How to Find the Best Nursing Pads to Save Your Shirts From Unwanted Squirts (2018 Reviews)

When your teenager someday tells you how embarrassing you are, make sure to tell her she caused you embarrassment long before you ever thought of doing it to her.

Share your stories of breast milk leaking all over the front of your shirt at the most inconvenient time. It’s mortifying, and you try to make yourself feel better by pretending no one noticed, but of course they do.

The only way to save yourself any more future embarrassment is to find the best nursing pads on the market.

Our Top 5 Picks
ProductBest ForOur Rating
1. Lansinoh Stay DryDisposables4.75
2. EcoNursingPadsOrganic4.75
3. Bamboobies Super-SoftReusables4.5
4. Baby Zeli'sBamboo4.25
5. Medela DisposablesHeavy Leaking4.0
Use the links above to check the latest prices on Amazon or read our in-depth nursing pad reviews below.

What Are Nursing Pads Used For?

Milk leaks aren’t just embarrassing; they can ruin clothes and increase the amount of laundry you have to do every week. Breast milk can permanently destroy finer materials, and when you have a baby to clothe and feed, spending money on yourself for wardrobe malfunctions is the last thing you want to do.

If you want to protect your clothing and your sanity, you really should buy some nursing pads. All you do is stick these absorbent pads into your bra or a special nursing bra. They’ll take care of any milk leaks from your breasts.

You’ll want the pads to be thick enough to do the job. But you don’t want them to be so thick that they’ll make your already swollen breasts look like you are the second coming of Dolly Parton.

When Should I Start Wearing Nursing Pads?

Some women do have an issue with leaking a little bit of colostrum, which is antibody-rich milk, in late pregnancy (source). But it’s generally not enough to worry about using breast pads at that point. Most women, however, don’t have any problems with leaking breast milk until after their baby is born.

Best to be Prepared

Following the birth, your milk will come in right away so you may want to pack nursing pads in the bag you have ready to take with you to the hospital for labor.

Leaky breasts are going to be the least of your worries while you’re in the hospital, but when you finally are allowed to start wearing normal clothes again, you don’t want to have to worry about leaking through and possibly staining your outfit.

How Often To Change Nursing Pads?

You don’t want to try to be cheap and conserve your pads by leaving them in as long as humanly possible. If you leave them in too long, you run the risk of smelling like spoiled milk. You don’t want people to think your new perfume is sour milk.

Twice or More

Unless you are leaking a lot, you may be okay with changing them twice a day – although there may be times when you’ll need much more frequent changes (source).

If you find you are leaking more, keep in mind that although it is tempting to save money by not changing nursing pads as frequently, it’s a good idea to keep your nipples dry by changing them as soon as the pads get wet (source).

Should I Choose Disposable or Washable Pads?

Whether you choose disposable or washable pads is a personal preference – they both work well. You’ll want to avoid using plastic pads which can cause sore nipples.

Best of Both Worlds

You also might find a combination of disposables and washables is what works best for you. Many women start with disposables and then switch to washables when their milk supply begins to level out.

Although I felt sorry for contributing to landfill waste, I preferred disposables to washables. Even though the washables felt softer against my skin, they were made of a thicker material that made me feel like I was a junior high girl trying to stuff her bra. They just didn’t feel comfortable to me.

With both washables and disposables, you’ll likely notice the pads will stick to your nipples when you try to remove them after they’ve been in for a while. Those small leaks of milk won’t take long to dry, and when they do, a crust will form that can make removing the pads a bit painful.

You can change the pads frequently enough to prevent the dried crusty sensation, or you can try different brands and find one that doesn’t stick as much for you.

You might want to experiment with one washable pair and a small box of disposables before you take the plunge and buy a bunch of either kind. Many hospitals will give you samples to try when you check out shortly after having your baby.

Here are some things you’ll want to consider when you seek to make a choice between using disposable versus washable pads:

1. Disposable Pads

Disposable nursing pads offer the ultimate in leak protection. Although the fabric isn’t always as soft as some of the reusable nursing pads, they aren’t nearly as thick, which some women may find makes them more comfortable to wear.

