Our reusable breast pads are soft, stylish and absorbent. They are washable and handmade in Australia using cotton, bamboo and PUL fabrics. Below you will find our range and answers to everything you ever wanted to know about reusable nursing pads.
What are reusable breast pads and how do they work?
Reusable nursing pads are a material that is placed over nipples to absorb leaking breast milk. Once your breasts start to leak the absorbent material soaks up the milk rather than soaking your bra or clothing.
There are many types of nursing pads. These include;
- Reusable – Used for soaking excess milk, then washed to be used again.
- Disposable – This type is used once and then thrown out.
- Breast Shell — Capture excess milk in a shell shape so the milk can be stored and reused.
- Hydrogel — A pad that provides relief and soothes sore nipples.
Each has their own uses and the type you choose is your decision. Below we have the benefits and disadvantages of disposable and reusable types. And in this post, we provide information on the reusable, washable type.
Benefits and Disadvantages
We have an article that goes into greater detail on the benefits and disadvantages of reusable nursing pads. But the outline is;
There are many benefits to using reusable pads, these include;
- Soft and Comfortable
- Environmentally friendly
- Cost Saving
- Use for later babies
- Better air circulation
- No chemicals
- Prevents milk stains
The disadvantages of using reusable nursing pads are;
- Harder to maintain
- Upfront costs
- More organised
- Can’t have as many
Once you have decided on the type, when should you buy them? We suggest purchasing them around the 30-week mark, and best after the baby shower.
You should start producing milk soon after your baby is born so you will need them then. And it will give you plenty of time to include them in your hospital bag. Also, there is a chance you start to leak colostrum before giving birth.
You will need to use breast pads more at the start and less so at the end of your breastfeeding journey. So expect to stop wearing them between 3 and 6 months.
Although breast pads aren’t necessary, they will save your clothes from getting milk stains and reduce the amount of washing.
And it doesn’t matter if you bottle or breastfeed. You will still need some. This is because you will most likely be producing some milk even if you aren’t breastfeeding.
You don’t have to wear them all the time. Only when you are leaking. This will give your nipples a chance to dry out and heal. And it’s normal for you to stop wearing them when your milk dries up.
To use reusable breast pads place the centre of the round pad over your nipple. You can use a bra to keep them in place. Continue to use pads for as long as you are producing milk. This will be roughly 3- 6 months. Reusable nursing pads will last for 4 – 6 hours. At this point, you should change them.
Use at Night
You can wear pads at night as long as you are changing them regularly as you shouldn’t wear them when wet. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem as the newborn will wake up every few hours soon after birth.
The size of nursing pads will vary depending on the manufacturer. Ideally, the size of breast pads should be 12cm x 12cm. As this will give you enough coverage to soak up as much milk as possible.
Breast pads are a safe and hygienic product as long as you follow the manufacturers’ guidelines. And they are changed every 4–6 hours or if they become wet.
Nursing pads don’t cause mastitis. Mastitis is caused by many things including milk trapped in the breast, blocked milk ducts, and bacteria entering your breast.
Where to buy and their cost
There are many places where to buy breast pads. The disposable types can be found at chemists and major shopping chains. While washable and reusable pads can be brought from specialty baby shops like ours.
And you would expect to pay around $11.95 for a pair of reusable nursing pads.
Are reusable breast pads worth it?
Yes, not only will you save money you will also be helping the environment. Washable breast pads can be used over and over again while disposables will end up in landfill. A quick equation for saving money based on buying 8 sets. This would be a total outlay of $95.60. Compare this with $16 for a pack of 60 (15 days worth) and within 5 months you are already making a cost saving with reusable. Let alone saving the environment.
See this article for a more detailed breakdown of the cost savings of using washable breast pads.
How many should I buy?
How many nursing pads will depend on a few things. This includes if you are breastfeeding, and if you have a large supply of milk. And how regularly you are planning to wash them.
On average you will need 8 sets. If you aren’t breastfeeding you will only need 4 sets.
But you don’t want to be washing them every day so we suggest buying 8 sets. This will be enough to last you until you stop leaking milk.
Will the Hospital provide them?
Generally, hospitals will not provide breast pads. Depending on which one you go to they might have some that you can use in a push. But we suggest packing your own. We would recommend taking m at least 4 pairs to the hospital. We would recommend buying one pack of disposables to take with you just in case you use all the reusable ones.
We use a variety of different materials when we make our washable pads. The first layer is a bamboo material that sits against your nipple. This is absorbent and soft to the touch. The second layer is a PUL material which is known for its absorbent qualities. And the first layer is a cotton material that has a variety of designs and prints.
Cleaning, Maintenance and Storage
Washing and cleaning our breast pads is simple. Place in the washing machine with similar colours at 40 degrees for 30 minutes. Once finished place in the tumble dryer or hanger and dry thoroughly. It is important to dry them otherwise they may grow mould. And they should be washed after every use and within 24 hours.
If you use lanolin you might find this stains your pads. This is hard to remove however there are a few things you can try. Firstly soak overnight in a bowl of oxy. Then place them in the washing machine. You can also try using vinegar or lemon juice.
Getting milk out of nursing pads is also difficult. Try blotting the milk with a clean towel. Then mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid and 2 cups of cold water. Gently rub this mixture onto the stain. Then rinse in cold water and repeat until the stain is removed.
If your pads are getting black spots on them this is a sign of mold. If this occurs we recommend you don’t use them and throw them out. To stop your breast pads from getting mouldy you should wash and dry them thoroughly on the same day you use them.
Your reusable nursing pads should last your entire feeding journey. Once finished with them we recommend you wash and dry and store in a dry area for you to use for future children.
Day-to-day storage can be in your nappy bag, clothes drawer or feeding station. As long as it is a dry environment it will be suitable.
For one reason or another, you might not want to buy them. And if this is the case here are some alternatives to nursing pads.
- Baby Washcloths
- Bibs or Burp Cloths
- Sanitary Pads
The most popular alternative is menstrual pads or panty liners as they are designed to soak up liquids.
Best Reusable Nursing Pads
So after reading this, you want to know what are the best nursing pads to buy? We suggest our own brand as they are;
- Australian Made
We hope that this information has helped you and if you have any questions please contact me.
This article was written by Luisa Figueroa. I am the owner, designer, and maker of the My Little Love Heart range of baby products and accessories.