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Periods, Panties, & Personal Care: A KS Look at the Unmentionables

Gentlemen, this post is for the ladies.

So this is one of those topics that I can’t believe I’m actually talking about in a public setting. I thought of all sorts of ways to begin this post, but I think I’ll just begin by sheer begging.

  1. If you know me in real life, please don’t look at me funny when you see me next.
  2. If you are a guy, just stop reading now. Please. Stop. What you’re about to read you can’t unsee.

Alrighty. We good?

Today we’re going to especially focus on reusable menstrual care and bras. You ready?

So… let’s talk about having periods.

Periods, Panties, & Personal Care: A KS Look at the Unmentionables

A Quick Minute On Menstruation

A few weeks ago KS posted an article on why girls are hitting puberty faster these days (and it’s not about the chicken!). It’s a good article. And I just want to add – if you got your period early, be aware that genetics can also play a role. I can name three generations of women in my family (myself included) who got their periods before or around their 10th birthday. Sometimes, it just happens.

So even though I’m only 30, I’ve had the “pleasure” of having a period for twenty years.

And, in my twenty years of periods, I assumed that disposable feminine care was my only way to go – particularly because I didn’t know anything outside that existed. I’m not a tampon girl, myself. So it was the Always brand pads for me. (Which reminds me — why on EARTH are they called feminine napkins?!)

I had heard of things like the Diva cup (a silicone cup one can insert like a tampon to catch blood flow) from participating in hiking/backpacking circles. But, as a staunch pad fan, I wasn’t too keen on trying it out.

It wasn’t until I was at a friend’s house for a playdate that I learned there were such things as reusable pads. We had been talking about cloth diapers and I made a joke about the truly “crunchy mamas” who could use cloth diapers on themselves for periods. I’ll never forget the look my friend gave me. “Actually, I use cloth pads. Surely you’ve heard of Mama Cloths, right?

Cloth Pads & Mama Cloths

Go ahead and throw away the notion of cloth diapers right now. Cloth Pads (aka Mama Cloths) are actually quite chic. It’s essentially a cloth pad with a waterproof liner. You can find them anywhere from Etsy to professional companies.

Periods, Panties, & Personal Care: A KS Look at the Unmentionables

With great hesitation, I began looking up companies that sold reusable pads. I stumbled upon Party In My Pants, which offers a free liner for you to try. So I took the plunge and ordered some.

And I was completely blown away.

  • The cloth pads needed changed far less often than the disposable pad did. In my case, I found that I could use a cloth pad 4x longer than a disposable one, which is great on heavy-flow days. (Sorry, it’s gonna get a little personal here…)
  • It didn’t smell like the disposable ones do (I know, TMI). Want to know why the smell happens? Find out more.
  • The blood completely washed out without leaving any stains. In fact, cloth pads that I’ve been using for two years look brand new.
  • I didn’t have a rash or agitated skin from the disposable liner — something I didn’t realize was happening each period until I switched to cloth.
  • I stopped “overflowing” pads because the cloth handled clots and gushes so much better. (TMI alert. Again.)
  • The prints are cute and adorable. Remember the “Have A Happy Period” campaign that Always did a decade ago? I’ve been impressed how fun print cloth patterns can actually boost my mood and self esteem.
  • It saves massive money. It’s estimated that the average woman will spend $3,000 on products during the menstruating years. I know I was easily spending $12-15 per month. With proper care, cloth pads can easily last five years or more, making the long term savings awesome. You can see a cost comparison here.
  • Some people find that they cramp less with cloth pads. Cramping is not an issue for me, but it’s worth mentioning.

How To Use Cloth Pads

Party In My Pants has an awesome FAQ page giving all sorts of details, like how to wash your pads, how often to change them, and how many you might need.

