How Often Should I Change My Breast Pads? – Not As Often As You Think

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There are a lot of things to know during pregnancy, about a newborn and the working elements of a body that has just given birth. So much it can get so confusing and overwhelming. What can be worse is being in your own rhythm and starting to get into your stride when you read something, someone mentions something or you simply think what you are doing isn’t quite right.

There are a lot of these questions and queries surrounding breastfeeding, formula feeding and how to best look after yourself and your baby during the process. For some, it can be hard to know what information is helpful, what is useless and what they really need to be taking note of. I for one got so confused with the dos and don’ts of pretty much but breastfeeding was something that perplexed me nonstop. One of my biggest questions was how often should I change my breast pad?

It is actually a common question among new parents and something that is often discussed on forums and within groups. So I decided to put together this helpful article so you can see what others are doing, see that you aren’t wrong and hopefully feel a little more relaxed with the routine you had going on.

Do I Need To Use Breast Pads When Breastfeeding?

While you don’t need to use them they are strongly advised by midwives, other parents and medical professionals. This is due to the milk leaking can cause stains to your clothing, you can be at risk of infections if your nipples and breasts aren’t kept clean and it can also save you from embarrassment while you are out.

You can find a number of different style breast pads that are both reusable and disposable along with another alternative called Lilypadz which are small pressure cups that help prevent leaking instead of soaking up leaks.

You can find breast pads easy to use as they stick to the inside of your bra or clothing to help capture any leaks between feeds.

Do I Need To Use Breast Pads When Formula Feeding?

Not at all, you may find you want to use a couple as your baby is firstborn and your milk arrives and you have some small accidental leaks but as time goes on and your milk dries up you will have fewer leaks and find less and less need for breast pads.

You can use other alternatives such as Lilypadz that are silicone cups that capture the liquid instead of absorbing it. They are also handy if you plan to go swimming as you can wear these while you swim without having any issues.

How Often Should I Change Breast Pads When Breast Feeding?

So if you are breastfeeding you are more than likely to go through many more breast pads than you would if you weren’t breastfeeding. While that isn’t something you can get around you might not need to use as many per day as you expect.

Like anything during pregnancy and afterwards, your body is one of a kind and will work that way, so even if your friend down the road changed their breast pads 4 times a day doesn’t mean you will need to. Your body will react differently and may even change over time to reflect the flow of milk and your hormones.

You should at least change your breast pads 1-2 times per day this can include putting in a fresh pad on a morning along with changing into a fresh one for the night. This is just to cover basic hygiene and make sure your body is not getting any infections, rashes or medical problems. This is the minimum that is recommended and has been common for many people who found they are not leaking much to be comfortable and clean.

On the other end of the scale, you can change breast pads as many times as you want, this is due to personal preference as some have expressed they leak quite often and therefore fill up a breast pad quicker which results in them using more each day. Others expressed that they often felt dirty or uncomfortable so would change breast pads to feel fresh and more comfortable.

This is really down to you and your body as you may not know how often you will need to change breast pads, I would always advise having more to hand especially when out so you have some spare to change.

Remember that you may not need many to start with as some parents have a late arrival of their milk or the flow changes a few days or few weeks after the baby is born. Prepare for these changes as you may need more or fewer breast pads to get you through your breastfeeding period. You may also find once you and your baby get into a routine you may need them less as you may experience feedings line up better with when you might have otherwise leaked.

How Often Should I Change Breast Pads When Bottle Feeding?

You may not be aware that you may still need some breast pads at the very beginning of your new parent journey to absorb any small leaks that happen. This can happen still even if you are exclusively formula feeding your baby. As your milk naturally arrives to feed you may find that your breasts still leak a little in the very beginning.

You may find needing 1-2 breast pads a day for a couple of weeks will suffice, while this isn’t a guarantee it can be something that you start with and see if your body requires more. The 1 -2 breast pads allow you to wear one through the day and the other through the night.

As you will only need to use breast pads up until your milk dries up you will find you won’t need to buy as many as you would if you were breastfeeding. You may also find that over time and the longer you go without breastfeeding, pumping or stimulating the breasts you will find your body has less leaks and so you can start to phase out the use of breast pads.

Are There Any Side Effects To Leaving My Breast Pads In A Long Time?

Midwives, doctors and nurses may advise you on some problems you may occur if you leave your breast pads in too long such as;

  • Your nipples may sting or feel sore from the breast pads you are using – simply change brand and try a new one
  • you may develop thrush in which you need to get seen by a doctor and they can advise you from there – may be you need a special cream or to try a different style/brand of pad
  • You may experience crusting around your nipple – this might require you to clean your nipple area more often and change pads

What To Know When Using Breast Pads?

  • they can sometimes hurt when removing them
  • reusable can be more absorbant than disposable
  • you may find you need to use them at the weirdest times
  • It really depends on your body, how often you feed and the milk flow.
  • Not every brand will suit you so you may have to test out a couple before finding one that works with your body