Cheap Alternatives to Breastfeeding Pads and Tops


I have been trawling the forums and I realised many mothers comparing notes about breastfeeding pads, their costs as well as those of breastfeeding tops. These can cost a tidy sum of money and for those of us who would like to set the cash aside for more important things such as medical checkups, household expenditures and allowance for the older child, here are some ideas on how to save in this area.

Tiny Towels vs Breastfeeding Pads for use at Home

When I was breastfeeding Kae, I would tuck in 2 squares of absorbent China towels- those that you can buy cheap and in bulk from the market- into my breastfeeding bra. You can save breastfeeding pads for when you go out and would like your nursing bra to have a nicer shape. Back home, who cares? They are easy to wash and fast to dry as well.

Comfy Tee, Going Topless or Nursing Gowns

Nursing Gowns cost an arm and a leg. Cheaper alternatives if you love your PJs are buttoned top gowns that you can get from your neighbourhood shop- gowns made from cool batik material are great for our weather. They look kitschy but again, no one is gonna see them- ‘cept your family members and hubby.

If not, just wear a baggy and comfy old tee to bed, or “go commando” on top.

When Kae was about a month old, I realised he was able to wriggle his way to me and to root for milk. I started sleeping topless and he would happily latch on to me on his own accord! I would wake up when he started suckling. I would not recommend sharing a bed with your baby if you or your spouse are the sort that sprawls yourself across the bed. I was able to sleep in one position in one corner so that Kae had the whole bed to himself.

Make your own nursing top alternatives

If you have the cash to spare, nursing tops are a good investment especially if you intend to breastfeed long term, but for those of us who prefer to spend only when it is needful, nursing tops can be a luxury.

I breastfed for three years and I only had ONE nursing top which a friend gave to me when my son was coming to two, as a gift. I wore it when I went for gatherings or parties as it had a nice design, but I survived pretty much without nursing tops for those 3 years. How?

You can wear a guy’s t-back singlet in a slightly larger size under a favourite top. As the arm holes are a bit larger and stretchy, you can easily push the material aside to nurse your baby. You dont’t have to buy Byford, just get those cheap and thin white China made cotton singlets.

Alternatively, wear a tube under a t-shirt, when you want to nurse, you just have to lift the t-shirt up, tuck baby under, and your belly remains covered under the tube. The tube also helps to hold the love handles in.

You can cut slightly higher slits on the side of the tees that you wear above those tube tops/ singlet to make it easier to lift the top and tuck baby underneath for discrete feeding.

Wrap front tops, rubberised collared tops as well as smocked top blouses or dresses also make for great nursing top alternatives. You just have to use a scarf or shawl to protect your modesty as you feed. These are normal off the rack tops.

If you are good with a needle and thread & love to do craftwork, there are instructions available online on how you can buy two cheap tops and sew them into a nursing top. Buying two tops can actually be cheaper than buying one nursing top!

With many places now having nursing rooms, it is easier to feed baby in public shopping centres and malls conveniently. So even if you just want to wear your regular outfits out and can’t be bothered to try out the above suggestions, no sweat.

8 years ago, many places were not as breastfeeding/baby friendly, and yet I survived on the basics. So you’ll do fine too. =)

Geraldine Wee