Even though I’m still {5 weeks and counting} away from giving birth, I’m all sorts of anxious and excited and I’m trying to do everything I can to get ready for baby’s arrival. Breastfeeding is a top priority of mine, so making my own nursing pads was high up on my list of sewing priorities, as well!

Lots of reusable nursing pad goodness. I may have gone overboard.

Lots of reusable nursing pad goodness.
I may have gone overboard.

Why use reusable nursing pads?

Making your own reusable nursing pads has so many benefits, both personal and economical. Not only are they cheaper (the entire project set me back less than 1/2 yard of cotton fabric and an old prefold diper–can you say CHEAP?!), but they’re also so much more comfortable to wear. The disposable pads I’ve gotten in freebie bags look just like diapers–why would I stick that under my shirt?! I’ll have enough to deal with those first few weeks of breastfeeding, thanks. Plus, washing and reusing pads is much more environmentally-conscious. As we’re cloth diapering, too, it seemed only natural to also use cloth nursing pads and cloth postpartum pads.

How to do it

Materials Needed:

1/2 yard cotton fabric

1-2 prefold diapers (depending on how many breast pads you’d like to make. I was able to get about 8 pads/4 sets out of 1 diaper)

Disposable breast pad to use as a pattern

Pen for tracing, pins, scissors, thread, sewing machine, yadda yadda

Step 1:

I started with an old prefold cloth diaper that my MIL had sent. I believe it came from a diaper service, so it was nice and fluffy. I decided to use a prefold after reading a recommendation from another blog online (I swear I’d link it if I had any idea at all where I found it!); plus, I figure if it’s absorbent enough to use as a diaper, it can certainly function well enough for a nursing pad! If you don’t have any prefolds lying around (or don’t plan on ordering any), I bet you could use the Gerber prefolds they sell in the store. They won’t be as absorbant, but they’ll certainly do the trick.

Then, I took a breast pad that I had on hand and, using it as my pattern, traced circles onto the prefold. I was able to get about 8 pads (4 sets) onto 1 prefold, I believe.

Step 1: Trace a disposable breast pad onto a prefold diaper.

Step 1: Trace a disposable breast pad onto a prefold diaper.

Step 2:

After I had traced my patterns, I pinned cotton fabric onto the back side of my prefold, WRONG SIDES TOGETHER. Essentially, I had the pretty side of the cotton fabric facing out on one side, and then the prefold with the pen markings visible on the other side. Does that make sense?

Step 3:

While the fabrics were pinned together, I did a zig zag stitch around all of my patterns. I really didn’t feel like cutting out dozens of little circles and trying to stitch right on the edges–no thank you. Save yourself a headache and sew BEFORE you cut!

Step 4:

Once you have all of the pads sewn, cut them out.

If you want flat nursing pads, you’re done! Congrats!

If you want contoured nursing pads, continue to step 5:

Step 5:

Take a pad and fold a little overlap right down the middle. Pin it at the top and bottom.

Step 5

Step 5

I think I had maybe 1/4 inch of overlap. You just want enough to make the pad contoured to the shape of your breast. I am not particularly well-endowed, so I had just a little overlap. Try it on once you have it pinned in place and see how it works for you.

Step 5

Step 5

Step 6:

With your sewing machine, sew the folded edge (right above where my thumb is). I used a simple straight stitch for this one, starting right before the fold and going until just after it. Repeat on both the top and the bottom.

Step 7:

When you’re done, you’ll have a nice breast pad that will contour to the shape of your breast!

Step 7--all done!

Step 7–all done!

I played around with the prefold layers when I made mine–some pads use the outer edges, some use the thicker middle panel. Once I actually make the leap into the land of breastfeeding, I’ll let you know what works best! I also have plans to make some thinner flannel ones for use after my leaking tapers off. I plan on using the same tutorial, just with 2-3 layers of flannel instead of the cotton/prefold combo!