Best breast and nursing pads for breastfeeding mums

07 January 2021

woman breastfeeding

Breast pads aren't like other bits of baby kit. Unlike nappies, babygros and cots, which are essential, breast pads aren't always necessary. Some women never leak, but if you do, then take a look at our selection of the best breast and nursing pads to buy.

With so many disposable and reusable breastfeeding pads on the market, it can be hard to know what’s best.

How much you leak has nothing to do with your supply. Some women need nursing pads even before their babies are born. Some only need them until their milk supply is established, while others need them even after they’ve stopped feeding.

Here are the best breast pads, as recommended by parents.

1. Best overall breast pads: Lansinoh Disposable Breast Pads

“Lansinoh has very good 'stickage' and absorbency.”

“I like Lansinoh because they are quite thin and stay stuck to your bra.”

1. Best overall breast pads: Lansinoh Disposable Breast Pads

Lansinoh’s nipple cream is highly rated by Mumsnet users and so are their excellent value disposable nursing pads. They are very thin and lightweight, but can hold up to 20 times their own weight thanks to a special absorbent core.

They also have two adhesive strips to hold them in place. This helps you to shape them around your boobs for maximum coverage and minimal leaks.

The pads are individually wrapped, making it easier to slip them into your changing bag. This also means that you can change them after each feed if you need to. While some Mumsnet users say that these breast pads are over-packaged, it does make them more hygienic. The packaging is also recyclable.

Price: £5.50 for 60

Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

2. Best budget breast pads: Tomee Tippee Closer to Nature Disposable Breast Pads

“I love the Tommee Tippee. If you don't like the adhesive, then don't use it. I never have.”

2. Best budget breast pads: Tomee Tippee Closer to Nature Disposable Breast Pads

Tommee Tippee’s Closer to Nature Breast Pads are among the cheapest on the market but still offer great quality for the majority of mums. They have a special moisture-trapping layer and are individually wrapped so that they stay hygienic.

The adhesive isn’t as sticky as on some breast pads, but some Mumsnetters recommend not using the adhesive at all. That way, you can slip them in and out of your bra whenever you feed.

3. Best reusable breast pads: BabyBliss Organic Bamboo Nursing Breast Pads

“They’re much more comfy, less sweaty and they stay in place better than disposable pads. Less fiddly too as there’s no wrapping.”

3. Best reusable breast pads: BabyBliss Organic Bamboo Nursing Breast Pads

BabyBliss’s reusable pads come in three sizes so you can easily find one to suit your cup size. They also come with an organza laundry bag to keep them together in the wash.

Made from super-soft bamboo, these organic breast pads feel nice against the skin but also have a polyester outer layer to make them really absorbent.

Price: £11.99 for 14

Buy now from Amazon

4. Best breast pads for large breasts: Johnson's Baby Nursing Pads

“I love Johnson’s ones. They’re more expensive than others, but are very comfortable and don’t wrinkle up – but maybe it’s just my big boobs.”

 4. Best breast pads for large breasts: Johnson's Baby Nursing Pads

Johnson’s Baby Nursing Pads have a domed shape to protect against nipple irritation, and users say they’re ideal if your cup size is on the bigger end of the scale. The shape stops them from folding up which makes them more comfortable to wear.

They also have a breathable backing, so offer all the advantages of disposable breast pads without the sweaty feeling you can sometimes get.

Price: £4.49 for 30

Buy now from Amazon

5. Best breast pads for leaking: LittleLamb Washable Bamboo Breast Pads

“I have LittleLamb ones. Never used anything else, but these are very absorbent. Downside is that they are more expensive and take a while to dry (due to being made of bamboo, which makes them super absorbent).”

5. Best breast pads for leaking: LittleLamb Washable Bamboo Breast Pads

LittleLamb Bamboo Breast Pads come in two sizes – 11cm and 13cm. Because they're woven rather than knitted, you get three times the yarn in any one place, which makes them really absorbent.

It does mean that they shed a few fibres for the first dozen or so washes though, and woven bamboo also shrinks by up to 10%, but woven yarn that’s shrunk actually absorbs more. They even come with their own laundry bag too.

Price: £14 for 10

Buy now from LittleLamb

6. Best silicone breast pads: LilyPadz Non-Absorbent Breast Pads

“I used LilyPadz which are reusable, non-absorbent silicone pads. They were amazing!”

6. Best silicone breast pads: LilyPadz Non-Absorbent Breast Pads

LilyPadz are a great alternative to conventional breast pads. Rather than soaking up your breast milk as a regular pad would, they are actually non-absorbent and designed, instead, to use a small amount of pressure to limit leaks – but you may want to avoid these if you have a history of mastitis.

The makers also reckon you can go braless with them, although that would very much depend on the stage of your breastfeeding journey and how sore your boobs are.

The pads have been midwife-approved and clinical trial-tested. They are washable and reusable for weeks. Wash with a moisturiser and oil-free detergent when needed, then air dry and re-apply.

