Thursday, January 13, 2011


Let's talk for a moment about something we all hate to talk about (and deal with.)  You know what I'm talking about.  AF.  Our lovely monthly visitor.  The thing we all look forward to getting when we're 12 and hate by the time we're 13.  Yep.....that punctuation....the period.

This is on my mind today because my lovely little friend decided to suprise me a whole WEEK early this month!  This almost never happens to me and it really set me off.  So a bit of a rant and some ideas to help "green up" a very personal issue.

Now, let me start off by saying that I have been a bit blessed in this area.  I didn't start until I was 12 and my periods have always been fairly light and short and absolutly regular.  But I still hate dealing with it.  I've always hated the feeling of those paper sanitary pads.  They itch.  They rub funny.  They are crinkly.  And they are expensive.  Plus, I hate the thought of all that "stuff" sitting around in a landfill for almost ever.  Between disposible diapers and disposible sanitary napkins, future archeologists are going to make some interesting conclusions about our society!

So, partly in tune with trying to "green" up my life and partly due to the suggestions of friends and partly just to see what the fuss was all about.  So I tried  "Mama Cloth" and they have changed my month at a time!

I first used cloth pads postpartum with my second child, six years ago.  I had bought some from a local cloth diaper store.  They were the only brand she carried (and they are still my favorite brand).  At first, they did feel a bit bulky, but I got used to that quickly.  What amazed me the most was that my postpartum period (hah, what a pun!) lasted a much shorter time than with my first child.  And then once my ummm, punctuation returned 8 months later, it too was shorter and lighter than ever before.  And each month since has been the same.  My periods went from lasting 5-7 days with a medium flow to about 3-4 days with a light flow.  It's amazing.

Now, I don't know why this is.  There are the rumors, of course.  Companies put some kind of chemical into the pads/tampons to make you bleed more.  Therefore you need more of their product, yada yada yada.  I'm not sure I buy it.  But whatever the reason.....I've found it to be true.  Cloth pads make my time of the month last a shorter time and a much lighter time.

It seems strange to us to think of using cloth pads, I'm sure.  I mean, you never see this on TV, right?  But forever, up until about 50 years ago, this was the norm.  Using something disposible would have been unthinkable.  I mean, how did Eve take care of her monthly issue?  Or the pilgrims?  Or Queen Elizabeth the first?  No matter what, all women throughout time have had to deal with this.  And they all did it without the use of something disposible.  So maybe it isn't all that weird afterall?  Check out this link from the Menstration Museum.

There are all kinds of Mama Cloth out there.  Tons of WAHM 's make them and sell them.  You'll have to try a bunch to find what you like.  There are also more natural internal systems, the Diva Cup and the Keeper among others.  I personally love the Happy Heiny brand and Luna Pads, but have a bunch of others as well.  They come in all sizes and shapes, with or without wings, snap or velcro or pin closure, pillowcase style or not.  Find what works for you.

Now the question arises of what one does with the pads after use and before washing.  Or what to do when on the go.  Or just how to deal with the cloth at all.  Here's what I do.

I keep a small, covered bucket in my master bathroom.  After I change a used pad, I set it in the bucket, which contains cold water.  I soak the pads for the duration of my AF (usually 3-4 days).  I then dump the water into a smaller container.  The soaked pads are thrown into whatever load of laundry is ready to run, although I do usually throw them in with towels or sheets.  The water I save for watering plants (my roses love it!), but I do use it quickly.  Mr. CrazyLife really doesn't like this part of the process.  I do not dry the pads in the dryer.  I hang them dry.  It's not complicated and aside from some strange looks from your family members the first few times, not a huge issue anywhere.

There are other options out there as well....diva cups, moon cups and the like.  I've never tried them, but have heard rave reviews.  Just not my thing, I guess.

So for anyone out there sharing my pain right now, look into some greener, cleaner, healthier'll be glad you did!


Meredith said...

I use cloth too. I switched before we had #3 and started him on cloth diapers. I guess I decided we might as well go all cloth. It is so much more comfortable. I do need to look for more though - my favorites are showing their age.

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