Reusable Breast Pads: Complete Guide



reusable breast pads on a soft, pastel-colored fabric surface. The image showcases several pairs of round, fabric breast pads in soft shades of pink, blue, and beige, designed for nursing mothers. Some pads are displayed in a stack, showing their thickness and absorbency, while others are spread out, revealing their contoured shape designed for comfort.

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In the realm of sustainable parenting, reusable breast pads offer an eco-friendly alternative for nursing mothers.

This guide is designed to walk you through everything you need to know about reusable breast pads, from their environmental benefits to the practical aspects of daily use.

Learn about the different materials used, how to choose the right fit and absorbency for your needs, and the best practices for washing and maintaining them.

Join us as we explore the comfort, convenience, and eco-consciousness of reusable breast pads, making them a smart choice for modern mothers.

Key Takeaways: Reusable Breast Pads Guide

Eco-friendly and cost-effective. Reusable breast pads are an environmentally friendly alternative to disposable pads, reducing waste and saving money over time.

Material matters. They are often made from absorbent, soft materials like bamboo, cotton, or hemp, which are gentle on the skin and highly effective at absorbing milk.

Comfort and breathability. Reusable pads are breathable and can be more comfortable than disposables, reducing the risk of thrush and other skin irritations.

Size and shape variety. They come in various sizes and shapes to fit different bra styles and breast sizes comfortably.

Washing and care. Wash them regularly in a laundry bag on a gentle cycle with mild detergent and air dry to maintain their absorbency and shape.

Waterproof layer. Many have a waterproof layer to prevent leaks, but it’s important to change them frequently to keep the skin dry.

Pack enough for outings. When going out, carry a few extra pads along with a waterproof bag for storing used ones.

Trial and error. You may need to try a few different brands or materials to find the most comfortable and effective option for your needs.

What are Washable Breast Pads?

Washable breast pads are a type of nursing pad used by breastfeeding mothers. These pads are made from materials that can be washed and reused. They are placed inside a bra to absorb milk that may leak from the breasts. This is common for many mothers.

These pads are often made from soft, absorbent materials like cotton. They are gentle against the skin. This is important because a mother’s skin can be sensitive during breastfeeding. The washable nature of these pads makes them a cost-effective and environmentally friendly option. Mothers can use the same pads multiple times, which reduces waste.

Washable breast pads come in different sizes and thicknesses. Mothers can choose the size that fits best and the thickness that suits their needs. Some have waterproof layers to prevent milk from leaking onto clothes. These pads provide comfort and protection, helping mothers feel more secure and confident while breastfeeding.

Why Use Reusable Breast Pads

Using reusable breast pads is a good choice for many reasons. They are friendly to the environment. When mothers use these pads, they create less trash. This is because they wash and use the pads many times. This is better for the planet than using and throwing away many pads.

Reusable breast pads save money. Instead of buying new pads all the time, mothers buy only a few reusable ones. These pads last a long time. They are made from strong materials like cotton. They stay good through many washes. This makes them a cost-effective choice.

These pads are also gentle on the skin. They are made from soft materials. This is good for mothers who have sensitive skin from breastfeeding. Reusable pads can also be more comfortable than disposable ones. They fit well and feel nice. This helps mothers feel more comfortable when they are feeding their babies.

