Need help choosing the right nursing pad? You're in luck. Our review ranks the top 9 nursing pads available today. We researched the market before purchasing the most promising and popular contenders for hands-on testing to determine the best. While evaluating and comparing performance, we compared essential factors like absorbency, comfort, wicking ability, and eco-health. Naturally, leaks happen, especially in the early days of breastfeeding, and nursing pads will likely become your best companion, keeping you dry and protecting your clothing from stains. Let our review help guide you to the perfect nursing pad for your needs and budget.
The Curve by Cache Coeur instantly became our favorite nursing pads as they offer many perks that other brands do not. They are thicker than average; however, they do not feel bulky while wearing them, plus their shape and contour help them to lay seamlessly under a bra. There is even a slight indentation for the nipple, so you do not experience any points of pressure. The antibacterial mesh lining is very breathable and wicks away moisture from your skin, helping you feel dry and fresh. The super-absorbent core layer locks away all leaks for up to 9 hours in the daytime version. We love that one pair can last so long, so you don't have to worry about changing out your pads as often or bringing along extras when you are out and about. Curve pads come in 2 different sizes with varying absorbency levels to suit your needs. They are machine washable, and Cache Coeur recommends using a washing net to keep them in tip-top condition.
Some users noted that the pads' contour might not be perfect for every breast shape, allowing them to shift around during wear or be less comfortable. However, we appreciate that they have a contour with a seam. The Curve pads are also some of the most expensive on the market, costing nearly twice as much as the next contender in line. However, we feel that the cost is justified, as one pair will last you all day, during which time you may use 3-4 pairs of a different brand. You can get away with purchasing fewer pads as long as you are ok with frequent laundering. Overall, we love the Curve pads. We would use them ourselves and highly recommend them to any nursing mother.
Lansinoh Stay Dry is our favorite disposable option. The soft material has a honeycomb texture that adds an element of cushion to the side that lays against your skin. The absorbent core lasted longer than other disposables we tested, and even when the pads were chock full of leaked breastmilk, we did not experience any leaks. The large size offers good coverage and catches liquids even if the pad shifts slightly during wear. The inner surface wicks away moisture from the skin and does not stick to sore nipples or leave any fuzz behind. The outer shell has a waterproof lining to keep your clothes dry. Each pad comes in its own package, and we think they are super handy to stash in your diaper bag in the event you need one while on the go.
We are a bit disappointed by the adhesive strips. There are two small rectangles on either side of the pad meant to stick to your clothes and hold the whole thing in place. We found that the stickiness is not very strong and doesn't last as long as we would like. If you wear these pads to bed and toss and turn throughout the night, the adhesive tends to stick to itself, and the pad crumples inside your bra. While they are contoured, the pads' shape does not form very well to the breast and may show through clothes. Lansinoh pads are our top choice of the disposables contenders we tested despite these drawbacks. Even if you choose to use washable pads, we recommended having a few of these around as backups, as they can come in handy if you ever run out.
BabyBliss Bamboo pads are made from a blend of cotton and bamboo terrycloth fabric on the inside and have a microfiber core with a water-resistant polyester outer. They have a deep contour that lays flush against your skin and helps the pad stay put during wear. We did not experience any leaks or sogginess while wearing the BabyBliss pads. They come with a mesh wash bag and are machine washable, but BabyBliss recommends using the cool setting while washing and drying. There are three different sizes available to choose from based on your breast size and typical leakage amount. Many users report that these Bamboo pads are highly durable, and they come in a large pack, so you may never have to repurchase them.
Unfortunately, the terry cloth texture of the inner lining is not as soft as we would like. The material can feel abrasive for those with sensitive or cracked nipples. It may be more likely to stick to the skin (ouch!) than a smoother texture. A seam creates the pads' round contoured shape in both the outer and inner layers, and the manufacturer was thoughtful enough to place the seams on opposite sides of the pad, but they are still noticeable when wearing and may cause some discomfort. If you do not have issues with sensitivity and are looking for a durable and budget-friendly product, the BabyBliss Bamboo is a good choice.
