As a first time mama looking forward to breastfeeding, you must also arm yourself with nursing pads to soak in breast milk leaks and avoid changing your top every now and then due to it getting soaked.
You are probably wondering how many nursing pads do you need? You should at least have 7-10 pairs of cloth reusable nursing pads because you could be going through 2 pairs each day and once you wash them you need to rotate the pairs weekly.
The rotation is necessary because yeast can live in fabric despite regular washing so letting them air dry will kill any yeast bacteria in them naturally and avoid getting the dreaded thrush.
How many nursing pads do you need in a day?
Nursing pads are supposed to absorb leaked milk and they need to be changed as soon as you feel wet.
The number of nursing pads you need in a day may vary and is highly dependent on your leakage levels. However, for most women they go through about 2-3 pairs of nursing pads per day, that is one or two during the day and one for the night time.
As for disposable nursing pads, which most mothers prefer to use while they are out a box of 60 can last you about 2 weeks if you will not be leaking heavily because you can go through 2-3 pairs in a day.
Why do you need to change nursing pads often?
When you leave a wet nursing pad for long you create a conducive environment for bacteria which cause thrush to thrive. It is advisable to change one as soon as you feel wet to prevent thrush.
You need to change often for your comfort too, nobody likes a wet feeling on their boobies.
Prevent breast milk odor.
Changing your breast pad often helps avoid you smelling of breast milk. And trust you me, it is not a pleasant one because breast milk goes bad quickly when exposed to air.
Nursing pads absorbency
One of the huge factors which will prompt you to change a nursing pad is its absorbency capacity and how much you leak. Let us look at the types of nursing pads and how well they work.
Disposable nursing pads
For mamas who leak heavily, you will find yourself leaking through reusable nursing pads quickly as compared to disposable nursing pads.
In such a case, you will need 4-5 nursing pads in a day which is such a chore to keep changing them.
If that happens to be the case for you, changing to disposable nursing pads is a good idea. Because they are more absorbent and will need 2-3 pairs a day cutting your usage by half.
Reusable nursing pads
For mamas who leak moderately you will find yourself going through at least 2-3 pairs in a day. Two during the day and one at night which you change into just before you sleep at night.
Silicone nursing pad or braless nursing pads
On the other hand, for silicone reusable nursing pads also considered as braless nursing pads to prevent leaks rather than absorb leaked milk, you will need at least a pair or two a day.
They are super easy to clean under running water then you let them air dry, a pair can be reused for about 2 months with proper care.The advantage of these is they do not show through clothes because they are thin.
See also braless nursing pads
Important FAQs on How many nursing pads you need
How many reusable nursing pads do you need?
You will need to have 6-10 pairs of reusable nursing pads. This may seem a lot but it is what you will need because you will be going through 2-3 pairs a day and will need to be rotating the pairs at least every 2-4 weeks.
This is to let yeast cause bacteria which can still survive in fabric despite regular washing to die off naturally and prevent getting thrush.
The investment will be worth it and most mamas are now opting to use reusable nursing pads because they are less costly in the long run and more eco friendly as compared to disposable nursing pads.
Do you need to wear nursing pads all the time?
The next logical question to ask is whether you need to be wearing nursing pads all the time to avoid soaking your clothes with milk.
There is no definite answer for this because some mothers would not want to have nursing pads all day.
What’s more, it is also important to give your nipples time to air dry and avoid suffocating them in nursing pads which can create an environment suitable for growth of bacteria which causes thrush. This is when you find your nipples are itchy and flaky.
Let us look at some scenarios.
For mothers who have very sensitive let down, they need to wear breast pads all the time because they will end up needing a change of clothes within minutes. This is because any friction with your clothes triggers a let down.
In any case, most mamas tend to leak a lot during the first month or so after they milk supply trickles, once the supply stabilizes they do not leak as much.
Some nursing moms prefer wearing them as they breastfeed because they leak through the other breast. Which is convenient as compared to pressing on the nipple and ending up looking cumbersome. .
Other mamas, choose to use nursing pads only when they are out of the house. Obviously no mama wants to have a patch of milk showing while out running errands.
At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference because you are looking at your comfort. If you find them irritating wearing all day, by all means wear only when you need it most.
Now that we have looked at all the possible scenarios, you can determine how many nursing pads you need easily. We highly recommend buying at least 2 boxes of disposable nursing pads with the capacity of 60 pieces in each. These can last you for about a month if you are going through 2- 3 pairs a day.
If you want to go for reusable nursing pads, get 6-10 pairs so that you are able to rotate them weekly to let them air dry and kill yeast naturally. Relatively, you can get a box of disposable to use while you let the reusable pads give your nipples time to air dry and rest.