The 10 Best Nursing Pads of 2021

Keep your clothes protected on your breastfeeding journey

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Our Top Picks
Made with soft cotton bamboo and contoured microfiber, they’ll leave you feeling comfortable while absorbing any leakage.
Each pad is individually wrapped and has two adhesive strips on the back to keep them in place within your bra or nursing tank.
The pad is discreet with a no-show design, while the patented MilkLock technology is designed to trap all leaks.
Made with superabsorbent materials designed to prevent leakage and maintain dryness while still staying discreet.
Ultra soft fabric means no dampness, itching, or sticking, and it means you’ll need to change them less throughout the day.
The bamboo viscose top layer of this product is soft on the skin while also being naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial.
Comfortable and ultra soft, these pads are designed with leak-proof backings and are fully reusable and washable.
This ultra-soft and absorbent nursing pad has everything a sensitive-skinned mama will need.
Instead of absorbing any leakage, these nursing pads prevent leakage from happening in the first place.
They’re great for those with cracked, sore, or painful nipples as they can be placed in the fridge for cooling.

Leaking is more common in the early days of breastfeeding, while the supply of breast milk adjusts to your baby's needs. Nursing pads, also called breast pads, are a very useful breastfeeding accessory. Placed into a regular or a nursing bra, they can absorb breast milk from leaking breasts to help prevent embarrassment, and protect your clothing from stains.

Before you make a purchase on nursing pads, you’ll want to consider the type of nursing pad that will fit your needs, like easy to clean or disposable. Material is also important because you’ll want something leak-proof or maybe even adhesive. Additionally, think about cost and how often you’ll need to buy nursing pads. 

Here are the best nursing pads on the market.

Best Overall: NatureBond Organic Bamboo Nursing Breast Pads

Pros
  • Contoured shape

  • Added laundry bag

Cons
  • Pad may show through certain material

These organic bamboo nursing pads have it all: style, comfort, and eco-friendly. Made with soft cotton bamboo and contoured microfiber, they’ll leave you feeling comfortable while absorbing any leakage. They’re also environmentally-friendly because they’re washable, so you can reuse them over and over.

They feature a beautiful lace design in different colors so you can still feel stylish. The company even sends you a laundry bag to make washing them that much easier for you.

Material: Cotton bamboo and microfiber | Price Per Pad: $1.50 | Uses: Multi-use

Best Disposable: Lansinoh Stay Dry Nursing Pads

lansinoh-nursing-pads
Pros
  • Honeycomb lining

  • Waterproof layer

Cons
  • Not environmentally-friendly

If you’d prefer to not have to worry about washing and drying your nursing pads, a disposable brand is probably your best bet. Disposable shouldn’t equal uncomfortable, though, and the Lansinoh Stay Dry Nursing Pads make comfort a priority. Features of this pad include a quilted honeycomb lining that provides excellent leak-proof coverage, as well as a waterproof layer that keeps your clothes protected.

The contoured shape also ensures that you remain comfortable and discreet, even when they’re wet. Each pad is individually wrapped and has two adhesive strips on the back to keep them in place within your bra or nursing tank. Simply throw them away at the end of the day and move on.​

Material: Not Listed | Price Per Pad: $0.13 | Uses: Single-use

Best Ultra Thin: NUK Ultra Thin Nursing Pads

Nuk Ultra Thin Nursing Pads
Pros
  • No-show design

  • Breathable material

Cons
  • Not recommended for heavy flow

If you prefer to go with the most minimal coverage possible without being completely bare under there, the NUK Ultra Thin Nursing Pads provide enough absorption to keep you comfortable while still being super thin. The pad is discreet with a no-show design, while the patented MilkLock technology is designed to trap all leaks.

Extra soft, breathable material reduces the risk of irritation, and the dual-layer construction provides protection without the added bulk you’ll find in some pads. This product is recommended for moms with the light flow or who have already established their milk production and aren’t leaking as much as someone right after labor.

Material: Not Listed | Price Per Pad: $0.15 | Uses: Single-use

Best Heavy Leaking: Medela Disposable Nursing Breast Pads

Pros
  • Budget-friendly

  • Great for heavy flow

  • Double adhesive tape

Cons
  • Not environmentally-friendly

Especially as your breastmilk first starts to come in, you may find that you need a little extra coverage. Medela Disposables are made with superabsorbent materials designed to prevent leakage and maintain dryness while still staying discreet under your clothing.

