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Nipple leakage can happen to any woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding.
It is very common and normal in the weeks before and after delivering your baby.
Nipple leakage can be uncomfortable and may be embarrassing, but it’s your body’s way of regulating milk supply to feed your baby.
Breast pads, which are also called nursing pads, are a great way to absorb leaks and keep your clothes clean and dry.
You can use breast pads by placing them properly in your bra, removing and caring for them, and deciding on the right type for your needs.
Placing the Breast Pad Properly in Your Bra
Remove adhesive tabs. Some disposable breast pads have sticky pieces on them to hold them in place.
The sticky pieces also prevent sliding in your bra. If you are using nursing pads with baby-safe adhesive, take off the tabs to expose the sticky bit
Then position your pad just above where you want to apply it.
Insert the nursing pad.
After you’ve put on your bra, you’re ready to put in the breast pad.
Slide or gently place it over your nipple, between your bra and breast.
Then return your bra strap to its natural place.
Recognize that you can use breast pads with nursing and regular bras.
Consider adding a baby-safe lanolin cream to your nipple area if you have any irritation.
Position your breast pad.
Before you put on your shirt, make sure your breast pad is still aligned with your nipple.
If it isn’t, simply reposition the pad. This can help prevent wet clothes, leaks, and irritation.
Be aware that it’s normal for your breast pads to show through your clothing.
You can buy thinner ones if you have less leakage that won’t show through your bra or clothing.
Watch for sliding pads.
Active pregnant women and mothers may notice that their breast pads slide during use.
This is normal, especially if you are not using pads with sticky pieces.
If you feel like your nursing pad is sliding around in your bra, check it and remove or reposition the pad.
This can contain leaks and prevent irritation.
Removing and Caring for Your Breast Pad
Change your breast pads often.
Moisture on your breast can lead to skin irritation and even infection.
Changing your nursing pads as soon as you notice they are wet can prevent leaks, irritation, and potential infections from bacteria.
Remove your breast pads as often as you need.
There is no rule for how often you need to change.
How long you wear the pads may vary day to day.
Take out the pad.
If you notice your pads are moist, wet or leaking, take off your shirt.
Then gently remove the pad from your nipple to avoid pulling your skin.
If the pad is stuck to your skin, simply moisten it with some warm water.
This can prevent removing any skin as you pull the pad away from your breast.
Dispose of the old breast pad.
You’ll likely want to get rid of your soiled breast pad.
If you are using disposable ones, throw the old pads away.
Place reusable ones in your laundry basket.
Wipe off your breast.
Wetness can lead to irritation.
If you have any lingering moisture or dried milk on your breast, wipe it away gently with a soft cloth and some warm water.
Then pat your breast dry before replacing the pad.
This can minimize the risk of irritation and potential infection.
Put on a new bra or shirt if necessary.
In some cases, you may have soaked your bra and/or shirt.
This is a common and normal occurrence for many pregnant and breastfeeding women.
If you have a bad leak, change your bra and shirt.
This can not only minimizes an embarrassing situation, but also prevents irritation.
Consider carrying extra clothing with you if you experience frequent leaks.
This may minimize embarrassing situations.
Replace the pad with a new one.
Once you’ve disposed of the soiled pads and changed any wet clothing, replace your breast pads.
Insert clean and dry nursing pads to contain leaks and minimize potential irritation.
Deciding on the Right Breast Pad for You
Figure out your needs.
Every woman has different experiences with her breasts during pregnancy and after delivery.
You may need to wear breast pads for anywhere from a few weeks to months.
Your needs may also change over time.
Keeping a notebook of colostrum or milk production can help you figure out your needs and find the best breast pads for you.
Some things you may want to consider are:
How much milk do I leak? Does it change during the day?
How long do I plan on breastfeeding?
Do I want to collect the leaking milk for my baby?
Do I want a breast pad that moisturizes?
Do I care if my breast pads are visible?
Do I want a simple pad or one contoured to my breast?
How much money do I want to spend?
Do I want natural fabric?
Try reusable breast pads.
Some women plan on breastfeeding for a longer period of time.
If this is the case, consider investing in reusable nursing.
These may cost slightly more than disposable pads, but may be less expensive in the long run.
Stock up on 10-12 reusable pads so that you have a consistent supply between laundry loads.
Go for disposable nursing pads.
If you are not planning on breastfeeding for a long time or prefer the convenience, choose disposable nursing pads.
These have the same benefits as reusable pads and some come with features such as a built-in nipple moisturizer.
Have at least one box of disposable breast pads, which often come in packs of 60, on hand.
This ensures that you don’t run out and risk a leak on to your clothing.
Purchase lanolin pads if you have breast irritation.
These help heal and protect sore breasts.
Make your own breast pads.
Most women won’t need breast pads for very long.
If you prefer to not invest in nursing pads, you can also make your own out of common items in your home.
Construct your own breast pads by:
Tucking a cotton handkerchief inside your bra
Cutting a four inch circle from a cloth diaper
Cutting sanitary pads or liners into small squares
Avoid plastic-lined pads.
Plastic-lined breast pads may sound like a great idea to contain leaks and wetness and protect your clothes.
However, these can retain moisture, which promotes bacterial growth and can contribute to sore nipples.
If you are experiencing a lot of leakage, consider using a larger and more absorbent breast pad.