According to 2017 CDC data, 84% of new moms breastfeed their babies at least once. That means that 84% of moms have probably needed nursing pads at some point!
As breastfeeding moms know, milk let-down can occur at any time and any place, even during pregnancy. Breast pads help absorb any leaks and are an especially crucial item for working moms who are away from their nursing babies all day.
In addition to being practical and hygienic, the best nursing pads are also comfortable and can help provide relief for dry or cracked nipples.
We’ve gathered and reviewed some of the top disposable and reusable nursing pads on the market.
|Top 6 Best Nursing Pads||Why It's Best||Rating|
|Kindred Bravely Organic Washable Breast Pads||Best for moms needing extra coverage, super absorbent for heavy let-down||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Lansinoh Stay Dry Disposable Nursing Pads||Best disposable, #1 on the market||♥♥♥♥♥|
|KeaBabies Organic Bamboo Nursing Breast Pads||Great value, super soft, extra absorbent||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Medela, Inc. Safe & Dry Ultra Thin Disposable Nursing Pads||Most discreet on the market, low profile, extra leak proof, trusted brand||♥♥♥♥♥|
|NANOBÉBÉ Disposable Nursing Pads||Combo set comes with 2 levels of coverage, extra soft and absorbent nighttime pads, low profile daytime pads||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Hey Mama Disposable Nursing Pads||Softest disposable pads available, best adhesive||♥♥♥♥♥|
Keep reading for a comprehensive and detailed guide on 17 of the most popular breast pad products for nursing moms.
The Best Disposable and Reusable Nursing Pads
Lansinoh Stay Dry Disposable Nursing Pads
Created by a leading brand in women’s nursing products, these popular Lansinoh Stay Dry Disposable Nursing Pads come in a pack of 200 because the last thing you want to do is rush to the store for more pads. Many moms swear by Lansinoh pads, making them the #1 breast pad product on the market. And for good reason!
Dermatologist-approved materials ensure that these pads are soft and comfortable for moms with irritated or sensitive skin. A waterproof lining gives you the confidence you need to go about your day without worrying about leaks, and the low-profile contoured shape shouldn’t show under your clothes. Lansinoh’s new Stay Dry pads also include 25% less material than previous versions, come individually wrapped for maximum cleanliness, and are both BPA and BPS-free. Although thin, they are highly absorbent and can hold up to 20 times their weight in breastmilk.
Overall, the convenience factor of these best-selling pads for new and busy moms is one that simply cannot be beaten.
Kindred Bravely Organic Washable Breast Pads
This set of Kindred Bravely Organic Washable Breast Pads comes with 8 reusable nursing pads plus a convenient (and super cute) waterproof carrying bag. These pads offer nursing moms superior comfort and absorbency. They are made from natural and environmentally-friendly materials that are both soft and hypoallergenic.
If you’re a mom who needs a little extra coverage, you’ll love the large absorbent design of Kindred Bravely pads. In fact, these pads are some of the largest available. Moms have found them to be super soft, durable, and great for heavy milk letdown or overnights. Compared to going through multiple disposable pads a day, the financial savings will quickly add up.
However, you may want to invest in a separate washing bag. This set does not come with any type of bag for laundry.
KeaBabies Organic Bamboo Nursing Pads
The KeaBabies Organic Bamboo Nursing Pads + Wash Bag set is a very popular pick on Amazon with nearly 15,000 reviews.
Looking for a baby shower gift? Searching for a set of reusable pads that comes with everything you need to get started? This beautifully colored set by KeaBabies is the perfect option for moms on a budget. The set includes 14 pads for a very wallet-friendly price, a laundry bag, and a gift bag. Reviewers found them to be super absorbent, soft, and easy to wash.
KeaBabies nursing pads have an extra layer of natural absorbent bamboo to help moms avoid those embarrassing leakage moments. Even better, you can choose from 3 different sizes depending on your own personal needs. If you’re wanting to try out a more eco-friendly alternative to disposable pads but aren’t quite sure if they are for you, this value pack is a great way to give washable nursing pads a try.