Bamboobies washable nursing pads have been a longtime favorite for many moms. Our breastfeeding mom said these are so comfortable that she couldn't tell where the pad started and stopped during testing. The ultra-thin liners are indiscernible under clothing, and the bamboo velour inner lining is gentle on sensitive nipples. It also has good wicking properties to keep you from feeling soggy. We tested both the day version and the blue circular night pads. We noticed that the night version is a tad bulkier yet has much better absorbency, making them a good choice for mommas who leak more heavily.
On that note, some moms may find Bamboobies to be too thin and not absorbent enough for their needs. There is no contour to the fabric, but we appreciate that there are no seams either. Some users say the heart shape helps them form closer to the breast, while others say the irregular shape made it a bit hard to position the pad correctly. However, we have very few complaints about Bamboobies, and we love them for their offer of discreet protection.
Ameda ComfortGel pads are ideal for soothing nipples that are sore and chapped from breastfeeding. The smooth gel surface prevents further agitation from chaffing and may offer a cooling effect that eases discomfort. Unlike many other gel pads, these have tiny holes in the center that allow some airflow, which balances out the moist environment with an element of breathability. Many moms store their pads in the refrigerator or freezer to increase the cooling sensation. The ComfortGels are reusable for up to 6 days when properly cared for, allowing you to get the most out of every pair.
When using and reusing these gel pads, following the suggested cleaning instructions is necessary to reduce and prevent the possibility of infections. We also noticed that the circumference gets smaller after each use and provides less coverage, so they may not be usable for the entire six days. These gel pads are not absorbent and not meant to catch leaks, so they received a poor score for leak protection. But, if you seek some relief from the soreness that can come with breastfeeding, the Ameda ComfortGel breast pads may be just what you need.
Apparel for Nursing and Pumping
Having tops that provide easy access for nursing or breast pumping can make all the difference. The best nursing tops review offers recommendations on what's comfortable and functional.
Why You Should Trust Us
Nursing pads were researched and tested with the help of a nursing mother. We analyzed the pads for softness, absorption, durability, and more in our lab and then took feedback and remarks from our tester mom from her real-world experience. If you've ever experienced a leak while out and about, you know how important it is that a pad does its job well, which is why we felt real-world input was important.
BabyGearLab has been researching and testing a wide variety of baby products for over ten years, gathering experience and knowledge from parents, professional caregivers, and our founder and pediatrician Juliet Spurrier. Leading this nursing pad review is Senior Review Editor, Abriah Wofford. With six years of baby gear testing under her belt and many years of professional childcare experience, Abriah has more than enough context to help make informed decisions on the best products. Justice Wofford assessed comfort, absorbency, and overall ease of use while breastfeeding her infant to augment our research and testing with some hands-on use.
Analysis and Test Results
Nursing pads are a must-have item for your breastfeeding days, depending on your milk production. They catch potential leaks, saving you from a soaked nursing bra and embarrassing wet spots. Let us help you find a set of pads that are reliable, comfortable, and fit within your budget.
Tip: If your little one has difficulty finding a good latch, it can lead to cracked or sensitive nipples. Select one of the best nipple creams to have on hand for times of need.
We tested a mix of reusable and disposable nursing pads in this review. Although the disposables have a much lower price per piece, they will become an ongoing purchase, and you may find that you end up spending more in the long run than you would on a pack of durable reusable. The BabyBliss Bamboo nursing pads are our favorite affordable nursing pads. They come in a 14-pack with a mesh wash bag and are durable enough that it is unlikely you will ever have to repurchase them. Although they are not as soft or leakproof as higher-scoring products, we feel that they offer the best value for the price.
The absorbency of a pad can vary depending on the thickness, material, and size. When thinking about what may be best for you, consider whether you are a heavy leaker or light and how frequently you change your pads.
