As you get ready for the birth of your baby, you start gathering things you know you’ll need, and you might find yourself wondering – how many nursing pads do I need?
Nursing pads are an absorbent pad created to fit inside your bra to help breastfeeding mothers absorb excess milk and prevent it from leaking through your bra and shirt.
They are especially useful in the first few weeks of breastfeeding as your milk supply increases.
Whilst the most common type of nursing pads are disposable, you can also readily purchase reusable nursing pads.
No matter the style that you buy, whether it be disposable or reusable, the goal is to make your nursing journey easier by preventing unwanted leaking.
So, if you plan to breastfeed your baby, nursing pads are something you want to have on hand.
But, don’t start buying without knowing how many nursing pads you need to have.
And if you love this guide on how many breast pads do I need, then make sure to check out our guides on how many nursing bras do I need, best nursing bras for large breasts, and do I need a nursing chair.
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How Many Nursing Pads Do I Need?
Firstly, let’s look at the two different types of nursing pads available:
Disposable Nursing Pads
These are the most common type of nursing pads used today.
These are made from a thin, absorbent material and are available in different absorbency levels, like sanitary products.
You can buy boxes of these pads with 50 to 200 pads in each one. These pads will have a sticky back that fixes to your bra.
Once they get wet, you can toss them in the trash and apply a fresh one.
Reusable Nursing Pads
Reusable nursing pads are usually made from cotton or bamboo.
They’re reusable, meaning you can keep using them until they become too worn out.
Instead of throwing them away, you simply wash and dry them for another use.
These are better for the environment and can help you save money.
However, as they are made from natural fibers, some may find that they aren’t as absorbent as disposable ones.
The best way to find out which type of nursing pads you should use is by trying them both out.
Some women like one brand over another, others like a combination of brands.
You may prefer to use disposable pads when you leave the house for work, but keep using washable ones at home.
The important thing is to try them out and see what works best for you.
How Many Breast Pads Will I Need?
This answer will look different for everybody and depends on how often you change your pads.
So, how many nursing pads do you need? In general, most people will need to change their breast pads every 3-4 hours. This works out to six pads each day, but you may need more or less depending on your circumstances.
Light leakers and those that prefer more absorbent pads won’t need to use as many pads, so they won’t need to change their pads as much.
People that prefer reusable pads or those with a heavy leakage may go through more.
It can be tempting to save money by going for longer between changing pads, but this can lead to bad smells and in the worst case, a bacterial infection.
Always change your pads once they get wet, and only use the right absorbency level for your leakage level.
For instance, you may want to use a super absorbent pad when you are a medium leaker to save you time, but the milk can cause bad smells inside the pads.
Similarly, heavy leakers that use low absorbency pads may find themselves leaking as the pads can’t absorb all the milk.
If you’re trying to figure out which pads to use and how many you’ll need, start with a medium absorbency pad.
Monitor your leakage situation every three hours.
If the pad isn’t absorbent enough, you’ll need a higher absorbency one, and vice versa.
This can help you figure out how many pads you’ll need each day.
If you’re traveling or leaving the house, it’s always better to carry a few extras on hand in case of leakages.
Buyers Guide on How Many Breast Pads Do You Need
There are several factors that you need to consider on the amount of nursing pads you’ll need to buy.
Everyone will need a different amount of pads, as this will vary with the amount of milk that leaks.
When you’ve just given birth, your body won’t have formed a consistent milk supply yet, so you won’t need as many pads.
Once your baby learns how to latch onto your breast, your body will start producing a steady supply, so you’ll need more pads.
You may need to change 4-6 times in the beginning, then slow down to four or fewer later on.
This will depend on the absorbency level of your chosen pad.
Disposable breast pads can be more absorbent than washable ones, but if you would prefer to change their pads more often, this may not be an issue.
You can also purchase super absorbent ones that let you go for longer without changing.
These can be good for long work hours or exercising (if your doctor has permitted it).
Your Choice Of Nursing Pads
Breast pads are available in two types, disposable, and washable. This choice matters as it affects how often you’ll need to change.
Reusable/washable pads tend to be better for light leakers or those that prefer to change pads typically.
If you are a heavy leaker, disposable pads tend to be more absorbent, though you should always have a few on hand to change.
Some people who only leak lightly may not wear many pads at all.
If this applies to you, it may be tempting to leave a pad on all day, but this isn’t recommended.
This can make the pad stick to your nipple, making it painful to remove later.
It’s always better to change your pads frequently, even if you are a light leaker.
Final Thoughts on How Many Nursing Pads Do You Need
It can be hard figuring out how many nursing pads you’ll need each day, but the advice above should help you work this out.
The type of pads you use, your leakage level, and the pads’ absorbency level are all factors that affect this number.
Generally speaking, people that change their pads every few hours will need six pads each day, but this will vary with everyone.
Heavy leakers may need more, while light leakers need less.
Keep monitoring your leaks for the first few weeks of breastfeeding to work out how many pads you may need.
Remember, no matter what type of pads you use, keep changing your pads every few hours to avoid infections, bad odors, and irritation.