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TIPS awards - Awards

TIPS-tested breast pads and breast treatments - 2007

Welcome to the latest TIPS testing on breast pads and treatments. I am pleased to report that this has been the largest of all tests (over £900 worth of samples were sent out and 111 score sheets returned) carried out by TIPS. However, this is soon to be eclipsed by the testing on baby skincare products which promises to be the most comprehensive of all (but more about that at a later date).

 

Follow the links below to find out more:

Testing results - breast pads
TIPS to go- follow this link to download a summary of the awards

Testing results - breast treatments
TIPS to go- follow this link to download a summary of the awards

 

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This is the first nationwide test carried out by my newly signed up TIPS parent testers who have voluntarily agreed to test products and report back with their findings and comments. I have been amazed at the wide variety of feedback. I believe this shows that my scoring system and detailed guidelines give testers the tools to provide totally unbiased views on a variety of products, allowing the best products to shine through.

As the TIPS Awards Scheme evolves there will inevitably be problems along the way and this category was no exception. You will see later in ‘guidelines for testers’, I elected not to test breast pads with waterproof backings. I went to great lengths, even tearing apart disposable pads to guarantee they were in fact free from plastic. However, I have to admit to getting this wrong! I included two disposable pads that did in fact contain a plastic backing (only visible when water is poured into the pads). Sadly I had already sent out these two brands for testing so I had to take the decision not to include these results. It would not be fair to the many other disposable pads on the market if I had let these results go through. This left me with only one disposable pad that qualified for testing!

I also elected not to include a nipple cream due to it containing parabens (I had not seen the definitive list of ingredients before the samples arrived). These products will not appear in the final results.

The other interesting result from this testing was the universal shift away from disposable pads to washable pads, once testers had a chance to test the best pads available. This is not only refreshing for new brands of washable pads but also good news for the environment. It shows that, like nappies, breast pads have come a long way to meet the growing demand for washable products.


Guidelines for testers

Most women leak breast milk, especially in the early days of feeding. This usually settles down and although breast pads are not essential, they can still be extremely useful for breastfeeding mothers.

With good positioning and attachment, breastfeeding should be pain free. However, not all women get the advice and support they need to achieve this. Subsequently, sore nipples frequently threaten the establishment of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding can also become painful because of engorgement, blocked ducts, mastitis or thrush. Products have therefore been developed to address these issues and ease nipple pain. As well as providing pain relief, these products allow feeding to continue throughout the healing process.

When you start to introduce mixed feeding, it can be useful to collect breast milk as it drips from one side while you are feeding from the opposite breast. Breast milk collected can then be used to make up small amounts of baby cereal (I don’t like to waste a drop!). This is why I have included breast shells in the test and not because I recommend their use on a regular basis. However, I have excluded nipple shields as these can be detrimental to the establishment of breastfeeding by disrupting good positioning and attachment.

All products tested by TIPS must be free from harmful ingredients, as natural as possible and kind to baby skin. Babies taste nipple creams so any treatment must be safe to leave on the nipple without causing a reaction.

You will also see from the score sheet that I do not mention waterproof backings for breast pads. This is because I have excluded such pads from this test. I would rather recommend pads that are breathable and do not pose any risk of leaving the breast open to unnecessary perspiration. The only exception to this is Lilypadz breast pads, as they are made from gas permeable silicone and are breathable. I am therefore happy to include them in the testing process. It is also worth mentioning that I would not recommend the use of Lilypadz for the first couple of months. This allows the delicate balance of milk supply and demand to settle down. These pads come with specific information to help you get the best from this innovative product. Please read any instructions that are included with your samples before you begin testing.
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Below is a list of the criteria you may like to take into consideration when testing breast pads and breast treatments:
  • Design: for a breast pad to work well its design must reflect the needs of a breastfeeding mother so that the experience is as comfortable as possible.
  • Information supplied with the product and online: does the manufacturer include a full list of ingredients? Does the manufacturer give advice on how to use the breast pad or breast treatment and, if necessary where to get expert help with breastfeeding problems?
  • Comfort: are the breast pads comfortable to wear or are they too bulky? Are they soft or itchy to the touch?
  • Shape and fit: does the shape mould easily to the breast and fit well inside the nursing bra? Do they slip easily out of place?
  • Visibility: do the breast pads show through clothing or can they be worn under lacy bras? This may be important if you wish to wear them under a sheer fabric.
  • Ingredients: are they safe to use while breastfeeding? Do they contain artificial ingredients or are they completely natural in origin?
  • Effectiveness: do the pads stop leaks? Do the pads keep you dry?
  • Absorbency: do the pads absorb any leakage while feeding and do they keep the breasts dry?
  • Disposal: as all the breast pads are free of plastic coatings, they are all biodegradable or washable. Some are also bleach free.
  • Recommendation: regarding the breast treatments, it is important to know whether the tester would be willing to advise others to use a particular product.
  • Effectiveness and ease of use: some treatments may work well but be fiddly to use, while others may be easy to use but ineffective as a treatment. Each tester should comment on what works best for them.
  • Price: the RRP cost of each breast pad/treatment will be supplied on your score sheet. It will then be up to each individual tester to decide whether this is cheap, expensive or value-for-money.
  • Availability: online, by mail order and on the high street.
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Testing results - breast pads