Disposable Nursing Pads Vs Reusable Nursing Pads

AspectDisposable Nursing PadsReusable Nursing Pads
MaterialOften made from superabsorbent polymers and fluff pulp.Typically crafted from cotton, bamboo, or hemp fabrics.
AbsorbencyHigh absorbency due to superabsorbent materials.Varies, but generally good; depends on material and layers.
ComfortThin and discreet under clothing. Can be less breathable.Softer and more breathable, but may be thicker.
Skin SensitivityCan cause irritation due to chemicals or fragrances.Generally more skin-friendly, especially organic options.
Cost-EffectivenessLess cost-effective in the long run; recurring purchase.More economical over time; initial cost higher.
Environmental ImpactHigh waste generation; not biodegradable.Eco-friendly; reduces waste and environmental footprint.
ConvenienceHigh – disposable after single use, no need to wash.Requires washing and proper drying, less convenient.
LifespanSingle-use; disposed of after use.Long-lasting; can be used for multiple years with care.
Leak-Proof DesignSome have waterproof layers to prevent leaks.Often have leak-proof options with multiple layers.
VarietyLimited in terms of fabric and design choices.Wide range of fabric choices and designs.
AvailabilityWidely available in most stores and pharmacies.Available in eco-stores, online, or specialty shops.
Sizing OptionsOne-size-fits-all; may not fit perfectly for all.Often available in different sizes for a better fit.
MaintenanceNo maintenance needed.Requires regular washing and proper care.
Ideal forShort-term use, travel, convenience.Long-term use, daily wear, eco-conscious users.

Reusable Breast Pads

Top Reusable Pads Brands

  1. Bamboobies Washable Nursing Pads: Praised across multiple platforms, Bamboobies are renowned for their softness and absorbency. They are made from a breathable blend of bamboo and cotton, providing comfort and effective moisture absorption​​​​​​​​.
  2. Kindred Bravely Organic Washable Breast Pads: These pads are known for their softness, absorbency, and organic material. Made from 100% organic bamboo, they are a favorite among nursing parents for their hypoallergenic properties and eco-friendliness​​.
  3. KeaBabies Organic Bamboo Nursing Breast Pads: These pads offer great value, including 14 pads, a laundry bag, and a wet bag at an affordable price. They are highly reviewed and come in three different sizes for a better fit, with each pair having its own color for even wear​​.
  4. Lansinoh Washable Reusable Nursing Pads: Known for providing reusable leak-proof protection, Lansinoh pads are another top choice. They offer a specialized design for effective use​​​​.

Maintaining Hygiene with Reusable Breast Pads

Maintaining hygiene with reusable breast pads is important for the health of both mother and baby. Cleaning these pads regularly is key. Mothers wash them after each use to keep them clean. This removes milk and prevents the growth of germs.

Washing these pads is simple. One can use a gentle detergent and warm water. This is good for getting rid of stains and odors. It’s also gentle on the pads, so they last longer. After washing, it’s best to dry them in a clean, airy space. This helps to make sure they are completely dry before the next use.

Using clean pads every time is good for skin health. It helps to prevent irritation. Mothers feel more comfortable and secure when they know their pads are clean. Hygienic practices with reusable breast pads support a healthy breastfeeding experience.

A selection of reusable breast pads displayed on a soft, textured fabric surface. The breast pads are in various pastel colors and organic shapes, some adorned with delicate lace or soft prints to appeal to nursing mothers. Each pad is designed to be absorbent and comfortable, with a focus on the softness of the material.

How Long Do Reusable Breast Pads Last?

Reusable breast pads can last a long time, often for several months or even years. Their lifespan depends on how they are used and cared for. Good care includes washing them properly after each use. Using a gentle detergent and avoiding harsh chemicals helps to keep the pads in good condition.

The material of the breast pads also affects how long they last. Pads made from strong materials like cotton or bamboo are durable. They can withstand many washes without losing their shape or absorbency. This makes them a long-lasting choice for nursing mothers.

Regularly inspecting the pads for signs of wear and tear is important. Over time, they may become thin or less absorbent. When this happens, it’s time to replace them. By taking good care of their breast pads and replacing them when needed, mothers can ensure they always have the protection and comfort they need.

