Before You Buy Breast Pads

Breast pump, pads, and nursing bra
Photo © Ruth Jenkinson/Getty Images

Buying a breast pad is a very important decision. These pads can be used during pregnancy while preparing for breastfeeding or during lactation, while you are nursing a baby. Do you want disposable? Do you need wicking? What about plastic pads? How bulky will they be? Learn what you need to know about them before you buy.

Disposable Breast Pads

Disposable breast pads have their place in life. They are easy to get rid of without the fuss of washing them.

However, they can contain plastic backing to prevent leaking that can actually harm your breast or cause a yeast infection. Be sure whatever pad you choose does not contain plastic backing. These are also great to have ​on the off chance you get stuck and your washable pads are full, particularly if you leak a lot or often.

Washable Breast Pads

Washable pads are nice because they are reusable and tend to be more form fitting. Some provide wicking, where moisture is actually drawn away from your skin. They come in a variety of fabric types, textures, and colors. Many mothers prefer the washable pads. While the expenditure is higher in the beginning, the comfort and fit tend to be better for these pads. You might buy a few pair to try them out, perhaps you'll wind up wearing them only for when you need longer coverage.

The washable pads can go in with your baby's laundry with typically no further special care. You may want to put it them in a special lingerie bag to help prevent you from losing them. I always put them in with the baby socks.

All the small things in a bag that zipped to prevent them from being lost.


No matter which type of breast pad you use, you will want to ensure that they are contoured for your body. Does the pad have seams that might irritate your nipples? Is it shaped like a cup? Or is it a flat circle, meaning it will bunch when placed in your bra? This will vary depending on the size and shape of your breast and nipples, but may also vary depending on which bra you are wearing.


Every mother will have a different amount of flow that she will need to catch with her pads. This might depend on how often you pump, how long you are away from your baby, or other factors. For example, being at work might require a different pad than an overnight period of time if baby is sleeping longer stretches.

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