Something that all new mothers may underestimate in the lead up to birth and beyond is how much their breasts leak. Whether it’s colostrum before the baby arrives or when the milk “comes in”, it’s likely that every mother will experience some form of leakage during their pregnancy or breastfeeding journey.
Rather than putting up with wet spots and stains on bras and clothes, a way to combat the dampness is to use breast pads. These come in many different shapes, sizes and materials and can be disposable or reusable. However, each kind has one job: to wick away moisture to keep you dry and drip-free.
Kathryn Stagg, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) said: "Breast pads are a useful item to have when breastfeeding, especially in the first few weeks. When the milk "comes in" in the first couple of days after birth, it is quite common to leak. This often continues for a few weeks until milk production has settled down. So, a breast pad can be placed in the bra to soak up any leaked milk and save embarrassment of wet patches on your clothes.
She adds: “Some parents may leak colostrum towards the end of pregnancy. Others may continue to leak for many months into their breastfeeding journey. Others do not leak at all. It is very individual. Please note, this has nothing to do with milk production or your ability to breastfeed."
How we tested
We put these breast pads to the test by wearing each brand for several hours across several weeks, marking them on comfort, absorption, ease-of-use, sustainability and of course, price. We looked at how comfortably they sat in the bra throughout the day, how well they absorbed leaks, and how they performed at catching let-downs while nursing – we also tested at night too.
The best breast pads for 2022 are:
- Best overall –Lansinoh disposable breast pads: £25.96 , Lansinoh.co.uk
- Best value – Tesco ultra slim breast pads: £3.70, Tesco.com
- Best for discretion – Medela disposable breast pads: £5.99, Medela.co.uk
- Best for sustainability – Eco by Naty nursing pads: £2.89, Naty.com
- Best for sore nipples – Elvie catch: £19.99, Elvie.com
- Best for easy cleaning – Close pop-in reusable breast pads: £12, Closeparent,com
- Best for nighttime leaks – Nuk ultra dry breast pads: £4.10, Amazon.co.uk
- Best size choice –Tommee Tippee made for me daily disposable breast pads: £4.99, Tommeetippee.com
- Best for comfort – Little Lamb washable bamboo breast pads: £14, Littlelambnappies