March 6, 2010

Mama is Wearing Cloth Too! – Reusable Menstrual Pads

As an aspiring eco-warrior, I was using cloth for many years before I was cloth diapering my babies...yes, cloth menstrual pads. There are usually two reactions when I talk about this to people - some are freaked out and use words such as 'yuck', 'gross', 'eeewwwww!', whilst the other group are either already doing the same thing or at least intrigued to find out more. To all of the above I want to share a few reasons why using cloth menstrual pads is great for our own health as women and for the well being of the planet.

Less Waste
Of course as any cloth diaper user knows, using cloth keeps unbiodegradeable waste out of the landfill. The same logic applies to menstrual pads and is probably even more important since we women can be using menstrual pads for about 40 years and will generate up to 300lbs of waste if only using disposables. So to give the planet and future generations a break it simply makes sense to use cloth pads.

Less leaks
Cloth pads come in contoured, fitted shapes with wings and everything modern! Cloth pads are very absorbent and since they are less likely to shift, ruffle and leak, they provide assured and gentle comfort whilst wearing.

More Economical
Just like with diapers, once you invest in your initial stash you are in for free ride! It's then a joy each month to happily skip past the sanitary aisle in the supermarket and spend your cash on something far more enjoyable instead.

Chemical Free
With manufacturers increasingly keen to tempt us women into using the latest super thin pads with extra absorbency, you have to wonder about the type of gels and chemicals that are being used to achieve this feat. Similarly tampons that are bleached white, contain dioxins which is a dangerous chemical wherever it is found, much less for it being allowed so up close and personal! You can keep those chemicals and risks out of your undies by opting for cloth instead.

Pretty Things in your Panties!
Cloth pads are not just eco and functional – they are also fashionable! Okay no-one else is really going to see them, but it is a personal joy to replace a dull old disposable with a pretty designed pad!

So there you have it – just a few reasons why cloth has my vote for me as well as my baby. Happy 'moon-time' my sisters!

March 1, 2010

A peak inside someone else's diaper stash!

Over time, we built a cloth diaper stash of all types, shapes and sizes. We tried different kinds to see which would work best for our family, and then discovered they were really best for just one daughter while the next daughter needed some with a different fit. We borrowed diapers, bought used and shopped clearance.

With our fourth baby on the way, I realized I had no idea how many newborn diapers we had and how many that would leave us for our toddler. I needed an inventory. I dug through all our drawers, boxes and bags, pulling out all the diapers and cataloguing them. Then I searched through my files and online to find the recommended weights for each diaper and cover. I devoted a few hours to the task, but can now just update my list when we purchase new diapers. (It would have been a lot easier if I’d recorded the ranges when I purchased the diapers, instead of a year later after so many had been replaced by new and improved versions.)

An inventory can be complex. I included purchase dates and prices (so I can assess their longevity and value for our family) and pictures (so I can easily print a “cheat sheet” for separating baby’s diapers from sister’s diapers). I also designed a graph in Excel to show the recommended weights so I can easily filter to see which diapers should fit each of my children. I’m a cloth-diaper-loving nerd!

Simplicity, though, is just as valuable. A little list of the number of diapers and their size ranges for a diverse collection can be a great benefit to a family that is hoping to cloth diaper more than one child.

--Written by Kansas Mom