Skip to main content

What is a nursing pad and how do you use one?

After carrying your precious baby for nine long months, if you are breastfeeding, you may notice some leaking when your milk first comes in. This is quite common and happens to many moms. Many of them have found the relief of a nursing pad, especially when leaking happens at the most inopportune times. If you are asking yourself, “What is a nursing pad, and how you should use one?”, we’ll fill you in on all the tips and trickks.

What is a nursing pad?

The long and short of it is that nursing pads are little pads that are put inside your bra between your breast and the fabric. You may leak milk in between feedings, and by wearing a nursing pad, it catches your milk rather than your clothing taking the hit. There are a variety of nursing pads available, and we will break them down for you so you can decide what kind would be best for you.

Related Videos

Disposable Nursing Pads

If you decide to use disposable nursing pads, they can be quick and easy to use, and you can even keep some extra in your purse if you need to change one and you are out somewhere. They come in all kinds of thicknesses, depending on your leakage needs. They are great to use when you are traveling, as you do not have to wash them and can just throw them out. There are plenty of different brands out there to discover, so you may want to try a few to see which one you like the best.

Homemade Nursing Pads

You can also make your very own nursing pads from home. If you know how to sew, you can create them. The best kind of material to use when making them is cotton, as it is soft and absorbent. The only downside to a homemade nursing pad is that they are not good for travel. They should mainly be worn at home where they can be placed in a hamper to wash when you are done with them. When compared to disposable nursing pads, homemade ones seem to be more breathable, giving your breasts more air circulation. Plus, they are eco-friendly as well.

Reusable Nursing Pads

You will likely be able to find these in any maternity or baby store. They, too, are eco-friendly. But you will have to purchase a few different pairs because you are going to have to rotate them out. Around six to nine pairs have been found to be a good number of nursing pads to keep around. They are also a cost-effective option if you are looking for inexpensive nursing pads.

How do you use a nursing pad?

The great thing about nursing pads is that they are rather easy to use. Here are the steps on how to use them, broken down by the type of pad you choose.


  1. Make sure that you wash your hands. Next, make sure that your breasts and nipples are dry.
  2. If your brand has an adhesive, remove the pad from the packaging and gently peel back the adhesive backing.
  3. To create more absorbency, center your nipple on the pad.
  4. Press the adhesive pad against the bra and make sure it fits correctly.
  5. Go about your day. When the time comes that the nursing pad is wet, it is time to replace it with another one.


  1. Assure that the nursing pad that you chose is free of moisture and that it is totally dry.
  2. Position the nipple on the nursing pad and make sure that it fits correctly between the bra and breast.
  3. If you need to adjust it, you can do so as much as you want.
  4. When it becomes wet, replace it.
  5. Wash your nursing pad according to the brand’s guidelines.

Tips for using a nursing pad

  • When you feel the wetness on your pad, try to change it immediately. The moisture can create bacteria in the nursing pad.
  • Sometimes, nursing pads may cause irritation, if this happens, do use a good nipple cream to help you keep wearing the pad.
  • Your breasts will leak, especially in the first few weeks after giving birth, so it is always good to have a pad on you.
  • When you are traveling or know that you won’t be home, a good idea is to keep a sandwich bag with a moist paper towel in it to put the soiled towel in.

No matter which style of nursing pad you choose, they’ll all soak up any wetness from leaking milk. But always remember that if you feel the pad getting wet, it’s time to change it in order to make sure that there is not any kind of bacterial growth that can create irritated nipples. Nursing pads are practically essential in every mom’s purse or diaper bag. They are great for keeping the milk from staining your clothes, and they’re a wonderful tool to have in your new mom arsenal.

Editors' Recommendations

What are the signs of implantation?
Wondering if you may be pregnant? Find out what implantation symptoms could occur if your are
Woman sitting on couch and looking at a pregnancy test

Implantation is when an embryo implants into the uterine lining to start growing into a fetus. For some, this moment could cause implantation symptoms like some bleeding or cramping, similar to a very light period. For others, nothing may happen. Following implantation, pregnancy symptom will begin and increase as the days progress. Read on to find out exactly what to expect in signs of implantation.

What is implantation?
Implantation usually happens five to nine days after fertilization (conception), when the embryo has already started to grow. It needs to bury itself into the thick lining of the uterus to keep growing. Without implantation, a pregnancy cannot progress. Medically, the pregnancy only begins once implantation takes place.

Read more
What is normal teen sexual behavior? We’ve got answers to help you understand your teenager
Read this to find out if your teen's sexual behavior is "normal"
Two teenagers on a date outside

What can parents actually expect when their kids turn into teens and start exploring their sexuality? It can be an uncomfortable subject, but being educated about typical sexual development and what your teen may be hearing from their peers is important to make sure you can talk openly with your child about protection, consent, risk reduction, and other issues.
Teens will be talking about sex and exploring this new part of their lives eventually and it's perfectly natural. Having your head in the sand won't make it go away, so the information below will prepare you with information to tackle this new stage of parenting.

The onset of puberty is what can start the beginning of this stage of life for teens, but it doesn't mean they're ready for sex; just that they may start experiencing sexual thoughts like crushes or urges like feeling aroused. On average, puberty begins between ages 8 and 14.

Read more
Going through the IVF process? Here’s what to expect
Ready for the IVF process? The steps and expectations from start to finish
A woman undergoing an ultrasound

Because of modern science, the birds and the bees aren’t precisely what they used to be. The rise of assisted reproductive technology (ART) has given parents ways of conceiving besides intercourse.

More than 8 million babies have been born via in vitro fertilization (IVF) since its inception in 1978 and 2018. In 2019, more than 83,000 babies were born via ART, according to CDC data. It’s unclear how many of those were from the IVF process, but the CDC notes it’s the most common form of ART.

Read more