Medela Safe & Dry Ultra Thin Disposable Nursing Pads
Medela Safe & Dry Ultra Thin Disposable Nursing Pads come in packs of 30, 60, or 120 individually wrapped pads. Just like Lansinoh’s breast pads, Medela’s pads are a top choice created by a trusted breast care brand. In fact, they are the #1 brand recommended by doctors in the United States.
These ultra-thin disposable pads are a great choice for daytime use, especially for working moms. At less than 2mm thick, their low profile makes them one of the most discreet options on the market. In addition, they come with a larger adhesive surface to help keep them in place throughout the day. Unlike other nursing pads, the Medela Safe & Dry pads are designed with an oval shape and feature extra absorbency below the nipple where it is most needed. They are also contoured, hypoallergenic, and feature moisture-wicking technology along with side leak guards to prevent leaks.
To learn more about Medela Safe & Dry Thin Nursing Pads, check out our in-depth review here.
Nanobébé Disposable Nursing Pads
Nursing moms can get the best of both worlds with Nanobébé Disposable Nursing Pads.
For moms who need different levels of coverage during the day and night, Nanobébé has created a very helpful combo pack. This pack comes with both thin pads for daytime and extra-absorbent pads for nighttime. The daytime pads feature a very low profile and 2 adhesive strips, making them perfect for working moms. The overnight pads are very thick, comfortable, and absorbent for a worry-free night’s sleep. If you aren’t sure which type you most need, this pack is a great way to try them both!
These individually wrapped pads are also extra breathable, making them a great option for the summer months and warm climates.
Wegreeco Bamboo Nursing Pads
The Wegreeco Bamobb Nursing Pads + Laundry Bag & Travel Storage Bag comes with everything you need to get started, making it a great gift. The set comes with 14 nursing pads plus a laundry bag AND a storage bag. These beautiful pads come in a variety of colors, as well as 2 different styles (flat or contoured to a natural breast shape) and 2 different sizes (small and large).
Unlike some reusable nursing pads, these pads have a fully leak-free backing in addition to the bamboo absorbent layers. Moms found them to be extra soft and comfortable, as well as absorbent enough to wear overnight. If you want to purchase a variety of different shapes and sizes to add to your collection, Wegreeco pads deliver.
NatureBond Disposable Nursing Pads
Designed to be the “next generation” of nursing pads for the “modern mom”, NatureBond Disposable Nursing Pads are some of the best nursing pads you’ve never heard of! These ultra-thin pads are quickly becoming a favorite of nursing moms due to their comfort and absorbency. In fact, many reviewers say they are the best brand of pads they have tried.
They stick well, stay in place during the day, and do a great job of helping moms avoid leaks. At the same time, they are thin and discreet. NatureBond pads are extremely lightweight, making them great for your workday, your night out, or your workout. Despite their ultra-thin design (less than 1MM!) the company claims they can absorb 40x their weight thanks to the latest in moisture technology.
The contoured shape and honeycomb design also help these pads compete with the big names – perhaps even becoming the better choice.
Bamboobies Washable Nursing Pads Variety Pack
Bamboobies are some of the most popular reusable nursing pads available. This fun Bamboobies Washable Nursing Pads Variety Pack is a great way to try out both overnight and regularly layered breast pads to see which option works best for you at different times of the day.
In contrast to many washable nursing pads, these ultra-soft pads have NO seams and come in a unique heart shape for a more custom fit. (The overnight pads are the traditional circle shape.) The outermost layer is made from bamboo rayon velour with an additional inner cotton layer for absorbency. A leak-proof backing helps increase the absorbency of these popular pads, making them a great choice for moms with heavy let-downs.
When you want it to feel like you aren’t wearing anything at all, these “barely there” pads do the trick while still preventing leaks. Although pricey, these pads are very long-lasting and made with a superior quality that will last through many washings.
