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- Best disposable nursing pads: Lansinoh Stay Dry Disposable Nursing Pads
- Best reusable nursing pads: Bamboobies Washable Nursing Pads
- Most versatile nursing pads: Curve by Cache Coeur Washable Nursing Pads
- Best no-show nursing pads: BabyBliss Bamboo Nursing Pads
- Best lightweight nursing pads: NUK Ultra Thin Disposable Nursing Pads
- Best overnight nursing pads: Medela Disposable Nursing Pads
- Best nursing pads for sensitive nipples: Ameda ComfortGel Hydrogel Pads
- Best eco-friendly nursing pads: LilyPadz Reusable Nursing Pads Starter Kit
When you pictured what breastfeeding would be like, you probably never imagined sore nipples, engorgement pain, or milk leakage just because you heard a baby crying — and no one warned you it didn’t even have to be your own baby crying to get your milk flowing!
It only takes one incident to know that leaking through your shirt is a problem that needs a solution.
The good news is that companies have been working hard to make the best nursing pads, and that mothers have been dealing with breast milk leaks for decades. We are here to guide you to the amazing nursing pads.
“There are nursing pads in your bra. They help absorb any extra milk that comes between feeds so it doesn’t get in your clothing or irritate your nipples.”
They’re just one piece of a lineup that includes things like nursing bras and positioners that can make nursing easier, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
One of the decisions you will need to make is whether you want to use disposable or reuse nursing pads.
After you have absorbed your breast milk, disposable nursing pads can be thrown out. They are great when you are on the go because they are wrapped individually and you can throw them out after they have served their purpose.
Reusable nursing pads are designed to be washed and reused, making these types of pads ultimately more friendly to the environment — and your budget. Especially in the first few weeks with your newborn, extra laundry may not seem very appealing, but we’ll leave it up to you to do your own cost-benefit analysis!
Are you torn between disposable and reuse nursing pads? Many breastfeeding people stock up on both types.
We took into account a lot of factors when we were choosing the best pads. We weighed what fellow parents had to say, and we decided that what really stood above the rest was more important than what they said.
- $ = under $1 per pair
- $$ = $1–$5 per pair
- $$$ = $5–$10 per pair
- $$$$ = over $10 per pair
Best disposable nursing pads
- Price: $
- Material: The pads are made primarily of a “fluffy pulp” and are nontoxic and latex-free.
- Size: Approximately 5 inches across
These pads from Lansinoh (you might know them for their nipple cream) get rave reviews from breastfeeding moms — and there are plenty of reasons why.
They are extremely soft, thin, absorbent and include strips to keep themselves in place.
The pads are made from fluffed paper, according to the company. They come individually wrapped for easy access and have a shape that is discreet.
You can easily buy them in bulk for additional savings.
- If you buy in bulk, these are even cheaper.
- They are wrapped individually and are easy to store in a diaper bag or purse.
- The back of the pads have strips that hold them in place.
- These are disposable and not the most eco-friendly option.
- Some users wanted the pads to be flatter.
Best reusable nursing pads
- Price: $$
- Materials: Layer that touches the skin: 57% bamboo viscose, 23% polyester, 20% cotton. Inner layer: 55% ramie (a plant-derived fiber), 45% cotton. Outer layer: 100% polyester with TPU waterproofing
- Size: Three pairs of regular daytime pads, and one thicker pair of overnight pads
The pads are soft and comfortable. Bamboobies bamboo-rayon-based pads are both absorbent and eco-friendly and can be used for daytime wear or night wear.
“These pads are easy to wash and keep clean. They can go in the washer and dryer at the same time, so you won’t have to worry about waiting for them to dry.”
Many users say they get softer and softer when you wash them.
- “They can be put in the dryer so you don’t have to leave them out to dry.”
- They come in two different options, a thicker one for nighttime use and a thinner one for daytime wear.
- Users felt softer after being washed.
- Even though they are dryer-friendly, washing and drying them will still be a chore.
- The colorful designs can be seen through clothing.