First - Lanowool breast pads

RRP: £10 a pair
Supplied by www.babykind.co.uk
Overall score: 76 per cent

These washable pads were universally praised. They were supremely comfortable, soft, slim line and kept testers dry. Even the relatively high price did not put testers off. One tester went so far as to say; “Lanowool pads have changed my views forever…I will never use disposables again”. A surprising and fresh concept in reusable breast pads that really works. This is why we are delighted to award Lanowool the ‘Best Innovative pad’.

Award Best innovative and Testers favourite

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First– Lilypadz Silicone breast pads

RRP: £14.95 a pair – reusable
Supplied by www.lilypadzonline.co.uk
Overall score: 76 per cent

Once breastfeeding is established (6-8 weeks) I would have no hesitation in recommending the latest innovation in breast pads – Lilypadz.
These breathable, transparent, silicone breast pads fit discreetly under any clothing and work by exerting a gentle pressure on the nipples. This stops any leakage (yes they really do work!) and can even be worn in the shower or swimming pool. Lilypadz are easy to clean and can be washed over and over again. I would recommend these pads as 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 at a time. 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 have to admit to being sceptical about the potential efficacy of Lilypadz, worrying they may cause blocked ducts or mastitis. However, since many of my parent testers have thoroughly tested these pads (over many weeks) I am happy to report that my concerns were unfounded. My testers loved their Lilypadz and did not want to give them back! Their only worry was that the pads can be fiddly to reattach in public but this was a minor concern in comparison with the many obvious benefits. I only wish that Lilypadz had been around when I was still breastfeeding. This is truly an innovation in breast pads and because of the excellent feedback and high scores I am delighted to award these pad design ‘Best of the best’.
Award Best of the best


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Lansinoh washable breast pads

Second– Lansinoh washable breast pads
RRP: £4.95 for 2 pairs
www.lansinoh.co.uk
Overall score: 72 per cent

These washable pads scored best for comfort and discreetness. They washed well and were extremely good value for money. They also stayed in place where others had slipped.
In recognition of the above, this pad has been awarded
Award Best washable


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Editor’s choice - Anita 100% cotton washable breast pads

RRP £10 for 3 pairs (Including wash bag)
www.bras4mums.co.uk
Overall score: 71 per cent
Tested September 2007

These non-bleached, bio-degradable breast pads were well liked by parent testers. They were comfortable and absorbent though not as soft as velour varieties. Their eco-friendly credentials made them a great choice for environmentally conscious mums. Testers commented these pads may be more suitable for smaller breasts. This product is a great all-rounder and the introduction of a variety of sizes and material could further increase their appeal.

 

Award Editor’s choice


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Third– Mother of Eden Breast pads – Stay dry/leak proof
RRP: £6.99 for 3 pairs
Supplied by www.babykind.co.uk
Overall score: 65 per cent

Testers found these pads were comfortable, stayed in place, washed well and were very absorbent. They were marked down for being too bulky so a choice of sizes would help to cater for different breast shapes. Overall a great choice for a washable pad.

Award Highly commended


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Editor’s choice - Nature babycare ECO breast pads
RRP: £2.95 for 30 pads
www.naty.com
Overall score 63 per cent
Tested September 2007

As I explain in my guidelines it is difficult to source a disposable pad which does not contain a plastic liner. The ECO pad’s solution to this dilemma is a fluid-resistant and hygienic film based on 100% natural maize that is GM-free and breathable. Testers found these breast pads comfortable to use and encouragingly discreet. Despite no adhesive backing they remained in place while the maize layer helped to keep testers dry throughout the day. Some leakage was experienced when used for longer periods overnight but maybe a choice of sizes could solve this problem? The fact that these pads were eco-friendly, plastic free and biodegradable must be applauded which is why I am happy to award this innovative design with a TIPS Editor’s choice.

