Last updated: August 11, 2021

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Breastfeeding has many benefits, but even those who love breastfeeding agree that there are also uncomfortable situations. Milk leakage is one of them, especially when the woman is out and about.

Of course, there is a solution for these situations, and the breast pad is one of them. Want to learn more about this staple item? Follow us to understand its benefits.




Summary

  • At the beginning of breastfeeding it is very normal that the milk leaks, but this can also happen throughout the period in which the woman breastfeeds.
  • The breast pad brings more comfort to breastfeeding women, avoiding dirtying the bra and blouse throughout the day.
  • There are two types of breast pads: the disposable and the washable, made of fabric to be reused, similar to the common ecological pad.

The best Breast Pads: Our Picks

Buying guide: all you need to know about breast pads

Breast pads need to be chosen and used with care. Although they make breast-feeding easier, they can also be harmful when used continuously. In this guide you will understand everything about this item, so you can use it without harming the health of your breast.

Imagem de uma mulher amamentando

The breast pad brings convenience for daily breastfeeding. (Source: Luiza Braun / Unsplash.com)

What are the benefits of the breast pads?

The high milk production at the beginning of breastfeeding can cause some inconvenience. Among them, the leakage of milk. It can leak from both breasts during the day or from only one breast while the mother breastfeeds from the other.

It makes it safer for the woman to breastfeed, especially in the street

This situation generates discomfort, since it leaves the bra and blouse wet, besides causing bad smell. And the breast pads offer the benefit of eliminating this discomfort. The woman is safer to breastfeed, especially on the street.

Another positive point is that there are two types: disposable and washable, to please all needs. In addition, it is discreet, can be worn day or night and is affordable. However, it is necessary to clarify that its bad use may bring some inconveniences.

If they are not changed at the ideal frequency, they can leave the breasts moist and stuffy, the perfect environment for the proliferation of fungi and bacteria.

Advantages
  • Absorbs breast milk, preventing clothes from getting wet
  • More comfort and safety during breastfeeding in the street
  • There are different types, such as disposable and washable
  • Discreet
  • Can be used day and night
  • Affordable price
Disadvantages
  • Can leave the breasts moist, causing bacteria proliferation

What are the differences between the disposable and the washable breast pads?

The breast pads can be found in two versions: disposable or washable. As the name suggests, the former must be thrown away after use. The second, also called ecological, can be washed and reused.

Although it has less absorption capacity, the ecological absorbent is a healthier option for the breast, especially if the fabric is made of cotton. It gives a soft touch in contact with the skin, avoiding friction of the breasts in synthetic materials. #

Compare the two models in the table below:

Disposable breast absorbent Washable breast absorbent
Features Made of synthetic cellulose or polypropylene fibres Made of fabric, may vary according to the manufacturer
Absorption capacity Better capacity Absorbs less
Cost-effective More expensive Cheaper
Advantage More practicality and absorption More ecological and economical, besides being healthier

Which one to choose?

This choice depends on you, your values and available budget. Many women mix the use of the two types of breast pads. As the production of milk is greater in the first months, it is common for them to use the disposable one in the initial phase due to its greater absorption power and practicality.

When the production is regulated, the pads become drier. This is a good time to introduce the use of the washable models. However, it is perfectly possible to use the ecological sanitary pad during the entire breastfeeding period, you will only need more units.

Did you know? The Ministry of Health warns that the use of nipple shields can harm breastfeeding. In fact, if it is misused, it can stimulate bacterial growth, causing health problems for mother and baby, besides negatively affecting breastfeeding

How to use the breast pads correctly?

Using a breast pad is very simple. In the disposable models, most of them have a strap to be fixed in the bra, preventing them from moving throughout the day. With this type of absorbent, all you have to do is put the nursing bra on, and then glue it in the appropriate place, centring the nipple in the middle of the disk.

The fabric ones are simply fitted inside the bra. The big question about the correct way to use the breast pads is not in their placement, but in the frequency of change.

The breast pads must be changed whenever the woman feels her breasts are humid.

This behaviour will keep the breasts always dry, avoiding the proliferation of fungus and bacteria, which can bring health problems to mother and baby.

Extra tip to keep breasts healthy: Whenever you change your breast pads, always clean and dry the entire breast

How many breast pads are needed in the layette?

There is no right answer to this question. It is the milk production and the flow of each woman that will determine the frequency of changing the breast pads. It may be that one breastfeeding mother needs to change the pad at each feed, while another may wait longer.

In fact, this is not a concern for women who choose the disposable, since there are kits with more than 100 units. However, mothers who use the washable models from the beginning should be prepared with at least six pairs of breast pads.

This way, considering that the woman uses three pairs a day, she will still have another three pairs for the next day, while the ones already used are washed and dried. This can be a tight calculation depending on the reality of the woman, 10 pairs leaves a little more peace of mind.

Bebê olhando para câmera enquanto mama

With the regulated production of milk, the mother will need less and less breast pads as the months go by. (Source: Helena Lopesl / Unsplash.com)

Buying criteria: What to take into account when comparing different types of breast pads

Now that you know the different types and also how to use them properly, you need to pay attention to some features before choosing your breast pad.

See:

Format

There are several shapes of breast pads, even the fabric ones. They can be round, oval, triangular or even have a half-moon shape. There is no best shape, but the one that the mother adapts to.

Each breast is unique, so the best thing is to experiment. A good tip is to buy different shapes for the first days and test the one you like the most.

Thickness

Some women think that the thicker the better the breast pads are. In fact, the absorption power is not directly related to the thickness of the item. Some models can be thin and absorb breast milk well. A very thick absorbent will stick out and may be noticeable from the outside.

Absorption Power

Just like a menstrual absorbent, the disposable breast models have different absorption levels, taking into account the flow of breast milk descent. You can choose between moderate and high. There are night-time models so that the breastfeeding woman can sleep through the night without having to change the breast pad.

Mulher amamentando bebê enquanto segura sua mão

The absorption power is important for women who spend some hours outdoors. (Source: Wendy Wei / Pexels.com)

Tape

As mentioned earlier, some disposable models have tape for attachment to the bra, but this is not a must for all breast pads. So if it's an important point for you, make sure you choose a model with tape.

Fabric

If the eco-friendly breast pads have won your heart, pay attention to the fabrics used in manufacturing. Prioritize models that have cotton in contact with the breast, it is softer and more delicate. Also, make sure that the outer fabric is waterproof, further increasing security to prevent milk from wetting the blouse.

Summary

The breast pad prevents breast milk from leaking out through the bra and clothes. This creates more comfort, especially when the mother is out and about. They can be washable or disposable, and come in different shapes and thicknesses.

Knowing the different types of absorbent makes it easier for you to choose. We hope to have helped you with this simple but important detail of your outfit.

(Source of the highlighted image: tolikoffphotography / 123rf.com)

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