Breast engorgement relief is something new mom’s need to know about whether to you choose to breastfeed or not. The sensation can range from uncomfortable to downright painful. There is no avoiding it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t manage it right?
In this article we’re going to find out more about thermal therapy pads specifically designed for breast engorgement relief when nursing or expressing. Find out why you should consider using these pads and what features to look out for.
Let’s jump right in and discover the best engorgement therapy pads on the market.
7 Best Pads for Breast Engorgement Relief
1. Bamboobies Boob-Ease Soothing Therapy Pillows
If you want a great performing thermal pack made from natural materials then check out our tip picks – the Bamboobies Boob Ease pillows. With a name like that who could resist? Bamboobies makes fantastic breastfeeding products which are great performers, and they therapy pillow are no different. You have the option of either soft cosy bamboo fleece on one side, or smooth cool cotton on the other. Your breast will feel like they are cocooned with these on. They are filled with flax seeds as an alternative to gel, so they are perfectly safe if they happen to get burst by an over eager pet or baby.
You can freeze them for cool relief for engorged breasts or sore nipples, lastly around 20 minutes. For heat relief pop in the microwave for around 40 seconds and your get heat for around 15-30 minutes. A perfect solution to help you stimulate your let down before breastfeeding or pumping. As you can’t get the pillows wet you need to use them with breast pads, but they include a pair in the pack which is a bonus.
Pros: Soft, high quality, natural, recyclable, heat quickly,
Cons: Bulky, expensive, cannot get wet.
2. Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy
These Lansinoh TheraPearl are the bestselling therapy pads in our list. Lansinoh is a well trusted breastfeeding brand and TheraPearl is well known for sports therapy relief products. We particularly love the design of these pads as it makes them very easy to use. The small beads help the packs to mold to the shape of your breasts, aided by the segments. The packs are circular with an opening which enables you to use theses packs at the same time as pumping.
Made form 100% polyester, which is BPA and latex free, they are reusable and easy to wipe clean. For heat therapy heat in the microwave for 15 seconds which hold the heat for around 10-15 minutes. You can also pop in the freezer for a minimum 2 hours which will provide cool relief again for around 10-15 minutes.
Pros: wipe clean, use whilst pumping, budget friendly, comfortable
Cons: Poor heat retention, Lansinoh no longer provide felt storage bags,
3. Earth Mama Angel Baby Booby Tubes
The Booby Tubes are like a mash up of the Boob Ease and the Lansinoh TheraPearl. Made from all natural cotton fibre as and filled with flax seeds, with a ‘cut’ circle design. These therapy packs are really flexible to use and can accommodate all breast sizes from small to large.
Heat them easily in the microwave or oven, although they only hold heat for around 10 minutes. They can be cooled in the freezer and worn for cooling relief between feeds. Once placed in your bra, they’ll remain cold for around 10 minutes.
Again as these pads are filled with seeds you can’t wash them, so its wipe clean only. Compared to the Boob ease they are a lot cheaper, but don’t retain the heat/cold for as long.
Pros: Great for all breast sizes, soft, breathable fabric, recyclable, can be used with pump, budget friendly
Cons: Don’t retain heat/cold long, not washable
4. Quirky Bubbas Breastfeeding Gel Pads
These gel pads from Quirky Bubbas have a basic round design with an opening for your nipple or a breast pump. The pads are plastic outer with a gel filling, and they are huge. At 6 inches diameter they easily accommodate breast up to a D/E cup.
The pads are heated by submerging in hot water and will stay hot for around 20 minutes. You can use them for cool relief by placing in the fridge, however this function doesn’t perform as well as the heat.
They gel inside is fairly flexible which helps them to cup around the breast. They are easy to maintain by wiping clean or washing with soapy water.
Pros: Long lasting heat therapy, budget friendly, washable, flexible, great for larger size breasts
Cons: Heat quickly when cooled, plastic edges may rub
5. Philips AVENT Thermal Gel Pads
A similar design to the Quirky Bubba is the Philips Avent Thermal pads. The designs are similar with the large circular gel filled pad. The Avent Thermal pads perform much better with the cooling therapy side, but not with the heat therapy. They take around 20 minutes to heat in water, and ultimately perform as well as a warmed face cloth, which is a shame.
