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TIPS-tested breast pads and breast treatments - 2011


Follow one of the links below to find out all about the 6 breast pads and 8 breast treatments we have tested.

Breast pads:

Best of the best & Best organic - Natracare New Mother Nursing Pads
Must-have - Lilypadz silicone reusable breast pads

Innovative - Evanesse Washable Nursing Pads, Milkies Milk Saver and Philips AVENT Comfort Breast Shells

Best WashableLanowool breastfeeding pads

Best DisposableNature Babycare Eco Nursing pads


Breast treatments:


TIPS to go - download a list of the award-winning products here

 


You can also find out more about the testing process in the following sections

Awards

Natracare New Mother Nursing Pads
RRP:  £2.29 for 26 pads  
Supplied and manufactured by www.natracare.com
Award: Best of the best & Best organic

Natracare New Mother Nursing Pads have excellent eco-friendly credentials and were highly praised by Testers for their softness and comfort. One Tester went further, calling them a ‘real treat’.

Natracare products use only organic and natural materials that meet the highest organic, environmental and biodegradable standards, sourced from raw material producers that manage and monitor resources respectfully.  Natracare does not use any animal ingredients or test on animals, so these pads are suitable for vegans.

Chlorine-free and 100% plant cellulose, Natracare New Mother Nursing Pads are perfect for people who want eco-friendly disposable pads. These and Nature Babycare Eco Nursing pads were the only disposable pads without a plastic lining that kept Parent Testers dry. Although they cost slightly more, Parent Testers agreed they are good value for money. Natracare also offer a full range of eco-friendly female hygiene products that are worthy of a mention. Natracare New Mother Nursing Pads achieved the highest score in the breast pad category, and we are delighted to award them Best organic and Best of the best!

This is what some of the Testers said:

  • I love Natracare’s ethos of being very environmentally conscious as well as highly conscious of the wellbeing of its customers
  • I used them when stopping feeding and they soaked up excess milk well
  • I am often reduced to buying the cheapest pads which are usually rough and itchy but these were very soft and very comfortable to wear
  • Natracare pads delivered on everything that was promised.

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Lilypadz silicone reusable breast pads
RRP: £14.99 a pair  
Supplied and manufactured by www.simplylily.co.uk
Award: Must-have

These breathable, transparent silicone breast pads fit discreetly under any clothing. Lilypadz stop leaks by exerting a gentle pressure on the nipples - yes they really do work! They can be worn at all times: in bed, in the shower or at the swimming pool. Lilypadz are easy to clean and can be washed over and over again.

Once breastfeeding is established (after 6 to 8 weeks) I would have no hesitation in recommending the latest innovation in breast pads: Lilypadz. They can be an alternative to conventional pads for special occasions, or when you need to be reassured that you will not leak, but I would not advocate using them for long periods. If your baby is due a feed and you have been wearing Lilypadz for a few hours it would be unrealistic to expect them to prevent leakage.

I had been concerned that Lilypadz may cause blocked ducts or mastitis. Parent Testers thoroughly tested these pads over many weeks in 2007 and again in 2010 and I am happy to report that my concerns were unfounded. In fact so delighted were Parent Testers they suggested Lilypadz should be awarded a TIPS ‘Must-have’.

This is what some of the Testers said:

  • I liked the fact I could wear them in bed without a bra which was more comfortable
  • I have never used this product before and absolutely love it!
  • Perfect for swimming or nights out when you are not nursing
  • It is discreet and easy to use; I wish I had got them sooner.

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Evanesse Washable Nursing Pads
RRP: £17 (4 pads - £4.25 each pad)
Size range covered: 34A – 42D (chose from B -E)
Supplied and manufactured by www.kasselot.com
UK website: www.evanesse.co.uk
Made in South Africa

Tested May 2013

Award: Innovative

It isn't easy to be stylish when you're the mother of a new baby. Lee-Anne Kassel discovered this first hand when her daughter Cheyanne was born, and she decided to breastfeed. Unable to find either a comfortable yet fashionable maternity bra, or washable pads that would prevent breast milk from leaking onto her clothes, she decided to create her own designs.

