Ever heard of “mama cloth?” It’s cloth pads to replace the disposable ones typically used during your monthly “visitor.” (I’ve barely had a need in the last three years, since I’ve been pregnant most of the time from May ’07 – Jul. ’09 and just got it back Sunday!) But, mama cloth is really great for you and the environment! And I did use it postpartum with Daniel. I’m liking using it now too.
A lot of people say their first postpartum period is really painful and awful and this time I’m having no pain at all (which wasn’t true when I got it back after Bekah and I was still using disposable pads!). I really think the cloth is making a difference because I always had cramps and general soreness and fatigue before.
Why Should You Use A Mama Cloth?
- Disposable pads contain dioxin and other chemicals, which can cause serious and as yet unknown reproductive problems (like PCOS, infertility, or even just extra cramping and bleeding. Think about it — you’re pressing these chemicals up against your most sensitive regions and you’re actually absorbing the chemicals!).
- Cloth pads feel softer and nicer. No more crunchy, bulky pads!
- Cloth pads are much greener — just save them in a zippered, waterproof bag and wash at the end of the week. Nothing to throw in a landfill.
- Potential for reduced pain and reduced bleeding (due to the fact that you’re not exposing yourself to the chemicals anymore). This is really serious. I believe that our exposure to these chemicals is causing us to experience longer bleeding, more painful periods, PCOS, and other reproductive disorders. Eliminating your exposure to harmful chemicals could, over time, cure you of these problems (and red raspberry leaf tea can reduce your pain naturally in the mean time, by the way).
- Always have clean pads (bleeding more than usual? Lasting longer? Do a wash and you’ll have fresh pads in an hour or two, no trips to the store).
How To Get Yours
There are many places that you can buy pads if you want to (look at the resources below). You can also make your own. I made all of mine. They’re not like the old rags women used to use. They’re shaped, absorbent, they snap in place, and the top layer wicks the moisture away from you.
(You can also buy cloth tampons if you’re interested, but I can’t quite get my head around that one. Some people knit them and stuff them with cotton padding, leaving a trail of yarn at the end to remove it. Of course there’s no applicator with this type. But, if you really hate the feeling of pads, you can try this. Another option is the Diva Cup, which many women prefer, but I believe these are silicone, and you do have to put it inside. If you don’t like putting things inside or you are allergic to silicone or latex — I can’t remember which they’re made from — cloth pads are for you.)
There are many free patterns out there to make your own mama cloth, and many that you can pay for as well. I offer one for free on another website (listed in the resources). The patterns have instructions with them. They really do sew up quickly; I made 30 pads in just a few hours. My pattern also comes in two different sizes. If you don’t have a snap press, you can use sew-on snaps, or Velcro (though I recommend Aplix or Touchtape instead).
For postpartum use, along with my pads, I also sewed several 6″ x 6″ flannel wipes, and I kept a peri bottle in the bathroom. Whenever I used the bathroom, I would wash off warm water from the peri bottle and wipe gently with the flannel wipes. It was soooo very soft when I was sore and swollen from birth, and I just tucked it all into my little zippered, waterproof bag! I had cloth (bamboo terry, also very soft) ice packs that I had dipped into comfrey leaf tea and frozen that went into these bags. I highly recommend this system, and you can use parts of it every time, not just postpartum.
Check out the resources section for more information!
What do you use during your period? Are any of these options new to you?
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