10 breast pads for breastfeeding mums

breast pads for breastfeeding mums

by Samantha Ball |
Updated on

Nursing pads are a breastfeeding essential, however, finding the right breast pad for your needs can be difficult - you often have to try a few until you find one you like but, when you do, it's so worth it. When it comes to feeling comfortable in your maternity or nursing bra, getting the right nursing pad is very important.

Nursing pads are designed to rescue you from leaking through every top you wear during the breastfeeding period of baby's development (don't worry, we've all been there). Leaking is inevitable, but when you place a nursing pad in your bra, it won't be something you have to worry about while out and about.

You might want to layer two pads and use both a disposable and reusable nursing pad inside your maternity bra, with the two layers of protection offering peace of mind in case of an accident. You also may need to consider what size and thickness will work for you - either way, nursing pads are a must-have for any breastfeeding parent and they can feel like a lifesaver most days.

The best breast pads at a glance:

• Best nursing pads overall: Bamboobies Washable Reusable Nursing Pads - Buy now on Amazon
• Best eco-friendly nursing pads: EcoNursingPads Washable Reusable Bamboo Nursing Pads - Buy now on Amazon
• Best nursing pads for size: BaBybliss Organic Bamboo Nursing Pads - Buy now on Amazon
• Best bamboo nursing pads: Keababies Organic Bamboo Nursing Breast Pads - Buy now on Amazon

With so many disposable and reusable breastfeeding pads on the market to choose from, we’ve found some of the best in each category to make choosing the right ones a little bit easier. You probably have enough to think about, so it's best to get this one checked off the list with ease.

10 breast pads for breastfeeding mums 2024

Best nursing pads overall

These Bamboobies Washable Reusable Nursing Pads are made with different materials to result in an ultra-soft and soothing bamboo rayon velour with an absorbent inner layer of cotton and outer milk-proof liner to help prevent embarrassing leaks. It includes two pairs, one for the day and one for the night. You can easily tell the difference as the heart-shaped nursing pads are for light leaking and are designed to be less visible under your clothes, whereas the circular ones are larger and thicker for heavier leaks at night.

Mums like that the pads are easy to clean. One reviewer says, "Have been using these for over a month now. Still love them. I wash them with any wash: baby clothes, sports clothes, dark or whites, non bio liquid or sports wash." She also tumble dries them and says they still work well. You will probably want to buy more than one pack though. This reviewer says she gets through eight Bamboobies in 24 hours and bought five packs or four.

Another reviewer highly recommends these pads even though they are a bit more expensive than others. She says, "I decided to pay a bit more for some Bamboobies overnight pads - they are INCREDIBLE! They are so, so soft, and they are so absorbent that I can't even tell when they are wet, other than they are heavier." initially, she says she had been worried that they aren't designed to be reversed mid-wear, but found it wasn't necessary. She says she can wear them, throughout the whole night without leakage, and particularly likes that they don't stick to her nipples when she takes them off and that they don't get cold when wet.

Pros

  • Ultra-soft and soothing with an absorbent inner layer and liner to help prevent leaks
  • You get two pairs in a pack for day and night use
  • The nursing pads are conveniently machine washable
  • Made for Perfect for newborn nursing and heavy leaking
  • Easy to differentiate between day and night pads with the different shapes

Cons

  • Only two in a pack
Composition:57% bamboo viscose, 20% cotton, 23% polyester
  • Made of bamboo rayon velour
  • Machine washable
  • Dry on medium heat
  • Use overnight

Best eco-friendly nursing pads

These wonderful nursing pads are excellent for mother, baby and the environment. EcoNursingPads promises to use only the best materials to create a discrete and protective product. Made with organic bamboo, they are softer and more absorbent than cotton or disposable pads. One reviewer says, "I definitely wouldn't go back to disposables as they feel so much more comfy and they have the same absorbency. Also disposable pads always get folded and the sticker ends up stuck to my skin which was painful to pull off." We love that they come in different shapes to work for different bras, and this mum recommends getting the contoured ones stay, which she says stay in place better.

