Cloth for Mama-Are You Crazy?

Yes, you heard me, in addition to the last few weeks talking about using cloth for your kiddos, now I want to talk about cloth for you!

Alright, before you freak out and think, “Now this woman has totally lost it!” Hear me out!

Shouldn’t the same reasons we use for cloth diapering our little ones (reducing trash, avoiding toxins, saving money, pure comfort) be the reasons we consider using cloth for ourselves during that certain time of month?

Once again, I understand the aversion and used to have the same one!  I used to think, “Wow, that is just way overboard and definitely only for hard-core hippie women.” Then I had my son and ended up using disposable pads for eight straight weeks after his birth. Umm… can we say chafed, raw and completely uncomfortable? That alone was enough to make me consider alternative options, but my research into cloth diapers and all the toxins they contain (the same ones as in feminine care products) was what really made me look into the whole mama cloth possibility a little harder.

As I did my research I found so many practical and even cute options in the mama cloth world. Plus, along with the earth, money and comfort-saving factors, I discovered that disposable feminine care products could have been one of the leading culprits in the days of horrible cramping I was forced to endure each month.

So, to give it a try I simply made some mama cloth myself. I whipped up some pads following the general shape of the my disposable pads, using a fleece topper and backing to wick the moisture away from my skin and keep it off my undies, and a few layers of hemp or flannel in between to soak everything up.  I also added a snap to the wings to keep them secured in my panties.

To my astonishment, within a few hours of switching from the disposable to the cloth pads my cramps had disappeared! In addition, I really couldn’t believe how much more comfortable they were over the disposable ones I had been using! I kept thinking, “These would have been a life (and bum) saver postpartum; why didn’t I try this sooner?”

Of course there was the matter of cleaning them, but really that wasn’t even so bad since I had my handy diaper sprayer already attached to my toilet. A quick rinse and I threw them in the little lidded trash can next to the toilet that I use for my son’s cloth wipes. When it came time to wash I simply threw them in with my normal diaper laundry and voila-they came out clean, fresh and ready to wear again!

So what about you ladies who don’t really use pads in the first place?  Well, I discovered some awesome options for you as well! There are two very popular brands of menstrual cups that all the cloth mamas I know swear by: The Keeper and The Diva Cup.  Many tampon-users also have had great luck with the sea sponge as an alternative.

Want more info, or possibly even want to give it a try?

Here are some great sites to help you on your little journey to make Aunt Flow more green, frugal and FAR more comfortable:

Lunapads.com
Gladrags.com
ComfyClothPads.com

Amazpadz.com
ClothPadShop.com
A great article about the dangers of disposable feminine hygene products.

And of course, as always, Hyenacart.com and Etsy.com are wonderful places to look for great WAHM-made products!

So, just give it a try! You won’t know what you’re missing until you do, and I promise you will never go back!

An original 5 Minutes for Going Green post. Follow the rest of MacKenzie’s musings on being a birth and postpartum doula while pregnant, totschooling her son, and still finding time to knit, at Mama Kenz Studio.

13 Responses to Cloth for Mama-Are You Crazy?
  1. stephanie
    April 6, 2009 | 4:10 pm

    I love using cloth pads, but I can’t say they helped with my cramps. I sure wish they would. They are so much better than disposable pads, and way more comfortable!

  2. Rachel @ GrowingSage
    April 6, 2009 | 4:14 pm

    I love cloth pads and my moon cup! I actually use thong liners made by some girls on Etsy. Here’s my post about them:

    http://growingsage.wordpress.com/2008/06/21/reusable-thong-liner/

  3. Melissa
    April 6, 2009 | 10:48 pm

    I am just ordering mama pads and your links were very helpful. I am anticipating AF any time now, ds is almost 2!!! so it will be good to have my cloth stash. We use cloth diapers, family cloth, completely cloth in the kitchen and so it would be so weird to use disposables for my cycle. I used to get really itchy using regular disposable pads, I switched to the all cotton ones from wf but still it wasn’t perfect. Thanks for the timely article.

  4. Lindsey@A Kindred Spirit's Thoughts
    April 7, 2009 | 12:03 am

    It does seem like it’s a good option, and especially easy for those who are already dealing with cloth diapers! :-)

  5. Nadine
    April 9, 2009 | 6:24 pm

    I use Gladrags and seasponges. I would highly recommend both!

  6. Alley
    April 15, 2009 | 3:53 pm

    Very well written! I’ve been considering writing something on this myself, and you took the words right out of my mouth and said it even better than I could have. =o) I too was skeptical but decided to give it a try. I used to have very heavy periods, but now they are very light! I’m now a believer, and MUCH more comfortable. Thanks so much for the links as well, going to check them out. =o)

  7. Kelly
    April 21, 2009 | 8:18 pm

    I love cloth pads too – would never go back to disposables now after several years with the cloth. Glad to see them promoted here!

  8. heather
    April 23, 2009 | 8:54 pm

    i started using the diva cup a couple of months ago and now i can’t imagine going a month without it! i, too, experienced serious relief from cramps (in fact, now that i think about it, i don’t think i tackled *any* cramps this month…).

    i also made my own flannel pantiliners (for peace of mind) and you’re absolutely right: they’re WAY more comfortable. overall, i don’t even mind getting to ‘that time’ of the month anymore. :)

  9. Kimberly
    May 23, 2009 | 12:08 pm

    Hi! I am just getting started making Mama Cloth and would love to link back to this article on my website. (Only with your permission of course!)It’s a work in progress, but soon to be up and running!

  10. Kathleen@mamaclothonline.com
    February 8, 2010 | 4:04 pm

    I was in your shoes once. Kinda freaked at the thought of it. However, it really is the simple, green, frugal alternative. I really like the Diva Cup with mamacloth back up for heavy days.

    If you don’t have a sprayer, just soak them in a big pot on your counter until ready to wash. Or rinse some other way. As long as they are rinsed or soaked they don’t tend to stain.

    My favorites are FussyButt pads and Mommy’s Touch. Have you tried those?

  11. Natalie
    February 25, 2010 | 7:36 am

    I’m a converted MoonCup user and began a few years before I had my children and couldn’t go back now. I almost completely stopped having terrible cramps that even the Natracare tampons gave me and I find the MoonCup much more convenient.

    Though for those rare times that I do experience cramps, just a little Bergamot essential oil rubbed into my lower abdomen does the trick every time. I’ve never read about it anywhere, but my husband suggested it years ago and I’ve been forever grateful!

  12. Morgan
    March 9, 2010 | 4:23 pm

    Hiya!
    Thanks for spreading the word about alternative menstrual products and for the Lunapads mention too! Here’s a promo code for your readers who are interested in making the switch to cloth pads or the DivaCup. Use promo code: mamacloth for 10% off your order over $35.

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