In 2004 Lee-Anne founded Kasselot (Pty) Ltd, a company devoted to maternity lingerie. Like its signature product the Evanesse elegant, leak-proof  breastfeeding bra, Evanesse nursing pads draw moisture away from the breast using patented evaporative technology.

"The last thing working mothers want to worry about is leaking milk or unsightly breast pads", says Lee-Anne Kassell. "With the Evanesse bra, breastfeeding mothers can live their lives as usual while remaining attractive and feminine. That should make for happier mothers and healthier babies!"

The most innovative feature of the Evanesse bra is its patented, breathable technology. The soft inner lining wicks moisture away to a special membrane, where it evaporates due to natural body heat. A similar high-tech fabric is used for sportswear and surgical gloves. "We've taken existing materials and applied them in an innovative way" explains Lee-Anne.
Lee-Anne was a finalist in the 2008 Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards of 2008 (Africa): http://www.cartierwomensinitiative.com/candidate/lee-anne-kassel

Our Parent Testers were especially impressed by the softness of these washable pads. They also commented that the pads fitted inside the bra giving a ‘lovely smooth outline to your breasts’ in contrast to some disposable pads that look lumpy. When asked if the pads lived up to their expectations, Testers were unanimous that they did! They found the pads easy to use, easy to wash and cost-effective too - as they are reusable. For these reasons we have decided to award the Evanesse Nursing Pads a TIPS Innovative award.

This is what some of the Testers said:

  • The pads felt lovely, quite luxurious and very comfortable
  • This is the best pad I have come across in terms of shape and availability of different sizes.  
  • It’s a larger pad than I usually use, more breast-friendly in shape and it matches the contours more effectively.
  • I never found that the pad itself leaked, it was very absorbent.
  • This is the first time I have tried washable pads and I assumed that they wouldn't work as well after a few washes but they were great.
  • I loved that the pad wasn't visible.  I find nursing bras are usually very thin and a circle pad really stands out whereas this offered all over coverage.  I also liked that it offered a little padding as I find nursing bras are not often very flattering.
  • Yes. I found the pads to be really helpful and will definitely be using them again and recommending to others.

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Milkies Milk Saver
RRP: £19.96 for one (two packs are available)
Manufactured by www.mymilkies.com

Supplied by www.breastpumps.co.uk

Award: Innovative

Helen, a registered nurse and breastfeeding mother, is co-creator of the Milkie Milk Saver. This device is made of BPA and Phthalate free recyclable plastic.  The Milkie Milk Saver is designed to safely collect breast milk from the non-feeding breast while the mother is breastfeeding her baby. It was launched in America in 2007 and is now available to buy in the UK.

Some mothers find it difficult to express milk with mechanical pumps – this can be fiddly and stressful. While her baby is at the breast, a mother is stimulated to maintain a good supply - this is nature’s very own breast pump. A mother will often leak a couple of ounces of breastmilk at each feed. With Milkie Milk Saver this breastmilk can be collected and stored for later use or mixed with cereals when the baby has started mixed feeding. Parent Testers liked the idea of collecting their breastmilk while feeding normally - this allowed them to save every precious drop!

The Milkie Milk Saver comes with excellent advice on-pack and online, including a video clip of mothers using the device. The Milk Saver is easy to use, simple to clean (can be washed by hand, dishwasher or sterilised in boiling water) and comes complete with a carry case to use when out and about. Parent Testers did agree it was easier to use in the privacy of their own home although, with practice, it is perfectly possible to use anywhere. Parent Testers found the device very cost-effective; one commented that she needed less disposable breast pads.

This is what some of the Testers said:

  • I liked the fact you can put breast milk bags on the Milkie to collect milk
  • I have been able to save a feed’s worth of milk per day – at this rate I might be able to resurrect some kind of social life!
  • The concept works, can’t believe how much milk I have been wasting!
  • I have been unable to express milk; I only wish I had known about this product.

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Philips AVENT Comfort Breast Shells
RRP: £10 for a pair (6 pieces) 
Supplied and manufactured by www.avent.philips.com
Award: Innovative

Some mothers find it difficult to express milk with mechanical pumps – this can be fiddly and stressful. While her baby is at the breast, a mother is stimulated to maintain a good supply - this is nature’s very own breast pump. A mother will often leak a couple of ounces of breastmilk at each feed. With Philips AVENT Comfort Breast Shells this breast milk can be collected and stored for later use or mixed with cereals when the baby has started mixed feeding. Parent Testers liked the idea of collecting their breastmilk while feeding normally - this allowed them to save every precious drop!