BabyBliss Organic Bamboo Nursing Breast Pads
Like many other brands of reusable nursing pads, the BabyBliss Organic Bamboo Nursing Breast Pads set comes with 14 pads, a laundry bag, and a storage bag.
What sets this brand apart from the pack is their unique sizing options. BabyBliss pads come in 3 different options for moms from an A cup to an E cup and beyond. Their deep contoured design mimics the natural shape of the breast without bunching up or moving out of place. BabyBliss pads are very durable and budget-friendly, while being made with the same soft organic bamboo of pricier brands.
In short, if you want a reusable pad that will be the perfect fit, consider purchasing this set.
Editor’s Note: These are the exact nursing pads I chose for my third time breastfeeding. I found them to be much more economical and comfortable than the disposable Medela nursing pads I used with my first two. I bought this brand and also got a Bamboobies sample at a tradeshow, and I like these best! They are thick, which provides great coverage and lots of absorbency. Definitely use the wash bag they give you, or else your washing machine WILL eat these! – Michelle
EcoNursing Washable Bamboo Nursing Pads
Just like the popular Bamboobie nursing pads, these adorable EcoNursing Washable Bamboo Nursing Pads come in 2 different shapes, offering women an alternative to the traditional circle or oval pads. And just like Bamboobie’s famous heart pads, EcoNursing’s fun flower-shaped pads are a hit with women looking for a better fit. It can be difficult to get circle-shaped pads to fit the natural contour of a woman’s breast just right. But many moms swear by this innovative new flower design.
EcoNursing’s pads are also extremely soft, made with organic bamboo, and are large enough to fit most women. This convenient variety pack includes 2 pairs of pads for light flow, 3 pairs for medium or heavy flow, a carrying bag great for moms on the go, and a laundry bag. So if you love the comfort and style of Bamboobies, but are looking for a more budget-friendly option, this set is without a doubt the way to go.
Medela Safe & Dry Super Absorbency Nursing Pads
The Medela Safe & Dry Super Absorbency Nursing Pads is one of the best options on the market for heavy-duty leak protection. Unlike the Safe & Dry Ultra Thin pads detailed earlier in our article, these pads are created for the woman with heavy flow, or in need of additional coverage at night. Extra cushioning helps absorb more leaks AND provides more comfort against your skin, while double-adhesive helps keep all that extra padding in place without slippage.
These individually wrapped pads can last all day. They come in sets of 30, 60, or 120 that are very affordable for new moms on a budget. Stock up on these pads and rest assured that you will remain safe and dry!
Hey Mama Disposable Nursing Pads
Working moms will LOVE these innovative new Hey Mama Disposable Nursing Pads that were designed to fix the problems of other pads on the market.
Hey Mama set out to create pads that were not itchy or bulky, and would not leak or bunch up. For those who don’t like the honeycomb texture of other leading disposable brands, these pads are a fantastic alternative. These individually wrapped pads have been designed to be the softest option on the market, bringing comfort to your sensitive skin and chafed nipples. In addition, Hey Mama swears by their adhesive, and moms can vouch for their claims of being the “stickiest” pads available.
So if you find yourself getting irritated by other types of scratchy nursing pads, reach for a box of these deliciously soft pads instead.
PureTree Organic Cotton Disposable Nursing Pads
For “crunchy” moms who still prefer disposable pads, PureTree Organic Cotton Disposable Nursing Pads are a fantastic option. Natural materials provide extra peace of mind to moms who are conscious of chemicals. The outermost surface of the pads that touch the breast is 100% cotton, while inner absorbent layers are breathable and fragrance-free.
Reviewers found these pads to be surprisingly smooth, soft, and absorbent for a disposable choice. They are a bit thicker and larger than most disposable pads, coming with 2 adhesive strips for extra sticking power. If you prefer to purchase organic whenever possible and want full-coverage, comfortable pads that are also discreet, give PureTree pads a try.