 

Award Editor's choice


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Fourth– Avent comfort shells by Philips/Avent
RRP:£9.99 for 2 pairs
Overall score: 63 per cent

When used to collect leaking milk these breast shells were soft and comfortable to wear (unlike earlier designs that were made from a much harder plastic). Testers felt it would be useful to have a choice of sizes as some found the shells either too big or too small for use. This led to a poor fit allowing milk to leak once collected. These shells are a useful device to collect milk from one breast while feeding from the other but testers did not find them helpful as a treatment for sore nipples. The milk collected can then be stored for later use or mixed with cereals when the baby has started mixed feeding. By doing this there is no need to waste a drop of precious breast milk!

Award Commended

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Fifth– Bipi Stuff velour/fleece breast pads
RRP: £4.50 a pair
Supplied by www.babykind.co.uk
Overall score: 62 per cent

Testers found these to be excellent quality, absorbent and comfortable to wear. Incredibly soft to the touch, they washed well but it would be helpful if they were to be manufactured in a variety of sizes to cater for different breast shapes.

Award: Highly commended

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Sixth – Velour breast pads by Swaddlebees

RRP: £5.99 for 3 pairs
Supplied by www.babykind.co.uk
Overall score: 61 per cent

Testers loved the feel of these soft velour pads next to their skin. They were comfortable, stayed in place, washed well and were very absorbent. It would be helpful if they came in a variety of sizes to suit all shapes.

Award Highly commended

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Seventh – Bravado Coolmax™ washable breast pads

RRP: £11.95 for 5 pairs
Supplied by Bravado UK
Overall score: 60 per cent

Made from a patent pending layered arrangement of terry towelling and Coolmax™ mesh against the skin, these washable pads wick moisture away from the breast to keep you dryer. Testers praised these pads for being comfortable to wear, especially at night. They stayed in place without slipping and although they were bulky they did provide a good fit and were efficient. The zipped wash bag (supplied with the pads) was very useful and the pad survived frequent laundering without problems.

Award Highly commended

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Seventh – Natracare Biodegradable/non-bleached disposable pads

RRP: £1.99 for 25
Supplied by www.natracare.com
Overall score: 60 per cent

These biodegradable, non-bleached breast pads are perfect for those of you who want an eco-friendly alternative to washable pads with the convenience of disposables. These are the only disposable pads we could find that did not contain a plastic lining which still managed to keep testers dry. They are excellent value for money and are backed up by a full range of eco-friendly female hygiene products that are also worthy of a mention.

Award Best eco-friendly

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Eighth – Avent washable breast pads by Philips/Avent

RRP: £4.99 for 3 pairs
www.avent.com
Overall score: 58 per cent

These pads were comfortable but did appear to move/slip inside the bra and were highly visible beneath clothing. The use of lace on the outside of the pad added to the visibility and was questioned by testers who did not think this worked to stop slippage, as stated in the literature. The laundry bag was found to be useful and the pads washed well. Overall good value for money for a washable pad.

Award Highly commended

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Ninth– Medela breast shells

RRP: £7.95 a pair
www.medela.co.uk
Overall score: 57 per cent


When used to collect leaking milk these breast shells were soft and comfortable to wear (unlike earlier designs that were made from a much harder plastic). Testers felt it would be useful to have a choice of sizes as some found the shells either too big or too small for use. This led to a poor fit allowing milk to leak once collected. These shells are a useful device to collect milk from one breast while feeding from the other but testers did not find them helpful as a treatment for sore nipples. The milk collected can then be stored for later use or mixed with cereals when the baby has started mixed feeding. By doing this there is no need to waste a drop of precious breast milk!

Award Commended

 

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Tenth – Mommy’s touch breast pads

RRP: £5.25 a pair
Supplied by www.babykind.co.uk
Overall score: 46 per cent

Testers found these soft and comfortable to wear and the option of the waterproof layer was reassuring. They did prove to be rather bulky and were visible beneath clothing. However, the large selection of sizes and colours was commended and would allow you to mix and match to reduce this visibility.

Award Commended

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Testing results - breast treatments

 

First – Bio-fem instant relief compress by Passion for Life Healthcare

RRP: £9.99 for box of 12
www.biofem.co.uk
Overall score: 78 per cent

Testers just loved this new product! Undoubtedly the star of this TIPS testing for cool, calming relief of sore/cracked nipples. Soothing pads contain an all natural gel which starts working on impact. The only concern was the rectangular shape which sometimes caused the gel to get caught in the crease. Changing to a round design would make them perfect.
Bio-Fem also provides women with instant relief from feminine discomforts at all stages of life with other great products in their range.


