Most, if not all, breastfeeding women will be aware of the convenience of a good nursing bra and the sizeable positive difference that it can make to their breastfeeding experience. However, in our opinion, in addition to that nursing bra, mom needs to invest some time into understanding nipple pads, the differences between the various constructions, and the different qualities they offer.
The proper use of breast pads keeps a new mother in the best shape to pump or feed her baby regularly, but of course to use them you first need to know where to buy nipple pads. Because they can make your breastfeeding journey easier and promote good health practices when breastfeeding, we believe that all breastfeeding moms should know where to buy nipple pads, and recognize the times when they need them. The purpose of this document is to provide new parents with all of the information they need about nipple pads - what they do, when they are needed, other names that they may be called and more - including the all-important information on where to buy nipple pads. Let's get started!
What do nipple pads do when breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding women can express milk without intending to - it happens, it's commonplace, and it's nothing to worry about. When these 'leaks' occur (or perhaps more accurately, as a pre-emptive measure against possible leaking), nipple pads can absorb any milk expressed in this fashion as mom goes about her day. Pads can and do prevent leaks from showing through clothes, but this is just one of a number of benefits, and we'll talk about the more health-centered benefits later. Before doing so, it's important to remember that the various different breast pads have different characteristics and are designed to address specific challenges that breastfeeding moms may encounter..
The different types of nipple pads
Washable / reusable vs. single use / disposable
These days, you will commonly find both reusable and disposable breast pads available for retail. The choice moms or families need to make here is primarily one of convenience and environmental friendliness. Disposable pads are more convenient but represent a recurring financial cost and generate more waste than reusable pads. In addition, that reusable pad, though likely kinder to the planet in the long run, will require washing after its use. It's a little more effort on the mom or dad's part, but it can certainly be a sound investment if - for example - you know that you want to have more kids and breastfeed again in the future.
Considering construction material
A traditional construction material for nipple pads is cotton, but there are a number of other materials that can be used and which you'll find available at retail locations too.
For instance, nipple pads incorporating bamboo can be softer and more absorbent than pure cotton ones. Silicone pads are adhesive and stick to the breast but aren't absorbent. While,absorbent, while a 'hydrogel' product can help soothe nipple soreness or irritation.
Lastly, don't forget that you can make your own nipple pads too - they're a great way to use scraps of old fabric that you may have lying around, or a way to recycle something like an old t-shirt and make it useful once more. A final extra advantage that comes with making your own pads is that you get to choose what the outermost layer of the pad will be made from, and hence what it will feel like - and this can be an important comfort factor, especially for moms with sensitive skin.
How to know when you need to be using nipple pads
The simple rule of thumb is that if you're leaking, feel that you might leak, or if your nipples are sore, you should be using a nipple pad of some sort. Exactly which will be best at any one time will depend on how much you're leaking or how much soreness you're experiencing (i.e., if you're already sore or if you're leaking a lot, you might want to stay away from silicone as the lack of absorbency won't help that situation).
However, we do also want to stress that it is normal for breastfeeding moms to be using nipple pads, or to at least have some with them as they go about the day. Using nipple pads isn't a sign of something going wrong, so they're not something you should be able to go without more often than not. Instead, they're a preventative measure that helps to stop problems from occurring, so it's a smart move to use nipple pads and keep your nipples and the surrounding skin dry, happy, and healthy so that you can feed or pump at your convenience without issues!
Why breast pads work
A common cause of nipple soreness for breastfeeding moms is moisture that's been trapped against the skin - as it would be if mom leaked without a pad and was unable to change her shirt. Trapping moisture against the skin anywhere on the body can cause irritation and soreness, but in the case of breast milk leaks, that's added irritation and soreness affecting an already sensitive part of the body.
That being the case, it's too easy for that irritation and soreness to become pain. If she's experiencing pain when she pumps or feeds her baby, it's perfectly reasonable for mom to doubt whether or not breastfeeding is right for her. However, don't forget that most moms will experience some nipple soreness during their breastfeeding journey. Again though, it's not a sign of anything being 'wrong’.' By absorbing and locking any leaks away far from the skin and keeping it dry, limiting where the leaks go when they happen, and soothing the skin when it is sore, pads really help moms along their breastfeeding journey.
Where to buy nipple pads
Now, having reached the end of our guide to nipple pads, it's time to answer the question that we began with - where to buy nipple pads in the first place. Thankfully, they are readily available from several sources, including your local grocery store. In most cases (including Limerick), you will also be able to buy nipple pads from your breast pump manufacturer and a wide range of online retailers.
More about Limerick's support
Limerick is a leading manufacturer of breast pumps in the United States, but we are also much more than that. In addition to our breast pumps, young families can rely on us for reliable advice and informative resources touching on all points of their breastfeeding journey - from those first few days to returning to work while breastfeeding and beyond. To learn more about the Limerick team and our values, why not take a look at our 'about us' page or our Instagram page - where again, you can pick up some great breastfeeding tips and meet moms just like you!