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How Often Should You Change Nursing Pads?

How often you change your nursing pads will depend on you. Some mothers might find they need to change them a few times a day.

Most will quickly discover that they need to change them every 2-3 hours. It’s important to figure out when you need to change your nursing pads to avoid health conditions like thrush. 

When Do You Need To Change Your Nursing Pads?

Because it’s different for every mother, you’ll need to determine when you should be changing your own nursing pads.

Some mothers check them frequently throughout the day just to make sure. After a time, you’ll be able to tell how often you need to change them. 

Change Nursing Pads When They Are Damp

Some moms are guilty of checking a nursing pad, seeing that it’s barely damp, and putting it back. However, this is the very thing that can lead to thrush. As the breast milk sits on the nursing pad, bacteria can grow.

This can cause health problems for both you and your baby. Instead, change them as soon as you notice that they are damp. 

You’ll Have To Change Them More In The Beginning

When you first start breastfeeding, you’ll find that you leak a lot more. As soon as you change your nursing pad, you’ll feel like you need another one. It can be tempting to just wait but don’t.

Instead, keep changing them. As time goes on, you’ll find that you leak less. That means that you won’t be changing them every hour for the entire time that you’re breastfeeding. 

Some Opt To Change Them As Soon As They Come In Contact With Breastmilk

In the beginning, it seems like you’re constantly leaking breastmilk. It can make changing them every time they come in contact with breastmilk a pain.

However, this is the safest bet. You’ll know that you aren’t going to get thrush or have any other problem from bacteria growing. If this isn’t possible, and you find that you’re leaking quite a bit, change them as often as you can. 

Always Change Nursing Pads Before Going To Bed

If you’re new to breastfeeding, you’ll need to keep in mind that you feed on demand during the night. This might mean every two hours. However, that doesn’t apply to all babies.

My son slept for a six-hour stretch every night from the first day he was born. Because you might go longer without feeding, you might have a bit more overflow. You’ll need to start the night off with fresh nursing pads to get through it. 

This is also a great habit to get into. Even if your baby doesn’t sleep through the night in the beginning, they will when they get older. That means that you won’t be feeding them throughout the night.

If you’re already in the habit of changing them before bed. you won’t have any problem, like waking up to your pads being soaked through. 

Dry Off And Change Them With Each Feeding In The Beginning

As you learn your body, and how often you need to change your nursing pads, it’s helpful to change them with each feeding. Make sure that you dry off your breast after feeding your little one.

Mothers that are pumping should do the same thing after a pumping session.  If you don’t the milk can sit on your nipple, leading to bacteria growth.

This can travel to your infant, or make its way inside your ducts. Either way, infection isn’t going to be good even though it won’t be fatal. As you get used to breastfeeding, you’ll better be able to tell exactly when you need to change them. 

How To Make Nursing Pads Work For You

In the beginning, nursing pads seem really inconvenient. Everything is a bit more inconvenient when you spend most of your time nursing your new baby.

However, there are a few things you can do to make things a little easier, especially in the beginning. 

Start Off With Disposable Nursing Pads

If you can afford them, disposable nursing pads are your best option, especially after the baby first comes home. You’ll be up all night nursing, and nursing every two hours throughout the day.

As your body adjusts, you’ll leak a lot. It can be a bit much to add having to wash reusable nursing pads into the mix. Instead, opt for some disposable nursing pads that you can toss in the trash. 

Cut Maxi Pads In Half To Use As Nursing Pads

Maxi pads are designed to be absorbent. If you cut them in half, they fit perfectly inside of your bra. This is a great option if you’re looking for an affordable alternative to disposable nursing pads. 

Use More Re-Usable Nursing Pads When You’re Leaking Less

Most women find that they don’t have to change their nursing pads as often once they hit 2-3 months of breastfeeding. Some might need to change their nursing pads a few times a day.

Others might only need to change them twice daily. During this time, it’s easier to use re-usable nursing pads that you can wash. This is the more cost-effective option. 

Consider Using Washcloths When You’re Home

Washcloths are absorbent, and another great idea if you’re looking for cost-effective nursing pads. Use these with a sports bra or inside of a cami with a built-in bra.

They won’t look pretty, so most people do this when they are home alone. Utilizing ideas like this can help offset the cost of all of those disposable nursing pads you’re going to go through in the beginning. 

Don’t Forget To Take Extra With You When You Leave The House

Among all of the other things you’ll need to pack in the diaper bag, make sure to stash a few extra nursing pads. This can help protect your wardrobe, and prevent embarrassing situations while you’re out.

Remember that when you nurse on one breast, the other is going to leak, so you might need to change them a few times if you’re gone for most of the day. 

In Conclusion

How often you’ll need to change your nursing pads depends on you. In the beginning, change them every time that you breastfeed or pump with an extra change before bed.

Once you hit the 3-month mark, you should be able to change them as needed and once before bed.