Award Best of the best

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Second – Tender Nipple Treatment (TNT). Contains calendula, olive oil and cabbage extract.
RRP: £5.99
Supplied by www.babykind.co.uk
Overall score: 75 per cent

This is an excellent cream which fulfils its role of soothing and protecting sore nipples while they heal (it is important to mention that only correct positioning and attachment will avoid further damage to sore nipples). As well as being made from totally natural ingredients, the consistency and smell was praised. Suggestions for more information and other potential uses for this lovely cream were made. Nevertheless, TNT rightfully takes the ‘Best eco-friendly’ award for breast treatments.

Award Best eco-friendly

 

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Joint Second - Kamillosan Ointment for the prevention and relief of sore nipples
RRP: £4.95 for 50 grams
Overall score: 75 per cent
www.kamillosan.co.uk
Tested March 2008

Kamillosan ointment scored 75% in this retrospective trial, achieving joint second in the TIPS breast treatments tests.With its wonderful consistency, Kamillosan ointment is easy to apply and while some testers found the scent too strong, others loved it. 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 and minimal amounts of ointment left on the skin are perfectly safe for your baby. You are advised to apply after feeds to make quite sure there is no scent to confuse your baby during feeding. This advice also ensures that sore nipples are well protected between feeds while they heal.

By any standard this ointment is a winner. One tester said: ‘it was a pleasure to use on my raw nipples’. However, 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 sore bottoms, cracked elbows, and other more intimate areas that we will not list here!

Award Highly commended - retrotested March 2008

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Third – Bio-fem instant relief moisturising balm by Passion for Life Healthcare
RRP: £5.99 for 30mls
www.biofem.co.uk
Overall score: 74 per cent

Easy to use and soothing for sore or cracked nipples. Some testers commented on the grainy consistency but it was a great alternative to thicker creams on the market. Overall a fresh new approach to nipple creams from the manufacturers of a wonderful range of products for women offering instant relief from feminine discomforts at all stages of life.

Award Highly commended

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Fourth – Aaah soothing nipple balm by MamaBabyBliss
RRP: £6.50 per 60mls
Cost per ml: 10.8p
www.mamababybliss.com
Overall score: 66 per cent

Testers loved the ‘girly’ packaging of this product. They described its consistency as ‘gorgeous and silky’ to the touch. When used straight from the fridge it definitely has the ‘Aaah’ factor! This soothing nipple balm is easy to apply, reassuringly safe to use, odourless and free from artificial ingredients. A little goes a long way, and it soothed not only sore nipples but also dry skin and nappy rash too - Aaah soothing nipple balm is a truly versatile remedy.

Award Highly commended - retrotested July 2008

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Fifth – Silverette nipple cups

RRP: £29.99 a pair
Supplied by www.breastfeedingheaven.co.uk
Overall score: 65 per cent

Testers were initially sceptical about these solid silver nipple cups and whether they could be effective in curing sore nipples. This unique way of harnessing the natural properties of silver to stop the growth of infective organisms is truly innovative and does ease/cure sore/cracked nipples. Maybe not something to be worn away from home (they are rather visible under clothing) they really are a completely safe and non-invasive alternative to more conventional creams and treatments.


Award Best innovative

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Fifth – Medela Purelan 100 cream

RRP: £4.95 for 7gms or £7.50 per 37gms
Supplied by www.medela.co.uk
Overall score: 65 per cent

Made from medical grade lanolin this excellent cream is safe to use on sore nipples without any need to remove for feeding. The cream is quite thick and it is advisable to work it between your fingers, which make it easier to apply. However, a little goes a long way so the relatively expensive price becomes cost-effective. Testers liked the foil seal, keeping the product fresh and the information on pack and online were excellent.

 

Award Highly commended


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Sixth – Lansinoh cream

RRP: £9.95 for 56gms
Supplied by www.lansinoh.co.uk
Overall score: 63 per cent

Made from medical grade lanolin this excellent cream is safe to use on sore nipples without any need to remove for feeding. The cream is quite thick and it is advisable to work it between your fingers, which make it easier to apply. However, a little goes a long way so the relatively expensive price becomes cost-effective. Testers liked the foil seal, keeping the product fresh and the information on pack and online were excellent.