FactorDescriptionImplications for Lifespan
Material– Common materials include cotton, bamboo, hemp, wool.
– Some have waterproof layers.
– Natural fibers like bamboo and hemp tend to be more durable.
– Synthetic or waterproof layers may wear out faster.
Usage Frequency– Depends on the number of pads a person owns and how often they are breastfeeding.– Frequent use can lead to quicker wear and tear.
– Having multiple pairs to rotate can extend overall lifespan.
Washing Method– Machine wash vs. hand wash.
– Use of harsh detergents or softeners.
– Hand washing can be gentler on the fabric.
– Harsh chemicals can degrade materials quicker.
Drying Method– Air dry vs. tumble dry.
– Exposure to direct sunlight.
– Tumble drying may cause shrinkage or quicker deterioration.
– Sunlight can naturally sanitize but may fade colors.
Care and Maintenance– Proper storage.
– Following manufacturer’s care instructions.
– Proper care can significantly extend the life of breast pads.
– Ignoring care instructions can lead to damage.
Quality of Product– Brand reputation.
– Quality of stitching and fabric.
– Higher quality pads usually last longer.
– Cheaper options might need replacing more often.
Storage Conditions– Dry, cool place vs. damp, warm conditions.– Storing in a dry, cool place preserves materials.
– Damp conditions can lead to mold and quicker degradation.
Personal Hygiene– Frequency of changing pads.
– Cleaning breast area before use.
– Regular changing prevents buildup of moisture and bacteria.
– Clean skin reduces the risk of staining and odor.

Are Washable Nursing Pads Good for Overnight Nursing?

Washable nursing pads are good for overnight nursing. They are designed to be absorbent. This helps to keep moisture away from the skin during the night. When a mother nurses her baby at night, these pads can absorb any milk that might leak. This keeps both the mother and her clothes dry.

These pads are often made from materials like cotton or bamboo. These materials are soft and comfortable. Comfort is important for a good night’s sleep. The softness of these materials is gentle on the skin. This is good for mothers who might have sensitive skin due to breastfeeding.

The reusable nature of these pads makes them practical for overnight use. Mothers can have several pairs ready for use. They can change them during the night if needed. In the morning, they can wash them for the next use. This routine helps mothers to feel comfortable and dry while they sleep and nurse their babies.

Guide to Buying Reusable Nursing Pads: Our Top Tips

There are a few things you might want to think about when you are buying reusable pads. There are lots of brands and types available, so, the good news is, you can afford to be pick to get the best reusable nursing pads for you.

  • Would you like your nursing pads in pretty colours and prints?
  • Which material would you like? Organic Cotton will be most breathable, while bamboo nursing pads are super soft
  • Do you prefer a PUL backing fabric? This waterproof lining reduces breathability of breast pads but provides extra protection against leaks
  • Are you looking for daytime pads or overnight pads?
  • Do you have sensitive skin? If so, nursing pads with a contoured shape may be the best reusable pads for you.
  • Cracked nipples? Perhaps silicone pads or washable nursing pads with cooling gel pads will help soothe your sensitive nipples.
  • Would you like to collect leaking breast milk? Breast Milk Savers collect milk leakage rather than absorb it, so you can use the milk later. A life saver in those first few weeks when you are likely to have lots of breast milk leakage.

Different Materials of Reusable Breast Pads

Reusable breast pads come in different materials, each offering unique benefits. When selecting reusable breast pads, understanding the type of material is crucial. Common materials include cotton, bamboo, hemp, and wool, each offering unique benefits.

Cotton pads, known for their softness and comfort, are highly absorbent and gentle on the skin. They are a great choice for those with sensitive skin, but they may require more frequent washing as they tend to retain moisture longer.

Bamboo, on the other hand, is celebrated for its eco-friendliness and natural antibacterial properties. Bamboo pads are incredibly soft, more absorbent than cotton, and dry quicker, making them a practical option for busy moms. They are also hypoallergenic, catering to those with sensitive skin or allergies. However, bamboo pads may need delicate handling during washing to maintain their integrity.

Hemp breast pads are known for their durability and absorbency. They become softer with each wash, making them more comfortable over time. Hemp is also a sustainable choice, as it requires less water to grow compared to cotton.

Wool pads, while less common, offer excellent natural moisture-wicking properties and temperature regulation, keeping the skin dry and comfortable. Wool pads typically need gentle, specific care when washing, often requiring hand washing and natural detergents to preserve their natural oils and shape.

