need?
Basically, the more you leak the more nursing pads you will need. That is why you should really think about whether you want disposable or reusable pads. While the amount you will need can vary if you opt for disposable you will need to purchase many boxes. Washable nursing pads are much more economical.
Where can I buy nursing pads?
There are a number of fantastic online stores where you can buy nursing pads as well as the best breast pumps! Plus it’s easy to do as a new parent as you can do it all from the comfort of your own home, only having to leave the sofa to answer the door!