Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cloth Pads

O-kay, if you're a guy or easily blushed, then you need to stop reading here. I'm going to talk about a woman's issue. Please read this post with consideration for my privacy as you would want someone who heard the same about you. That said, I realize that this is a blog and that some people are unable to control their own tongues. Yet I feel compelled to raise this issue and it's importance.

This post is about menstrual alternatives to tampons and commercial, throw-away pads. In particular, my personal opinions and experiences.

Long term tampon use has led to my having, well basically what amounts to calluses on my cervix. I didn't know this until about three years ago when my doctor freaked out at the sight of white patches and sent me to a specialist. The specialist got her money and told me that it's not unusual and to cut back on tampon use for awhile.


Not unusual? Why had I never heard of this? I don't want something to rub white patches on me, especially on the inside. So I switched to pads.

But, I've heard things like there are chemical additives in pads that help "wick" away moisture so you feel drier. For some women, this causes cramps. Who needs extra cramps? Not me. Plus, when you really think about it, why oh why would I want chemical additives up against my, well, you-know?

If you don't want to believe any of it, then go on with your bad self. (wink) I'm sold on cloth pads now. Organic ones at that. Oh, it felt like my birthday when I opened the mailbox. "Present time, present time, open the present and see what's inside!"

Oooo, someone wrapped their product up with care....It's from DSmomof3boys. Check out her Etsy shop. I think the camo one is cute too!
This one is my favorite after one cycle. It's an all-in-one (AIO) pad and is long enough to give you a feeling of being covered from leaks. Yet it's nearly as thin as the commercial thin pads. I LOVE this one. The following two are a sample pad and a discontinued close-out from Sckoon.
With both pads, you don't get to choose your color/pattern. I do love the pink one as it is soft and comfortable. The bright pattern isn't my style and the fabric not as soft (meant to be leak proof), but it still does the trick. But the pretty side goes against your underwear.
As you can see below, if you can hit the middle then the advantage is that you can change just the liner instead of the whole pad. And for heavy flow days you can add liners according to your need. Each pad came with one liner and I've found one to be enough. But, again, I would want a longer pad on heavy days and nights. This company has plenty of pretty fabrics and sizes so check them out.O-kay, this one is from an Etsy shop that has since disappeared from my bookmarks for some reason. I believe she had just the one though. It's made from terry cloth and flannel and came with two liners.
Here's the backside view. One liner is polka-dots like the back of the pad/holder. The other liner is a diamond pattern. I've discovered that terry cloth is not my preference. This is my "last one before laundry" pad.
The next pad is from Ambrosias Designs in Australia. It arrived later due to being from overseas so I haven't tried it yet.
I tried to keep to those made in the USA so as to support local economy but I just couldn't pass up this pretty fabric. The back side is pink flannel.

There is one more pad on order so I'll add it here when it comes in. (Here it is, plus she added in three pantyliners, maybe because it took awhile?) These are comfortable and good for light days or for young teens.

Most regular cloth pads seem to come in about 10" lengths, but I've found that I prefer the longer ones, like 12-13". This is just one advantage of buying a few before making a large purchase. If you decide to try cloth pads, shop around first. Try going to this page and browse the Etsy and Ebay shops listed. Or just go to those sites and do a search as I'm sure there are more and more shops appearing every day.

For more on menstral alternatives start with a google search or here. There are even tampon alternatives, but given my previous problem I've decided not to try them at this time.

Pads are either made to have a removeable liner or are an all-in-one (AIO) design. Try both. I thought I would only like the liner ones, but the aio's have become my preferred pads.

Also, try to get an assortment of fabrics. The benefits of finding just the right one for you are amazing and will make you wonder why you ever bought those rough paper and plastic ones from the store.

Plus, you'll have the benefit of never having to run to the store again (or calling your hubby to pick up some....blush.)