The Comfort Breast Shell is part of the range of breastfeeding products available from the Philips AVENT international website. Parent Testers especially liked the softness of the Comfort Breast Shells. They are manufactured from ultra soft plastic and silicone making them extremely flexible and much gentler than earlier designs. Parent Testers found them easy to use and simple to clean - Comfort Breast Shells can be sterilised. The sets include ventilated shells (to protect sore or cracked nipples) and non-ventilated shells (to collect leaking breast milk). The shells spout makes it easier to pour collected milk into a container.

Most Testers had never considered using such a product. However, they agreed this was an innovative way to catch leaks and reduce the need for disposable breast pads.

This is what some of the Testers said:

  • It was so comfortable there were a couple of times I forgot  it was there
  • It caught more milk than I thought it would and was easy to take apart without losing a drop
  • The shells were great and probably something I wouldn’t have used until testing them!
  • You don’t have to waste milk by using disposable pads.

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Lanowool breastfeeding pads
RRP: £10 pair  
Supplied and manufactured by www.lanowool.com
Award: Best Washable

Feedback from our 2007 trial of breast pads showed that many Testers preferred to use washable pads because they are more eco-friendly than disposable ones.

In the 2010 trial, Lanowool breastfeeding pads were universally praised by Parent Testers as one of the best reusable pads. The 100% certified organic merino wool pads are supremely comfortable, soft, slim line and easy to wash. They stayed in place, were discreet and kept Testers dry. Although quite expensive, Testers thought the Lanowool pads were cost effective as they are high quality and more than exceeded Testers’ expectations.

A refreshing concept in reusable breast pads, Lanowool pads really work. This is why we are delighted to award Lanowool the accolade of ‘Best Washable’ pad.

This is what some of the Testers said:

  • Lanowool pads are wonderful!! They are so comfortable you forget you are wearing them!
  • I wish I had discovered them earlier!
  • I loved the size, the feel and you didn’t need to wash them every day
  • Although it did not stick to my bra, it stayed in place and was discreet.

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Nature Babycare Eco Nursing pads
RRP: £2.95 for 30 pads
Supplied and manufactured by Naty AB www.naty.com
Award: Best Disposable

Manufactured by the Swedish company Naty AB under the Nature Babycare brand name, these nursing pads are part of a range of eco-friendly products which includes nappies, toddler pants, bibs, breast pads, baby skincare products (see our baby wipe awards), sanitary pads and nappy bags. This company is a refreshing addition to the mother and baby sector with a novel approach to marketing that involves ‘word-of-mouth’ recommendation through their Ambassador Programme.

Parent Testers praised these pads for their incredible softness and comfort. Manufactured using 100% natural and renewable materials, they are also 100% chlorine free. These and Natracare New Mother Nursing pads were the only disposable pads without a plastic lining. Nature Babycare Eco Nursing Pads use fluid-resistant, hygienic and breathable film based on 100% GM-free natural maize. Parent Testers were keen to praise this environmentally-friendly approach and we are delighted to acknowledge this by awarding the Eco Nursing Pads the Best disposable.

This is what some of the Testers said:

  • It was so much softer than the brand I had been using
  • This pad prevented most leaks unless I was very late for feeding
  • I would definitely recommend to other mums concerned about environmental impact of nappies and pads that use gels
  • More expensive but works better so you use less.

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Essential Care Organic nipple balm
RRP: £5.50 for 20mls (27.5p/ml)
Supplied and manufactured by www.essential-care.co.uk
Award: Best of the best and Best organic

Handmade in small batches in Suffolk, this nipple balm contains 100% certified organic plant oils and extracts including shea butter, coconut oil and calendula.

Unable to find suitable products for her and her family's very sensitive and eczema-prone skin, Essential Care founder Margaret set about creating effective formulations. Essential Care products contain only organic herbs (certified 100% organic by the Soil Association), plant oils and natural active ingredients compatible with the most sensitive skin.

