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Best Nursing Pads of 2024
January 4, 2024

Best Nursing Pads of 2024

By Babylist Team
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Experiencing milk leakage while breastfeeding? Nursing pads are your friend.Best Nursing Pads of 2024

Nursing can be wonderful, but it can also be a little messy. Whether you’re breastfeeding, pumping or a combo of both, you’re bound to experience some milk leakage whenever you’re not actively nursing.

Why does milk leakage happen? You can leak breast milk when you hear a baby crying (even one that isn’t your own!) or when your breasts are overfull because you haven’t nursed or pumped in a while. It’s also common to leak from one breast while you’re feeding your baby on the other (pro tip: you can collect milk on the side you’re not nursing on by using a hands-free suction pump like the one we feature at the end of this article). It can happen at night, at work, in the grocery store…since having wet spots on your shirt isn’t exactly ideal, nursing pads have got you covered (literally).

What Are Nursing Pads?

Nursing pads slip right into whatever bra you’re wearing, whether it’s a nursing bra, a sports bra, a pumping bra or even a regular bra. The pads are made from absorbent fabric, usually either cotton or bamboo, to soak up any excess liquid from your breasts, and they’re soft on sensitive skin, which is really important when you have raw, sensitive nipples.

There are two different types of nursing pads available: disposable and reusable.

  • Disposable nursing pads are convenient, and they often have a thin plastic backing to further insure against milk soaking through to your clothes.
  • Reusable nursing pads are softer, eco-friendlier and are expensive up front but may provide a cost savings over time.

If you choose reusables, we recommend keeping a box of disposables around, too. They’re great backups to have in your bag or for when you haven’t had a chance to do laundry.

How Many Nursing Pads Do I Need?

There’s no exact answer to how many nursing pads you need; it depends on if you’re using disposables or reusables, how much laundry you want to do and how often you need to change your nursing pads.

Most disposable nursing pads come in boxes anywhere from about 60 to 200. If you’re a first-time nursing parent, don’t overbuy upfront. Start off with one small box so you can test the pads out and see if they’re a comfortable fit before committing to a specific brand.

Reusable pads tend to come in packs of at least two sets or more. Some come in larger packs with a few pairs of thin, daytime pads and one set of thicker pads for overnight. Think through how often you’ll be able to do laundry (or how often you’ll want to do it) when figuring out how many washable breast pads you’ll need.

Babylist Picks for Best Nursing Pads

Since nursing pads vary in shape and absorbency, try experimenting with a couple of different types and brands to find the ones that fit you best. Here are our top picks to help get you started.

Best Disposable Nursing Pads

If you’re going to try only one disposable nursing pad, you should buy a box of these Lansinoh pads. They are incredibly soft for a disposable, and they do a great job of wicking away moisture to keep you dry—even when the pad has soaked up a lot of milk—because no one wants to hang out with damp nursing pads in their bra. The super absorbent core can hold up to 20 times its own weight, meaning fewer pad changes throughout the day, too.

Best Nursing Pads for Large Breasts

The disposable pads from Medela are shaped differently from other nursing pads. While most are flat circles, these are slightly cupped with a more oblong shape, making them a great fit for larger breasts. They’re ultra absorbent, which is good news if you tend to have heavier leaking, and the sticky strips on the back adhere the pads to your bra to help them stay in place all day.

Keep in mind: though the packaging says these pads are discreet under clothing, they’ll show through an unpadded bra.

Best Breast Pads That Stay in Place

While washable nursing pads are great for so many reasons, one not-so-great thing about them is that they tend to move around a lot in your bra. Not the case with these reusable pads from Bodily. The exterior is made from grippy silicone, helping them to stay in place much better than many other washable pads we’ve tried. This pack is a favorite because it comes with three pairs of max protection pads and three pairs of thinner, minimal visibility pads.

Best Reusable Nursing Pads

Sore and tender nipples rejoice: bamboobies feel like velvet against your skin and get softer with every wash. Even though the pads have a slim profile, they can handle a lot of leakage. After using them, just toss the pads into the washing machine on a warm setting (you can also dry them in the dryer). This set includes one pair of ultra-thin regular pads and one pair of super-absorbent overnight pads.

Best No-Show Nursing Pads

In addition to being leakproof (we’ve tried, and they live up to the promise), these wicking nursing pads are perfect for wearing under any type of shirt. The firm, contoured shape and thin design means they won’t show through your top like many other types of nursing pads. The anti-slip outer layer holds everything in place and the four layers of moisture-wicking mesh keep you dry and comfortable.

Best Thin Disposable Nursing Pad

Wearing bulkier pads is fine with sweaters, padded bras or for overnight, but slender and discreet nursing pads are better if you’re wearing a thinner bra or shirt. These ones by Nuk are invisible under your clothes and perfect for when you only need them to catch a few drops. The only downside? They’re not a good option if your breast milk leakage is on the heavier side.

Best Nursing Pads for Cracked Nipples

The first few weeks of breastfeeding can be painful, and cracked nipples are an unfortunate part of things for some nursing parents. These gel pads provide instant relief. They’re made from natural glycerin (and are vegan) and help soothe soreness and heal nipple cracks. Pro tip: pop them in the refrigerator for extra relief.

Best Organic Nursing Pads

Looking for nursing pads that are soft, absorbent and organic? Nursing parents love Kindred Bravely for nursing bras, maternity clothes and these 100% organic bamboo nursing pads. Bamboo is more absorbent than cotton, and these pads are hypoallergenic, too!

Best Affordable Reusable Breast Pads

This pack of washable nursing pads contains 14 pads, a laundry bag and a wet bag—a week’s worth of supplies—for under twenty dollars. It’s a great deal and a highly-reviewed set, with over 24,000 Amazon reviews and counting. The pads come in three different sizes depending on your cup size and each pair gets its own color for even wear.

Best Breast Milk Collection Cup

Minor breast milk leaks can be solved with the absorbency of nursing pads, but if you’re prone to heavier leaks, losing all that liquid gold into pads can be frustrating. Instead of nursing pads, try a suction breast pump like this one from Elvie. This silicone cup attaches to your breast and uses suction to catch all of your leaked breast milk—and it operates totally hands-free. It’s also a perfect option if you tend to leak out of the non-nursing breast while breastfeeding. It can collect up to one ounce of milk from a single breast over three hours, which can really add up to help you build a freezer stash.

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