Last time I was nursing, I used a combination of disposable Lansinoh pads and washable pads. This time around, I am still using my washable pads at night and disposables again during the day, especially when out and about.
I'm a big milk producer, apparently, so tend to leak a LOT when I let down. Lucky me. I have been in a mall and had milk soak through a washable pad, bra, shirt, sweater, and a jacket... walking around in public with big dark wet spots on your front is neither comfortable nor attractive! So, pads are a must, and washables don't cut it unless I can change them and/or my shirt in a hurry.
Disposables are expensive. I mean, really... they cost so much more than pantiliners and aren't they pretty much the same thing in a different shape? Perhaps it's a demand thing. Anyway, I decided to try out some different kinds as I found that Lansinoh are pretty much at the top of the price scale.
Here's what I've learned so far.
Pros: Come individually packaged, which is great for tossing in your purse. Cheaper than Lansinoh at around $10 a box of 60. Thin, so not as apparent under your shirt.
Cons: Individual packaging means they're more wasteful. I find the packaging difficult to open. There is an "open here" arrow that points to the side of the package, yet they rip most easily down the middle. The wrapper is also staticky, so once you tear it open it sticks to your hands. Weird pleats in the shape mean you get lumpy looking boobs. Just one adhesive strip means they shift around a lot, especially as the bra is up and down all day with nursing - and that means they're not always in the right place, and they get more lumpy as they start to break down. The worst thing about these is that they do not keep moisture away from the nipples. On a hot day if you are sweating or if you are leaking at all you will be able to feel moisture on your breasts under the pads. To me that screams bacteria - and I wonder if it's a coincidence that I got mastitis again with these pads. I will never buy these again.
Pros: Come individually packaged, which is great for tossing in your purse. Very absorbent. Two adhesive strips means they stay in place - all day if necessary. Thin, so not as apparent under your shirt. A quick rub seems to smooth out any folds that show.
Cons: The most expensive at around $12+ for a box of 60. Individual packaging means they're more wasteful. The plastic packages are a little tricky to open (but not as bad as the Medela ones).
Just a note here that Lansinoh pads in Canada and the US are slightly different. The US ones are marginally better - packages are easier to open, and the pads are slightly more shapely. I discovered this after using American Lansinoh pads and then buying them here and being a little disappointed about the quality difference.
Johnson & Johnson
Pros: Very thick and absorbent. A single adhesive strip seems to work with these - because they are much more stiff and hold their shape better than the thinner Medela and Lansinoh. Again around $10 for a box of 60.
Cons: What is up with the "nipple" on these? I think it's bizarre! Completely visible under a bra and shirt, it looks like you have erect nipples (and Google is going to bring some strange visitors now I've said that) all day. Weird. Also, the pads are very thick which means they are also quite visible - they are smaller than the other pads, so you have a thick round circle on the front of your boob with a fake nipple on it. They look strange. And to me, already somewhat body-conscious so soon after baby, that's not good at all. No individual packaging means you can't really stick them in your purse unless you tuck them in a sandwich bag or something... and even if protected by a bag, they will get squashed and lose their shape. Then they'd be even more lumpy.
Overall, in my experience, the Lansinoh pads win, hands down. They may cost 20% more but they are worth it. I'm not sure I'll bother trying more brands unless someone recommends them to me. Do you have a favourite nursing pad? Or, one you don't recommend? I'd love to hear about it.