These cotton and nylon pads are made with an absorbent polymer that will keep you dry, comfortable and confident while you settle into your breastfeeding routine with your little one.

Material: Cotton and nylon | Price Per Pad: $0.09 | Uses: Single-use

Best for Large Breasts: Mother-Ease Cloth Nursing Pads

Pros
  • Washable

  • Reusable

Cons
  • Costly

Mother-Ease cloth nursing pads are a fan-favorite product because they have a whole lot going for them, not the least of which is how they fit comfortably for big-breasted women. The ultra-soft fabric means no dampness, itching, or sticking, and it means you’ll need to change them less throughout the day, as well.

Unlike other brands, the contoured shape of these pads also moves to fit with the user’s body, so there is no bunching in your bra or sliding around. The neutral color won’t show through clothing, either. The eco-friendly, washable, reusable material also helps prevent thrush and yeast by wicking moisture away from your skin and keeping you dry while also keeping your baby safe.

Material: Cotton or bamboo | Price Per Pad: $9.32 | Uses: Multi-use

Best Eco-Friendly: Bamboobies Disposable Nursing Pads

Pros
  • Made with renewable resources

  • Milk-proof backing

Cons
  • Thick

For all of the on-the-go convenience of other disposable nursing pads with the additional benefit of eco-friendliness and sustainability, check out the Bamboobies disposable nursing pad line. The bamboo viscose top layer of this product is soft on the skin while also being naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial.

Meanwhile, the inner core is ultra-absorbent, working all day to keep you dry and comfortable. The patented milk-proof backing is perfectly breathable and keeps sensitive skin healthy, as well.

Material: Bamboo viscose, polyamide, and elastane | Price Per Pad: $0.18 | Uses: Single-use

Best Reusable: EcoNursingPads Contoured Washable Reusable Bamboo Nursing Pads

Pros
  • Environmentally-friendly

  • Washable

Cons
  • Not adhesive

Eco-conscious moms out there might prefer using a reusable pad over a disposable one, and the contoured washable reusable bamboo nursing pads give those moms all they’re looking for in this type of product. The new and improved EcoNursing Pads offer a contoured shape with two types of pads in one pack: the ultra-soft velvety flower shaped day-sies for daytime use and the thick, contoured, organic bamboo for heavier or night-time flow when you go longer without feeding.

Comfortable and ultra soft, these pads are designed with leak-proof backings and are fully reusable and washable. The Day-sies, in particular, are especially soft and soothing for chafed or sore nipples, or for sensitive skin problems.

Material: Bamboo | Price Per Pad: $1.39 | Uses: Multi-use

Best for Sensitive Skin: Bamboobies Washable Reusable Nursing Pads

Pros
  • Washable

  • Ultra-soft top layer

Cons
  • Not recommended for use with nipple creams

While most moms are bound to experience some discomfort when they first start breastfeeding, for those with extra sensitive skin, finding a super-soft nursing pad is a must. The bamboobies washable, reusable nursing pads are a best-selling product with more than 3,100 reviews, and for good reason.

Besides the fact that you can wash and reuse this product, saving you money and helping the environment, the ultra-soft top layer that touches the skin is made with 57 percent bamboo viscose, 23 percent polyester, and 20 percent cotton.

The absorbent inner layer is made of 55 percent ramie and 45 percent cotton, and the outer leak-proof layer is 100 percent polyester with TPU waterproofing. This ultra-soft and absorbent nursing pad has everything a sensitive-skinned mama will need to get her breastfeeding off on the right foot.

Material: Bamboo viscose, polyester, and cotton | Price Per Pad: $2.09 | Uses: Multi-use

Best Silicone: LilyPadz Reusable Silicone Nursing Pads

LilyPadz Silicone Nursing Pads
Pros
  • Easy to clean

  • Prevents leakage

Cons
  • Costly

Instead of absorbing any leakage, these nursing pads prevent leakage from happening in the first place. Made from 100 percent medical-grade silicone, these pads resemble a skin-like feeling, leaving you feeling comfortable all day long. 

