Wednesday, March 3, 2010

La Leche League Washable Nursing Pads

Having a baby sure changes a woman’s body. I’m not going to get into all of the ways my body will never be the same again after conceiving and giving birth, but I am going to talk about one part of being a new mom: leaky breasts.

I’ll never forget the day my milk came in. I still hadn’t left the hospital, because my daughter stayed in the Special Care Unit for a week. I had just walked out of the bathroom connected to my daughter’s room, and either a nurse or my mother asked me, “Has your milk come in yet?”

I responded, “I don’t think so,” and looked down at my breasts.

Imagine my surprise when I saw two huge, wet circles on my hospital gown. “Never mind – I guess it did!” I exclaimed.

I’d been preparing for this. I had researched different breast pads and decided to buy La Leche League Washable Cotton Nursing Pads. I didn’t have them with me at the hospital, so I used the “complimentary” pads the nurses brought to me. (When I saw the hospital bill later, I realized just how “complimentary” they really were.)

When we finally got home, I was excited to try my reusable pads. My excitement quickly faded when I soaked through the pads, my bra, my t-shirt, and the sheets on my bed within about an hour. Let’s just say I never had and still haven’t had a problem with low milk supply.

For about 5 months, I wasn’t able to use the reusable pads, especially not overnight. I’d occasionally use them during the day. They were okay at keeping me dry if I doubled up on each side.

Once I corrected a milk oversupply problem by doing block feeding, I decided to try the reusable pads again. Hallelujah, they worked!

It’s not that the disposable breast pads were all that expensive. It’s not that they were uncomfortable. It was more that it was a pain in the rear trying to keep track of whether I had enough on hand. There’s nothing like realizing you are out of breast pads right before you need to leave for the day. When you have reusable breast pads, you almost always have a fresh pair handy, because they get washed whenever you do laundry.

I’ve never tried another brand of cloth breast pads, so I can’t really compare, but I really like these. They are very comfortable, and pretty good at absorbing leaks. I leaked through them quite easily before my supply regulated, but I still have an abundance of milk, and I can usually wear the same pair all day and all night. (I switch after that because I don’t particularly want to smell like a gallon of milk that expired last month.)
They are relatively inexpensive. One package costs about $6.00, and each package comes with 2 pairs of pads (4 pads total). I bought 4 packages (8 pairs of pads), and that amount has worked perfectly for me. 

Again, these definitely did not work for me at first, but I love them now that I’m not making enough milk to feed a small army. It might seem a bit pricey at first, but you’ll definitely save money in the long run by using them over and over again.

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