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Topic: nursing/breastfeeding pads.  (Read 5266 times)
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Pretty Pistol
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« on: July 13, 2007 12:46:25 PM »

so i see a lot of tuts on cloth diapers , and even cloth pads in all shapes and size, but i cant seem to find much on nursing pads.

i just dont find the idea of a plasticy papery pad in my bra really enticing at the moment and figured id make a few of my own. 

i thought id come here for some ideas on what to make them out of but no one seems to be making them.. or maybe i just cant find them.   

im going to make some anyhow, maybe using old towel or terrycloth ,i had even thought about using some of that nice soft cloth you find in the baby section of fabric places for the part that touches your skin.  any suggestions ?

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« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2007 11:29:24 PM »

I just got done making a half dozen pair for a new mom.  The way that works the best for me is to make a 5" circle.  I know that sounds large, but it stays put much better than the small throwaway kind.  I put a thumb tack 2.5 inches to the right of my needle.  I tape the flat head to my machine base and have the point facing up.  I can then take my fabric and when I line it up with the needle, I push the fabric over the point.  Your fabric will be guided into a circle as you sew.  You can make it any size you want and just put the tack half the diameter of your circle.

I do a straight stitch around the circle through all layers of fabric and then trim close to my stitching.  I then do three or four times around the outside with a zig zag to finish them.  I don't have a serger.

For this batch, I used several different types of fabric.  Double layers of cotton fleece from old sweatshirts.  My dd outgrew her sweats, so I had lots of pink and purple.  Flannel with one layer of cotton fleece in the middle.  I did cotton knit with terry in the middle.  Cotton knit with a layer of poly fleece.  When I made my own (long ago) I used three layers of diaper flannel from the local fabric shop.

You can cut out a small pie shape, push the edges together, then zig zag over those edges, if you want a more cone shape to the pad.  I found it wasn't needed.  The larger circles will conform to your bra after a bit of body heat and are very comfortable.

If you buy new flannel, be sure you wash/dry it several times on hot to get it shrunk and de-fluffed.  You can use a flannel sheet from the thrift store.  You would get a ton of pad just made with 3-4 layers of the flannel.
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2007 05:31:31 PM »

I'm not understanding the part with the thumbtack in the first paragraph.  do you think you could take a pic or explain in a different way?  This sounds like a great idea (says the pregnant woman!)  Cheesy



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« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2007 11:56:18 PM »

I don't have a digital camera and my polaroid won't take clear shots of close-ups for me to scan.  So, here's a drawing of a machine head and where the tack would be in relation to the needle.  I put tape over the point of the tack to hold it down to the machine bed.

Practice with a few scraps of fabric.  Make the fabric about 6" square and put the center over the tack (if you have the tack 2.5 inches to the left of the needle--use a ruler.)  Start stiching with a straight stitch and your feed dogs will pull the fabric and stitch a circle.

You can also just draw around a round shape (like a small plate or lid of something) and then stitch along the lines.  That works just fine and is how I did my first few. 

You know, they really don't have to be round.  You could make squares and just round off the corners a bit.  That would work fine.  There are all kinds of knits that wouldn't even need sewing if they were a bit thick.  Sweatshirt fleece or evey poly fleece can just be cut and used without stitching the edges.
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2007 01:34:42 PM »

I am working on making some for myself, and have finished about 8 pair.  I plan to do a few more as i have time, just because I tend to procrastinate on the laundry as long as i can.  I just cut 5 inch circles like notverytalented suggested.  I actually have an oversized soup mug that is the perfect size.  I stack them (see below) Then I straight stitch around the edge about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in.  I trim any uneven edges, and zigzag around the edge being sure to catch all the loose edges.  I usually only go around once or twice, but I havent laundered them very much yet, so 3 or 4 times around is probably better.

I tried contouring some- taking the little pie wedge out so it is more contoured, because I'm bigger.. and dont need any more lumpiness, but found it just made me look pointy instead of lumpy. I have never been one to pull off the madonna look,  so I just keep the number of layers down to a minimum, and that seems to help with the lumps. 

My favorite fabric combination is 4 layers....  2 tshirt circles between 2 flannel circles.  I just cut up old tshirts and extra receiving blankets or washed flannel scraps.  The flannel gives it body to help prevent 'ruffles' around the edge when sewing, and tshirts keep it soft, pliable, and thinner.  If you are worried about leak through you could try a layer of ripstop nylon with 100 percent polyester thread.  I don't need this now, but might have in the early weeks of nursing.

I really like the thumbtack idea from not very talented... seems really fast and easy.  If I ever need to sew more than just a few more, I will probably try that. It is an application I never would have thought of, but could be really useful for a lot of different things.  Circles can be a pain to sew!

I have used a lot of ideas from the following website.. they have really practical ideas on nursing/baby items similar to the big ticket store items.  I really like her recon suggestions for nursing shirts.  I have been playing with different combinations.


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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2007 06:04:03 PM »

I'm not understanding the part with the thumbtack in the first paragraph.  do you think you could take a pic or explain in a different way?  This sounds like a great idea (says the pregnant woman!)  Cheesy

in case the other explanation wasn't clear enough, basically what she is doing is using the thumbtack as a rotating point for the fabric. so what you would do is cut out an approximate circle, or a square, or whatever, a bit bigger than the actual circle you want. then, push the middle down over the point of the stationary thumbtack, so that instead of feeding in a straight line, the fabric turns in a circle and makes a nice smooth curve.

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« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2007 09:57:08 AM »

As a mom of two, and one on the way...I hate to say it, but I've used both and cloth breast pads *really* don't work very well. Sad The milk just sops right thru it and out the other side (and onto your tshirt- embarrassing!) and they STAY WET for a LONG time. Trust me, this is much more uncomfy than the disposable, water proof pads. The only way I could see using the cloth ones would be to double up- disposable waterproof on the outside and cloth on the inside against your skin. But even then they stay so wet and soggy. You'd have to keep quite a few bunches in your diaper bag.
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2007 05:36:32 PM »

As a mom of four, I'd have to disagree with mylovelybabybump.  They worked great for me.  So, I would encourage new mom's to at least give them a try.  I hated, hated, hated disposable nursing pads.  They crunched up and ended up in a little lump in the bottom of my bra.
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2007 09:39:51 AM »

I have made cloth pads before, (menstrual, not nursing) and polarfleece worked really well as a backing for me.  It's not waterproof, but I haven't had a leaking problem.  I think it's water resistant.
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« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2007 10:00:32 PM »

mylovelybabybump and notverytalented are BOTH right!  Cloth does get wet fast, you have to change them often.  And the disposables lump together and just itch.  But, there is a happy medium.

I used freebie dipsosables (you'll get a million samples) on the rare occasions that I would really be "afraid" to leak (like out somewhere nice for hours).  Sometimes I would line them with a small cloth pad (I used a CD as a template for smaller pads that wouldn't roll around and kept the platic ones flatter).  But yeah, I've even leaked through all of that.

The rest of the time, I would just change the cloth pads as soon as it got wet.  I kept a little plastic bag with me and plenty of dry ones to switch out.  And when the babe was nursing, I'd put that side's pad (or pads) over to the other side to catch the overflow.  Once you practice, you can be very discreet about changing the pads... but you do have to change cloth pretty often (well, I did anyway). 

Best advice for not being lumpy and leaky-- wear thick bras.  Motherhood & Maternity have some very nice ones and the pads don't lup through.

And ditto everything javamama said
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