You might be looking for breastfeeding pads, and that’s because they can be a great solution to an annoying problem. Let’s discuss. Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing, but it doesn’t always look pretty—especially when you’re leaking like a faucet and your baby is having a tough time latching on (and if your nipples are cracked and sore, may we suggest some nipple cream?). If only someone gave you a heads up when you signed on to breastfeed your child that the second he started nursing from one side that the other one would go off like a fire hose (or just about any time you make eye contact with your crying baby—or any baby for that matter).
Luckily, there are products out there to handle even the most pesky parts of the breastfeeding process. They’re called nursing, or breastfeeding, pads and they work just like you’d imagine—they sit in your nursing bra to collect all of that extra milk that pours out from the non-feeding breast. They keep you dry and help protect your clothing from those dreaded milk stains (no one likes walking around with two overtly obvious wet halos around their nipples).
Like most baby products, nursing pads come in both disposable and reusable versions. The disposable ones are great because you use them once and don’t have to worry about throwing them in the laundry. But if you want to be both eco- and budget-friendly, the reusable kinds work well, and also tend to be softer on your nipples.
Ready to shop breastfeeding pads? Here are some of the best out there in both reusable and disposable styles.
Best Breastfeeding (or Nursing Pads)
Especially in the beginning, your breastfeeding breasts will be sore—like really sore. Don’t worry—this pain too shall pass, but in the meantime, these breastfeeding soothing gel pads can help provide relief. They have a cooling effect and provide a moist environment for your cracked and dry nipples. Because they’re made from a sticky, nontoxic material, they won’t slide around. The only downside is that these are only meant to be reused for up to six days.
Dr. Brown’s does things simple, but they do things right, from their hospital-acclaimed preemie bottles to these washable breast pads, which are significantly larger than other breast pads, at six inches in diameter, making them ideal for moms with larger breasts. They’re made of organic cotton, so they’re super soft against your often irritated nipples and come in a pack of four. You can toss them in the washing machine after each use.
For the price and quality, you really can’t beat this deal. These organic bamboo nursing pads come in a 14-pack, which is more than most reusable packs come in, as well as a laundry bag and a gift bag. They also come in three different sizes—medium, large and extra large—so you can find the perfect fit for your breasts. Each bad as a total of 4 layers and is made to last 5-6 hours between changes.
Best Reusable Nursing Pads
These reusable nursing pads are equally adorable as they are useful. They’re thin and heart-shaped and come in two levels of absorbency—three of the pairs are for a regular flow and one pair is for a heavy flow. Both pairs are made from the same super-soft top layer material that’s 57 percent bamboo viscose, 23 percent polyester and 20 percent cotton. The inner layer is made from a blend of ramie and cotton. Moms love how well these pads hold up their shape after several uses.
If you feel bad about throwing out so many paper products, you can minimize your carbon footprint with this reusable pack of 10 super soft, flower-shaped nursing pads. They’re made out of organic bamboo, which is nice and thick as well as absorbent. This two-in-one pack includes 5 pairs total, but two of them are meant for light-to-medium flow and the other three are meant for medium-to-heavy flow, both of which will come in handy. All pads can be hand washed or thrown into the washing machine for future use.
Best Disposable Nursing Pads
It’s only natural that one of the most popular brands of breast pumps would also sell their own nursing pads. They’re hypoallergenic, ultra absorbent, thanks to a polymer core, and have a leak-proof design and waterproof back layer. Unlike some reusable nursing pads, these have an adhesive strip that helps them stay put underneath your bra so they’re not moving around constantly and causing friction. Each pack comes with 120 breast pads to last you a few months at least.
Moms trust Lansinoh, a company that’s been around since the ’80s and was founded by a breastfeeding mother, for so many of their breastfeeding products, and they have an excellent line of disposable nursing pads that come in a 200-count box. They feature a quilted honeycomb layer that stays dry even with a significant amount of drippage, as well as a contoured shape that sits nicely in your bra, without causing discomfort.
NUK is better known for their bottle feeding products than breastfeeding, but their disposable nursing pads are a favorite among nursing moms, mainly because of how thin and seemingly non-existent they feel underneath a nursing bra. Since they’re less bulky than most of their competitors, they are great for wearing underneath tight-fitting clothing. The only negative is that, unlike many other disposable nursing pads, these ones don’t have an adhesive strip to hold them in place.