This attention to detail is reflected in the quality of the information Essential Care provide with their products and on their website.

Parent Testers liked the size and shape of the container which made dispensing particularly easy.

Parent Testers praised the smooth consistency. They were also impressed that the balm (100% food grade) is safe to use before during or after breastfeeding. This balm can also be massaged into the perineum during the last few weeks of pregnancy, and after labour to help healing. This gorgeous nipple balm melted on easily, soothed instantly and helped to keep nipples supple.

The quality of the ingredients makes this product an obvious choice for people who care about the environment, or for anyone with sensitive skin. I am delighted to give Essential Care Organic Nipple Balm not only a TIPS Best organic award but also Best of the best for highest scoring breast treatment.

This is what some of the Testers said:

  • This is what some of the Testers said:
  • This product is perfect the way it is!
  • It is natural, safe and pure – BRILLIANT!
  • It’s cheaper, smoother and it works!
  • I found it instantly soothing and it helped to heal my nipples.

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Organic Babies Baby Salve
RRP: £9.70 for 100mls (9.5p/ml)  
Supplied and manufactured by www.organicbabies.com
Award: Best eco-friendly

 

Soothing Baby Salve contains 96% certified organic ingredients including organic hemp, calendula and lavender. This multi-purpose salve is suitable for use on face, hands, body, bottom and of course nipples. One Tester also used it to successfully treat cradle cap. Parent Testers were especially pleased that it was safe to use while breastfeeding and that the salve did not have to remove before feeding.

Initially the salve feels slightly grainy but Parent Testers found that it quickly absorbed into the skin making application much easier and smoother than other nipple creams. Although this product is quite expensive, a little really does go a long way and Parent Testers agreed it was good value for money.

All products in the Organic Babies range are handmade in small batches using the most natural and organic ingredients. They are suitable for vegetarians and certified by the Organic Food Federation. Testers were especially impressed by the eco-friendly and ethical credentials of this company, including their policy to donate 10% of their profits to ‘green’ issues. To acknowledge these many attributes we are delighted to award it the TIPS Best Eco-friendly.

This is what some of the Testers said:

  • Rubs in so well with no sticky residue and no need to wash off
  • I was dubious but wow it works!
  • When I used the salve on my nipple the redness was gone
  • It smells lovely and promotes relaxation so helped my milk to flow better.

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Aaah Soothing Balm
RRP: £6.50 for 60mls (10.8p/ml)
Supplied and manufactured by www.mamababybliss.co.uk
Award: Must-have

The MamaBabyBliss range of products for mother and baby is based on natural formulations that are free from mineral oils, sulphates (SLS/SLES) and parabens. Aaah Soothing Nipple Balm contains food grade sunflower, beeswax, shea butter and mango butter. The MamaBabyBliss website continues to expand, and recently-added video clips give useful advice and tips on each product. The nipple balm should be applied to clean dry nipples and Testers were reassured that it was safe to use while breastfeeding.

Testers loved the ‘girly’ packaging of this product. The use of recycled glass, environmentally friendly packaging and the excellent online advice was also praised by Testers.

Aaah Soothing Nipple Balm is easy to dispense, easy to apply, odourless and free from artificial ingredients. Because a little goes a long way making this product is especially cost-effective. Parent Testers used it to soothe dry skin, chapped lips and nappy rash as well as sore nipples - this balm is a truly versatile remedy. In fact one Tester commented that Aaah Soothing Nipple Balm was a bit like ‘WD40 for nipples’!

This is what some of the Testers said:

  • Lovely texture, not too thick and immediately soothing
  • Loved the fact that it was a good all-rounder balm with many uses
  • It is a more luxurious product that can be used anywhere on dry skin
  • It felt so much nicer than my current brand which tends to stick to my breast pad.

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Multi-Mam Compresses (formerly known as Bio-Fem)
RRP: £10.20 for 12 compresses  
Supplied by www.multi-mam.co.uk

Manufactured by BioClin
Distributed by HG Medicines Ltd


Award: Must-have

Multi-Mam Compresses are a unique double sided biodegradable compress that is very comfortable to wear and is non-messy. The compresses are impregnated with a bio-active ingredient 2QR (pronounced ‘to cure’). 2QR is 100% natural with the main ingredient extracted from aloe vera. 2QR helps prevent infection by blocking the development of harmful micro-organisms. Parent Testers found the compress easy to use and instantly soothing on sore or cracked nipples. One Tester used a compress to successfully treat a small cut on her nipple.

