washing reusable pads, be sure to avoid liquid fabric softener as it
can impede the pad's absorbency. Fabric softeners sheets, however, can
be used in the dryer to soften the pads without any problem.
Features to Look for in a Nursing Pad
If choosing washable/reusable pads, look for those that are made of
cotton, preferably 100% cotton. This will ensure adequate airflow to
the nipples and breasts. Some pads may have a lace overlay. This is
usually fine as long as the rest of the pad is all cotton.
If choosing a disposable pad, look for those that are either
100% cotton or all paper. Lansinoh has recently come out with a
disposable pad that has a breathable plastic lining. Other pads with
plastic linings may not allow for good airflow. Pads with unbreathable
plastic linings may actually impede healing of traumatized nipples or
make nipple infections more likely.
Several manufacturers offer a variety of pads with multiple
layers or added absorbency. If you're not satisfied with the pad you're
using, don't be afraid to explore other brands.
Usually the larger the pad the more discreet it will be under
your clothing. Pads with a pink color to them also tend to be less
noticeable under light-colored clothing.
Some disposable pads may have an adhesive backing making it easier for them to stay "put".
Ideas for "Homemade" Nursing Pads
Some moms do quite well with cloth diapers cut up or a man's
handkerchief folded up. Sanitary napkins, normally used during
menstruation, are not recommended to absorb breastmilk leakage because
they prevent good airflow.
How Often to Change Your Pads
Pads should be changed or discarded as soon as they become damp.
Doing so lessens the risk of nipple infection. If you are being treated
for nipple or breast yeast, you'll need to be even more deliberate about changing wet pads and laundering them so as to kill the yeast.
Information written by by Becky Flora, BSed, IBCLC
Last Revision: January 22, 2002
Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads
Medela 100% Cotton Washable Nursing Pads
Medela Washable Lace Nursing Pads