Customers in general love how absorbent these pads are and how easy to clean. They say they's a great alternative to disposables and that they are pretty comfortable. Although, one reviewer says they can feel a bit bulky, but she found it more important that they were highly absorbent, and still found them to be discreet under clothing – unless you're wearing a really tight top. She says, "My only regret is that there's not more pass in the pack!"

Pros

  • Comfortable contoured shape + different shaped pads to fit different bras
  • You get 2 types in a pack for day and night
  • Easy to differentiate between day and night pads with different shapes
  • Organic bamboo for maximum absorbency at night with leak-proof backing
  • Use with or without nipple cream
  • Reusable and washable
  • Fun colours and adorable cotton carry bag + e-book gift with your purchase

Cons

  • One reviewer said they take a while to dry after washing
  • Not enough in one pack
  • A bit bulky for tight-fitting clothes
  • Contoured shape
  • 2 types in one pack
  • Organic bamboo for night flow
  • Custom-designed leak-proof backing

Best nursing pads for size

BaBybliss Organic Bamboo Nursing Pads
Price: $15.97

These reusable nursing pads have a contoured design so they'll look good under your clothes, and they can be found in three different sizes, so you will be able to find the best one for you. This product has all the same advantages as the competitors, it’s comfortable and secure - but also comes with a free laundry bag for them to be washed in and a separate organza bag to keep them all together, avoiding the risk of losing any part of it. One reviewer says they wash well and that they love the handy laundry bag, finding it essential as the odd occasion when they haven't used it, they've found the pad wedged at the front of their washing machine door. It is advised not to tumble dry the pads, but this reviewer finds they are usually dry when left hung up overnight anyway.

In terms of fit there are mixed opinions. One reviewer points out that when her breasts are less full the pads do move into positions where you can see them, but she thinks that this will always happen with reusable pads. Another reviewer's only complaint was that the pads don't have the sticky strip at the back, and also found that they move around a little, while another mum said the coloured side is too slippy so they kept riding up in her bra.

Pros

  • Maximum protection against leaks with three layers:
  • Ultra-absorbent microfiber inner layer
  • Soft bamboo fabric against your skin
  • Leak-proof polyester outer layer
  • The pads come in three different sizes for best fit
  • Contoured design for the best fit and to avoid awkward bulges in your clothes
  • The premium packs offers 14 pieces, a mesh laundry bag and organza storage bag
  • Just but one set to last you all week
  • You can get a full refund with no questions asked for complete peace of mind

Cons

  • Not as soft as others
  •  Made of three layers
  • Contoured design
  • Premium pack comes with 14 pieces
  • Includes mesh laundry bag and organza storage bag

Best bamboo nursing pads

Keababies Organic Bamboo Nursing Breast Pads

Rrp: $16.96

Price: $14.96

Unlike other brands, the contoured shape of these eco-friendly pads moves to fit your breasts, so there is no bunching in your bra or sliding around. Plus, the neutral colour won't show through clothing. With a total of four layers to each pad (including a waterproof layer and three absorbent, soft bamboo layers), you're unlikely to get any leaks. One first-time mum says, "My baby sometimes sleeps for seven hours at night, and although my boobs become very full and sore, these pads have not leaked once even though they're saturated on the inside."

She found them incredibly comfortable to wear, super absorbent, and likes that they didn't irritate the skin. She says, "It seems as though they're designed to wick moisture away from the surface layer, and so far I've not had any problems with feeling damp or chafed.' She also says they wash brilliantly, dry quickly, and so far she hasn't noticed any smell of sour milk stink coming from them, even when they've sat in the laundry basket for a few days. The only criticism she had was that they weren't as slim as she'd prefer.

One reviewer said these pads would be better with a sticky side. However, because they are washable, resusable pads can't have sticky tabs. In general, due to the contoured shape of the pad, most mums haven't reported issues with them moving about too much. In fact, one mum reviewer said, "These pads are large and comfortable to wear day and night, and seem to stay put better than the disposable ones I had been using."

