Breast pads (also called nursing pads) are round, soft, absorbent pads that you tuck inside your bra. They soak up breast milk that may leak from your breast. Do you really need them? Yes!
In the beginning, especially when your milk comes in (within the first after birth), your breast will make too much milk and some of it will leak out. As well, some women will leak milk when they hear a baby cry because the sound of a babyís cry may trigger let down. So to avoid mess and embarrassment, get some breast pads.
There are two kinds of breast pads
- Disposable breast pads are made of layers of absorbent tissue. When they are wet, you simply throw them away and replace them with new ones. Disposable breast pads are easy to use but may be more expensive on the long run because they are discarded. See breast pads and shields
- Re-useable breast pads are made of cottony fabric. These are washed and used again & again. It is best to have enough of these at hand so that some can be washed & dried while others are available for use. Re-useable breast pads are sturdy and can withstand many rounds of wash & dry Ė indeed they can be saved and used again when you have your next baby. See breast pads and shields here.
Whichever you choose, be sure that the breast pads do not have a layer plastic or waterproof material. Though these may sound good, they are actually not good for your breasts. The plastic or waterproof layer will prevent air flow and ultimately cause you trouble in the form of itch/sore nipples or breast infection.
Breast pads (nursing pads) can be found in grocery stores, pharmacies, maternity shops, and online. Disposable pads are sold in packs of 50+ and cost between $5 to $10. Re-useable pads are sold in packs of 4 or 6 and cost $10+.
If you happen to run out of breast pads, or if you donít want to buy breast pads, you can always use layers of clean fabric, facial tissue, or toilet paper. Stuff these inside your bra so they will help absorb any leaking milk. Innovative women will even cut out fabric rounds, sew them together and use them as breast pads. See breast pads and shields here.
Breast shields (also called breast shells) are two part gadgets that you use to correct inverted and flat nipples. They can also be used when you have sore nipples and want to protect your breast from chaffing against your bra or clothing.
Do you really need breast shields? If you donít have flat/inverted nipples then you donít need them. Later, if your nipples are sore or cracked, then you can run out and buy some. A frugal mom can save money by covering her sore nipples with tea strainers (with the handles removed). A basic tea strainer is $3 and no one's going to see anyway.
Breast shield are made of plastic. The first part is a flat disk with a hole in the middle. You place the disk against your breast with the nipple poking through the central hole. The second part is dome-shaped and has small holes in it. You snap the dome on top of the disk part and then wear a bra over this so that everything will be kept in place. The dome will protect the nipples so that nothing will touch them. The holes in the dome part will allow for air flow (when nipples are sore or cracked, it is important to allow them to air dry so they can heal).
Breast shells can be bought from maternity shops, from the LLL, and online. The are sold in packs of two and cost approximately $15 to $20. They are sturdy and wonít break unless you accidentally sit or step on time. One pair of breast shields should be enough and you can always save them for subsequent babies or give them to a sister or friend. See breast shells here.
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