Homemade Nursing Pads

img_5632-1 I had been at my wits end trying to find a good absorbent nursing pad that would not leak through the night. I hate waking up to a nice wet spot on my sheets. I admit…I have problems, but my son is sure happy with all that good milk! I tried three different styles to no avail. I was just about ready to go find another one when the thought crossed my mind to try to make my own! I wish I had started here in the first place. I made these wonderfully absorbent flannel and fleece nursing pads in just a short time with fabric I had on hand and did not have to spend another penny. Flannel is soft and comfortable and fleece is waterproof and will keep the moisture away from your clothes. Horrah!

Making your own nursing pads is simple, frugal and fun! Choosing cloth reusable pads is an excellent way to avoid the waste of disposables and another way to be a good steward of our environment. Cloth is so much more comfortable overall!

This was a fun and easy project and a great gift for an expectant mother as well. I made a few sets for a friend at the same time. Too fun!


Flannel (I used two standard receiving blankets. Everyone has an abundance of these lying around! One receiving blanket made 10 pads. You can also use an old flannel sheet. Make sure it is washed to avoid shrinkage or tearing.)
CD or bowl with 4-6” diameter (5” is the standard size, but you can choose what works for you. I chose a small bowl that was 4 1/2 inches in diameter and it worked great!)


img_56061. Take your bowl/CD and trace around it on your flannel and fleece fabrics. You will want 3 layers of flannel and 1 layer of fleece per pad. This quantity works especially well for nighttime use, but you can use just one or two layers of flannel for daytime pads if desired. I folded my receiving blanket in half to shorten the task, thus cutting two circles at a time. One reader suggested you can cut two of the layers of flannel in a smaller circle than the others to help prevent bulkiness and visibility around the edges of the pad. Place these smaller circles between the larger fleece and flannel circles.

2. Layer one piece of fleece with three layers of flannel on top and sew a straight stitch all around the outside of the pad about 1/8 inch from the edge. The flannel will be on the outside of the pad and you will wear it towards your skin and the fleece toward your clothing to prevent leaking.

3. After the straight stitch, sew a zig zag stitch around the edge. If you have a surger, that would be even better! img_5633-1

4. Trim all the excess around the edges by cutting as close to the seam as possible. This will prevent any excess fraying in the wash.

There you go! That’s my frugal tip for the day! I made about 10-12 sets to get me through a week before washing and we are set! Usually one set for nighttime and one set for daytime wear works for me.

Visit Life as Mom for more frugal ideas.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

88 Responses to Homemade Nursing Pads

  1. Natalie December 3, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

    Could I do a layer of flannel, a layer of fleece, and then 2 layers of flannel?

  2. Crystal November 24, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

    I used suedecloth, micro-terry/micro-fleece and PUL for my cloth diapers. Could I use these same three fabrics for nursing pads or do you think it would be too thick?

  3. Tasha October 7, 2013 at 6:01 am #

    Is there a special type of fleece you should use? I imagine the fleece used for blankets is too bulky but I’ve looked at my local fabric stores for other fleece and have not been successful. Any suggestions on where to look as well?

  4. Ivon May 30, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    Thank you so much for these! I was shocked to see how much wool breast pads are in Amazon.com. Are you kidding me? over $20 for one pair?? I figured that it would be much more cost effective to just make them.

    I’m wondering if I can recycle old wool sweaters as well. That might be a thought.

    Thank you for these.

  5. Jen April 2, 2013 at 10:51 pm #

    Thanks so much for the instructions!! I will be trying to make these :0)

  6. Mel Brooks December 30, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

    I dug up some of my more hideous flannels from my stash and a polar fleece throw, and managed to prep 2 dozen pairs! now I just have to get my overlocker (serger) back from my mother in law to finish them off! thanks for the tutorial :) great idea

  7. Julie December 21, 2012 at 7:07 am #

    If you are a “crafty lady”, you can use a Sizzix Bigz die in either scalloped, or not circle to cut out the circles. I cut using the Tim Holtz Vagabond, and it worked like a dream. No more tired hands. I am making these for my daughter (8th grandchild).

  8. Jennie October 2, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    Thank you SO MUCH for this post. I recently made 2 dozen of them for myself… I’ve never had luck with the thin, expensive cloth ones in stores; I soak through immediately. I like to use reusable products whenever possible, & thought about making my own. I found your post & tried it out… I love how they came out! I used 4 layers (3 layers of flannel, 1 layer of fleece) & have yet to have any issue with leaking or soaking through. I made them on the larger side; that definitely helps. I used pink thread on the inside & white thread on the outside, to help me (Mama Brain!) tell which side should be facing me. I noticed the stitching lines on the inside of one of the white nursing pads in your picture, which I thought was a fabulous idea, so I used a floral stitch on my sewing machine to make those lines. They’re pretty, they’re functional, & I truly appreciate your help! Great job!!!

  9. Kate November 13, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    Thanks for the idea! I was about to buy a few sets of nursing pads online – until I found your website! I finished making two pairs in less than an hour, and will make more if they work well. Thank you so much – you just saved me $17!

  10. JoJo November 1, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

    This is a wonderful idea and I am so excited to try this! Thank you for the great idea!!

  11. Mac August 31, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    I linked to you in my blog today, because I’m expecting my second kiddo in about a month and think I’ll be making several of these once things get kind of normalized up there. ;) (I went through several disposables a day with my first son before things eventually evened out!)

    I’m really terrified about getting thrush, so I’m changing up your recipe just a little bit. Instead of flannel (I have none on hand anyway) I’ll be using thick microfiber. It’s only five dollars for 8 big cloths in the automotive department at Walmart, so I still think it’s a pretty inexpensive option. Someone recommended it to me for burp cloths, but now I’m thinking they’d make great diaper stuffers and nursing pads, too!

    Also, I’ve only just started experimenting with cloth diapers. I’m currently using SunBaby diapers, and I’ve been so surprised by how dry my son’s bottom stays with that thin anti-pill fleece pocket. I think I’ll like my nursing pads with that stuff on the skin side, too. Just to make sure I stay dry! Think it will work?

    • Charlotte October 1, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

      Microfiber is very drying so do not use it directly against the skin. It can be used as an inside layer in both the diapers and the nursing pads, but not right against your skin or your babies skin. It should not be used as a burp cloth, baby’s skin will be terribly chapped and may crack. I made mine with 2 layers of bamboo fleece and 1 layer of leftover PUL baby print that I had used to make my all-in-two diapers.

      • Charlotte October 1, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

        Also, there are 2 kinds of microfiber cloths. One is for dusting only and will not absorb, so be sure if you use it you get the cloths that are for getting wet.

  12. Monster Beats Discount August 10, 2011 at 1:32 am #

    Just a suggestion about the two inner layers being smaller in diameter than the outer layers -make sure they are secured somehow, perhaps by running a stitch down the middle, so they do not crumple up inside and make your pads lumpy. Great idea, though!