The most absorbent brands are usually larger and bulkier and may be overkill for some people. They do not fit under clothes as smoothly as lighter-weight pads. The exception is the Curve pads, which earned a 9 of 10 for leak protection. They boast a 9-hour wear time and are absorbent enough to catch and lock away all leaked milk. While they are thicker than average, they are the perfect shape to be nearly invisible under clothing. Bamboobies are some of the thinnest pads we tested. They are very comfortable to wear but are best for light leakers because they do not have a large capacity.
Most of the time, disposable pads will out-absorb reusable options, and this is because many of them contain SAP, which is the same material found in diapers that makes them so absorbent. Lansinoh pads earned a top score for this reason. However, we did not find this true when using Eco by Naty. They do not disclose if they use SAP in their nursing pads; however, they were the least absorbent product we tested, leaving moms feeling soggy much sooner than other brands.
Reusable vs. Disposable
Many moms choose to use a combination of reusable and disposable nursing pads. Disposables create more waste and can feel similar to wearing a diaper on your chest, and our tester preferred reusable pads when at home. However, the individually wrapped pads can be super convenient to stash in a top-ranked diaper bag or purse.
When you use a pad while nursing, ideally, it will disappear beneath your bra, and you will forget it is there until it is time to change it. While that goal may not be attainable all the time, some products come closer than others. Elements like fabric texture, material bulk, and the contour of the pad all make a huge difference while using.
The Curve pads have a shape and structure similar to the padding you find inside a bra. They are easy to wear, do not crumple, wrinkle, or have any awkwardly placed seams, and earned higher results for comfort. Bamboobies earned the top score in this metric, thanks to their super thin construction and velvety soft material. We also loved the BabyBliss Bamboo for its deep contour that reduces gaps and wrinkles, although the terry cloth texture on the inside may not be as gentle as other options.
Lansinoh disposables have a very pliable construction and soft material, so even though the contour is not so deep, they still form to your shape well. The NuAngel cotton pads are the least comfortable to wear. The cotton fabric is soft, but the pads are bulky and a bit stiff, making them feel awkward when placed inside your bra. These pads earned a lower result for comfort.
No one likes feeling constantly soggy. Our favorite pads wick away moisture and leave you feeling fresh as a daisy.
The Curve pads are among the best reusable options in this metric and felt only slightly damp when loaded to the max. Disposables also excel in this area. Lansinoh pads earned high marks, thanks to a quilted surface pattern and inner SAP that helps keep moisture off the boob.
Eco by Naty Bamboo missed the mark on this one. When loaded with the same amount of liquid as other products, Naty pads were sopping, while others merely felt damp. Kindred Bravely and BabyBliss were both average performers in terms of wicking. The terry cloth loops create a slight buffer between the liquid and your skin, but they do not keep you as dry as some other fabrics might.
While not the main focus of our testing, we feel that eco-health deserves mention here. We included both types of nursing pads in this review; disposable and reusable.
Of course, reusable options score higher, but we gave top scores to products like NuAngel and Kindred Bravely that use all-natural materials or a higher number of organic components. The lowest scorer was the Medela Disposable. It is a single-use product, but it is also not as absorbent as the similar Lansinoh version, so you have to use more of them throughout the day and create more waste in the process.
As your breastmilk production adjusts to your baby's demands, it is natural for leaks to occur. This means nursing pads may be your new best friend. A comfortable set of absorbent pads that are nonirritating and leave no residue (looking at you, fuzzies!) can make a world of difference. We used each product over a multi-week period and compared them side-by-side to find the ones that worked well in different situations. Whether you prefer reusable pads or disposable ones, or pads that fit snugly and discreetly hide under your clothing, we are confident that our lineup includes an option that may meet your needs. If you are still unsure which option is best for you, try a few top-scoring products before purchasing more of your favorites.