January 4, 2010

DIY: Nursing Pads

I have been a mother for almost three years now, and have had "working girls" for about half that time. I prefer to wear nursing pads, since I don't like showing the world what's going on underneath my shirt. I went through a lot of pads and was starting to get frustrated with having to run the to store so often to get more.

Then one day I had the idea to make my own. I did a little research, looked up some patterns, and then made up my own version to fit my tastes. So here I will share the pattern for anyone who might want to make some for themselves or a mother they might know.

You will need:
Fleece (the real stuff, not polyester) - Fleece naturally wicks moisture so it will suck it away from your body
Cotton flannel - the cotton will catch all the moisture and hold it on the outside of the pad
Sewing machine or needle and thread

Step one: Wash your fabric! This is not only to clean it but to pre-shrink it as well. Remember that you are working with fleece which has the potential to shrink and felt. Wash accordingly.

Step two: Find a bowl or mug or something of the sort to use as a size guide. I used a small bowl which came out to 4 inches in diameter. Then trace that shape onto a piece of paper. Cut out the circle and then use that as your pattern for cutting out fabric.

Step three: Cut out your circles. I used one circle of fleece and two circles of cotton for each pad (2 and 4, respectively, for a pair). I tried 3 pieces of cotton, but it was a little too bulky. Cut out however many you will need for the amount you want to make.

Step four: Stack them on top of each other. The fleece will be the layer against your skin.

If you want a basic, flat nursing pad you can stop here and just sew the layers together around the edge. But I like a little shaping to mine so they are more discreet, so I have a few more steps.

Step five: Cut a slit from one side to the center. You know, so it looks like Pac-Man. Wacca Wacca. This is going to help with shaping.

Step six: Now it gets a little tricky. Bring one side of the cut over the other so that the pad starts to make a cone. You can make this as pointed or subtle as you like. I prefer subtle so I only over lap it about 3/4" to 1". Sew from the edge to the center, down the middle of the overlap, to hold the shape. Back stitch at the edge and center ends for reinforcement.  Trim off the excess fabric.

Step seven: Last one! Using a zig-zag or other type of edge stitch, go around the outer edge of the pad, being sure to go a little bit over the edge in order to secure the fuzzies. Ta-da! Nursing pad.

Care & Washing: You should probably wash these by hand. I have been throwing mine in the wash but they are fraying and shrinking every so slightly. All you need to do is put them in a tub or sink with a little detergent, swish them around a bit, maybe let them soak if you need to, then lay them out or hang them to dry.

I love these things. They're so much more comfortable than the store bought ones and my favorite part is they don't crinkle! Every now and then they might leak through, but if you can find some PUL or diaper soaker type fabric then you can put that as an outer layer.

I don't know the initial cost of making them, I'd have to find my receipts. But let's do a little math.  I used at least 4 a day (2 for day, 2 for night) at $0.13 each (7.99 for a pack of 60). That's about $16 a month, which if I nurse for 9 months to a year I'm saving $144 - $192 bucks a kid. Works for me!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the tutorial, I have a 2 month old and currently have bought several boxes of nursing pads. I have the materials to make my own pads and will do so in the next few days, my question is, I exclusively breast pump and I use the lanolin every time I pump. Do you use lanolin with these nursing pads? I don't want them to get all gunked up, but I'm not wanting cracked nipples either! Thank you!!

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