Knowing what you need and don’t need as a new parent can be extremely confusing and hard to get your head around. Along with things you ‘need’ for your baby you may also find there are some things you are told you ‘need’ for yourself during and after giving birth. One of these things is breast pads.
Yes, you may still find you require some breast pads even if you are not breastfeeding. As a natural instinct, your breasts will develop milk after birth and therefore you can still experience some leaking. This can happen before birth and after, so it is handy to have a pack to hand.
Breast pads are easily one of the most common items on baby shopping lists, hospital bag packing lists and items you definitely need as a new parent. But what happens if you aren’t going to be breastfeeding? do you still need them then?
I am going to break down all these burning questions you might have and hopefully be able to clear up any confusion on whether or not you need breast pads if you are not breastfeeding.
Will My Breasts Still Leak If I’m Not Breastfeeding?
Within the first 3-4 days up to 1-2 weeks after birth you may experience leaking from your breasts. This is natural and is just a way of your body preparing to feed a baby. If you are not breastfeeding then you will still experience some leaking during the first 2 weeks after birth.
The level of leaking may start off strong when your milk supply starts to kick in and then eventually will deteriorate over time when the breast is not being stimulated ie the milk is not been used.
As with many things during pregnancy and after birth each body is different so you may experience a heavier flow of leaking or even next to non. This is completely normal but if you feel concerned or you have any issues with your breasts and nipple area speak to a midwife, doctor or healthcare professional.
I have a full article on how often you should change your breast pads if you want to know more about how many you might need or what to expect. If you plan to use reusable breast pads I have a whole article on how often you should change reusable breast pads along with hints and tips.
Do I Still Need Breast Pads If I’m Not Breastfeeding?
You will more than likely still need breast pads whether you are breastfeeding or not. If you are not breastfeeding and are solely using formula milk then you will probably need them for 4-5 days up to 2-3 weeks at the most. Statistics say that a milk supply can dry up over time and can take anything from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.
If you are letting your milk supply dry up then you may find you need breast pads more frequently within the first few days to one week after birth and then they can be gradually faded out over time. This is obviously body dependent and every person is different so your supply might be shorter or longer.
Do I Still Need Breast Pads If I am Expressing My Milk?
If you are not directly breastfeeding but still expressing your milk then you will still require breast pads. This is mainly due to you saying to your body that the milk supply is needed and is being used. Your breasts and milk supply will act on instinct and keep supplying that amount you express until you fade it out and no longer require it.
With a steady supply of milk being produced, you will more than likely still experience leaking and require breast pads to capture any leaks. You may find you can control and catch the flow of your milk better as you get further along in the process and so may need fewer breast pads.