How to Use Reusable Breast Pads - the Ultimate Guide
14 June 2022 | Admin
Here's how to use reusable breast pads:
- Choose the appropriate breast pad for your size of breasts. Shaped are better for smaller breasts, flat for larger breasts. Remember that your breasts will be larger than pre-pregnancy and larger again when your milk supply comes in!
- Change regularly, every 3 or 4 hours or when you're feeding your baby
- Simply wash at 40c, dry and reuse
I remember when my son was first born and within around 18 hours my milk came in. It's a disconcerting and somewhat uncomfortable feeling seeing your breasts swell and become hard to touch like footballs. Sometimes they can even become too full for your baby to latch on to easily which is when your let-down comes in handy!
Let-down is when your breasts start to tingle and breast milk starts flowing of it's own accord from your milk ducts and it's a perfectly natural response to your baby needing to feed. However this can be totally awkward and inconvenient when you're left feeling wet, with two big wet patches on the front of your top or your other half ends up with a wet back in bed!
For this reason, breast pads are really useful for many mothers, absorbing this let-down in breast pads to avoid having to change your top frequently.
There are several types of breast pad, and choosing from reusable or disposable can appear tricky. However we've found washable reusables to be the most comfortable and most absorbent and also eco-friendly. Seriously, paper disposable breast pads sticking to chapped or cracked nipples is ZERO fun.
Cheeky Wipes provide two different types of breast pad, shaped and flat. Both are super absorbent and contain bamboo which is naturally anti-bacterial and breathable.
Most people will find our flat breast pads suitable:
- 11cm wide
- pul layer to stop leakage
- bamboo and bamboo fibre core, so super soft and super absorbent
'These are great! Saved me going through so many disposables. Soft and gentle on sore nipples, soak up a lot of leaking when nursing on one side and don't feel damp to touch so can wear all day or all night. Clean really well and dry quickly. Highly recommend!' Rebecca via Trustpilot
Alternatively for those with smaller breasts, our shaped reusable nursing pads are great:
- pul backed to prevent leaking
- bamboo & bamboo core, so super absorbent
'Much more absorbent than alternatives I’ve tried, which is especially useful in the early weeks when things are particularly leaky!' Lucy via Trustpilot
How Many Reusable Breast Pads Do I Need?
You'll need 6 pairs of reusable breast pads, on average, assuming that you wash daily. If you wash every other day, you may need 9 pairs to allow for drying in between.
This will still save you money over using disposable nursing pads which cost around £6 for 15 days supply. Assuming that you breast feed for 6 months, that's around £70, so even with 9 pairs of reusable pads, that's a significant cost saving.
How Often to Change Reusable Breast Pads
You should change your reusable breast pads on average 3 or 4 times a day, depending on your milk flow. Initially you may need more or need to change them more frequently as your body gets used to how much milk it needs to produce.
It's not uncommon initially for you to produce so much milk that it squirts out at force, which is when it's also handy to have a muslin nearby to prevent splashback on onlookers!
'Great breast pads, far better than others I’ve tried from various sources. Don’t feel wet to touch even after a lot of leakage. Surprisingly good at staying in place and wash brilliantly.' Bryony via Trustpilot
How to Wash Reusable Breast Pads
Here's how to wash reusable breast pads:
- Place your breast pads in a mesh laundry bag to prevent them being eaten by your washing machine
- Wash in your washing machine using warm water, 40c ideally
- Use your normal detergent, avoiding fabric softener which can impact the absorbency of your breast pads.
- Line dry or tumble dry on low. Tumble drying also helps keep your breast pads hygienically clean
Can Reusable Breast Pads Cause Mastitis?
No, reusable breast pads can’t cause mastitis and in fact can help as they reduce the possibility of having cracked sore nipples. Mastitis happens when bacteria enters the breast through a milk duct or crack in the skin. It can also occur when milk backs up due to a blocked milk duct and bacteria grow in the stagnant milk. Mastitis can also be caused by problems with breastfeeding or latch.
If you're suffering from mastitis, reusable breast pads are brilliant as warm compresses, soaked in water which is as warm as you can bear and applied every few hours.
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About the author: Helen Rankin founded Cheeky Wipes back in 2008, when people thought she was crackers selling reusable wipes. She's also a Mum of 4 and has suffered through the occasionally toe-curling pain of breast-feeding with all 4 children, so is well placed to give advice on breast pads. Cheeky Wipes have been specialists in 'Simple Reusables' since 2008 and are especially proud of their friendly, helpful customer services, answered by real people who have all used the products themselves.