Parent testers liked the individual sachets – these are ideal for popping in a baby bag. The compress is a welcome alternative to standard nipple treatments, and because the gel is safe even when swallowed, mothers don’t need to remove it before feeding.

This is what some of the Testers said:

  • A surprisingly lovely texture which was quite exciting
  • It was a ‘godsend’ for relieving cracked nipples and thrush too
  • It felt like a cold cabbage leaf without the smell!
  • Felt instant relief and nipples healed quite quickly with this product.

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Weleda Nursing Oil

RRP: £7.95 for 50mls (15.9p/ml)  
Supplied and manufactured by www.weleda.co.uk

Tested April 2012

Award: Must-have

 

Weleda has ethical and environmentally-friendly credentials that are second to none. The information provided with Weleda Nursing Oil is excellent, especially the sensible advice to avoid using the oil on the nipple and areola to make it easier for baby to latch on confidently when feeding. Although not strictly a nipple treatment, this oil can be included in the breast treatment category as it is designed to help breastfeeding.

The new Weleda Maternity range includes another TIPS Award-winning product: Weleda Stretch Mark Massage Oil (we tested this as a belly balm and you can read the review in the TIPS Awards section) and a soothing Baby Tummy Oil.

Weleda Nursing Oil was a favourite with our pregnant and breastfeeding Testers. They especially liked the subtle scent. This gentle formula of organic almond oil, essential oils of fennel, caraway and marjoram is used traditionally to prepare for and to support breastfeeding. The oil can be used from the 38th week of pregnancy. Testers were pleased to find the Weleda Nursing Oil to be effective. They told us that regular breast massages while breastfeeding had a positive effect on milk supply and helped to reduce the chances of engorgement and blocked ducts.  This is why we are delighted to award Weleda Nursing Oil a TIPS Must-have.

 

This is what some of the Testers said:

  • I liked it so much I have bought one for my sister in law who's due to be induced with her first baby
  • It's softer on the skin, easy to apply and I really believe my milk came in quicker than it would have done if I had not used the nursing oil.
  • I didn't use nursing oil before but would not be without it now whilst breast feeding.
  • The oil is not slippery and none spilled, so the bottle stayed oil free and clean

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Organic Babies Mum and Baby Rescue Balm
RRP:£9.70 for 100mls (9.7p/ml)  
Supplied and manufactured by www.greenpeople.co.uk

Tested April 2012

Award: Must-have

 

With nine TIPS Awards in total Organic Babies products are already firm favourites with our Parent Testers. Green People launched their first product in 1997. 15 years on, this respected manufacturer offers an extensive range of natural products for children, babies, and mums to be. One of the UK's biggest names in organic beauty, Green People has ethical and environmentally-friendly credentials that are second to none. The product information is excellent - both on-pack and online.

Testers were especially impressed with the organic ingredients used in this balm. They found that it was perfect for sore nipples as it does not need to be wiped off before feeding. Although not originally designed to be a nipple treatment this rescue balm is ideal for this use. In fact this versatile product has many other uses for both mother and baby, hence the apt name!

This is why we are delighted to award Organic Babies Mum and Baby Rescue Balm a TIPS Must-have.

 

This is what some of the Testers said:

  • I definitely liked how easy it was to apply, especially when you have sore nipples and you don't want to do much rubbing!
  • I really like that it can be used for both mom and baby, and can be used before and after birth. I feel like this makes the product great value for the money.
  • I haven't used anything else because I haven't needed to!
  • Yes, it does cost more, but it can be used for more things, sore nipples, eczema, etc.
  • It smells better than my usual brand, is more natural, has better ingredients and isn't as sticky.

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Shea Mooti Mama’s Calming Nipple Balm
RRP:£9.99 for 50mls (19.98p/ml)  

Contains vegan friendly ingredients.
Supplied and manufactured by www.sheamooti.co.uk

Tested July 2013

Award: Must-have

The name "Shea Mooti" came about because Violet used ethically-sourced Shea Butter from AfriKids’ Daughters, a multi-cooperative in northern Ghana, to create her initial range of products. ‘Mooti’ comes from ‘Muti’ meaning ‘tree’ in Shona – the language of Violet's native Zimbabwe.

