There are few parental practices that are more bond-forming than breastfeeding. It's probably because of this fostered closeness that it's estimated that over 75 percent of women breastfeed. A startling statistic states that of those women, 50 percent continue to breastfeed after the first six months. If you are planning on breastfeeding your newborn, then there's one thing that you should consider; sometimes breasts leak. To protect against this, many women use nursing pads. The best nursing pads are absorbent, leak-proof, and will protect the skin against needless irritation.
With nursing in mind, we've rounded up five of some of the best breastfeeding pads on the market. Here they are:
Disposable vs. Reusable
Currently, there are two types of nursing pads on the market; reusable and disposable. Which of these that you end up selecting will greatly depend on your own personal preference, but as a general rule, reusable are the most environmentally-friendly choice.
Let's take a look at the chief differences between the two:
Disposable pads are used a single time and then discarded. Many moms have tried using these at least once during their breastfeeding process and there are several reasons why the disposable nursing pad shines.
Firstly, there's the convenience factor. Simply put, being able to use and then throw away a product like this means that you don't really have to pursue any upkeep. Simply remove them from the packaging, apply, and then use them until it's time to throw them away.
Another key advantage is how this makes the whole process more hygienic and also potentially more comfortable. In addition to the nutrients that your baby needs for growth, breast milk is actually packed with sugar.
As with any sugary liquid, as the breast milk dries over the course of the day, the sugar will crystallize. This crystallized sugar can cause nipple irritation at best and infections at worst.
The biggest drawback for these types of pads is the fact that they tend to be composed of plastic. As anyone trying to reduce their carbon footprint knows, most plastics tend to accumulate in a landfill, which means that these products aren't great for planet Earth.
Also, anyone with a plastic allergy may find that disposable nursing pads can irritate their skin.
Reusable pads, on the other hand, do a great job at cutting the environmental impact of disposable pads. They tend to be made of layered cloth that actually feels great on the skin when you have them in place.
Additionally, like cloth diapers versus disposable, reusable pads tend to also save you money in the long term. This is because of the cheapness of reusing a product; buying disposables is a cheap option per pack, but over time you can purchase several packs a week, which adds up quickly.
The only expenses for reusables are the initial purchase and the cost of washing them after use.
Comfort is a major benefit of these types of pads as well. Firstly, many are made with comfortable silk that will help you feel at ease, even though your nipples may be a bit sensitive.
Additionally, these tend to be more durable than plastic pads.
The chief drawback of reusable pads is their tendency to not be 100 percent leak-proof. While there are some brands out there that have excellent leakage protection, this not true for every brand, so you may have to do some initial research.
Ability to Absorb
Absorbency is one of the most important features of these products. If your nursing pad does a poor job at absorbing moisture, then you are bound to have an embarrassing situation with leakage.
With this in mind, it doesn't hurt to spend a little bit more on a product that will provide maximum absorbency. As we mentioned, reusable pads can sometimes have weaknesses in the leak-proofing area.
To avoid this, you can select a reusable pad that has a plastic insert that can block liquids from coming to the surface of the pad itself.
Ease of Cleaning
As a general rule, most reusable breastfeeding pads are fairly easy to clean. You'll want to clean them very studiously though so that you aren't caught off guard without a pair of pads to wear.
Typically, you can hand wash pads, but you'll never want to wear these while they are wet, since this will greatly reduce the effectiveness of wearing the pad as well as the fact that the moisture can lead to infection.
If you'd like a little more info about nursing pads, here is a video about nursing pads in general.
The first product that we'll be reviewing is a great nursing pad options that is a bit larger so that it can hold more milk than many of the other pads on the market.
Their larger size is also a great benefit for women who have larger breast sizes as well. As a matter of fact, each pad is about five inches in diameter so that breastfeeding moms have the maximum amount of overall coverage.
In addition to this, each nursing pad is contoured so that they can comfortably fit under your bra and directly on your breasts. The pads are also thick and airy at the same time so that when you wear them, you won't feel sweaty and uncomfortable.
Out of many of the reusable products out there, Mother-Ease reusable cloth nursing pads are very efficient and do a pretty good job at reducing the chance of potential leakage.
If you need to go in the opposite direction, then the LilyPadz® Reusable Silicone are a great option for those who want to have a smaller profiled pad experience. They are made of silicone; and as a result, they are almost paper-thin.
As a matter of fact, these nursing pads aren't designed to absorb excess milk at all; they are designed to apply a small amount of pressure to the nipple and actively block leaks from actually occurring.
As a result of this unique functionality, these are the perfect nursing pads to take with you when you know you're going to get wet, like when you are going swimming. These reusable pads do have a limitation, you can only wear them for about two months before they need to be replaced.
One of the more popular lines of nursing pads, Bamboobies are actually made of bamboo rather than plastic or cloth like many pads. As a result, Bamboobies are uniquely breathable and comfortable throughout the entire day.
They are something of a hybrid because they come in a pack of six and are reusable.
Bamboobies are comprised of three layers of protection. The first layer is made of a bamboo viscose material. The middle layer is a ultra-absorbent core that captures the milk.
The final layer is completely leak proof so that you can have a high level of protection during your day-to-day process.
These adhere to your breast via adhesive tape that is relatively strong and comfortable. When it comes to design, Bamboobies are very discreet and small so that mothers can go about their work days without anyone noticing the pads.
These disposable pads can be used for up to 72 hours, which is a long period of time compared to many disposables on the market today. They have a honeycombed design that is there to provide maximum leakage protection for breastfeeding moms.
The honeycomb quilting also does a great job at wicking away moisture so that you don't feel the moisture on your skin, which maximizes overall comfort.
Each of the Lansinoh pads is individually wrapped, which assures hygiene. Additionally, if a pad needs to be replaced in a suboptimal situation, extra pads can be stored in a purse or bag so that there's always an option to switch them out quickly.
The pads are sticky on the back, so you won't have to worry about them getting dislodged from your bra.
EcoNursingPads Washable Organic Nursing Pads
One of the best features of our final product is the fact that these pads come in their own cloth bag. Additionally, you get four pads in four different pastel colors that are still light enough to be worn discreetly.
As you may have noticed, these are from EcoNursingPads, which means that the materials used for these reusable pads are 100 percent organic, including harvested bamboo.
As a result of the soft composition, these nursing pads are comfortable enough to be worn for hours at a time and are very washable for extended use.
Additionally, the organic materials used in these pads are hypoallergenic, which is great for women who have an issue with silicone or plastic nursing pads.
Keeping dry and leak-free while nursing can be difficult, but the products that we've featured in this guide do an amazing job at keeping mothers and their clothes dry. Out of all of the products that we've reviewed, we liked the EcoNursingPads Washable Organic Nursing Pads the best.
These best nursing pads are comfortable, eco-friendly, and absorbent as well. In addition to this, they even work well for women with larger breasts and are fairly easy to clean. If you are a mom who wants a comfortable, stylishly colored option for her nursing pads, then this is the carbon footprint reducing product for you.