Most versatile nursing pads
- Price: $$$$
- Material: 53% polyester, 27% PET, 15% polyacrylate, 5% elastane
- Size: three sizes (slim, day, and night)
“The pads are made with anti-slip and antibacterial materials. They are certified by OEKO-TEX, so you won’t have to worry about potential chemicals coming in contact with your skin.”
They are slim, daytime, and nighttime sizes and have a shape to follow your bra curve.
Curve pads are machine washed so they can be used again. They are also eligible for reimbursement. The high price is the biggest downside to many users.
- There are three different sizes of these pads.
- They can be used again.
- They are certified by OEKO-TEX.
- These pads are not the most budget-friendly option.
- “Some users felt the pads weren’t super discreet.”
Best no-show nursing pads
- Price: $$
- Material:The layer touching your skin is bamboo fabric, the inner layer is microfiber, and the outer layer is polyester.
- Size: three sizes (medium, large, and extra-large)
The BabyBliss pads have a shape that allows them to cup the breast and avoid bunching. They come in different sizes to match your bra size.
Breastfeeding people like their towel-like texture and feel good about it.
The structure of the pads allow them to be hidden, but you should be careful with the color of the pads for your bra or top.
- Users rave about the fabric.
- The pads are available in a range of sizes to fit your breast and bra size.
- These pads are disposable and can save you money.
- They come with a wash bag to make it easy to keep track of them in the laundry, but you will have to put in the effort to wash them.
- Some of the more colorful pads can be seen under light colored shirts.
Best lightweight nursing pads
- Price: $
- Material: The company doesn’t specify.
- Size: Each pad is just over 4 inches across
The thin, lightweight, and discreet pads are ideal for people who want to avoid the appearance of a heavy-duty nursing pad.
Downsides? These pads aren’t individually wrapped if you want to take them with you in your purse or diaper bag. They also won’t protect your clothing if you have a heavy letdown between feeds. But if you just need a lightweight nursing pad for the occasional drip, this has you covered!
- The pads are very thin and discreet.
- The pads are not individually wrapped and parents will like that.
- These are some of the most affordable nursing pads.
- They are not individually wrapped and it is difficult to pack a bag for on-the-go use.
- “They won’t hold as much leaking milk as other options.”
Best overnight nursing pads
- Price: $
- Material: The company doesn’t specify.
- Size: 4.49 x 0.39 x 2.32 inches
“The nursing pads are nearly half an inch thick and feel bulky for daytime wear. The reviewers found them soft and they have strips on the back side so you won’t have to worry about losing one in the middle of the night.”
These are very affordable and can be bought in bulk. If you end up being a fan of the overnight pads, Medela also makes an “ultra thin” version for daytime use.
- The pads have strips to help them stay put.
- If you buy in bulk, this option can be even cheaper.
- “It’s easy to pack them in your purse or diaper bag because they come individually wrapped.”
- These pads are not the most eco-friendly option.
- Some users said the pads felt heavy inside of their bras.
Best nursing pads for sensitive nipples
- Price: $$$$
- Material: hydrogel
- Size: About 3 inches across
If breastfeeding is leaving you with cracked, sore nipples, these soothing gel pads may feel better on your sensitive nipples than pads made of cotton or bamboo. Ameda’s gel pads can also be cooled in the refrigerator before using for some extra pain relief.
“If you are in pain, these pads can be used for about 6 days before it is recommended to discard them, but they are not the most cost-effective option. They aren’t designed to specifically absorb milk. They get good reviews for being unnoticeable.”
- The pads can be cooled in the refrigerator for extra relief.
- You can reuse the nursing pads for up to 6 days.
- These pads are small and discreet.
- These pads are not budget-friendly.
- “The pads are designed to soothe and won’t absorb milk.”
Best eco-friendly nursing pads
- Price: $$$$
- Material: medical-grade silicone
- Size: 7.31 x 1.5 x 5.19 inches
These pads are made of Silicone and are bamboo-based. Instead of focusing on collecting milk, the creators of the product aim to prevent milk from dripping out by placing gentle pressure on your nipples.
They adhere to you and not your bra, so they can stay put when you are not wearing a bra.
“The manufacturer claims that these nursing pads can last up to 2 months. Even if they don’t make it that long, you can at least know that you’ve prevented a few pairs of disposable pads from ending up in the landfill.”