If you’re looking for easy-to-clean nursing pads, this is it. They can simply be washed with soap and water. And, because they’re reusable, they’re more eco-friendly than pads that are disposable.

Material: Silicone | Price Per Pad: $9.98 | Uses: Multi-use

Best Gel: Lansinoh Soothies Breast Gel Pads

Lansinoh Soothies Cooling Gel Pads
Pros
  • Provide relief

  • Vegan

Cons
  • Cannot be used again after 72 hours of use

It’s no secret breastfeeding can be painful, so if you’re needing nursing pads that bring relief, these breast gel pads are a great place to start. They’re great for those with cracked, sore, or painful nipples as they can be placed in the fridge for cooling. 

There is a fabric backing to avoid any friction (and more pain) from wearing a bra. They’re also vegan and absorbent, helping with the environment and any leakage that may occur. You can reuse them for up to 72 hours.

Material: Cotton | Price Per Pad: $3.99 | Uses: Multi-use

Because many people who breastfeed experience cracked or sore nipples, we recommend trying out the Lasinoh Soothies Breast Gel Pads (view at Amazon). There is a fabric backing to avoid any friction (and more pain) from wearing a bra and they can be placed in the fridge for cooling. There’s also the NatureBond Breastfeeding Bamboo Nursing Breast Pads (view at Amazon) Made with soft cotton bamboo and contoured microfiber, they’ll leave you feeling comfortable while absorbing any leakage. They’re even washable, so you can reuse them over and over.

What to Look for When Buying Nursing Pads

Types of Nursing Pads

Breast pads come in different types, shapes, and sizes, and they can be disposable or reusable. Some have adhesive strips to hold them in place and prevent them from shifting in your bra, while others are contoured to the shape of your breast, says Donna Murray, RN, BSN.

Disposable Nursing Pads: Disposable nursing pads are designed to be worn once and then discarded. They're available in a variety of shapes and thicknesses, and great for when you're going out or traveling since you won't have to worry about washing them. 

Reusable Nursing Pads: Reusable nursing pads are more cost-effective since you can wear them, wash them and use them again and again. They're also environmentally friendly, but you'll have to buy a few pairs since you'll need to change them often, and you'll want to have a few pairs handy while others are in the laundry.

Silicone Pads: Silicone nursing pads are not absorbent. Instead, they put gentle pressure on the breast to prevent leaks. Made from soft silicone, these pads have a sticky surface that adheres directly to your breast, so they can be worn with or without a bra. They're often used under fancy clothing or for swimming.

Homemade Nursing Pads: Nursing pads can easily be made from a variety of items. You could cut up disposable diapers, sanitary napkins, use a handkerchief or other cotton material, or sew some absorbent material together. Avoid artificial materials and try to stick with 100% cotton fabric, which is better at soaking up leaks, and soft against your skin.

Hydrogel Pads: Hydrogel pads are not used for leaking. They're often used to help soothe and heal sore nipples, and they can be kept in the refrigerator or freezer so they can provide cool relief.

Material

Choose nursing pads that are soft, absorbent and made of cotton. They should allow your breasts to breathe, so avoid pads with waterproof or plastic liners that can trap moisture against your skin.

You should also change your nursing pads whenever they get wet. Constant exposure to wetness against your breasts could lead to skin irritation and sore nipples, which can also create an environment that will encourage the growth of yeast and bacteria, which can cause infections such as thrush and mastitis, explains Murray.

Cost

When you’re picking out nursing pads, consider the cost as you may have to replace them often depending on the type you go with. You can determine the price per pad by taking the total and dividing it by how many pads are in the box. This will help you compare when shopping. 

Over time, disposables can be expensive, since you have to continuously buy new ones. If you’re wanting to save money, reusable nursing pads will help your wallet in the long run because you can wash them and use them over and over again. And, depending on your flow, you may need more nursing pads on hand or more frequently, which can cost extra, too.

Why Trust Verywell Family?

Katrina Cossey has been a digital content producer and news and feature writer for more than six years. She has covered topics ranging from local and national news as well as writing and researching parenting content. Katrina is a parent herself and used the Lansinoh Stay Dry Nursing Pads (view on Amazon) after giving birth. She found them to be comfortable and provide much-needed leak protection.

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