7. Best breast pads for sore nipples: Medela Disposable Breast Pads

“I prefer the Medela breast pads. They are softer.”

7. Best breast pads for sore nipples: Medela Disposable Breast Pads

Medula’s breast pads have a natural-fibre lining, making them extra gentle on the skin. They’re ideal for the early days of feeding when it’s likely your breasts will be super sensitive.

The pads also have an ultra-absorbent core that distributes moisture evenly around the pad by turning it into a gel, keeping it away from your breasts.

Each one comes individually wrapped to keep them clean and lint-free. And with two adhesive strips at the back on the waterproof layer, these pads won’t slip around.

Price: £5.99 for 60

Buy now from Ocado

8. Best for collecting milk: Elvie Catch Breast Milk Collection Cups

“They collect the milk rather than soaking through loads of pads, and give your nipples a bit of space/air for healing.”

8. Best for collecting milk: Elvie Catch Breast Milk Collection Cups

Elvie, the makers of the first silent wearable breast pump (also a Mumsnet Best winner), have designed an alternative to breast pads that don’t just absorb leaked milk, they collect it – up to 1oz or 30ml per cup.

The silicone cups sit neatly in your bra and you can then use the collected milk as a top-up feed or to put in your baby’s bath or on their skin – breast milk is supposed to be good for baby acne, cracked nipples or epistimotemy stitches.

Each cup is surrounded by a silicone skirt that prevents slippage and can be rotated to find your best fit. Once in place, the cup can collect milk for up to three hours before it needs emptying, cleaning and drying.

9. Best breast pads for small breasts: Cheeky Mama Cloth Breast Pads

“I used ones from the Cheeky Wipes website and I really liked them.”

9. Best breast pads for small breasts: Cheeky Mama Cloth Breast Pads

Cheeky Mama’s Bamboo Breast Pads are shaped for a close fit, making them ideal for smaller boobs. They come in a pack of six (three pairs) and are 11cm in diameter.

There’s a cotton top against your skin, a cotton inner and a PUL backing, meaning they are thinner than many disposable pads and soft to wear. You can wash them at 40 degrees.

Price: £9 for three pairs

Buy now from Cheeky Wipes

10. Best eco disposable breast pads: Eco by Naty Nursing Pads

“I started out with disposable Eco by Naty ones. They’re not adhesive so they don't stick to nipples.”

10. Best eco disposable breast pads: Eco by Naty Nursing Pads

If you want disposable pads without damaging the environment, Eco by Naty Nursing Pads tick all the boxes.

They are soft, absorbent and thin enough to be discreet, but also made from 100% chlorine-free natural and renewable materials – and the packaging is recyclable.

The breathable and natural lining, which draws milk towards the absorbent core, helps to reduce irritation.

Price: £3.35 for 30

Buy now from Ethical Superstore

How do I choose nursing pads?

Breast pads are either reusable or disposable. Disposable breast pads usually have adhesive to hold them in place and are thrown away once you’ve used them. Reusable breast pads can be made from bamboo, cotton, polyester or even silicone.

Make sure you opt for ones that are breathable – you can do this by avoiding pads with plastic or waterproof liners. You should also change your breast pads whenever they get wet as moisture around the nipple can lead to bacteria growth.

Do reusable breast pads work?

Disposable breast pads are great when you're on the go and come individually wrapped for maximum hygiene. But reusable breast pads work just as well and can be used again and again, making them an eco-friendly and a more affordable option than disposable pads.

They can also be more comfortable against the skin than disposable nursing pads, particularly if they’re made from cotton or bamboo. Washing them actually makes them even softer and more comfortable to wear. This can make all the difference in the early days, especially if your nipples are cracked or sore.

How often should I change my breast pad?

There’s no one answer to how often you should change your breast pad. Some women never leak and never need breast pads. Some need lots in the early days until their supply is established. Some only leak when they experience let-down, while others need breast pads for the whole time they feed and beyond.

In the early days, you might find you need to change your disposable breast pad at every feed – which can be 10 or more times a day. Sometimes you might need to change them after every other feed or you may need to change the side you are not feeding from.

By the time your supply is established, you’ll likely use between one and three pairs of breast pads a day.

What are the best breast pads to buy?

Lansinoh really seem to understand breastfeeding and their Disposable Breast Pads are a firm favourite among Mumsnet users. Their domed shape and secure adhesive make them ideal for leaks.

When it comes to reusable breast pads, BabyBliss Organic Bamboo Nursing Breast Pads are very absorbent, yet discreet, making them a firm favourite with many breastfeeding mums.

How we chose our recommendations

All of our recommendations for disposable and reusable breast pads came from Mumsnet users themselves. We searched the Mumsnet forums for posts about which nursing pads Mumsnet users have tried and loved. We also looked at other reviews to see which products were being recommended time and time again.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.

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