Things I Don’t Get: Disposable Breast Pads

Warning – stories about breast feeding ahead. You’ve been warned . . .

I don’t use these. I don’t really get them, either


I know that I’m a crunchy mother type. I use cloth nappies and cloth wipes, even when I’m having nightmares about folding them in my sleep (an exaggeration. Folding them is actually kinda therapeutic). We try pretty hard around here to reduce waste when we can. But when it comes to one particular item, I’m not sure why anyone uses the disposable option most of the time.

And that item – Breast (or Nursing) Pads.

Ok, this might be too much information time. For those who don’t know, breast pads are used to catch breast milk and to prevent you from looking like you’ve always spilt a drink over your front. Because breast milk doesn’t just come when you’re feeding your baby. No, that would be easy. It might come when your baby (or another) cries, or when you get emotional about something, or when you think about your baby. Or in my case – ALL THE TIME.

You see, I have this little thing called over supply. Which, in a world where we constantly hear about women who don’t have enough milk, sounds great. (Well until you have a child clamping down to try and prevent the milk from drowning them – but that’s another story) Of course it comes with its own problems, like constantly dripping boobs. (Really, it’s like a tap running some days.)

So I have to constantly use breast pads (I suppose I don’t really, but I don’t like smelling like milk more than I have to).

Before I knew anything about my supply, I bought two pairs of washable breast pads. My sister, who works in a chemist, gave me some sample packs of disposables. I took the disposables with me to the hospital, where they were brilliant when my milk came in, and being in the hospital I didn’t really have any way of washing reusable pads. But I soon sent Mr Pilot out to buy some more washable pads for when we got home.

I never liked the way the disposable breast pads felt. The minute they got wet (and I tried different brands thanks to my sister) they got mushy and uncomfortable. Whatever absorbent chemical was inside (I don’t want to know) would move to one part of the pad, and they’d feel lumpy and uncomfortable.

The reusable pads, on the other hand, are just made of a few layers of absorbent fabric with a thin plastic fabric preventing the milk getting on your clothes. Nothing moves when they get wet. They dry pretty quickly. I don’t have to mess around with sticky tabs – they just sit in my bra. I can adjust them easily. They are comfortable each day.

Sure, I have to wash them. I stick them in a washing bag when I finish with them. Stick the bag in the wash when I’m washing my clothes or Squirms. Hang them on the line still in the bag, and sometimes even put them away still in the bag. They are really no extra work at all. They cost a little bit to buy, but I’ve heard of lots of people who’ve made their own (apparently old doonas are great for them). And you’re not throwing away lots of plastic and chemicals every time you use them.

Maybe most of the people who use disposable breast pads only need to use them occasionally, or only at the beginning. I still keep some around in case of emergency use, and maybe other people do the same thing. But, I have to say, the idea of using them all the time bewilders me!



  1. I must say, it had never actually occurred to me to find reusable breast pads. Oddly enough, given that I’m mostly using cloth nappies! And I have the same over supply issues. Where did you get yours from?

    1. I get mine from Target, though we got one pack from the chemist at the hospital. I can’t remember the brand names, but the ones with the cross hatching are better than the ones with the flowers, but are more expensive 🙂

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