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How to Use Breast Pads

By Kimbry Parker ; Updated June 13, 2017
A mother breastfeeds her baby.

No nursing mom wants to face the embarrassment of wet spots on her shirt from milk leakage, but it can happen to even the most prepared woman. The chances are reduced if you use breast pads, which when used properly can prevent uncomfortably soaked clothing. Choose from washable or disposable types, both of which can keep you comfortable during this special time in your baby's life.

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Choose cloth breast pads rather than plastic, which retains moisture and can lead to bacterial growth and sore nipples. Choose from disposable cloth breast pads or the washable kind that you can reuse.

Place the breast pads inside your bra so they are centered on your nipples. If you’re using a cream or ointment for sore nipples, apply it before putting the breast pad in place. Choose disposable breast pads that feature a sticky adhesive on the back to help them stay in place, if you like.

Change the pads as soon as they get wet. Not only does wearing a wet breast pad increase the chances of milk leaking through your clothes, it can lead to nipple irritation.

Moisten a breast pad that has dried to your skin with warm water before removing it. This will pull it away from the skin to avoid irritation.


If you’re on a budget and don’t want to buy breast pads, fold up cotton handkerchiefs and use them instead. Or cut circles out of cloth diapers and use those as breast pads.
Avoid using liquid fabric softener when washing breast pads. This can diminish the absorbency of the material.

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About the Author

Kimbry Parker has been writing since 1998 and has published content on various websites. Parker has experience writing on a variety of topics such as health, parenting, home improvement and decorating. She is a graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communication.

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