Each material brings its own set of characteristics that affect not just the washing method but also the longevity of the pads. For instance, while cotton and bamboo are user-friendly and can often be machine washed, hemp and wool might require more specific care instructions to ensure they last longer and retain their beneficial properties.

How Many Nursing Pads do I Need?

How many resuable breast pads you need varies a lot from mom to mom. You might leak lots, or very little. You might find that your breast pad on one side needs changing lots, and not the other. As you wear nursing pads, you will get used to how many nursing pads you will need.

If you opt for reusable nursing pads, 6 pairs should keep you covered, allowing time for washing and drying- though this does depend on your routine. These are made from super absorbent fabric and often have a stay dry layer to keep the nursing mother feeling dry at all times.

Lansinoh pads come in bulk boxes, so if you are using disposable nursing pads, we would suggest starting out with one of these. The lansinoh nursing pads come individually wrapped, so there’s no rush on using them which is handy. You will want to have dry disposable nursing pads on hand at all times, and keep them next to you wherever you usually nurse your baby.

Cost Comparison With Disposable Breast Pads

Cost FactorReusable Nursing Pads (Organic Bamboo, 14 Pack)Disposable Nursing Pads (Lansinoh, 100 Count)
Purchase Price$14.99$9.98
Quantity in Pack14 pads100 pads
Average Daily Usage6 pads/day (assuming reuse after washing)6 pads/day
Days Covered by PackInfinite (with proper care and washing)16.67 days (100 pads / 6 pads per day)
Cost Per Day$0.071 (over 30 days)$0.60
Cost for 30 Days$14.99$21.39
Cost for 6 Months (180 Days)$14.99$128.31
Cost for 1 Year (365 Days)$14.99$260.19
Additional Considerations– Cost of laundry (detergent, water, electricity)– Environmental impact of disposables
– Environmental benefits of reusable– Convenience of no washing required

Guide to Buying Disposable Nursing Pads

In terms of disposable pads, there are some things to think about.

  • Sensitive nipples? The best nursing pads for you will be contoured to prevent chaffing
  • Adhesive strips to keep nursing pads in place are a handy feature you should find in most disposable nursing pads
  • Choose nursing pads which are free of artificial scents or dyes.
  • The best disposable nursing pads are ultra thin while still being super absorbent
  • Packaging. Individually wrapped breast pads are handy, but have additional environmental impact.
  • Opt for Stay Dry disposable nursing pads. For example, Lansinoh breast pads have a stay dry quilted honeycomb lining for your comfort

Should I Wear Breast Pads All the Time

Whether or not to wear breast pads all the time depends on personal needs and comfort. Some mothers experience frequent milk leakage and find it helpful to wear breast pads most of the time. This keeps them and their clothes dry. Wearing pads can also help avoid any embarrassment caused by leaking in public.

However, it is also important to give the skin a break from breast pads. This helps to keep the skin dry and allows it to breathe. Continuous use of breast pads, especially if they are wet, can lead to skin irritation or infection. It’s good to change the pads regularly if they become damp.

Mothers can decide based on their own milk flow and comfort. For some, wearing breast pads during the day and taking them off at night works well. For others, wearing them less often may be more comfortable. The key is to stay comfortable and dry, while also caring for skin health.

How often should you change breast pads?

Changing breast pads often is important for hygiene and comfort. It’s recommended to change them whenever they get wet. This could be several times a day, depending on the amount of milk leakage. Keeping the breast area dry helps to prevent skin irritation and infections.

For mothers who experience more frequent leakage, it might be necessary to change pads after every few hours. At night, if leakage is less, a mother might not need to change the pads as often. But if the pads become damp during the night, changing them is a good idea to maintain skin health.

Using fresh pads regularly ensures that the skin remains clean and dry (essential to prevent mastitis). This practice also helps to keep clothing free from milk stains. Regular changing of breast pads is a simple yet effective step in maintaining breast hygiene during breastfeeding.

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