Something funny happens once you start cloth diapering…you begin to look at other items that you throw away and wonder if you can find a reusable option. Like baby wipes. Or paper towels. Or cloth napkins.
Or *gasp* menstrual pads.
Yep. I know it’s kind of weird. It took me a while to get used to the idea too.
So. Let’s talk mama cloth. Cloth menstrual pads. They are seriously awesome.
At some point along the way of my crunchy mommy journey I started to hear about mama cloth. It kept coming up in the mommy groups I belong to and in conversation with other moms so I got curious and I began to look a little further. They are super popular for postpartum (in lieu of those humongous
diapers pads you probably used) but I didn’t learn about them until after I was past that point. But by the time my first postpartum period arrived when Hudson was almost 10 months old I knew I wanted to give them a try.
I did my research and Pink Lemonade Shop seemed to be the #1 recommended brand of mama cloth. I waited until they ran a sale after Thanksgiving and then bought an assortment of pads to try.
I LOVE them!
They are so, SO soft and much more comfortable than the disposable ones. The wings snap around your underwear so no sticky papers that get folded up under themselves or stick to your skin. And they are super easy, much easier than I expected.
Here’s the run down:
Why might you want to use mama cloth? Like with cloth diapers, getting a stash of mama cloth is expensive up front but will likely save you money on your feminine products since they are reusable. I have not run the numbers on that though so feel free to do some number crunching on your own and report back. For me it wasn’t the money savings this time (although that is a nice perk), it was for comfort. Conventional menstrual pads are so uncomfortable. I think I’m sensitive to the chemicals in those products and I just feel really yucky and almost diaper rash-y when I use them.
Minimizing waste and being environmentally friendly might be another big reason why you’d choose mama cloth.
I have not yet experienced this myself (I think it’s too soon to tell) or looked for any scientific evidence but I have heard many people say that after switching to mama cloth their periods became much lighter and their cramping decreased significantly. I’m probably not explaining this correctly but the theory I’ve heard about this is that the chemicals in disposable pads and tampons pull the blood from your body (since absorbing liquid is what it is designed to do) and that actually makes your period worse. Letting the body bleed at it’s own pace (by not using those chemicals) results in an easier period.
Like I said, that’s just what I’ve heard. But it’s worth a try!
What about the gross factor? Just about every time I used regular pads I would end up with some blood on my panties that I had to rinse and stain treat, so honestly I wasn’t concerned about that…I figured if I’m already dealing with blood it wouldn’t really matter. And so far I’ve had no issues with it. It’s much less gross than dealing with baby poop!
How do I wash them? I include them with my diapers. I run the diapers through a rinse cycle first on their own, and then add the mama cloth in for the wash cycle. If you don’t have cloth diapers then you could just add them to a regular load of laundry that you will be washing with hot water. Your mama cloth will come with more specific instructions, I’m sure, but it’s really not difficult at all.
What all do I need? A stash of mama cloth, of course. Plus a few wet bags.
Like I said, I chose to buy my mama cloth from Pink Lemonade Shop. The prints are adorable (which is certainly not necessary but is a nice perk) and they were by far the most recommended brand. She has some starter kits already put together and if you are unsure of what you want that’s a good way to try several sizes out.
Because it had been over a year and a half since I’d had a period (pregnancy and then breastfeeding) I really couldn’t remember how heavy my cycles were plus I wasn’t sure if that would change after having a baby. Since I wasn’t totally sure what all I needed I got out some of my old disposable pads and panty liners, measured them and bought pads that were about that size.
What I started with:
– one 11 inch overnight pad
– two 10 inch heavy pads
– four 9 inch day pads
– two 7.5 inch pantyliners
This was a good amount to try but was not enough for what I would consider a full stash. I was having to wash every day or day and a half and while it’s only for a week that is still a lot to keep up with. I’d much prefer to be able to make it about two days so I’ll continue adding to my stash in the future.
There are different fabrics and materials. I chose the ones that have a minky top with a windpro fleece back. The minky is incredibly soft and the best part is that it does not stain. I know! So great! In fact all the pictures that go along with this post are of my mama cloth that has been used several times – no blood stains! You can read about the other fabric options here. One of the other options is raw silk; I haven’t tried it but it’s supposed to be wonderful for anyone who deals with yeast infections because it is anti-fungal.
You’ll also need a wetbag to use to store your used mama cloth in until you wash them. My favorite wetbags are these Bummis bags. The small one is the perfect size and has a little loop with a snap that you could hang over a door handle or even on a hook on the side of the toilet.
What about on the go? I use a Planetwise travel wet/dry bag for on the go. I put a pad or two in the “dry” side (the dry side is for clean items) and then I’m out I put the dirty one in the “wet” side of the wet bag. It’s no more difficult then with a disposable pad and actually it’s easier because you don’t have to hunt down a trash can.
So what do you think? Are you intrigued? Totally disgusted? Planning to try one or two? Ready to make the switch completely?
P.S. If you are more of a tampon user then you might want to look into a reusable menstrual cup like the Diva Cup or Lunette. I have not tried these and to be honest, while mama cloth doesn’t gross me out this kinda does, but I know tons of women who adore theirs so it’s definitely worth a look!
Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this review. I bought all these items with my very own hard earned dollars and these are my honest thoughts. Some links are affiliate links.