I’m not sure why I didn’t start my breastfeeding journey using washable nursing pads. I had Cub in cloth diapers by day four, but it took me a while to come around to reusable menstrual products and nursing pads. As for the former, I needed to get over the “ick” factor, and cloth diapering certainly helped with that. There was nothing gross to me, however, about washing nursing pads. I think I just didn’t know how many disposable nursing pads I would wind up needing!
Not every nursing mama is a big leaker, but I sure am. For at least the first three months, I would change my nursing pads at every feed, even overnight. Now that Little Miss Cub is nine months old, I typically change my nursing pads just once per day. This time around, I’ve gone the 100% reusable route for both nursing pads and mama cloth! Over the course of a year, I figure I use at least two pairs of nursing pads per day. It’s likely more, considering the frequency with which I change them in the first few months, but I figure that two per day is a reasonable estimate. Disposable nursing pads, with each pad coming individually wrapped, work out to about 37 cents per pair. (A 60-count, 30 pair box runs of Lansinoh cost $11 at Amazon.) I figure that as a minimum, you’d want twelve pairs of reusable nursing pads. EcoNursing pads are on sale for $16.99 per four pairs on Amazon.
The economy is obvious, even if you don’t go through as many pairs of nursing pads as I do. But what surprised even me is how much waste you avoid creating by choosing washable nursing pads. Each box of disposable pads weighs 10 oz, so the 24 boxes required to get you through the year… that’s 15 lbs of trash!
Now it’s all well and good to opt for a reusable alternative to a disposable product, but if the reusable version is more work or less effective, it can be a hard sell unless you’re a militant greenie. In terms of effort, it would be hard to convince me that using washable nursing pads is any less convenient than disposable ones unless you also throw all your clothes away every time they’re dirty. If you have a baby, you’re likely doing laundry every second day anyway. You can toss your nursing pads in with whatever load of laundry you’re already doing. If you’re so inclined, wash them in a mesh lingerie bag, but I typically don’t. In terms of efficacy, EcoNursing Pads are extremely absorbent, and above all, more comfortable than scratchy, noisy throw-away pads.
They’re so soft that, when we’re nursing, Little Miss Cub always grabs one, and rubs it back and forth across her face while she suckles. Often, she falls asleep with one still firmly grasped in her hands. While I didn’t receive our EcoNursing Pads to test during my “leakiest” phase, I tested their absorbency using water. I leak the most when I am nursing on one side. Having used a Milk Saver, I know that I can leak just shy of an ounce of milk during one feed. Half an ounce of water was easily absorbed without saturating an EcoNursing pad. The point of saturation seems to be about one ounce, so the perfect amount of absorbency for postpartum me!
EcoNursing Pads have a larger circumference then some of the pads I’ve tested. As a small-breasted creature, I have heard that larger breasted women sometimes struggle with nursing pads being too small. With a diameter of 12.5 cm, EcoNursing Pads are actually a bit too big for me now that my breasts have gone back to their “normal” size. (My normal size is most defintely smaller than the average woman, nursing or not. However, I actually love that they are bigger: they are perfect for overnight!
It’s not always easy being green. Not every parent is on board for cloth diapering, and, despite the heavy cloth diapering focus of my blog, I don’t seek to convert skeptics, I just like to preach to the cloth choir. But you know what? I think washable nursing pads are a super easy sell. Initial investment? The same as buying three or four boxes of disposables. Extra time? I bet if you added up the time it takes to buy, unwrap and throw away disposable pads, compared to the time it takes to toss your washable nursing pads in with the laundry you’re already doing, you’d come out even. Financial impact? Indisputable. Environmental impact? Hey, if every new Mom could find a way to keep 15 lbs of garbage out of the landfill, that would mean almost 30,000* fewer tons of garbage per year in the USA!
Shop for EcoNursing Pads
Made from sustainably harvested, organic bamboo, get to know EcoNursing Pads on their website.
*According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2010, 3,999,386 infants were born in the United States. https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/infantcare/conditioninfo/Pages/born.aspx0