The Motherly Art of Frugality: A Review of Reusable Breast Pads

I only used one kind of breast pad for my first pregnancy and they were cheap and worked fine, except when my daughter occasionally slept more than couple of hours, in which case I woke up drenched. With my son, I didn’t have many problems with leaking so I may not be the best person to attest to these products for someone with massive milk leakage. That being said, when I was shopping around for breast pads I really wanted a good comparison chart, and none existed that I could find. So, in honor of my son’s weaning, as I pack up my breast pads to wait for the next little member of our family, here are my reviews.

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Gerber Nuk breast pads: Amazon.com $14.99 for 6 pair

These are some of the cheapest reusable breast pads you can get. These are what I used while breastfeeding my first child and most of them survived to be used again with a second. These are basic and not overly absorbent, but for daytime use, I didn’t need them to be. They are also the only truly flat and thin pads I could find. Everything else seemed to be bulky by comparison. But they won’t hold up to lots of leaks. These are somewhat waterproof but if you frequently dry them in the dryer if will eventually wreck the waterproof later. They can sometimes be found cheaper at Target, so check the prices at your local stores. Overall, if money is tight and you are hoping to save money by avoiding disposable breast pads, these are the way to go.

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Charlie Banana breast pads: Amazon.com $15.95 for 3 pair

These are the most absorbent pads I’ve ever used. I bought them on a recommendation from my sister, who said they were incredible absorbent and practically leak proof. The fleece was a little warm feeling in the hot months, but not too bad. These were fantastic overnight pads, but I found them a little bulky for day time use, but they did lay relatively flat. Unfortunately the white interior fleece also stained. Not sure why this was, but it may have been specific to the composition of my breast milk. Granted, no one saw these but me and the baby. But it was discouraging to pay so much for these and then have them stain. But these were my go-to night pads. Rarely had a leak that these couldn’t handle, even when the baby slept through the night.

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Happy Heiney’s hemp breast pads: Amazon.com $12.50 for 3 pair

These were another nice option for nighttime, though not as soft as the fleece in the Charlie Banana or the Knickernappies. But the hemp was also cooler than the fleece. I had them in two different diameters, though I’m not sure if they still make them in both sizes. The small size worked Ok for day time, but were still a little thicker than I liked and either size worked at night. In some ways I preferred larger pads at night since almost every brand I tried was prone to move out of place. While the hemp makes these pads very absorbent, they are not waterproof, so I didn’t love them for serious overnight engorgement leaks.

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WillowSprouts cotton hemp nursing pads:
Amazon.com $14.95 for 4 pair

These are nice pads and a pretty good deal, but really neither here nor there. They are thin, the only pads I could find that hid under clothes almost as smoothly as my Gerber pads. They can handle some leaks, but they aren’t super absorbent and they aren’t waterproof either. But they were also more reasonably priced than most of the breast pads I tried. Though much softer and more comfortable than the cheap Gerber. Also, one of the only pads I could use comfortably when I struggled with blebs.

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Knickernappies Stay-Dry nursing pads:
Amazon.com $12.99 for 3 pair 

These were my second favorite night time breast pad. They were thinner than the Charlie Banana pads, but not as absorbent, though also just as waterproof. Because of their thinness they were less bulky looking, but also more likely to bunch up. Overall still a good choice.

I liked all of these breast pads and each of them had a great place in my stash. Plus, I saved a small fortune and possibly a small forest by using reuseable instead of disposable pads. Another great sources are your local cloth diaper stores. Babiesrus or Target may have a small selection of reuseable nursing pads, but usually they are limited in their offerings. Buy Buy Baby has been moving in a more natural living friendly direction, including stocking some bumGenius diapers. So check one out if there are any in your area. Most of my pads came from Amazon.com, but I also shopped Kelly’s ClosetCotton Babies, and Diapers.com. The only thing I regret never trying was wool, mostly do to the high cost. But perhaps I can snag a few (or make a few) when baby #3 comes around.

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3 thoughts on “The Motherly Art of Frugality: A Review of Reusable Breast Pads

  1. This was such a great review of a useful product that few moms know about! Reusable pads have been a lifesaver for me, and my personal favorite are the Imagine brand ones from nickisdiapers.com. However, I’ll also look into some hemp ones the next time around. Thanks!

    1. Glad you found it useful. When I had my first child I couldn’t find any reusable pads but Gerber and I was excited to find others for baby #2. It felt good to know that I wasn’t throwing away money (and trash) every day. Plus, I figured if I wasn’t putting disposable diapers on my baby, I wouldn’t want to put disposable pads on me.

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