Even if moms choose to use reusable pads when they are in their homes, I’d recommend having a box of disposables on hand in case you find you can’t do laundry quick enough to keep your reusables in stock.

They are also handy for weekend getaways where it is more difficult only to use your reusables.

  • Disposable pads usually have a plastic lining on the outside, which is the part that touches your bra. That plastic lining helps prevent leaks, even if the pad is full of milk.
  • If you’re worried about the footprint you’re making on the environment, you’ll likely want to choose washable pads.
  • You might go through as many as two or three 60-count boxes a month.
  • This is the more expensive route to take since you can’t reuse disposable pads.
  • If you have a whole day planned away from the house, you’ll likely want to use disposables. You don’t want to be stuck for hours away and find you’ve already leaked through your washables. Plus you won’t have to pack a plastic bag to store your wet washables in – you’ll just be able to take the disposable out, throw it away and put a new pair in.

2. Washable Pads

To save on costs and be a friend to the environment, many women choose reusable nursing pads.

Made of fabric or sometimes silicone, they are made to be washed and reused.

  • These are more environmentally friendly. They don’t seem to prevent as many leaks as disposables unless you replace them frequently.
  • If you plan to use washables, you’ll need several pairs, so you aren’t doing laundry every day.
  • You’ll pay more for washables up front, but over time they’ll be the cheaper option since you won’t have to buy any more after the initial investment.
  • Washable pads are usually a little bulkier and thicker than disposables. This normally isn’t a problem, but when you wear shirts that are made of thinner material, you can sometimes see the outline of the pads through your shirt.

What Should I Look For In Nursing Pads?

When it comes to nursing pads, there’s one big decision you’ll have to make before deciding which kind you want — whether you want disposables or washable pads. You might decide to use a mixture of both.

Here are some things to consider to help make that decision.

  • How active will you be: If you plan to do a lot of working out, you may want to have some disposables on hand because they have the sticky backing to them that will help them adhere to your bra. That means they won’t shift around while you’re exercising.
  • How comfortable they are: A good nursing pad should make you feel like your nipples are rubbing up against sandpaper all day.
  • How leaky you are: Disposables offer a little more protection because of their liners that will give you additional protection from leakage. So if you tend to have a lot of leaking, you may want disposables or be prepared to change your washable pads frequently.
  • If you see them through your clothes: The best nursing pads won’t be visible under your clothes. Which would be more embarrassing after all — have a wet shirt or having obvious nursing pads bulging out from your shirt? That’s about a toss-up.

The Best Nursing Pad of 2018

Now that you know the differences between disposables and reusables, how to use them, and exactly what to look for —

Here are our top 5 picks in 2018:

1. Lansinoh Stay Dry Disposable Nursing Pads

When you’re a busy working mom, sometimes it’s easiest to just buy disposable nursing pads so you aren’t stuck with the hassle and inconvenience of cleaning them. That way, when you’re at work and you start leaking, you can just swap out your nursing pads and go about your business.
Lansinoh Nursing Pads, 4 Packs of 60 (240 count) Stay Dry Disposable Breast Pads

These nursing pads are absorbent enough to be used both during the day and at night. They have a quilted honeycomb lining which helps wick the moisture away from the skin, leading to drier nipples which make for a happy mom.

It has a breathable waterproof lining that helps prevent leaks. Moms may like that these pads are thin, but they absorb a lot of milk. They are specially designed with a contour to mold to breasts better, and they use adhesive tape to keep the pads from shifting inside the bra.

PROS

  • Smooth shape under clothes.
  • Soft on sore nipples.
  • Individually wrapped so you can safely pack them in your purse.

2. EcoNursingPads Washable Organic Nursing Pads

If you’re concerned about the ingredients of your nursing pad, there are great organic options out there. With organic nursing pads, you won’t have to worry about what’s touching your body — you can just focus on breastfeeding your baby.
Washable Reusable Bamboo Nursing Pads | Organic Bamboo Round Breastfeeding Pads,...

