How Often Do You Need To Change Breast Pads?

How Often Do You Need To Change Breast Pads

Whether you are using disposable or reusable nursing pads, you have to change them at some point during the day. Some people say that you should change them when needed, while others say you should change them whenever you feed the baby to avoid infection. Regardless of what everyone else says, you can never get a conclusive answer regarding how often to change breast pads.

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Several factors determine how often nursing pads should be changed, and we shall discuss them in this article. Based on these factors, you will be able to decide how many times you should change your breast pads. 

Factors that determine how often to change breast pads


Some people swear that disposable pads are more absorbent than washable pads while others claim vice versa.

Nonetheless, the amount of liquid that the breast pads –disposable or reusable- can hold will determine how often you will need to change them.

Cloth nursing pads that are made from bamboo or hemp tend to be very absorbent. Some cloth pads even become more absorbent with frequent washing. So the more you wash them, the more absorbent they become.

Disposable pads are also made from a variety of materials, including bamboo, cotton, and polyester. So they also have different levels of absorbency.

Related article: Most Recommended Postpartum Underwear

Therefore, the number of times you will need to change the pads will depend on how much liquid your pads can hold without leaking. When you feel they are too full, change immediately.

The level of leaking

The amount of milk you are leaking will determine how often you should change the pads. The first few weeks after delivery, milk let down is usually very high, so you experience heavy leaking.

If you feel damp, you may want to consider changing the pads. You may expect to stay as dry as possible when nursing thanks to the moisture-wicking properties of most nursing pads. If you feel damp, it’s because the pads are full and will start leaking if you don’t change them.

The frequency of change will, therefore, depend on how much milk the pads can absorb. As your milk supply stabilizes, you may not leak as much; hence, you may change the pads a couple of times a day and at night.

Related: Does Body Armor Drink Increase Milk Supply?

Reasons why you should change nursing pads often

Avoid infection

When nursing pads become damp, they create a favorable environment for yeast to grow. Yeast thrives in moist conditions and may cause yeast/fungal infections. Thus, it would help if you changed the pads immediately; they start feeling damp so that you do not get a nipple infection.

If you are using reusable breast pads, ensure they are well laundered and dried so that all the yeast is killed. This will help to prevent thrush.

Prevent nipple irritation

It would help if you changed your breast pads whenever they get wet because they can make your nipples irritated and sore when they continuously rub against the skin.

Sore nipples make breastfeeding very difficult. They are also susceptible to infections such as thrush.

Thus, changing pads as often as possible ensures your nipples remain dry and safe from infections.

So how often should you change breast pads?

My answer to this is as often as possible.

When the pads get wet, change them immediately. Doing this will minimize the risk of getting irritated and sore nipples, which may lead to nipple infection.

FAQ on how often to change nursing pads

Q1. How many nursing pads do I need?

The number of nursing pads you need depends on how much you leak.

If you are leaking heavily, you may need to change as often as possible – up to 6 times a day.

This is where you choose the most cost-effective nursing pads between disposables and reusable.

Remember, if you choose to buy reusable pads, you will have to wash them as often as possible since you will be using several of them per day.

Q2. How many reusable nursing pads do I need?

The amount you leak and how often you wish to wash the pads will also determine how many you require.

Depending on how often you need to change, you can wind up with 21 breast pads to wash at the end of the week if you do so approximately three times a day.

Consequently, you’ll need to stock up on nursing pads. If you don’t want to spend money on pads, you have the option of washing every other day.

Q3. Should I wear breast pads all the time?

This also depends on how much you are leaking. If the leaking is quite heavy, you will need to wear pads all the time.

However, some breastfeeding moms choose to put folded handkerchiefs inside the nursing bra when at home and use nursing pads when in public. This helps to cut on cost if you are using disposable pads or minimize wash load if you are using washable pads.
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Q4. Is it okay to wear breast pads to bed at night?

It is okay to wear breast pads to bed, especially when you are leaking heavily. Milk let down increases at night because your baby does not nurse too often compared to the daytime.

Thus, wearing nursing pads prevents milk from soaking through to your clothing and messing with your bedding.


To answer the question about how often to change breast pads, a short answer is as often as possible. It mainly depends on the amount of leaking and the absorbency of the nursing pads.

In the early days after delivery, you may need to change the pads several times a day because the milk let down is relatively high. You also need to invest in highly absorbent breast pads for maximum protection.


1 thought on “How Often Do You Need To Change Breast Pads?”

  1. I think this guide is helpful. It’s great to find all the information you need in one place. I’ve already shared it on my social media accounts to help other mommies. Thank you, Linda! Only a mommy can give the best pieces of advice to other mommies.


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