February 2, 2011

I'll NEVER use those!!!

"I'll never use those, I'm quite happy with my current system, thank you very much."

"Ewwwwww."

"Why would you want to wash it when you could throw it away?"

These comments could often describe some people's reactions to cloth diapers, but they will pretty much always describe their reaction to reusable menstrual products! 

Diva cup
Yep, time for a post on mama cloth and Diva Cups!  Bet you're excited...but please keep reading.  You see, I once made those comments above.  Even after I was cloth diapering my daughter, I had no desire whatsoever to use cloth on myself.  I was a loyal tampon user and had no intentions of switching.

But, as moms often find, my body shape wasn't quite the same after birth.  When my period returned a year after my daughter was born, my favorite brand of tampon didn't fit anymore.  It hurt and leaked and just felt awkward.  What to do?

Cloth Diaper Outlet was carrying mama cloth by then, so in desperation one night I grabbed a couple of cloth pads and gave them a try.

Wow!  So comfortable, so non-scratchy, so soft.  By my next period, I had most of a pad stash and a small wet bag ready to go.  I found that heavy pads worked well during the day for my first days, then regular or even light pads worked fine until the end.  At night, I used really long heavy pads and for the most part, they did well. 
Moonbow Cloth Pads
I used 100% cloth pads for several months, then a friend suggested a Diva Cup.  I read into it but it sounded intimidating.  The friend finally tried it and raved about the cup, so I broke down and bought one.  Yes, they do have a learning curve.  That first month with my cup I almost tossed it in frustration.  The next month, we were on vacation when my period was due to arrive.  We were trying to conceive, so I wasn't sure my period would come at all.  I didn't want to pack a whole suitcase of pads if no period came, so I did something very brave...I only packed my tiny Diva Cup.  Sadly, my period did arrive right on time.  But happily, I fell in love with the Diva Cup that week. 

That was 5 years ago.  I am a devoted cup and cloth user now.  My stash has evolved over the years and now consists of my cup, about a dozen Moonbow Petite pads, and two or three Stackable Menstrual Pads.  I haven't bought a paper pad or tampon in over 5 years and that feels wonderful!! 

What about washing?  This is super easy if you also have cloth diapers to wash.  Simply wash them together.  If you're not washing cloth diapers, then I recommend rinsing out the pads alone and then washing with towels or whatever laundry you're comfortable washing with. 

Here's my routine for stain-free pads:
1. Remove pad and run briefly under cold water.  I don't soak the pad or anything, just run water over the stain.  Then I fold in half and place in a wet bag.  I have a pretty wetbag that I chose just for me.  I keep it behind the trash can in the bathroom. 
2. I usually wait until my period is over to wash, then wash them all at once.  I dump them into the wash, along with diapers, and run a cold rinse.  Then hot wash with detergent, then dry. 

My pads come out almost completely stain free, which is amazing since I use cotton or bamboo velour pads. 

Diva Wash
How about the cup?  On my first day, I empty the cup three times (morning, midday, night).  On subsequent days, I empty just morning and night.  When I empty it, I wash it with warm water and Diva Wash.  At the end of my period, I wash it extra well and put it away.  Cups can also be rinsed with alcohol and boiled, but I don't usually do those anymore.

And more miraculous, my period has gone from a solid 7 days to a mere 3.  I had always heard rumors about chemicals in tampons causing longer periods.  I don't know if it's true, but I know that for me, my periods are shorter and I cramp a lot less. 

4 comments:

I have thought about trying diva cups for sometime now, but honestly with coupons i always get my tampons/pads for almost free and they never have sales on diva cups so i worry that i will waste 30-40 bucks on something i use a couple time only to toss if it isnt for me.:( does anyone know if they ever have promotions or anything?

I am a Diva cup user and LOVE LOVE LOVE it (though Ive only used it like 6 times total because of breastfeeding and pregnancy). My periods are shorter, I feel cleaner, its healthier for my inner flora, and sooo much cheaper in the long run. I used to have a huge issue with tampons sucking so much of my natural fluids outta me that even after my period and tampon usage was long time over, I couldnt have intercourse for a week because of being so dry :-/ I have made a couple of cloth pads for myself but just ordered a couple this weekend to try out before I make some more of my own :)

I've used panty liners every day for years, and recently switched to cloth ones. I was surprised to find that I really like them!

I have used the Instead cup for 8 years now, so I'm not intimidated by the Diva cup at all. I just haven't made the switch because I like that you can have the Instead in during sex. I really do wish they were reusable though. I've heard of people reusing them, but the company's official position is that you can't, and I haven't felt up to risking an infection or something to try.

I've always been afraid to try using cloths during my period out of fear that the blood would stain whatever you're washing it with, but I guess from you post that that's not a concern? I'm not much of a maxi user in general, but for lighter days when a cup is an overkill I wouldn't mind.

That last part is so interesting, but I'd believe it. I'm currently breastfeeding and thankfully sans period but I am definitely planning to go the cloth menstrual route when my period returns. At this point I can't even imagine going back to gross tampons!