Are Nursing Pads Really Necessary?

Updated on January 27, 2017
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Christy has 22 years of parenting experience, including parenting as a young mom, a single parent, and dealing illness.

Do I Really Need to Buy Breast Pads?

Are you pregnant and preparing to breastfeed your baby? If so, then you will need to decide what type of breast pads that you want to use. You can get by without them for the first few days; however, as your milk comes in then you will need the pads to protect your clothes. It takes a while for your milk to become regulated so you will have to wear them for a few months at least.

Your breasts will leak milk in between feedings and anytime that you have gone a few hours between a feeding. It is also normal to have your milk leak if you hear a baby crying or its near the time your baby would normally feed. The pads will need to be changed frequently if they are wet. This will protect your nipples from getting sore or growing yeast. Sometimes you will even leak through them.

You will also want to keep your nipples are dry as possible. If they become irritated you can use your own breast milk or use Lanolin. This will protect your nipples and help prevent cracking.

Reusable Nursing Pads

Want to save money and be environmentally friendly? If so, you can purchase reusable breast pads. Most of the reusable ones are made up of a cotton fabric. Some of them come with an anti-slip layer, which prevents the breast pad from moving.

They can easily be washed in a washing machine. Its best to was these inside of a laundry bag or in some instances they come with a bag for washing them in. This will prevent them from being lost or misplaced in the laundry, just like those unmatched socks.

The only down side is the initial cost.

Disposable Nursing Pads

The other alternative is disposable breast pads. These aren't as earth friendly; however, they are easy to use and convenient. You don't have to worry about having enough washed each day. You just grab what you need out of the box and go. However, not all disposable breast pads are treated equally. Some are just cotton like materials while others have a plastic lining which helps keep milk from leaking through.

I was at the store today and picked up some. They were out of my normal brand, so I had to purchase another brand. I am kinda glad I did because it inspired me to write this post so that I can help new mothers prepare for breastfeeding. Anyhow, the breast pads I picked up were individually wrapped similar to that of a feminine product. It appeared to have a sticky side as well to help hold the pad in place. This might be a nice feature to have, because its kinda embarrassing when a nursing pad crumples up and falls out of your shirt onto the floor. This happened to me while at church one evening, thankfully, only my mother in law saw it. Or else it could have been a majorly embarrassing moment for me. The normal brand that I use are thin and don't have any thing to hold them into my nursing bra.

I have personally used several different brands of breast pads: Gerber Nuk, Phillips Avent, and Medela. Here are my reviews:

  • Gerber Nuk Nursing Pad Review - They are cheaper compared to most brands; however, after using several other brands these don't absorb quite as much milk. I would still wake up with wet clothes during the middle of the night. They are thin and work well during the day.
  • Philips Avent Nursing Pad Review - I bought these one day because Walmart was out of the usual brand of breast pads that I was buying. They come wrapped in individual packages for sanitary purposes, which allows you to carry them in your purse, diaper bag, ect. They also more absorbent, and I no longer was waking up with wet clothes. They trap milk inside the breast pad similar to a baby's diaper. It keeps your nipples dry while adequately absorbing leaking milk. These breast pads also have sticky tape on the backside of the pad so that you can easily attach it to your bra so that it doesn't move or fall out of your bra. They are thin and you can't tell that you are wearing a breast pad.
  • Medela Nursing Pad Review - These breast pads are very similar to Philips Avent; however, they are a bit more expensive. The pads are very absorbent and I don't wake up in the mornings with wet clothes. They also trap the milk inside the breast pad similar to a baby diaper and keeps your nipples dry. Medela also has sticky tape on the backside of the breast pad, so that you can stick the breast pad in your nursing bra to keep it from moving around or falling out.

What kind of nursing pads to you use?

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers


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      • Babytech profile image


        7 years ago

        My son is now 5 months and at first these breast pads were a great help. I thought I was going to use them for the entire period of breastfeeding. So, I bought several boxes. Now I have three boxes, untouched. As Kathleen said, the body has adjusted to the situation.

      • breastpumpreviews profile imageAUTHOR

        Christy G 

        7 years ago from TX

        Wow Kathleen you were lucky, I leaked with all three of my kids.

      • Kathleen Cochran profile image

        Kathleen Cochran 

        7 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

        With my first baby I went through box after box of these essential things. By my third baby I didn't go through a whole box the entire 15 months I nursed. It's like my body learned.


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