Pros

  • Contoured shapes moves to fit your breast so no sliding around
  • Neutral colour is discrete with your clothing
  • You get a week's supply of 14 pads as well as a laundry bag and wet bag
  • 4 layers of absorbency and a 100% waterproof outer layer to protect your clothes
  • Comes in different sizes up to D cup and beyond
  • Pop them in your washing machine and dryer for easy cleaning

Cons

  • One reviewer said they would be better with a sticky side
  • Coutoured shape
  • 14 pads + laundry bag + wet bag
  • 4-layers of absorbency with waterproof outer layer
  • Available in different sizes
  • Machine washable and dribble

Best disposable nursing pads

B07BD3D6B9

Shortlisted for Best Product for Breastfeeding (excluding breast pumps) at the Mother&Baby Awards 2019

The Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads prioritise comfort and security and are one of the most popular nursing pads on the market - with good reason. They come with excellent leak-proof coverage featuring a Blue Lock core to ensure that moisture stays locked in, and a waterproof layer that keeps your clothes protected. They are capable of holding up to 20x their own weight, whilst still retaining their shape. Plus, the soft, stay-dry lining draws milk away from the skin and into the core of the pad where it is absorbed by a special polymer to prevent leakage.

We love that they have non-slip adhesive tape to keep them in place, with the contour design helping to create a natural fit that won't show under your clothes. Plus, each pad comes individually wrapped for convenience and hygiene – perfect for portability too, just slip them into your handbag or nappy bag. Our parent testers gave some useful feedback on the product. They thought the absorbency was good, but some felt they were a bit pricey for disposables. One of our mum testers Abi says she would choose them if she could regularly afford to, but feels there are cheaper options that would last longer and be more comfortable. Mum tester Sarah, on the other hand, says, "They aren’t particularly expensive and they last for a full day without much rolling or creasing, unlike some other pads." She admits they wouldn’t necessarily be her top choice though, as other cheaper brands are just as good quality.

There were mixed opinions on how the pads stayed in place. One mum tester Stacey fully recommends them, saying they're so simple to use and stay firmly in place with their sticky back, which she found to be essential. She also liked how absorbent they were and described them as not too slimline. Mum Jenny, on the other hand says, "I found that the pad bunched and dislodged when I pulled my bra down to feed. The sticky back sometimes attached to my breast which was uncomfortable to pull off." Jessica likes that the pads have two sticky bits instead of just one to prevent the pad moving around as much, by Sarah had to constantly reapply hers following a feed, saying "They wouldn’t move during wearing but would fall off when the bra was released in order to feed

Read our full review here.

Pros

  • The ultra-thin and contoured design boosts confidence when wearing these pads
  • The BLUE LOCK Technology absorbs milk faster
  • Unique honeycomb stay-dry lining wicks away moisture
  • The leak-proof outer lining protects your clothes
  • Capable of holding up to 20x their own weight, whilst still retaining their shape. 
  • Includes adhesive strips to avoid slippage
  • Each pad comes individually wrapped for hygiene and portability

Cons

  • Pad didn't always stay in place
  • Pricey compared to others
  • Ultra thin contoured design
  • BLUE LOCK Technology
  • Unique honeycomb stay-dry lining
  • Leak-proof outer lining
  • Individually wrapped

Best nursing pads for moisture retention

NUK Ultra Dry Nursing Pads provides great absorption and long-term moisture retention to keep you comfortable while still being thin and contoured, making them virtually invisible under clothing. This product comes with MilkLock technology which is designed to trap all leaks and the soft inner fabric will keep you feeling safe and confident.

One mum reviewer who has tried a lot of different breast pads as she has fast milk flow and lets down randomly throughout the day, says "A lot of others leaked or became too heavy but these were up to the challenge! Very happy with them would buy again! " She also likes that they don't come in too much packaging like other brands as it means less faffing in the middle of the night or if she needs to grab one quickly or one-handed.

