Before Elijah was born, I bought a few breastfeeding supplies that were recommended to us in a breastfeeding class. I got a sleep bra (which ended up being too small once my milk came in), some lanolin and a box of nursing pads. I didn’t know if I’d need them while in the hospital, but I wanted to be prepared. Little did I know how much and how many I would need.
I have a fun thing called a “milk fistula” in my right breast. It is the result of a surgery I had on that breast in 2008 that healed poorly and with some complications. Basically it’s a milk duct that doesn’t have a valve, so whenever I have a let down, I leak profusely from the fistula. If I’ve gone a while without pumping, I can leak upwards of a half an ounce or more. It is…messy. And because the tissue is all scar tissue, there’s concern about skin breakdown and further damage, not to mention that I’ve had 3 battles with thrush already, so dryness is key. So not only do I leak profusely, but I need to keep the area dry. Complications are kind of my specialty.
And because of these complications, I’ve been on a mission to find the best nursing pads. I think I’ve tried just about every brand of disposables out there (and I’m in the midst of trying out some reusable ones) and I’ve finally found the ones I like and dislike the most. It’s been a not so cheap mission, so hopefully my nursing pad adventures can help save some of you time and money.
NUK ULTRA THIN NURSING PADS
I was attracted to these because they are touted as pretty thin and I really prefer my nursing pads to be as discrete as possible. Yes, my bra has an extra insert to try to hide these things, but it is imperfect. I had high hopes for these pads.
Pros: Very thin. That’s about it.
Cons: No sticky pads on the back, so they slide around and bunch up. Plus, unlike other pads, there are no darts or contouring, so you’re putting a very 2D nursing pad on a very 3D surface. They also don’t really seem to absorb much, or at least they don’t really wick away moisture unless the part that’s leaking is positioned just perfectly. I had milk dripping down my breast while wearing these and then ended up with the bottom of my bra soaking wet. I wanted to like these, but they are low on my list.
I tried these out in combination with the nighttime Avent pads when I was having some day/night leakage issues.
Pros: They’re pretty absorbent, which is obviously key when it comes to nursing pads. And the wrappers are actually quite cute, which I realize isn’t necessarily a selling point, but I remember them for that.
Cons: They only have one sticky pad and it sucks. They are also very stiff and uncomfortable, especially when you first put them on. And I don’t know if the same goes for nursing, but just after pumping, a stiff nursing pad is particularly uncomfortable against sore/sensitive nipples.
The counterpart to the daytime nursing pads are these, and they are touted to be very absorbent, which for a time was critical for me at night. Thankfully that stage has passed some, unless I get off a reasonable schedule and go more than 6-7 hours between pumping.
Pros: Again with the cute wrappers. And again with the absorbency. Avent pads are nothing if not good at absorbing liquids.
Cons: These are very thick and they are not even the tiniest bit breathable. I wore them once during the day by mistake and I was unbelievably hot and uncomfortable.
LANSINOH DISPOSABLE NURSING PADS
These were the very first nursing pads I bought and honestly, they are my favorites. Basically what I’m saying is I did all this investigating for absolutely nothing. But at least now I know.
Pros: Two sticky pads on the back, so they stay on your bra well. They are really absorbent, but the top layer is still soft and critical to me, it doesn’t stick to your nipples so they stay dry.
Cons: They’re not terribly breathable, which is a bit of a problem on hot days when I’m sweating, but it’s not so bad that I’d use another brand most days. They’re also not super discrete, but they’ve never shown through my bra.
JOHNSON’S NURSING PADS
I was kind of surprised when I saw these nursing pads in the grocery store because aside from baby shampoo, I haven’t seen a lot of J&J on the market lately. I grabbed a box and I’m sad to say they were a waste of my money.
Pros: They are shaped well unlike others like the Nuk and they absorb fairly well.
Cons: They are small. Like, the smallest I tried and they were just barely big enough for me, but the backing is pathetically unsticky, so they slid all around. And then because they’re so small, it took very little for them to slide so much that I had a damp mess on my hands…er boobs.
EVENFLO SIMPLYABSORBENT NURSING PADS
I bought these on a whim early on because they were on sale at the store I was at that day. And I still have about half a box of them.
Pros: Absorbent enough and thin enough.
Cons: They are kind of rough and more importantly, there are no stickies on the back, so they slide everywhere, rendering their absorbency completely useless.
MEDELA DISPOSABLE NURSING PADS
These are probably my second favorite behind the Lansinoh ones, though they are a pretty distant second for a few critical reasons.
Pros: They’re absorbent enough and thin enough. And they are delightfully breathable.
Cons: There’s only one sticky pad and the top layer of the pad sticks to your nipples when they’re wet. And though it may sound stupid, I have the hardest time opening the packaging. Why so challenging, Medela?
What are your favorite disposable nursing pads?