But here are my four special words of wisdom:

  1. Have a bag, bucket, or container to put your dirty cloth pads in. You can wash everything at the end of your cycle – or more frequently if you need to. (I know it’s easy to get grossed out by the thought of reusing pads from your cycle. But you don’t throw away your favorite pair of jeans just because you had some overflow. Once you get past the initial culture shock, you may be surprised how little it bothers you.)
  2. Wash the pads with warm water and add oxygen bleach. Oxygen bleach has the same compounds found in hydrogen peroxide, which is fantastic at getting out blood stains. Try to find an oxygen bleach without fragrances or dyes added.
  3. Make sure your underwear is snug fitting around the legs to help hold the pads in place.
  4. Don’t be afraid to try it, even if you keep using disposable pads. As Katie suggested in her amazing cloth diaper review even if you only use ONE cloth item, that still adds up to a lot of changes over time. So consider this your baby step and consider giving cloth a try. 🙂 And cloth pads are great for those fighting incontinence or struggling with discharge.

Personal Care

If you’re the type of person who likes to reach for disposable wipes on your period to help clean your nether regions, consider using a peri bottle for an easy wash. These bottles are frequently given to women post-birth to fill with water and spray their underparts for easy cleaning. Simply put water in the bottle and give it a squeeze. The bottle is inexpensive and gives all the benefits of a private bidet—but one that is portable and easy to clean!

This is also great for just giving your downstairs a water cleanse.

peri bottle

Bras

Lastly, let’s take a quick look at bras.

Do you know how to decipher the mystery of that combination of numbers and letters when you go bra shopping? Let’s crack the code.

Say you’re a 36C. The number represents the width of your rib cage where the band of your bra would sit. Go ahead and measure yourself. The letter is found by measuring around the fullest part of the bust and SUBTRACTING that number from your band measurement. Each 1” difference between band and bust steps you up to the next letter.

  • 36 in the ribs and 38 in the bust (difference of 2)? You’re a 36B.
  • 38 in the ribs and 42 in the bust (difference of 4)? You’re a 38D.
  • 40 in the ribs and 46 in the bust (difference of 6)? You’re a 40F.

Obviously it’s important to know your bra size when you go shopping. But – as you well know – not all bras are created equal!

Breast Health and Lymphatic System

A few months ago, KS highlighted the lymphatic system and its important role in the body. The lymphatic system plays such a valuable role in your body, but it is definitely possible to impair your system with tight pressure, causing a “kink in the hose,” if you will. One can get lymphatic swelling from poor drainage (along with other problems).

Blausen 0623 Lymphatic System Female

Guess where some of the highest concentration of lymphatic nodes and glands are? Pretty much everywhere a bra touches, from the breast itself to the band area under the armpits. When one is breast feeding, it is discouraged to wear an underwire bra for better breast health (that is, a bra with a hard wire in it for extra “support”). The underwire can impair the flow of the milk ducts – and, at a deeper level, impair the lymphatic system which is in hyperdrive while nursing and is intricately tied to hormones.

So I knew that nursing women shouldn’t wear underwire bras. But I was also surprised to hear from my friends who have survived breast cancer that their doctor recommends they don’t wear underwire bras, either. Apparently breast cancer frequently starts out in the lymph nodes/glands of the breast. (source 1, 2)

But What About My Favorite Underwire Bra?!

I confess, for 15+ years I was an avid underwire fan. When I started nursing, I discovered the amazingly comfortable Bravado Nursing Bras. The bras have such incredible support that I never noticed I wasn’t wearing an underwire. And so, after weaning my second child, I returned to my beloved underwire bras.

But then I started having problems. A year after weaning I noticed that I would get painful lumps in the underarm area. They went away when I wore soft bras. But by the end of the day with an underwire, I would just hurt. After checking it out with my doctor, it turns out the culprit was my underwire bra! Although it hadn’t been a problem before, my body was now negatively reacting to the underwire which impaired my lymphatic system and caused swollen glands. Oy.

So I called up my favorite nursing bra company, Bravado. (You can talk with a female fitting specialist for free when you call their help line.) I sheepishly asked: do you have any nursing bras that would work for non-nursing women? Surprisingly, she said that their bras are gaining in popularity with the non-nursing crowd because their bras are designed so perfectly to promote breast health. So she gave me suggestions for this bra and it was perfect!

