Tutorial: Washable Contoured Nursing Pads

Preparations for the baby are still in full swing and today I decided to make some washable nursing pads.  The disposable pads are awful, like maxi pads for your boobs, and it’s just like throwing money straight into the trash.  With Little Miss I had bought these washable pads and they worked fine, however, two sets was not nearly enough and I really didn’t want to invest a lot of money ($3.00 a pair?!?) on something that I could make myself. 
I decided to use flannel since I had some white flannel scraps from Little Miss’s curtains.  I used a coffee cup as my template (it is 3 1/2 inches across) and traced the circles on to my scraps using an air erase marker. nursing pads 2
I found that I could cut through four layers of fabric with my super awesome Ginger Shears, which worked out perfectly because I wanted four layers of flannel for every pad.nursing pads 3
I made a paper template using the same coffee cup and folded it in half twice to divide it into quarters (to lazy to measure).  I cut out one quarter and this was my template for cutting to make the dart.  I drew the line above so you could see how I cut the circle, but I just held the template on the circles and cut them as I went.  (To clarify, I only cut a line and not the whole quarter of a circle out, so that I could overlap the fabric).
My fabric was a little rumpled, so I thoroughly ironed each stack of four.  The ironing really reduced the bulk of the pads.nursing pads 1I overlapped the cut edges by about one inch (I eyeballed it).  This is to make the dart or contour.  It makes pads look better under your clothes and I found them to be more comfortable than just the flat circles. nursing pads 4 Starting at the outer edge, zigzagged over the raw edge to the center.  nursing pads 5Once I got to the center I turned the fabric and zigzagged over the other raw edge on the bottom of the pad to the outer edge.nursing pads 6Then I turned the fabric again and continued the zigzag around the outer edge of the pad, over lapping the stitching on the edge a little.  I also went back and trimmed the fabric to the stitching.nursing pads 7These really turned out just like the ones I bought and these are definitely softer.  It really is easy to make these, kind of hard to explain, but easy to do, if you have any questions just ask.
I also recommend making a laundry bag to wash these in, if you don’t already have one, because they get stuck in the door of the washer/dryer and sometimes end up in the lint trap of the dryer (ewwwww, linty nursing pads!!!)  A large rectangle of tulle sewn up the sides and a channel for a drawstring tie and you’re done. 
Twelve pairs of nursing pads ready to go, now I just need some nursing tops, we’ll see if I have time to whip some up this week.


The Oxford Family said...

Can't wait to make these! I hated the disposable ones last go round!

Kind of weird thing to link up, but Linking to my blog tomorrow!


Crafterella said...

The Oxford Family - I don't think it's odd (well, maybe a little), thanks for the link love.
I forgot to mention that the reason I sewed, turned, and sewed the overlap down was because the turn creates a "dimple" that gives some *ahem* nipple room, also, if you have the overlap at the bottom you have extra layers of absorption if you need them.

The Oxford Family said...

I feel like such an idiot! I truly feel a bit stalkerish (yeah I just made it up) always commenting on your blogs and I just realized you comment back! So kind of you! I am totally subscribing to your follow ups now so I am not a big ignoring jerk! I just came back to this tute so I can make some this week (13 more weeks for me) and wanted to ask you how they ended up working out for you?!?!

Crafterella said...

You're so silly, I didn't think you were ignoring me :)
I like these pads and use them a lot, but there are some down sides. I think I should have made them bigger, they are bulkier than store bought ones, so on thinner tops you can see them. I normally wear a nursing cami with another top over it so it doesn't normally bother me.
I also have a generous supply of milk and for these to really be effective for me I should have used some water proof liner for the outer layer (and maybe more layers). I'm not sure that it would always help, but a lot of times it's just the center that soaks through.
So I'm using them daily, but when I know that I will be out for an extended period of time or am wearing a thin top I wear disposables (I got a lot of free sample ones) or store bought reusable pads.
I also have a hard time remembering not to use fabric softner when I wash them since that makes them less absorbent.
If you have any other questions just ask :)

Crafterella said...

Oh and I forgot to add the hooter hider is awesome for when your out and about if you don't want to flash the world when you breastfeed. http://www.crafterella.com/2010/07/quick-hide-your-hooters.html

Sara said...

Thank you!!! I just threw another pair of disposable in the trash this morning and I'm desperate to have cloth nursing pads, but don't have the money right now. Wow. I could hug you!

Crafterella said...

Sara, your welcome, they really do cut down on the cost of disposables. I do still use the disposables, but only when I'm out and about for an extended period of time, the disposables are SUPER absorbent and leak proof, but I definitely prefer the feel of the flannel ones I made. I hope they work great for you!