If you plan to use only for the first few days after birth or an infrequent case of engorgement. If you suffer from engorgement regularly we recommend opting for either the Bamboobies, Lansinoh or Pariday gel packs.
Pros: Low price, great for large breasts, flexible, great for cooling, can be used with breast pump
Cons: Take too long to heat, bulky for smaller breasts
6. NUK/ Geber Breast Therapy Relief Pack
We live the contoured shape of these NUK breast therapy packs, although they are strictly home use only, they may look a bit strange in your bra at home. They are made from soft fabric which is washable as it has a gel filling, unlike the boob-ease or booby tubes. There is a circle in the middle which exposes your nipple or slot in a breast pump. Be sure to watch placement if your nipples are sore as the edges can rub.
The heat option performs well, a few seconds in the microwave provides around 20 minutes of heat. The cooling option is great because they can fit snugly into your bra between feeds.
Pros: Washable cloth, contoured, heat quickly, can be used with pump
Cons: Expensive, nipple cut out can rub on sore nipples
7. Pariday TendHer Pillows
The TendHer pillow from Pariday are intended to tackle three breastfeeding issues in one. If you have issues with engorgement, poor let down, plugged ducts as well as sore nipples then consider these. You’ll pay around $25 for two pillows which for 4 weeks before needing replaced. That’s almost double the time of other popular hydrogel pads.
The pillows consist of a gel pad made from vegetarian food grade gel, which is placed inside a soft cloth ‘pillowcase’. The case helps to provide a soft fabric for sore nipples and the plastic backing helps keep your clothes dry when leaking.
Heat the pads in hot water or place in the fridge for heat or cool relief. We highly recommend these for tackling engorgement when you have sore nipples.
Pros: Great for sore nipples, washable cover, prevents leaks, comfortable to wear
Cons: Only last 4 weeks, expensive
Thermal Therapy Pad Basics
Before you buy a pack of thermal breast therapy pads you should know which features to look out for that will provide most benefit for you.
Design – You’ll need to consider if the pads are suitable for your breast size whether large or small. Are the contoured or flexible to use, can you use them whilst pumping?
Heating method – Pads will vary with how they are designed to heat. Some therapy pad can be quickly popped into the microwave and ready in under a minute. Other designs require waiting up to 20 minutes left in the oven or hot water before they are ready.
Therapy time – How long does the pad provide relief for? Some pad perform better for heat therapy and other for cool therapy.
Fabric – Would you prefer a washable plastic material or a natural soft fabric which you can clean?
Reusable – All the pads are reusable but it usually boils down to how hygienic they are to use. Plastic pads tend to last longer as the cloth type are ruined once they get wet.
Price – Expect to pay anything between $7 -$30 for a set of thermal breast therapy pads.
Advantages of Thermal Therapy Pads
Eases Engorgement – Cold pad therapy will help to soothe swelling caused by engorgement between feeds.
Reduced pump time – Improved let down aided by heated pads, helps you to empty the breasts quicker. We recommend combining with hand massage whilst feeding or pumping to combat engorgement and blocked ducts.
Designed for breasts – Thermal breast pads are sized and shaped to fit comfortably into your bra. Some thermal pads are designed to cup the breast and allow room for a breast pump shield.
Help let down – Using heated pads will help your milk to ‘let down’ quicker whilst feeding or expressing, relieving the fullness and discomfort caused by engorgement.
Raynaud’s Relief – Breastfeeding nipples are often affected by Raynaud’s phenomenon due to poor blood supply. Using heat can help to soothe the painful sensation.
Disadvantages of Thermal Breast Pads
Aggravation – It’s best to use cool therapy for engorgement and heat to improve let down before a feed. We recommend avoiding using heat when engorged as it can intensify the swelling.
Preventing let down – Using cold relief before you feed or express can inhibit your let down. It’s best to use a cool pad after a feed and switch to using heat for 10-15 minutes before the next nursing session.
Cost – Natural fabric thermal pads are more comfortable to wear, however are expensive to replace if they get wet. Plastic pads are a cheaper option but care is needed when heating not to melt the outer case.