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Things I learned #2: breast pads

I only found out that I needed breast pads for my nursing bras, at least in the first few days after giving birth, when I was in my last couple of weeks of work. The sage-like mammies that I work with set me straight when I thought that I could use breast compresses instead. I didn’t really understand what a breast compress was. Listen, sure how would I? There’s been no babies in the family since we were babies and I only had one friend with a baby so I’d never seen any of these pregnancy/new mum related products in action.

Off I went in search of breast pads and decided to treat myself to some serious-looking Tommee Tippee individually wrapped, contoured and adhesive stripped breast pads. At €7 a box they seemed like a bargain.

It turns out ho ho, did I need breast pads! When little S was born, I had an oversupply of breastmilk for the first few months which meant I was keeping the breast pad industry in Ireland afloat as I tried to avoid my nipples shooting off by themselves, which happened frequently and in public, and soaking through my bras, tops, nightdresses and bedsheets.

When you’re beating your way through at least three pairs of breastpads a day, suddenly €7 for a box of 50 (oh, you clever marketing people! That’s only 25 pairs!) doesn’t seem like such a bargain after all. That’s when the cheapskate in me made a rookie mistake. My sister in law gave me a box of own brand breast pads from a leading pharmacy chain that came in a very pretty box but weren’t up to the job of taming my (literally) heaving bosoms.

I tried some cheaper brands and some supermarket own brand ones. A few of them had no adhesive on the back. This was a total disaster. Breast pads on the move are no good to a leaking woman, particularly in the summer when she’s having coffee with her friends and two perfectly circular but expanding wet patches appear on her white vest top.

A few brands sold themselves as being absorbant but thin and discrete. They turned out to be just thin and completely indiscrete when they let me down. Now there’s no doubt in my mind that they’re all perfectly adequate for most mothers but I needed that extra confidence (I sound like a sanitary towel ad, sorry).

I did find some nice ones like the Johnson&Johnson or the Nuk ones which rocked in at the same price as the Tommy Tippee ones but they actually had even less in a pack and I was getting to the bottom of the box quicker than I would remember to replenish them which led to a few dodgy outings when I thought I might just risk it. I’m sure you can guess how that ended.

So lesson #2 I learned was don’t cheap out on breast pads, it’s a false economy!

Cheap breast pads = lots of wet nursing bras and tops = more washing and drying = bigger cost.

The maths says it all – the pricey Tommee Tippee ones is was! They didn’t seem so expensive now. Not having to keep checking my boobs in public was price enough to pay. Funnily enough, it’s only in the last few weeks I’ve been able to do without. I don’t miss them I have to say!

Related posts:

Things I learned: a casual miniseries – part 1: giant maternity pads

10 thoughts on “Things I learned #2: breast pads”

  1. Still to try any actually! Was just wondering how they rated next to disposable. Bought a box of Tommee Tippee today to have anyway and also have a pack of 6 washable ones (not that they’ll last a day even!) I’ll find out in a few weeks and let you know!

  2. Promised I’d let u know how the washable ones rated….not great actually. I used them before I really started leaking and I leaked through to my bra. So I’ve been using the TT ones and going through a LOT of them! Especially during the night sweats….
    BTW, I had a baby girl 3 weeks ago, been tough the last few weeks but so in love with her! Had a great gentlebirth (painful at times but amazing!) and although it wasn’t at home as planned, we were treated so well by community midwives in hospital and at home visits…they are amazing women!

    1. CONGRATULATIONS CLARE! What fantastic news and it’s so wonderful about your gentlebirth. Those community midwives are really amazing, aren’t they? I remember I cried the night before their last visit after the baby was born!

      Very useful feedback on the reusable breast pads – thanks for sharing.

      Enjoy your little lady, it’s such a precious time xx

      1. Oh I got really emotional during their last visit, baby blues in full swing! I really miss them, feel like I lost a limb (but gained a cute baby!)

  3. That sounds very like my oversupply! I also found the tommee tippee ones great, but then switched to re-usable ones by bambooty. I bought 10 pairs of night time ones which have 4 layers of bamboo with a water proof PUL backing. (they were 2 for 1 at the time) they are brilliant! nice and soft, not very discreet, but neither are wet patches :) Love them! x

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