Pros

  • Breathable outer layer is kind to your skin and comfortable to wear
  • Body-contoured shape is designed to fit the breast and be discrete under clothing
  • Fixing strips keep the pads in place so you can go about your day without them slipping
  • With 30 pads, there's plenty to keep you going

Cons

  • No size selection
  • 30 pads
  • Body-contoured shape
  • Fixing strips

Best gel nursing pads

New from Lansinoh, these innovative hydrogel pads offer instant cooling relief for those experiencing nipple damage, helping to soothe soreness and help heal between feeds. You can even pop them in the fridge for an enhanced cooling effect! One mum reviewer says, "These helped me out so much. My baby was poorly and also having a growth spurt at the same time, so was feeding constantly. It was so sore! These gel pads were so easy to use... discreetly worn inside my bra between feeds and instantly effective!" The soft fabric backing protects from rubbing and irritation while the absorbent gel helps prevent leaking. You only get two in a pack, but you can reuse these pads up to three days if needed.

Pros

  • These clever gel pads offer instant cooling relief when nipple cream isn't enough
  • The absorbent gel does a good job to help prevent leaking
  • Reusable for up to 3 days so you save money
  • The soft fabric backing protects you from rubbing and irritation
  • Comes with a handy tray for easy storage 

Cons

  • Only available in a 2 pack
  • Innovative hydrogel pads
  • Highly absorbent gel
  • Reusable up to 3 days
  • 100% vegan

Best nursing pads for dryness

Shortlisted for Best Product for Breastfeeding (excluding breast pumps) at the Mother and Baby Awards 2015

Medela Disposables are made with superabsorbent materials designed to prevent leakage and maintain dryness while still staying discreet under your clothing, making the breastfeeding process much more comfortable for you and your little one. We really like the inclusion of the natural fibre lining for more delicate skin and nipples, and they have adhesive strips to keep them in place. One mum reviewer likes the adhesive strips but says, "They can however, be slightly bulky and are sometimes visible over the top of the bra cup, but if placed properly in the bra then there should be no problem." Another reviewer prefers the larger size for better coverage and less chance of leaking

Read our full review here.

Pros

  • Contoured design fits your breast shape and is designed to be discrete under clothes
  • The natural fibre lining is soft and wicks away moisture from sensitive skin
  • The waterproof outer-layer helps to protect your clothes
  • The adhesives strips will keep the pads in the right place to stop them showing
  • They come individually wrapped to pop in your bag and use on the go
  • This pack of 60 with keep you going throughout the month

Cons

  • Thicker than others
  • Waterproof outer layer
  • Natural fibre
  • Adhesives strips
  • individually wrapped
  • Pack of 60

Best breast-shaped nursing pads

This nursing pad is designed to stay put for longer, and uniquely shape to your breast for the perfect fit and superior absorbency. We love that these disposable nursing pads are wrapped in pairs, meaning less wasteful packaging and more convenient unwrapping. It's also convenient for when you're traveling with them. One mum reviewer says that these are great for larger chested ladies. She found them to be very comfortable to wear and says they are the best she's tried. Unfortunately another mum didn't have much luck with these staying in her bra.

Pros

  • Available in different sizes so that you get the best fit for your breasts and bra
  • The contoured design gives a more streamline finish under your clothes
  • They come packaged in pairs for convenient on-the-go use
  • The packaging is recyclable, which makes everyone feel better
  • Designed to stay in place with adhesive strips

Cons

  • None
  • Available in different sizes
  • Contoured design
  • Packaged in pairs
  • Recyclable packaging

Best thin nursing pads

NatureBond Disposable Nursing Breast Pads
Price: $15.90

These ultra-thin and highly absorbent NatureBond nursing breast pads are so discreet that only mums know they are wearing them. This product is perfect for workouts at the gym and for a night out as they don’t make your bra look too bulky or pointy, giving you confidence and a feeling of security. One mum reviewer noticed that these pads seem to hold more liquid than other pads and found them to be ideal for night use. She also liked the sticky pads that meant they didn't detach or slip.

Pros

  • Large multipack will last longer
  • Honey Comb Quilted lining and NatureBond pads absorb liquid up to 40x its weight
  • Surface area is 10% larger than average disposable nursing pads
  • The ultra-thin design is great under sports gear and evening wear

Cons

  • Not the most eco-friendly option
  • Ultra thin
  • 120 pcs
  • Honey Comb Quilted lining
  • 10% larger surface area
  • 2 x adhesive strips per pad

What are nursing pads used for?