Award Highly commended

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Seventh – Avent nipple cream by Philips/Avent

RRP: £6.50 for 30mls
www.avent.com
Overall score: 57 per cent

This nipple cream was a good consistency and worked well to soothe sore nipples. It is suitable for a vegetarian which was appreciated by some testers. One tester also commented that it was a good lip balm! There was some concern that it contained coconut (stated to be fully refined) oil which might be an issue if there was a history of nut allergies in the family. Overall though this was a good all-rounder that does what it says on the tube.


Award Best budget buy

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Eighth – Silverlon Breast pad

RRP: £9.99 for 1 – washable 50 times
Supplied by www.breastfeedingheaven.co.uk
Overall score: 53 per cent

Once again testers were sceptical about the efficacy of silver to treat sore nipples. However, information on the website was excellent and convinced testers that this technology would work to ease/cure sore and cracked nipples, mastitis and other breast related conditions. Following testing, these pads really do seem to make a difference and as only one breast is usually affected; only one pad is required at a time which makes them cost effective. The fact that they can be washed 50 times means their seemingly high price is actually good value.

 

Award Commended

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Without exception I would like to applaud the response from every Company who kindly sent me samples to test. Such efficient communication made my job easy and I would like to thank all parties involved.
Sharon Trotter© 2007

Lilypadz Silicone breast pads

award graphicLilypadz logo


Lanowool breast pads

 

award graphiclanowoool logo
award graphiclanowool Pads

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Lansinoh washable breast pads

award graphiclansinoh logo

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Anita 100% cotton washable breast pads
award graphicAnita breast pads

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Mother of Eden Breast pads
award graphicbabyKind logo

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Nature babycare ECO breast pads
award graphicNature Babycare ECO breastpads

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Avent comfort shells
award graphicavent logo

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Bipi Stuff velour/fleece breast pads
award graphicbabyKind logo

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Swaddlebees Velour breast pads
award graphicswaddleBees logo

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Bravado Coolmax™ washable breast pads
award graphicbravado logo
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Natracare Biodegradable disposable pads
award graphiclogo
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Avent washable breast pads
award graphicavent logo
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Medela breast shells
award graphicmedela logo
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Mommy’s touch breast pads
award graphicbabyKind logo
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Bio-fem instant relief compress
award graphicbiofem logo
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Tender Nipple Treatment (TNT)
award graphicbabyKind logo
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Kamillosan Ointment
award graphic

kamillosan Logo

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Bio-fem instant relief moisturising balm
award graphicbiofem logo
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Aaah soothing nipple balm
award graphic

mamababybliss logo

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Silverette nipple cups
award graphicbreastfeedingHeaven logo
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Medela Purelan 100 cream
award graphicmedela logo
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Lansinoh cream
award graphiclansinoh logo
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Avent nipple cream
award graphicavent logo
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Silverlon Breast pad
award graphic
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Apply for a license to use the TIPS trademarks
Scoring system for breast pad tests

  • Design/feel: poor = 0; good = 1;
  • very good = 2
  • Information with product : adequate = 1; good = 2;
  • very good = 3
  • Comfort: uncomfortable = 0;
  • adequate = 1; comfortable = 2
  • Shape/fit: adequate = 1;
  • good = 2; very good = 3
  • Visibility: visible = 1; discreet = 2; transparent = 3
  • Absorbency: leaks = 0;
  • absorbent = 1; very absorbent = 2
  • Effectiveness: inefficient = 0;
  • keeps you dry = 1; stops leaks = 2
  • Disposable: biodegradable =1;
  • reusable = 1; non-bleached = 1
  • Effectiveness: poor = 0; good = 1; excellent = 2
  • Price: expensive = 0; average = 1;
  • value for money = 3
  • Availability: hard to source = 0;
  • mostly online = 1; easy to source = 2
Overall score calculation: percentage based on a maximum score of 25
Scoring system for breast treatments tests
  • Information with product :
  • poor = 0; good = 1; very good = 2
  • Information online: poor = 0;
  • good = 1; very good = 2
  • Consistency: too thick = 0;
  • adequate = 1; just right = 2
  • Ingredients: some artificial additives = 0; mostly natural = 1;
  • completly natural = 2
  • Effectiveness: did not help = 0; helped = 2; cured problem = 3
  • Would you recommend to others? maybe = 1; yes = 2
  • Ease of use : fiddly = 0;
  • adequate = 1; easy to use = 2
  • Price: expensive = 0; average = 1;
  • value for money = 3
  • Availability: hard to source = 0;
  • mostly online = 1; easy to source = 2
Overall score calculation: percentage based on a maximum score of 20