I first got the idea to endeavor into an eco-friendly period from the March-April 2010 issue of Mothering Magazine (if you're not familiar with this mag, and natural parenting interests you, please visit their site- lots of awesome articles). As of then, I hadn't yet had a post-partum period since Little Man. The info and articles in that particular issue really intrigued me, "If you diaper you baby's bottom with soft, natural cotton, you already know the advantages of cloth for babies. It's less expensive, it produces less landfill waste, and it provides a chemical-free alternative to highly processed disposables." Hmm, that line really resonated with me and I thought, "Well, if cloth is better for my baby, then cloth has to be better for me too. And if I have gotten over dealing with poop, I can surely get over dealing with a little blood." (Let's just say that nothing really grosses me out now that I've gone through childbirth and mothering). SO my quest into the planet-friendly period began.
As I began to search the net and explore my options, I quickly realized that like clothdiapers, there are a TON of options out there making it a bit overwhelming to know where to start. I began asking around for recommendations and found an Etsy shop called Randumosity. Lucky for me the creator, Jami, was having a giveaway-and even luckier for me, I won! I was now the owner of four ridiculously cute 8 inch reusable menstrual pads!
I was actually kind of excited to get my cycle and be able to try them out! Randumosity describes her pads as, "Constructed from 2 layers of flannel, an internal core of organic bamboo batting for absorption and a layer of PUL to make them waterproof. The wings are two layers of lined flannel for back up and both are are turned and top stitched for comfort and durability. The polyresin snaps are applied with a professional snap press and are secure and soft against the skin.Bamboo batting is super soft, absorbent, has no chemicals and is naturally anti-bacterial."
The moment I tried them on, I was impressed- for real, these pads are so super soft and absorbent! Another awesome thing about them is that I didn't feel wet like the flow was sitting on top of the pad like I often do with disposables- instead I felt dry and comfortable-woohoo! I'm sold! Not to mention that the designs on these pads are so stinking stylish- always a plus in book! To wash, I simply rinsed with cold water after use, and then threw them in with my dirty towels-easy-peasy! If you're still not convinced, a big-name brand in the world of Mama Cloth , LunaPads, put together the following video about the benefits of mama cloth (for some reason I cant get it to embed directly, so here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/user/Lunapads?blend=2&ob=1#p/u/0/YA82FHUV9P8Now to be honest, I've never been much of a pad girl. I hate the feeling of being wet and the way that pads can shift, sag, etc. The thought of using mama cloth alone wasn't too appealing to me. I really wanted to explore more tampon-like options as well. Enter the Diva Cup. The product description on amazon states, "The DivaCup is a non-absorbent menstrual cup that simply collects menstrual flow. It is inserted in the vagina and sits at the lower base of the vaginal canal. It is worn internally, yet because it is soft and smooth, it cannot be felt nor will it leak when inserted properly. The DivaCup is the most clean and convenient method of feminine hygiene protection. No need to touch the flow. It is worn low in the vagina, not near the cervix, so it is easy to remove. No mess! The DivaCup ends hassles with unreliable disposables in endless absorbencies, shapes and styles. It is perfect for all activities giving women true freedom without the worry, guessing and unreliability that disposable feminine hygiene products pose. The DivaCup can be worn for up to 12 hours before emptying, washing and reinserting for use for another 12 hours. It can be used for light or moderate flows and is emptied more often to accommodate heavy flows. Perfect for overnight use. The DivaCup s expert, proprietary, patent-pending features make it comfortable and assures ease of use and reliability. Perfect for traveling, running, biking, hiking, dancing, camping, swimming, diving, scuba, yoga, extreme sports and more."
I had seen the Diva Cup before at Whole Foods, but didn't care for the $40 price tag (it's only $25 on Amazon and I got mine fro FREE using my Swagbucks giftcards). There are two models, one for pre-childbirth, and one for post-childbirth (regardless of vaginal delivery). Being as I have two children, I of course purchased model 2, and the quest for a planet-friendly period moved on.
I'm not gonna lie, there is definitely a learning curve on this one. My first reaction was,"Really? How is something that big going to actually feel comfortable?" Apparently it's insertion is similar to the Sponge which I have no experience with. There are several insertion methods and you have to experiment with which one works well for you before it becomes second nature. It took me probably five separate insertions before I found it to be easy. I also wasn't sure about how long I could leave it in without it leaking. Of course that depends on the amount of flow your experiencing, but I braved an overnighter while my flow was heavy and was able to go a full 12 hours w/o changing it! Again, I'm in love! You can go through your whole day only needing to empty it 2 or 3 times and can't feel it all (if properly inserted).
During my cycle, I just rinsed with hot water to get all the
blood and off before I put it back in, and afterwards, I washed it
with Castille soap (although I'm sure any mild soap would do). And then every few cycles I will boil it to sanitize completely. No real hassle or extra work, and think of all the mula I will be saving on disposables- yipeee!
SO I'm really thrilled and excited with my quest to discover a planet-friendly period- I really couldn't be happier with the results! If you live in the local Cincinnati area and are interested in purchasing planet-friendly period products, Park+Vine downtown carries the Party in my Pants line of mama cloth as well as the Diva Cup. Also, there are a TON of online shops (see Gladrags, Lunapads, and search etsy). In addition, if you are super crafty and have sewing skills, like so many of my readers do, you can also find patterns online to create your own mama cloth making for additional savings (see Adahy's Cloth Pad Patterns and Tiny Birds Organic Pads).
I hope you enjoyed reading my second endeavor (and maybe even learned a thing or two while you were at it). And of course I'd love to hear your thoughts! Do you think I'm crazy? Do you already use planet-friendly products, or would you ever consider trying them? Why or why not? What reservations do you have about reusable products? Do you have a brand that you use and prefer-why? I'm looking forward to using these products again this month (well as much as one can actually look forward to such things as Aunt Flow) and can't wait to read your comments :)