Choosing Nursing Pads: Disposable vs. Reusable

Having a baby will likely be a journey of lessons learned and new discoveries. One of which might be how many variants of the same parent and baby products there are on the market. While it’s fantastic there’s so much choice, knowing what to look for and which ones to choose, especially as a first-time parent, can feel overwhelming.

One of the culprits for this is nursing pads. There are many types of nursing pads available, and most have their benefits – but what are the differences? Finding ones that work best for you and your routine will help to make breastfeeding easier and a more comfortable experience. Read on to discover the different types of nursing pads and which ones might work best for you!

What are nursing pads?

Nursing pads are circular pads that are placed between your nipples and bra. They are designed to keep your skin and clothing dry while you’re breastfeeding and/or experiencing milk leaks. Absorbing leaks with nursing pads can help you to avoid irritation, prevent infections, and reduce the amount of laundry needed during this busy period in your life.

Should I use disposable nursing pads?

Disposable nursing pads are single-use, so can be disposed of after use with no need to wash them. This makes them a convenient choice for new parents.

Conventional nursing pads

Pros

  • Conventional, single-use nursing pads are a low maintenance choice as they’ll need no washing between uses.

Cons

  • Often, conventional nursing pads contain plastic. Single-use, non-recyclable plastic like this isn’t a sustainable product choice.
  • It’s unlikely that the cotton used in conventional nursing pads will be certified organic, and it may also be chlorine bleached. These are both damaging to the planet and could also cause skin irritation.
  • Being single-use means you’ll need to repurchase nursing pads regularly, which may be both costly and inconvenient.
  • Some conventional nursing pads may even have perfumes or dyes to mask smells and whiten their appearance. These are both wholly unnecessary, contribute to stigma surrounding breastfeeding, and could cause skin irritation.

Natracare nursing pads

Pros

  • Like conventional nursing pads, Natracare nursing pads are low maintenance in the sense that they don’t need to be washed and can be discarded after use.
  • Natracare nursing pads are designed to be plastic free and compostable, making them more sustainable than their conventional counterpart. This means they will break down entirely back into the earth after use – if thrown away correctly.
  • We use sustainably sourced wood pulp for the absorbent middle of our nursing pads, and the cover is made of 100% certified organic cotton. We also use Totally Chlorine Free bleaching methods. These are all more sustainable ways of making the pads, and they help to reduce the risk of skin irritation.
  • Natracare nursing pads contain no perfume or dyes. Both ingredients might cause skin irritation, so they don’t belong in nursing pads (or any intimate health products for that matter!).

Cons

  • As they’re single-use, Natracare nursing pads will need repurchasing when you run out.

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Should I use reusable nursing pads?

Reusable nursing pads are just that – reusable. They can be washed and reused multiple times which can help to reduce the need to repurchase regularly.

Reusable nursing pads

Pros

  • Reusable nursing pads are convenient if you’re looking to only make a one-off purchase.
  • Reusable products in general help to reduce waste produced, which makes them a more sustainable product than nursing pads that leave plastic waste behind after use.

Cons

  • They can be expensive at initial purchase, and you may need to buy more than you think to ensure you always have plenty when some are being washed and dried.
  • Reusable nursing pads might feel labour and planning intensive as they’ll need to be washed regularly. This might add work, and potentially stress, to your already busy new lifestyle.
  • Throughout washes, your nursing pads may not stay as soft as when you first buy them. This might feel harsh on the sensitive skin around your nipples 

If you’re still not sure which nursing pads will be the best choice for you, it might be a good idea to get a combination of reusable and Natracare nursing pads to start you out! A combination of single-use and reusable works well for many as you can adapt to your routine and the convenience of either type.

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