This natural blend of Organic Coconut, Pomegranate, Calendula Oils and Shea Butter has been specially formulated to soothe and protect nipples from cracking and soreness. Safe to use while breastfeeding, it can also be used as a lip balm.

Shea Mooti Mama’s Calming Nipple Balm could be a life-saver in the early weeks of breastfeeding. At first, Testers thought it was a slightly tricky to get the balm out of the jar and to apply it, but this became easier with a little practice. They particularly liked the all natural formulation, the lovely scent and the fact that the product lasted ages. One Tester also enjoyed using it as a lip balm giving this product extra value.

This is why we are delighted to award Shea Mooti Mama’s Calming Nipple Balm a TIPS Must-have.

This is what some of the Testers said:

  • I like the container, the smell, the effectiveness. I used it on my lips and liked it as a lip balm too, my other brand didn't feel as nice on my lips
  • It lasts ages. I barely made a dent in it using it daily for 2 weeks.
  • If they could add more coconut oil so it melts quicker that would be perfect for me :-)
  • I found this very soothing. I have sensitive nipples and if Ethan has been feeding for a long time they get irritated, this balm really helped that feeling.

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Kamillosan Soothing Ointment
RRP: £4.95 for 50mls (9.9p/ml)  
Supplied and manufactured by www.kamillosan.co.uk
Award: Highly commended

Kamillosan Ointment contains natural chamomile, an ingredient recognized for its healing and soothing properties. Parent Testers found the non-sticky texture easy to apply as well as soft and soothing to the touch. It is worth noting the warning about the possibility of staining, but any stains do wash out. This product is made from mostly natural ingredients. Kamillosan recommend the ointment should be applied after breastfeeding and the nipple area should be cleansed of ointment prior to breastfeeding.This advice also ensures that sore nipples are well protected between feeds while they heal.

Kamillosan’s strength comes from its versatility: not only is it great for protecting and soothing sore nipples but, as our Testers found, it is also an effective treatment for dry lips, sore bottoms, cracked elbows, and other more intimate areas that we will not list here!

This is what some of the Testers said:

  • Texture and fragrance is pleasant to use and cost-effective
  • Instantly soothing on the skin
  • Good to have in the bathroom cupboard for all skin all skin conditions
  • One of the best thing about this product is it does not leave your fingers sticky.

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Multi-Mam Balm (formerly known as Bio-Fem)
RRP: £7.49 for 30mls (24.9p/ml) 
Supplied by www.multi-mam.co.uk

Manufactured by BioClin
Distributed by HG Medicines Ltd

 
Award: Highly commended

Multi-Mam Balm is easy to use and soothing for sore or cracked nipples. It provides a pleasant alternative to standard treatments as the balm has a non-greasy consistency. It is easy to apply, soothes instantly and doesn’t stain clothing. This is a welcome substitute to thicker nipple creams and because Multi-Mam Balm is completely safe even when swallowed, mothers didn’t need to remove it before feeding.

This is what some of the Testers said:

  • Softer and less sticky than my usual brand
  • I felt instant relief, just as it says on the  packaging
  • I liked the fact that it doesn’t need to be removed before feeding
  • It did not have a strong smell and was a much better consistency.

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How the TIPS Award Scheme works

Only products that comply with our strict criteria can be submitted for a TIPS trial – this is part of our robust selection process explained in the ‘Methodology and criteria’ section below. This means that any product accepted to go through to the testing programme is already a winner.

 

When selected for a trial, volunteer Parent Testers receive products to test and are asked to provide their comments using a detailed questionnaire. Testers’ feedback is collated, evaluated and reviewed by Sharon Trotter.

On completion of the judging process, awards are confirmed and the results are published on the TIPS website.

I would also like to say a special thank you to our team of dedicated parent testers whose comments and detailed feedback allow the TIPS testing programme to achieve a level of independence and impartiality that is second to none.

Please note that products tested by TIPS are not free or promotional products, but samples for the sole purpose of independent testing. Only Testers who have agreed and signed a copy of the TIPS Award Scheme terms and conditions can take part in a TIPS trial.

