When you prepare for the arrival of your little one, you have a lot on your mind. There are so many things to get in place for baby – the nursery, diaper bag necessities, diapers and wipes, clothes (all the cute little clothes!), and so much more. But what about you, Mama? Are you prepared for your needs, too? After all, you’re going to go through a lot of changes!
One item to add to your own postpartum checklist if you’re planning to breastfeed or pump is nursing pads, also known as breast pads. They’re a little thing that can make a big difference for your comfort, and you can still get a lot of use out of them if you don’t end up needing them for very long.
Let’s take a look at why nursing pads are a worthwhile addition to your diaper bag or purse, the different options available to you, and how you can get the most use out of them – even beyond breastfeeding!
Why and How to Use Nursing Pads
Nursing pads – or breast pads – serve a straightforward purpose. They offer a layer of protection between your breasts and clothing in case your breastmilk leaks between feedings or pumping. Nursing pads can protect your clothing from embarrassing (or potentially permanent) stains, reduce uncomfortable moisture from leaks, and prevent the dreaded dried milk stench. Pro tip: Having a hard time finding the source of the milk smell? Check your hair, your baby’s clothes or hair, couch, or nursing pillow.
Not everyone experiences leaking breasts and you may find it’s only a problem in the first days or weeks of breastfeeding, as your body finds a rhythm of milk production specific to your little one’s needs. Once that is established, you ideally should have just as much milk for baby to eat.
Still other mothers find that leaking can be exacerbated by specific situations. These situations can include:
- Longer separations from your baby (a few hours, or longer than you typically go between feedings)
- Going back to work after maternity leave
- Overnight or while sleeping
- During sex or when aroused
- When your milk supply is greater than your baby’s needs
The good news is that nursing pads are inexpensive and easy to use. Simply place them inside your bra or nursing tank top, and replace when wet to avoid side leaking and to keep your skin dry and healthy.
Types of Nursing Pads
Despite their relatively simple use, not all nursing pads are the same. Whether reusable, or disposable, you have options when it comes to protecting your clothes and soaking up excess breastmilk.
- Reusable nursing pads: Washable fabric nursing pads are a sustainable and comfortable option. They are also less bulky than disposable varieties. Bamboobies nursing pads are designed with super-soft velour made from renewable bamboo for ultimate comfort against your skin. Keep a spare pair in the lined and leak-proof little black wet bag. Pro tip: you can store used pairs in the bag on the go! A washable laundry bag helps keep your reusable nursing pads in good condition in the wash (bonus: the bag is great for baby hats and socks, too!). Our reusable nursing pads come in 2 different absorbency levels. Bamboobies even offers combination packs to support you both during the day and overnight (or whenever you need just a little more coverage):
- Regular nursing pads: Bamboobies regular absorbency nursing pads feature our recognizable heart-shaped design. These pads cup your breasts in a more subtle way than most circular breast pads to better conceal them under clothing.
- Overnight nursing pads: Bamboobies overnight nursing pads are round and provide more surface area protection for heavier leaks (which don’t always occur just at night). These are great for when you’re asleep, go through phases of increased leaking, or simply need a little extra coverage.
- Disposable nursing pads: Disposable nursing pads offer convenience when you’re on-the-go; simply throw a few pairs in your diaper bag or purse, and throw them away as you use them up. Most disposable breast pads include an adhesive that sticks to your clothing to hold them in place, and Bamboobies offers a super-soft quilted honeycomb top layer that still feels great on your skin and won’t stick to it.
No matter what your specific needs are, there’s a breast pad option for you.
Nursing Pads Beyond Breastfeeding
You might be wondering about the long-term relevance of reusable – or even any extra disposable – nursing pads you acquire, especially if you end up only needing to use them regularly until your breastmilk supply is established. It turns out there are several ideas for repurposing your nursing pads once you’re done using them for breastfeeding!
Here are some of our favorites, as well as our own additions to the list:
- Boost your bust for a night on the town! Use your breast pads for a little extra lift without having to invest in a new pushup bra.
- Stick a disposable pair directly to a camisole or strapless dress for coverage without a bra.
- Use them in place of cotton to remove makeup or nail polish. (Reusable pads are especially eco-friendly for this!)
- Baby boy? Keep a breast pad handy during diaper changes to protect against unexpected “showers.”
- Keep reusable breast pads handy for wiping food, snot, and dirt off of your child’s face. Use one either dry or soaked in lukewarm water. They feel softer and are more sustainable than a tissue or paper towel, and they’re the perfect size for tiny cheeks and noses.
- Hate that sticky post-sunscreen feeling on your fingers? Reusable breast pads can give you a barrier between the lotion and your hands while allowing you to rub sunscreen delicately and evenly on your child’s (or your) skin. This can be especially helpful for faces and ears, which can be hard to cover uniformly.
What other uses have you found for your recycled or leftover nursing pads? Let us know in the comments!
Breastfeeding is a big part of many moms’ journeys. There’s enough to think about without worrying about leaking. We’re here to support you, mama. You’ve got this!
VeryWell Family: 5 Types of Nursing Pads
BabyCenter: New uses for breast pads