When I was pregnant, I did a lot of reading and research. Although being a Mom was inevitably going to increase my impact on the planet, (I was introducing a new human to the mix after all) I felt strongly that with a little bit of effort I could find ways to minimize that impact.
I used small washcloths and warm water to wipe my little man's bottom (that's not so easy now that he goes to daycare etc), I use vinegar in my wash to minimize smells and static and I use cloth diaper service from Happy Nappy, which are washed without the use of phosphates and surfactants.
As a Momma who was planning to (and succeeded at) breastfeeding, I knew that I would need breast pads to minimize those awful milk stains on the front of all my shirts. When I heard about reusable Lily Padz breast pads, I was sure I had found the perfect solution. Lily Padz are made from thin silicone, that puts pressure on the nipple to prevent leaking (rather than absorbing leakage like traditional breast pads).
Lily Wash on their website. Lily Padz don't show through your clothes and are considered safe for sleeping, swimming and pretty much all activities.
Now all of that being said, I was dissapointed in my Lily Padz. Yes, they were comfortable, yes, they stayed in place until I removed them, yes, they created a smooth surface under my shirts instead of the wrinkly bunch of cotton that traditional breast pads create and yes they prevented the leakage of breast milk all over my clothes. Unfortunately, after my son fed on one side, when I went to remove the second Lily Pad, I was consistently confronted with a pool of milk, which then spilled all over me or the chair I was sitting in. I recall the instructions telling me this may be a problem early on, when your milk supply isn't regulated, but I had this problem every single time I tried my Lily Padz.
This leads to my second problem with Lily Padz. Now that I have removed a milky, wet breast pad, what am I to do with it? At home, its easy, I just plop it on the couch next to me and then clean it up and reapply once the peanut is done eating. Out and About however, this is increasingly difficult. With a cloth breast pad, you can tuck it away inconspicuously, under your leg, into your diaper bag, under the receiving blanket, pretty much anywhere. But given the tacky surface of the Lily Padz, you don't want to have it next to anything that might "fuzz" onto it, especially if you are hoping to reapply without rewashing (remember according to the website you should only need to wash it once a day). What of the pool of milk, that is now sitting in your Lily Pad, out and about for everyone to see? Mopping it up with a kleenex or recieving blanket may add fuzz to your Lily Pad and who's to guarantee that the nearest washroom will have an appropriate soap to get it all cleaned up again?
Finally, despite regular cleaning (I tried both cleansing shampoo and dish soap) I found that my Lily Padz consistently looked dingy and dirty, which is not ideal for something covering your baby's main food source. And when I left them to air dry, they still seemed to get all sorts of stuff stuck to them, which made me feel the need to wash them again.
Although they are super comfortable, I only wear my Lily Padz if I am going out sans-baby (for which they are perfect) as I just find it too much of a hassle if I'm out in public with the little one. On the Simply Lily website, Lily Padz sell for $22.95, which seems reasonable for a product that you can reuse for about two months before it requires replacement. If I was still breastfeeding when I went back to work, these may have been great, but since I was a stay-at-home Momma for a year they just didn't get their money's worth for me.