If there was one aspect of new motherhood that I definitely wasn't prepared for it was leaky nipples. Whether you opt to breastfeed or formula feed your baby, there's a solid chance you'll deal with leaking breastmilk from your nipples, and finding the best nursing pads can keep you dry and comfortable.
Your breasts can leak milk as early as the third trimester and can continue several weeks into breastfeeding and even after the birth of your baby if you choose not to nurse. Lactation consultant Susan Condon told Baby Center that the hormone oxytocin is responsible for leakage, and although leaking can be unpredictable, it usually occurs when your breasts are full of milk. But it can even happen when you're thinking about your baby, hear another baby cry, or — because oxytocin is released during orgasms — Cordon noted that you may even experience leakage during sex.
Luckily, there are a few different types of nursing pads that can help. No one pad is better than another (though you'll probably find a favorite), but all serve unique purposes. There are disposable nursing pads of various sizes and levels of thickness that can be discarded, reusable pads that you can wash, silicone pads that won't absorb leaks but help prevent them, and even hydrogel nursing pads that offer cooling relief for sore nipples.
These 10 nursing pads are backed up by glowing reviews from moms who rely on them to stay dry.
1. Travel-Friendly Individually Wrapped Disposable Pads That Will Stay In Place
Never worry about your nursing pad slipping and falling out of your bra again. These disposable nursing pads feature a fool-proof adhesive lining and are thick enough to offer maximum protection against major leaks. They come individually wrapped, are perfect for travel or work, and are so soft they won't stick to your nipples or cause you discomfort.
2. A Breathable, Waterproof, & Disposable Nursing Pad For Light To Medium Flow Leaks
These quilted disposable nursing pads have a contoured shape and adhesive strip that fits perfectly inside of your nursing bra. They come in individually wrapped packets, are ideal for light to medium flow, and feature a breathable and waterproof layer that help keep your clothes protected.
3. Sustainably Harvested Bamboo Pads That Have Designs For Daytime And Nighttime Wear
Yes, these velvety soft reusable bamboo nursing pads come in floral shapes and are as cute as can be, but those shapes have a function, too. The daisy-shaped pads are lighter, designed to be worn during the day, and the round, thick pads are perfect for heavy flow and nighttime use. These pads are made from organic, sustainably harvested bamboo and have a custom-designed leak-proof backing.
4. Breast 'Shells' That Actually Collect Milk As It Leaks
These nursing pads work a bit differently than traditional pads. They're soft, cushioned breast shells that protect your nipples from chafing while actually collecting leaked milk. They have a soft silicone backing and you can even use these while feeding or pumping by placing them against the non-nursing breast to release additional milk.
5. Reusable Organic Bamboo Cotton Pads That Are Large Enough To Fit Most Bra Sizes
These large (nearly five-inch) reusable and washable nursing pads are made from the softest organic bamboo cotton with an absorbent inner layer and water-proof outer layer to protect clothing. The really nice thing about these pads, which are slightly thinner than most disposable brands, is that they are large enough to fit most bra sizes and offer maximum protection.
6. Overnight Washable Bamboo Nursing Pads That Will Keep You Dry All Night
Bamboobies Washable Reusable Overnight Nursing Pads (8 Pads), $25, Amazon
When overnight leaks prevent you from having a restful sleep, try these washable and reusable nursing pads, made from ultra-soft bamboo rayon velour, cotton, and hemp. Expect these pads to be thicker and more absorbent than the ones you wear during the day.
7. Reusable Silicone Nursing Pads That Prevent Leaks Before They Start
The next best thing to absorbing break milk leaks is preventing them — and that's just what many reviewers say these reusable silicone nursing pads do. They're made from 100 percent medical grade silicone and work by applying a gentle amount of pressure on the nipple — just enough to form a non-absorbent barrier that prevents leaking.
8. Washable, Hypoallergenic Nursing Pads That Come With A Breastfeeding Reminder Bracelet
These washable, hypoallergenic organic nursing pads are made with bamboo fibers that ensure they are breathable and come with a washing bag and a rubber bracelet that can provide reminders for when it's time to nurse your baby. They're thin, comfortable, and come in five colors to match a variety of bras.
9. Cool, Soothing Gel Breast Pads That Relieve Sore Nipples & Can Be Worn Up To 72 Hours
There are times in your early days as a new parent when all you want in life is a little relief for your poor, aching, cracked nipples. These hydrogel nursing pads deliver. They come with a fabric packing that protects your nipples from bra friction and can be reused for up to 72 hours. You can even store them in the fridge to reduce serious nipple discomfort.
10. Super Absorbent Nursing Pads With A Multi Layer Lining
There may be time in early nursing when you find yourself leaking like often. These super absorbent and thicker-than-usual disposable nursing pads can help. They have four absorbent layers that prevent leaking and protect clothing, adhesive strips to keep them in place, and a breathable layer that allows air to circulate to your nipple, preventing irritation.
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