To answer the most common question, after use just put them in a bucket that you've prepared with cold water with a bit of Borax. Just set it in a corner next to the throne. I've revamped a plastic ice cream bucket with a lid for the job. When you are ready to wash (at least every other day) drain the water and dump the pads in the washer for a normal hot wash. No chlorine bleach and no fabric softener. Dry in the sunshine or on hot in the dryer without fabric softener as this could cause them to lose some of their absorbency. Every pad I ordered came with instructions/suggestions and you can find the answers to all your questions on nearly every site that is pro-alternatives.

I often think about all the women who lived before disposables. I wonder if they just used some plain rags or if they too became creative in making reusable pads. I'd like to think that given all the homemaking skills of yesteryear that they would have made some wonderful pads with very personalized fabric choices. I bet that personalized pads were actually a sign of being "well-to-do" enough to have the time for such considerations.
Remember pad belts? I bet those could've been made very pretty too. Hmmmm....
Oh boy, I can't wait to read the comments on THIS one! LOL!


Margie's Musings said...

I haven't had a period in years but when I did, I could never find any kind of pad that could contain my heavy flow. I was really kind of happy that I finally had to have surgery when I was 30.

There is nothing more embarrassing then to stand after church or a movie and have the flow run down your legs or stain the back of your good clothing.

Judy said...

This is really interesting. Like Margie, I had a hysterectomy when I was in my 40s but I am going to pass this on to my daughters. They are into everything natural and I bet they would love these. Thanks.

Tipper said...

I've never thought about re-usable pads-but I will now. Very neat and interesting post!

Anonymous said...

I am just scared these would noy work for me, I have extremely heavy periods although short (around three days and then I ca get by with panty liners,

The problem is that the only thing that works for me is incontinent diapers (the disposable kind for adults) very expensive but it is better than leaking all ove the place.

I do not think these would work for such heavy flow, do you?

Mrs. T (South Africa)

Ladyfromthewoods said...

Dear Mrs. T,

To be quite honest, I don't know. But I do know that if you are looking for a way to leave disposables behind, you'll never know until you try. I looked at a few sites and found that several of them have extra long and wide pads that look like they could handle extremely heavy flow. Even better, is the idea of mentrual panties! I haven't found a lot of choice in this but a little creativity and a thread and needle could mean that you could experiment with making your own! It's worth the try.

I will also add that what seems like a huge amount on a disposable pad (because you can SEE the wicking away of your menses and it draws it toward the front, sides, and back of a pad/panty) has been to my surprise, much less on a cloth pad. I was SURE that I would be changing pads very often during the day when I thought about how often I had to change disposable pads, but instead I had to change much, much less.

Please let me know if you experiment and how it works out for you.

Best wishes!
t. TN said...

Hi Teresa, long see! I'm sure glad I don't have to worry about "pads" any more. things have come a long way since I stopped needing them.
come on down and I will make you two over medium with hot biscuits and some honey freshly taken from the hive.
I'm doing really good. You would think I had never been sick a day in my life. Thank the good Lord above!
It's getting some cooler here especially at night. I notice I have been pulling an extra blanket up over me when I lay down.
Good to hear from you...come back and see me again! Clara

Rachel said...

I have learned something new here today. I no longer need these thanks to a hysterectomy many years ago. It was so wonderful to be done with the pain and tbe mess. However, I think these are a great item for those who still need them. Good invention!

Belovedgoddess said...

I've made my own pads in the past and felt better wearing them but the convience of disposables snuck in. I've been meaning to make more, the first ones I made were too small.

A friend told me of her grandmother's experiences, when she was young all she used was paper stuffed in her underwear - always dark blue underwear because it didn't show the stains. Her family was very poor and she had never seen a pad until a 'rich' friend showed her a crocheted one.

My mother mentioned using washable pads in her youth.

The Tile Lady said...

Really interesting! I like the ecologically sound aspect of these products! I was huge on using cloth diapers with my daughter whenh she was a baby, and later saw they made wonderfully soft woolen ones as well as cotton, and wished I could have tried them. Of course women used "rags" for their periods until modern technology took over, and I had no idea products were being made that follows that concept. Don't need them BUT if I did....Hey, do they make cloth pantyliners?