Nursing pads help to absorb milk that may leak between and during feedings. You wear them inside your bra to keep the bra dry and milk away from your clothing. Most mothers don’t have problems with leaking after the first few weeks, so you probably won’t need breast pads for long, but they’re very useful at first.
You can buy pads that are disposable or cloth ones that you wash and use again. Look for pads that allow air to circulate to your nipples. While it might seem that plastic-lined pads would protect your clothes better, they retain moisture, contributing to sore nipples and bacterial growth.
Instead of purchasing breast pads, you can use folded cotton handkerchiefs tucked inside your bra, or you can make your own pads by cutting four-inch circles from cloth diapers.
Change breast pads promptly after they get wet. If the pad dries and sticks to your nipple, moisten it first with warm water so that you don’t remove any skin as you pull it away from the breast.
You can purchase breast pads online from La Leche League International and from companies that sell breastfeeding products. Breast pads are also available in most pharmacies and the baby section of major department stores.