 

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About this trial

These results replace the 2007 trial of breast pads and treatments which was the first nationwide test carried out by the TIPS Awards Scheme.

Twelve products were selected for this trial tested under two categories: 6 breast pads and 6 breast treatments. 120 samples, supplied by 11 manufacturers were sent to 47 breastfeeding mothers (feeding babies from birth to 3+ years of age).

Testers completed and returned 101 detailed questionnaires, this is a return rate of 84%.

Exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months of life provides for all the nutritional needs of a baby. Half of these needs can still be met by breastfeeding in the period from 6  to 12 months. From 12 to 24 months a baby will still receive a third of its nutritional requirements from breast milk alone (WHO 2006).

In a TIPS Ltd online poll, 350 mothers reported their top 3 breastfeeding problems (Trotter 2010). Of these problems, 92 percent were directly associated with conflicting advice. This led to physical difficulties (such as sore nipples, blocked duct, mastitis, thrush and tongue-tie) as well as psychological problems (mainly lack of confidence caused by conflicting advice).

As a passionate supporter of breastfeeding, I believe first and foremost that ongoing support and positive encouragement are vital to breastfeeding success (Trotter 2008 and 2009).

Nonetheless I have to agree that many women suffer from sore nipples or leak breast milk, especially in the early days of feeding. This usually settles down but breast pads and treatments can still be extremely useful for breastfeeding mums.

If you have any concerns, speak to your midwife or lactation consultant. You can also find out more about breastfeeding in the TIPS factsheet here....

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Methodology and criteria

Breast pads

Breast pads with waterproof backings have been excluded from the tests, as I prefer to recommend pads that are breathable and will not increase perspiration of the breast. However, I have included Lilypadz breast pads as they are made from gas permeable silicone and are breathable. I do not recommend using Lilypadz for the first couple of months when the delicate balance of milk supply and demand settles down. Lilypadz provide detailed information to help you get the best from this innovative product.

When you introduce mixed feeding, you may wish to collect breast milk - this may drip from one breast while you are feeding from the other. Breast milk you have collected can be used to make up small amounts of baby cereal (why waste a drop?). This is why I have included Philips AVENT Comfort Breast Shells and the Milkies Milk saver in this trial. Nipple shields can disrupt good positioning and attachment. This is why they have been excluded from this trial.

Breast treatments

With good positioning and attachment, breastfeeding should be pain free. Some mums don’t get the advice and support they need to achieve this. Sore nipples can upset the initiation and establishment of breastfeeding. Sometimes, engorgement, blocked duct, mastitis or thrush makes breastfeeding painful. Treatments are available to help with nipple pain. Mums can use these products to help soothe the pain and continue breastfeeding until their nipples are healed.

TIPS only test breast treatments that are free from harmful ingredients, as natural as possible and kind to baby skin (find out more about ingredients here). As babies taste them, nipple creams must be safe to leave on the nipple without causing a reaction.

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Guidelines for Testers


Dear Parent Tester

Thank you for agreeing to help us test Breast pads and treatments while breastfeeding.

Please feel free to tell me exactly what you think, good or bad. This information will be made available to the suppliers. My aim is to provide them with data that will enable them to improve their products for you, the customer.

 

How to test

Please use each breastpad or breast treatment for at least one week. This should give you a chance to find out whether they work for you or not. You can then complete the questionnaire.

 

Completing the questionnaire

There are five sections in the questionnaire:

  • about you and your baby: in this section we ask a few questions about you and your baby - this helps us understand how the products may help you
  • the product: in this section, we ask about the packaging and  the information provided which includes advice on breastfeeding support
  • use of product: this includes questions about ease of use, comfort, visibility of pads under clothing, absorbency, effectiveness, formulation of balms, scent of balms and how the product compares with other brands you may have used
  • feedback: in this section, we ask for comments on your favourite features, suggestions for improvements, and comments on the price
  • awards: in this section, you can suggest an award for the product you have tested.