- The pads can last up to 2 months.
- “They don’t require a bra to stay in place.”
- The company claims that they put pressure on the nipple to keep milk inside the breast.
- This is one of the most expensive options.
- Some users felt the pressure on their nipples contributed to their pain.
|Lansinoh Stay Dry Nursing Disposable Pads||$||disposable||primarily of a “fluffy pulp” that’s nontoxic and latex-free|
|Bamboobies Washable Nursing Pads||$$||reusable||–layer that touches the skin: 57% bamboo viscose, 23% polyester, 20% cotton
–inner layer: 55% ramie, 45% cotton (thicker pad is 40% cotton, 22% polyester, 21% linen, 17% ramie)
-outer layer: 100% polyester with waterproofing
|Curve by Cache Coeur Reusable Nursing Pads||$$$$||reusable||primarily polyester|
|BabyBliss Bamboo Nursing Pads||$$||reusable||-layer that touches the skin: bamboo fabric
–inner layer: microfiber
-outer layer: polyester
|NUK Ultra Thin Disposable Nursing Pads||$||disposable||not specified|
|Medela Disposable Nursing Pads||$||disposable||not specified|
|Ameda ComfortGel Hydrogel Pads||$$$$||reusable||hydrogel|
|LilyPadz Reusable Nursing PadsStarter Kit||$$$$||reusable||medical-grade silicone|
If you’re planning on breastfeeding, you’ll want to have a supply of nursing pads to help keep you and your clothing dry and clean — or cleaner, at least. There are plenty of options to choose from, so you’ll want to consider a number of factors, including:
- Material. Nursing pads are made from a variety of materials. You’ll want to consider if you’re comfortable with (or allergic to) any of the materials in a given pad. Some materials, like cotton and bamboo, are better for absorbing milk. Others, including silicone, are better for cooling or soothing chapped nipples.
- Reusability. While some pads are designed to be thrown away after a few hours of use, reusable pads can be washed and worn again. The upfront cost for reusable pads is higher, and you’ll need to put in the effort to launder them correctly. However, these pads are made with super soft materials, may help you save money over time, and are often more environmentally friendly.
- Shape and style. How a nursing pad fits on your breast matters! You’ll want to find one that can cover your nipple and stay put in your bra. While bright colors or bold patterns may seem fun, you’ll want to think about the possibility of them showing through your shirt, especially if you prefer to wear bralettes or thinner bras, or go braless.
- Price. If you opt for disposable nursing pads, know that you may go through a decent number of them before you’re done breastfeeding. So you’ll want to make sure that whatever you choose works for your budget.
It can be hard to know which pads are right for you. You may want to try different types of disposable and reuse pads before buying a particular one.
Which type of nursing pads are best for newborns?
“The nursing pads are designed for the parent. It is a very personal decision to choose a nursing pad. You want a nipple cover that stays in place, absorbs milk, and doesn’t irritate your skin.”
Some parents use chilled silicone pads for sensitive nipples after feeding their newborn. Some people prefer pads that can be thrown out after use. It is up to you in this case.
How can you stay dry while breastfeeding?
One of the best ways to stay dry is to use a nursing pad. Letdown can occur at the same time from both breasts, so you may want to use a nursing pad, haakaa, or other milk storage option on the opposite breast when your baby is feeding.
Why use a nursing pad?
It is important to keep your nipples clean and dry. Changing a nursing pad frequently can help with this.
Milk can leak through your bra and shirt. This could help you avoid embarrassment in public, or having milk stains on your shirt at night.
- If you only need a small nursing pad to prevent leaks, you may feel more comfortable with a larger one inside your bra to keep it from sliding around.
- Avoid bright patterns and colors. Nursing pads decorated in white, black, and nude colors are more fun than those decorated in plain colors.
- Make sure to check the directions for the pads. Some need to be washed.
- Some disposable pads can be used to stick to your bra. If you have allergies or sensitive skin, this can cause irritation if you use it.
You will probably want to avoid leaking your breast milk in public if you have been breastfeeding for a while.
“It’s a good idea to have some nursing pads on hand to keep you from cleaning your shirts or feeling embarrassed. Happy breastfeeding!”