Mother-ease Bamboo Nursing Pads
This 3-pack of thick and absorbent Mother-ease Bamboo Nursing Pads is excellent for overnight use, women with large breasts, and those with very heavy let-down. While not the most practical choice for daily wear, many moms find themselves in a situation where the conventional options on the market just aren’t cutting it.
Although thick, these pads are also contoured to help aid with discretion, and smooth enough to still be comfortable. When you need maximum coverage, there is not a better option on the market than these extra-large, extra-absorbent pads by Mother-ease.
M&Y Organic Bamboo Nursing Pads
This set of 14 M&Y Organic Bamboo Nursing Pads makes a great baby shower gift due to its adorable packaging, coordinating laundry bag, and bonus eBook.
While some types of washable nursing pads can be too bulky to be worn in public during the day, M&Y pads are designed with just 3 layers to offer a more discreet look for nursing moms. M&Y pads are also contoured for a better fit, and feature a minimal seam that won’t irritate your skin. Reviewers found them to be super soft, smaller than most brands, and easy to use.
If you’re looking for reusable pads that have a low profile while still protecting against leaks, M&Y pads are a great choice.
Things to Consider when Buying Nursing Pads
Disposable or Reusable?
The 2 main types of breast pads on the market are washable or disposable. Many moms have a strong preference for one or the other based on convenience, cost, comfort, and other lifestyle factors.
If you aren’t sure which you prefer, try a few different products until you find the right one for you.
Another factor that goes into selecting the top nursing pads on the market is the material. The best fabric for nursing pads is one that is natural, absorbent, and soft. Bamboo and cotton are popular options for reusable breast pads.
Disposable pads are often made with a polymer core (similar to that in diapers) with hypoallergenic outer materials.
If you are really set on the convenience of disposable pads, but cringe at the thought of using chemicals or contributing to the environmental crisis, many options for organic nursing pads and even biodegradable nursing pads exist on the market today.
Although most brands of nursing pads only come in one size, some reusable nursing pads do come in a variety of different sizes.
It should go without saying that the surface area needed for a woman who is an A cup is going to be entirely different from a woman who wears a DD! If size is a consideration for you, be sure to check that the brand you are trying is going to be the right fit for you.
For example, if you are an A cup you might not want to buy a pack of Kindred Bravely pads, which are some of the largest reusable pads on the market.
Depending on your own unique breast size and shape, as well as your personal preference, you may find some shapes to be a better fit than others. The options on our list come in round, oval, and heart-shaped pads. In addition, some women prefer a flat shape while others have better luck with a contoured design.
Whether or not you will be wearing your pads in public (such as at work) is a big deciding factor in which shape ultimately works the best for you.
Many women judge their preferred shape by how well it blends in with their clothing. If you are a SAHM or shopping for an overnight breastfeeding pad, comfort is likely going to win out over appearance. For example, some nursing pads are designed with a seam to make them more contoured and hidden, but many moms find them uncomfortable especially at night.
Variety packs can help you decide which pad you like best and you can even create a collection of different pads for different uses.
Some brands of disposable nursing pads offer their pads in different levels of absorbency, just like menstrual pads. And just like with your time of the month, you may need a different level of absorbency during different activities. This could include using 1 pad for overnights and another during the day.
A few brands of reusable nursing pads also offer a variety of absorbency levels. Some brands on our list (such as the ever-popular Bamboobies) even package them together as a variety pack for you to try and benefit from different types of absorbency.
Perhaps the most important factor for nursing moms is comfort. Breastfeeding can be difficult, and wreak all kinds of havoc on your nipples and sensitive breast tissue. Cracked, dry, and even bleeding nipples are common issues for nursing women. You definitely don’t want to deal with the sensation of a rough nursing pad chafing them and making it worse.
Many moms rank comfort as the number 1 consideration when purchasing a breast pad. Therefore, we have considered the comfort factor of each of the products above.
When you need a product to last all day, durability matters. A product that tears, doesn’t stick, or falls apart once it gets wet is not going to do the trick.
You should be changing your pads often enough to prevent infection and practice good hygiene. But you shouldn’t need to be changing them every hour because the stickiness has worn off.