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Conclusion

As you can see, there are many aspects of design and formulation to assess when testing this seemingly simple product. A well-designed breast pad or breast treatment will fulfil all the needs of mum and baby and should:

  • list all ingredients and ideally explain why these ingredients have been used – this information should be provided with the product and available online
  • provide consumers with breastfeeding advice either on pack or online
  • be safe and gentle, even on delicate skin
  • not include harsh ingredients or unnecessary additives
  • be made from bio-degradable materials, and
  • be sold in recyclable packaging by ethically aware companies.

This can only be achieved when manufacturers pay close attention to detail at all stages of the manufacturing process.

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Ingredients

Manufacturers who submit products for testing must submit the full INCI list of chemical ingredients for each product to TIPS Ltd before any trial (ideally this list should be posted online on the company website so it is available for anyone to refer to). Full Latin names must be used and every ingredient must be listed (i.e. ‘Emulsifying Wax BP’ sounds innocent enough but can contain SLS [not allowed under our guidelines] and is why we need each ingredient to be listed).

 

 

Products will be excluded if they contain:

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS)
  • Sodium Laureth Sulphate SLES)
  • Parabens (Methyl, Propyl, Butyl and Ethyl Paraben)
  • Phthalates
  • Triclosan
  • Propylene Glycol (PG)
  • DEA (diethanolamine)
  • MEA (monoethanolamine)
  • TEA (triethanolamine)
  • Methylchloroisothiazolonone (MIT) or Methylisothiazolinone (MIT).

 

Products may be excluded if they contain:

  • Benzoates (Benzoic acid, sodium benzoate or parahydroxy benzoate)
  • petrochemicals
  • synthetic fragrances
  • essential oils.

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Disclaimer. TIPS Ltd is not responsible or liable for any failings of products that have been submitted for the testing programme. The responsibility remains with the individual manufacturer. Research is constantly changing and whilst every effort is made by TIPS Ltd to ensure the information contained in the guidelines is accurate and up-to-date, parent testers must still be encouraged to seek the advice of their midwife, health visitor, lactation consultant or GP if they have any concerns.
TIPS Ltd© 2011


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breast pads


Natracare New Mother Nursing Pads
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AW_best-organic_pad

Natracare-Logo


Lilypadz breast pads
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product photocompany logo


Evanesse Washable Nursing Pads (RT)

award logoproduct photo

logo


Milkies Milk Saver

AW_innovative_padproduct photo

company logo


AVENT Comfort Breast Shells
AW_innovative_padproduct photo

company logo


Lanowool breastfeeding pads
AW_best-washable_padproduct photo

company logo


Nature Babycare Eco Nursing pads
AW best-disposable padproduct photo

company logo

 


breast treatments

Essential Care Organic nipple balm

AW_best-of-the-best_bTreatmentproduct photo
AW_best-organic_bTreatmentcompany logo


Green People Organic Babies Baby Salve
AW_best-eco-friendly_bTreatmentproduct photo

company logo


MamaBabyBliss Aaah Soothing Balm
AW_must-have_bTreatmentproduct photo

company logo


Multi-Mam Compress
(formerly known as Bio-Fem)
AW_must-have_bTreatmentproduct photo

logo

 


graphicproduct photo

weleda logo blue

 


 

Organic Babies Mum and Baby Rescue Balm(RT)

AW must-have bTreatment

 product photo

company logo

 


Shea Mooti Mama’s Calming Nipple Balm (RT)

award logoproduct photo

logo

 


Kamillosan Soothing Ointment
AW_highly-commended_bTreatmentcompany logo

product photo


Multi-Mam Balm
(formerly known as Bio-Fem)
AW_highly-commended_bTreatmentproduct photo

logo

 

References

Trotter S (2008). Breastfeeding basics: advice for new mums. Nursing in Practice (September/ October 2008) Number 44 – (Children’s health): 23-5

Trotter S (2009).New toolkit for Breastfeeding supporters. Midirs Essence: Issue 27 (May 09)

Trotter (2010). TIPS Toolkit for Breastfeeding. TIPS Ltd, Scotland.

Trotter S (2010). Online poll of top 3 breastfeeding problems carried out between 2007-2010 by www.tipslimited.com. Available on request.

World Health Organization. Child and adolescent health and development. 2006.

Trotter S (2010). Babycare - back to Basics™. TIPS Ltd. Scotland (Version 7)



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