According to leading UK pharmacy services, LloydsPharmacy, “Nursing pads or breast pads are worn under your bra against your breast and they stop milk leaking onto your clothing. Whether you chose to breastfeed or bottle-feed your breast will produce milk after you have given birth, you might find that your nipples will leak small amounts of milk throughout the day.”

Do you need to use nursing pads?

Not every breastfeeding parent will want or need to use nursing pads, but many will. Leaking through your bra and top happens, so a nursing pad can prevent visible leakage and discomfort. It's a personal choice if you wear them or not.

How many breast pads do I need?

You probably won't need a lot of breast pads, but just to be safe, as well as comfrotable, pack 8 pairs to the hospital. Everyone is different.

How often should breast pads be changed?

Each brand of nursing pad has a different shape, size and absorbency level, which will affect how often you should change the nursing pads. We'd recommend changing nursing pads as soon as they are damp.  If you're using disposable options, you can end up using around six a day. That said, how often you change a nursing pad is completely up to you.

Is it okay to wear breast pads all the time?

Whether you want to wear nursing pads all the time, or just when you go out for some added protection, wearing nursing pads is perfectly safe. Just make sure you change them regularly when damp. Leakage can really throw off how you feel about yourself and stop your routine in it's track, so if you need to wear nursing pads all the time, go for it.

Do you sleep with breast pads?

Many women sleep with nursing pads, for comfort and convenience - the less clothes to wash the better, right? It's safe for you to do that, so if you find yourself needing to wear nursing pads at night, it shouldn't be issue.

Buying Guide

Reusable Vs Disposable

When choosing the right nursing pads for you, there will be a choice between reusable and disposable pads. There are pros and cons for both, so here is a run-down of each so you can make the right decision for you.

Reusable Pros:

• An eco-friendly option
• Means you're less likely to run out
• Soft and contoured

Reusable Cons

• Washing them may take some time

Disposable Pros

• Quick and convenient to use
• Can feel more hygienic
• A more travel-friendly option

Disposable Cons

• Not as environmentally-friendly as reusable

Materials

Not all nursing pads are made from the same material, so you'll need to think about what materials typically feel good against your skin. You'll also want to see if they're made from a more eco-friendly material like bamboo, if it's easy to wash, and if that material is as absorbent as you need it to be.

If the nursing pad you're looking at is described as ultra-absorbent, soft, and breathable, those are all good signs that those nursing pads will feel comfortable when worn and will do the job efficiently.

Absorbency

Again, not all nursing pads offer the same absorbency level. As designs evolve, it's more likely that you'll get a discreet design and the ultra-absorbency you want these days. Just make sure that the nursing pads you pick are leakproof and absorbent, but aren't so thick and bulky that they're visible under clothes and you don't feel comfortable wearing them.

How Mother&Baby selected the best breast pads

Our product recommendations are based on a combination of real-world testing from our burgeoning army of mum testers and the extensive knowledge of our experienced editorial team and product specialists. Where we can, we also consult experts who specialise in that field to ensure you get the right advice along with the right product, and we listen to what you say as well.

Samantha Ball is a Product & Lifestyle Writer for Mother&Baby and freelanced for the website for two years before joining the team full time. She's a mum of two and loves browsing for the best products and cute outfits.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us
How we write our articles and reviews
Mother & Baby is dedicated to ensuring our information is always valuable and trustworthy, which is why we only use reputable resources such as the NHS, reviewed medical papers, or the advice of a credible doctor, GP, midwife, psychotherapist, gynaecologist or other medical professionals. Where possible, our articles are medically reviewed or contain expert advice. Our writers are all kept up to date on the latest safety advice for all the products we recommend and follow strict reporting guidelines to ensure our content comes from credible sources. Remember to always consult a medical professional if you have any worries. Our articles are not intended to replace professional advice from your GP or midwife.