Reusable breast pads should be able to hold up well in the wash without becoming rough or beginning to pill.
FAQs About Nursing Pads
Which nursing pads are the best?
Determining which nursing pads are the best for YOU will vary depending on a few factors. But in general, the best nursing pads are the ones that are comfortable, discreet, absorbent, and convenient for your lifestyle.
Some moms prefer to use disposable nursing pads, especially when on the go. Other moms prefer to use the more environmentally-conscious option of washable pads. These eco nursing pads also save money and in many cases feel more natural and comfortable.
Does it matter which brand of nursing pads I buy?
There is a wide variety of brands on the market today and on our list above. Many moms eventually develop a preference for one brand over another.
Some of the most popular disposable brands on the market today include Medela nursing pads and Lansinoh nursing pads. Both of these are made by companies that specialize in breastfeeding and breast care products. But many other brands have designed excellent products that have their own unique benefits as detailed in this article.
Do I really need to use nursing pads?
With so many pregnancy and baby items to buy, new moms may wonder if nursing pads are really necessary.
Some breastfeeding moms may be able to get away with the occasional leak. However, most women feel more comfortable with the added protection of breast pads.
For many nursing moms, simply hearing an infant cry or even just thinking about their baby can trigger milk let-down. It is best to be prepared for your breasts to leak milk at random times of the day.
Working moms in particular who are away from their baby for 8 hours or more (and may still leak in-between nursing or pumping sessions) can benefit from the extra assurance that nursing pads bring. After all, what could be more embarrassing than sitting in an executive meeting and then noticing your breastmilk is leaking through your shirt!
How many reusable nursing pads should I buy?
This answer will vary depending on how often you change your pads. But a good rule of thumb is to have at least 6-12 washable pads in your inventory.
If you only change your pads once or twice a day and do laundry often, you could get away with having 6. But if you need to change several times per day and want to go longer without needing to worry about washing them, you may want to have 12 or even 18-24 on hand.
Disposable pads typically come in large quantities to save you frequent trips to the store. Stocking up is always a good idea once you find which brand you like.
To help get you through the day, you will want to keep a few extra pairs handy as backups.
How often should nursing pads be changed?
Opinions differ on how often you should change nursing pads. Partly this is because the answer to this question is very individual to each mother.
Some pregnant or nursing moms leak much more than others and will need to change their breast pads more often.
In general, nursing pads should always be changed when they have absorbed a large amount of breast milk. Once your breast pads become soaked with milk, feel heavy, or start to smell – those are sure signs that it is time for them to be changed. Many moms carry extras in their purse or diaper bag in order to change them at a moment’s notice.
Are there any alternatives to nursing pads?
In a pinch, disposable menstrual pads can be cut and positioned inside your bra just as a nursing pad can. With a sticky side that adheres to your clothing plus an absorbent side to catch liquids, they function in the exact same way as nursing pads. However, they aren’t likely to be as comfortable or convenient as breast pads lined with extra softness and perfectly shaped to fit in your bra.
A piece of a washcloth or a burp cloth could also be used in an emergency.
Some moms prefer to use a product known as a “Milk Saver“, in order to preserve every last drop of milk from their supply.
What other nursing accessories do I need?
Having the right breast care products will make a world of difference in your breastfeeding experience.
Whether you’re a new mom searching for the right kind of breast pads for you, or you’re looking to buy a helpful set of breast pads for your best friend’s baby shower, any of the products on this list would make a great buy. Thankfully, breast pads have come a long way since your mother’s generation. Today’s options are as comfortable and discreet as they are functional.
If disposable pads are your preferred choice, you can’t go wrong with a pack of Lansinoh Stay Dry pads. To give reusable pads a try, consider a pack of uniquely shaped pads from EcoNursing or Bamboobies.
No matter what you choose, a good quality pair of nursing pads can help you build a stronger and healthier breastfeeding relationship with your little one as you protect your breasts from leaks, chafing, and excess moisture.