Breastfeeding mama must-have: Reusable nursing pads

Mar 17, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. ET

If you're still using leaky, scratchy disposable nursing pads, might we recommend a more comfortable alternative?

When I breastfed my oldest daughter almost a decade ago, I had no idea cloth nursing pads (or cloth diapers, for that matter) were an option. I noticed the cheap, bulky ones on the shelf at Target, but they looked itchy and uncomfortable, so I stuck with box after box of the throwaway varieties. They got the job done and hid well under my clothes, but I hated spending all that money on something that was going right into the trash. With my younger children, I knew better and learned of the comfort of reusable nursing pads.

If it sounds like too much work, don't be intimidated. Even if you haven't made the decision to use cloth diapers, you can toss fabric nursing pads in any load of delicates or wash them by hand in the sink. Here are five of the best-rated options on the market today.

Bamboobies washable nursing pads

Bamboobies

Though somewhat unfortunately named, Bamboobies provide great protection without showing through. The unique heart-shaped design is smooth under nursing bras for sleek daytime coverage, while the thicker, round pads keep you dry overnight. They are pricier than some other options, but reviews across several sales sites agree that these are the gold standard. Nursing pads are one of the most important breastfeeding accessories, definitely worth the (small) investment. (Amazon, $25)

Lily Padz reusable nursing pads

Lily Padz

Rather than rely on fabric for absorbency, Lily Padz breathable silicone adheres to the breast to inhibit letdown, stopping leaks before they start. These are especially helpful after the first couple of months, when letdown stops being such a fire hose. (Target, $20)

Fuzzibunz nursing pads

Fuzzibunz

Cloth diaper manufacturers know how to make something comfy that doesn't leak. These micro fleece nursing pads rate high in comfort and absorbency. As with most cloth pads, you might need a thicker bra to hide them well, or just use them at home. (Amazon, $18)

Lover of Life Designs cloth nursing pads

Lover of Life

This Etsy shop owner prides herself on honing the nursing pad design over many years with feedback from real moms. She uses Zorb II, a cotton/bamboo hybrid fabric that absorbs super quickly, ensuring milk doesn't leak out of the pad before getting soaked up. (Etsy, $15)

Undercover Leaky Mamas nursing pads

Undercover Leaky Mamas

These super thin cotton and bamboo nursing pads come in dozens of gorgeous patterns. What makes them stand out among all the other brands you can find on Etsy? U-Loops: adjustable ribbons you can use to attach the pad to your nursing bra, ensuring it always stays right where you want it. (Etsy, $20)

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