Gerber Reusable Nursing Pads Are Only One Small Step in the Right Direction
Dec 22, 2009
Pros: Reusable=economically and environmentally friendly Soft, 100% cotton fabric that doesn't irritate skin
Cons: The pads show through, the leaks leak through Pads move around too much
The Bottom Line: I'd like to rate these pads better, but can't. Their reusable quality and soft material redeems them slightly, but lack of absorbency and obvious presence bring them down.
As a nursing mother one of the things I worry most about is leaking and keeping my breasts padded is a necessity for this and other reasons. Having tried and disliked disposable pads I saw these Gerber Reusable Nursing Pads in the store and decided to pick them up and give them a try. The word "reusable" grabbed me and because I feel guilty that I don't do more to minimize my carbon footprint I latched onto (ha! No pun intended) the term and picked them up. I was also drawn to the fact that the pads are made of cloth and would hopefully not irritate the sensitive skin on my breasts the way disposable pads have done so far. I am still up in the air about these pads.
About the Product
This product claims to be made of 100% natural cotton. The pads are supposed to absorb moisture, and protect clothing. The pads are washable and reusable, making them convenient and environmentally friendly.
Before purchasing the Gerber 6 Pack Reusable Nursing Pads I had been using disposable pads, which I didn't like for a few reasons: they crumpled easily after adjusting and removing my bra panel to nurse, the adhesive wasn't very adherent, and the plastic irritated and scratched my skin. When I ran out of the disposable nursing pads I thought I'd try a different brand and was dumbly surprised to see reusable pads on the shelf (duh). I chose this product and was excited to use it.
On each side I place a pad covering my nipple and areola between my skin and my bra. The pad has no adhesive and is supposed to stay in place by itself; this works mildly well for me, but when my breasts are completely 'emptied' and smaller and floppier (hey, just being honest) than normal the pads tend to slip around. With breasts that change in size so much throughout the day I tend to adjust myself frequently, and doing so can sometimes cause the pads to move as well. For the most part, they stay in place because my bra fits very snugly, but this isn't always the case. The pad is much friendlier to my skin than disposables. The cloth is 100% cotton and the side that touches the breast has a very soft mesh-like material; the softness feels better than that of disposables, and the lack of plastic/paper material means not as much skin irritation, but I still think the fabric could be softer. The mesh material has occasionally (after getting damp) stuck to my breast, and when I try to remove the pad it has gotten stuck to my skin a few times, which has been very uncomfortable, though this has happened very infrequently. The pad is thick, which I assumed would make it very absorbent... however, the thickness is mostly only good for making it obvious that I'm wearing a nursing pad, as the seam that holds the fabrics of the pad together is very thick and a circular shape is noticeable beneath even most of my sweaters. The thickness does make it somewhat absorbent, though if I have much leakage at all it takes only a minute or two before a wet spot appears on my blouse. (I've had several public humiliation moments, such as being stuck in a bar on my first 'night out' with a large, wet circle on my left breast that was very obviously NOT a spilled drink.)
I do prefer the texture of the Gerber Reusable Nursing Pads to that of the disposables I've used before. These pads are fairly soft, and I don't get as much irritation or itching on my already-tender breast skin. I also love that these pads are reusable meaning that (theoretically) I don't have to purchase nursing pads over and over again. They are absorbent in that once they are met with moisture they tend to dry rather quickly within a few minutes.
Unfortunately, these pads just don't follow through with their claims. They can't be as good as I want them to be. Because they are made of a soft cloth material (100% cotton, to be specific) it is inevitable that moisture will leak through. Also, again because they are fabric, the seam to hold the pieces together is thick, making the pad obvious beneath even thicker shirts and even some sweaters. While they are washable and thus reusable it is a pain to have to wash them as often as one should to be sanitary and to avoid bacterial growth; while it is tempting to re-use these pads without frequent washing it isn't a good idea, as doing so is just asking for trouble. Also, just like with socks, the small size of these pads makes losing them to the washing machine or dryer an easy task... it only took me about four weeks before I lost one pad.
I'm torn. I really wanted to give this product a better review, but as you can read above the negatives are more present than the positives. Oddly enough, however, I still prefer these pads over disposables, and continue to use them instead. Why? I don't have to buy new pads every other week, and more importantly they don't irritate my skin and crinkle up inside my bra the way disposables have. I'd like to say that the main reason I stick with these is that I'm being environmentally conscious but I'd be lying... they're just more comfortable. This may be slightly inappropriate to say, but I compare it to the difference between wearing a maxi pad or simply wearing underwear: I'd much rather have just fabric touching my skin than have crinkly plastic on my sensitive parts.
For now I'm sticking to Gerber Reusable Nursing Pads but I probably wouldn't recommend them to others. I will be seeking other reusable nursing pads that aren't as obvious and that are more absorbent so that I can hopefully avoid those embarrassing leakage moments. After all, why even wear a pad if it only makes the leaks take longer to appear?
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