Eco Nursing Pads are also made of organic bamboo, and this set includes two different types of pads – thicker round pads for heavier leaks that can occur at night and heart-shaped thinner pads for lighter times. This 5-pair set comes with three heavier pairs and two heart-shaped ones.

These pads are hypoallergenic, come with a storage bag, and use a leak-proof backing to help cut down on embarrassment for nursing mothers. The multi-pack comes in four colors and are machine washable and dryer friendly. This set doesn’t include a laundry bag.

PROS

  • Can be used right out of the pack instead of having to wash them first.
  • Big enough for women with fuller-sized breasts.
  • No bunching with repeated washing.

3. Bamboobies Super-soft Washable Nursing Pads

If the idea of buying disposable nursing pads seems wasteful to you, you might be glad to know there are reusable ones you can buy instead. You can wash these pads after you’ve used them and keep getting your money’s worth. They’ll stay soft and out of landfills.
bamboobies Washable Reusable Nursing Pads with Leak-Proof Backing for...

This pack includes three pairs of regular pads and three pairs of overnight pads in a variety of soft pastel colors. They can be hand washed, but it is recommended that they are laundered in a washing machine and dried in a dryer.

Soft to the touch, these pads seem to get softer with repeated washings. Moms who worry about reusable pads being visible through shirts may like these – they don’t show through nearly as much as some of the other reusable brands do.

PROS

  • Not bulky, but absorbs well.
  • These stay put in your bra with little shifting.
  • Not visible through tighter shirts.

4. Baby Zeli’s Organic Bamboo Nursing Pads

If you’re concerned about the ingredients of your nursing pad, there are great organic options out there. With organic nursing pads, you won’t have to worry about what’s touching your body — you can just focus on breastfeeding your baby.
Organic Bamboo Nursing Pads (10 Pack) With Laundry Bag by Baby Zeli - Ultra...

These pads come in a pack of 5 pairs, are machine washable, and include a laundry bag, which will be easy to spot when you are sifting through all the clothes in your machine.

They are made to withstand trips through the dryer as well, so you won’t have to wait for them to air dry. They come in a variety of colors including yellow, white, cream, pink and gray.

Made of organic materials, these pads are hypoallergenic, and they include a waterproof layer which helps prevent leaks. Moms may like that the soft bamboo material feels breathable when they are wearing them.

PROS

  • They hold up well after multiple machine washes.
  • They don’t feel lumpy when you are wearing them.
  • Gentle on sensitive skin.

5. Medela Disposable Nursing Bra Pads

You may be shocked sometimes at how much milk your nursing pads have to soak up. When everything starts going haywire at the worst possible moment, you’ll need a thicker, highly-absorbent pad to do damage control for you.
Medela Nursing Pads, Pack of 120 Disposable Breast Pads, Excellent Absorbency,...

This brand uses double adhesive tape to make sure you aren’t playing a game of “find the nursing pad” every time you reach into your bra. Women who have had problems with shifting nursing pads in the past may appreciate how well these stay in place.

Individually wrapped to keep them clean in your purse, these pads are made from cotton, nylon and a polymer that is great at absorption. The absorbent material helps maintain dryness, keeping moms comfortable and confident they won’t be springing a leak in public.

PROS

  • This brand is less expensive than some other disposable pads.
  • These pads hold a lot of milk for their size.
  • Contoured fit for women with bigger breasts.

My Favorite Is…

I really like the comfort, absorption, and invisibility under clothes that the Lansinoh brand offers moms. I know these aren’t eco-friendly, and for people who value that more than anything else in a good nursing pad, I’d suggest Bamboobies nursing pads.

But, for the moms who are more worried about performance than the environment, Lansinoh is affordable and convenient. They are the best at preventing the embarrassing leaks moms have learned to dread as one of the pitfalls of nursing their babies. They give moms one more weapon in their arsenals when it comes to making breastfeeding a more feasible choice.

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