Wednesday, February 19, 2014

DIY Reusable Nursing Pads

With baby's impending arrival I've been trying to get a little prepared with some DIY's that will end up saving me money.  I've had reusable nursing pads on my to-do list since summer.  Why I put it off until the end is beyond me but I guess that's just my way.  I found quite a few different tutorials and everyone had different ways they thought worked the best. 

After reading a bunch of them I decided to make mine my own way using some pointers from other blogs.  I used 3 different kinds of fabric, flannel, fleece, and PUL.  I also used cotton batting as the inside layer in all of them.  Some people used multiple layers of flannel instead of the batting but I was too lazy to dig through my stash for that much flannel and cut that many circles. 

Some blogs used fleece as the waterproof layer on the outside, other's used PUL.  I happened to have both so I made some of each.

 Since I haven't used them yet I can't say if one or the other works better but I like the feel of the fleece over the PUL.  I wasn't going for perfection with these since, let's face it, no one but me is actually going to see them.  So I didn't make sure the edges were finished

and I didn't match up the thread color with the fabrics either. They will serve their purpose regardless.

At first I didn't plan on making them contoured, just round.  I used a disposable nursing pad as a pattern so I would know what size I needed.  I cut 3 layers of fabric for each pad, a layer of fleece or PUL, a layer of flannel, and a layer of cotton batting.  Make sure your batting it 100% cotton and not a polyester, the cotton works better for absorbancy and looks better.  Stack these 3 layers with the cotton batting as the center layer.

Pin them together.  Notice mine don't exactly match up all the way around.  This is the beauty of these pads is perfection is unnecessary.  You will be trimming around the seam later, so your edges don't have to match up.

Stitch once around using a 1/4inch seam allowance using a straight stitch.  Then go around again with a zigzag or if you have a serger you can use that to finish the edges.  This will add stability and make your pads last longer.  Remember these are going to get lots of use and washed a lot too, you want them to hold up well through all that.

Once you have finished your edges cut around your zigzag stitch, making sure to cut close to it but not cutting through your stitching.

Now straight stitch a cross pattern

I didn't get a picture of the cross stitch before I added the pleats above so pretend they aren't there and you're just looking at the straight stitches.
After I made the first pad round and tried it in my nursing bra I realized it bunched up a little more than I liked so I needed to add some pleats, or darts, or whatever they are called, to make them contoured.

Once I put those in they fit perfectly.  The first few I made with pleats I didn't sew them down and they looked like this when I was finished.

After trying them on I thought you might be able to see them sticking up through my more form fitting shirts so I did a few like this:
Notice the pleats are stitched down.

They turned out perfect as far as fit, size, and you couldn't see anything through my shirts so I made all the rest with the pleats stitched down.

One thing I love about these is there's no crinkling of fabric like the disposable ones.  I truly hated that sound.  And these are really soft against my skin which I think will be great, especially in the beginning with soreness.

I made about 13 pair and plan on making a few more.  I really want enough to wear 1 through the day and 1 pair at night.  I didn't actually ever have a problem with leaking when I nursed Grant.  I never leaked one time and kind of felt like I was wasting my disposable nursing pads because they never had anything on them.  I've been told by numerous other mom's who've nursed that this isn't normal haha.  I think because Grant never latched on right my milk flow never got to be enough to make me leak.  Either way this time I'm prepared and I love knowing I don't have to stock up on disposable pads.  Those things can become costly really fast.  If I remember they were about $6 a box when Grant was an infant and if you tend to leak I'm sure you can go through them quickly.  When you're buying diapers, wipes, and nursing pads your bank account can take a hit fast, do yourself a favor and make some of these.  I probably made 6 pair within an hour once I got on a roll and figured out exactly what worked for me.  That's not too shabby in my opinion.  Not to mention if you know someone who's having a baby and going to be nursing these would make a great baby shower gift.

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