If you’re a large size or a hard-to-find size, consider checking out Bravado. They know their bras – and specialize in fitting all sizes. You can find the bras on Amazon for a discount, too.

muslim woman with a veil over her face z Ju Ms 4vd

The Last Mention of the Unmentionables

You might be in a life stage where you can’t use cloth menstrual pads. But did you know that women around the world are in desperate need of them? There are many, many organizations working to supply women in impoverished conditions with cloth pads so they don’t have to leave school or work for the week of their period. If you don’t want to try a cloth pad for yourself, maybe consider donating so others can? You can find a variety of organizations here:

Thanks for sticking to the end to read about things that are typically considered unmentionable. 🙂 I’d be curious to know which part of the post interested you the most. And, of course, if you’re brave — let us know if you’re a reusable pad or cup person. Just tell us in the comments below!

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

53 thoughts on “Periods, Panties, & Personal Care: A KS Look at the Unmentionables”

  1. Another new product similar to the Luna brand panties are Thinx, panties for women with periods. They donate to women in countries that cannot afford regular central care. Great ideas coming forward recently.

  2. I had an ablation 5 years ago so I don’t have a period anymore but I do have a few “party in my pants” pads of various sizes leftover.

    Now while I use poise pads and these I choose to use the reusables the days just before laundry day. I rinse them but found that this way they do not sit too long before they get a good wash! Sadly they do not hold as much urine as they did blood but they are so much more comfortable than disposable.

  3. I got one reusable cloth pad to try and I loved it. Super comfortable and no leaks. I’ve been using disposables though because I work outside the home, often 36 hour shifts as a caregiver. I wouldn’t know where to put the pads once I’ve had to change it since I can’t wash them right away. I’d like to try the diva cup but I’m nervous about using it wrong and leaking!

  4. A very gracefully written post, I must say. 🙂

    I used some cloth I made myself for a while, but had the problem of it slipping while I’m sleeping – I move horribly all the time when I’m sleeping and even the huge size I made wasn’t good enough, it would slip around and I’d have bloody sheets in the morning. I’ve gone back to disposables and occasion tampons – overnight sized pads and I can wear them for about 6-8 hours at a time without feeling like I have to change them. Sometimes when I’m feeling sensitive in certain areas I’ll pull out the cloth, because a rash right there is not very comfortable and I try to avoid them. 😉

    And bras! I turned 18 this summer and my bust is larger than my mother’s. I use Genie bras, have used them for many years because they’re wire free but they have good support. I started with sports bras (around my first period, at 11) and then switched to Genie when I was about 15. I love my Genie bras, especially the Milana Lace because it’s so pretty. The problem is I upgraded to an XL this summer and now, in December, if I grow anymore I’m going to need to go up AGAIN. Since my bras are in beautiful condition and I wouldn’t replace them for a long time yet, I’m feeling a little cross with myself because it doesn’t make sense to buy new ones when these ones work fine.

    My mother didn’t want to try the Genie bra at first because it’s a pull-over, similar to a sports bra, but that never bothered me. (Before this year I wore a regular bra with a back closure twice – when I was in two weddings in six months and wore sleeveless dresses in both. We got it for the thin straps. I was twelve.)

    I often go bra-less at home because it’s so much more comfortable not to have that extra layer on – the bra fits fine, but just having the extra layer of cloth can be uncomfortable for me (says the girl who wears over-sized t-shirts and stretch pants almost always at home and has a nice black pair of stretch pants for going ‘out’ so she doesn’t have to be uncomfortable…)

  5. I’ve been a happy cloth pad user since 2008, when a dear friend made me a stash. I’d used cloth diapers on all my children, so I knew it would be better for me, plus cheaper! At the same time I also started using the reusable cloth wipes that I had used for diaper changes as my “toilet paper” (I still use regular tp for #2). I keep a peri-bottle handy for a quick rinse. I really notice when I’ve been away from home a few days and have only had tp available – tender, irritated girly parts – bleh 😛

    In 2011/12 I purchased a Diva cup. It has a learning curve, but saves how many pads I have to wash at the end of my cycle. I always use a cloth pad as backup. Always. On my heavy day(s) I may have to empty the cup as often as every hour, or I just use the pads layered.

    My girls don’t live with me, so I couldn’t introduce them to cloth from the beginning, but I’m encouraging them to give them a try. In fact, I copied this post into an email to them, my step-daughters, and daughter-in-love!

    Bras. I am such a vocal proponent of properly fitting bras. They truly are a foundation to our wardrobe! If you rare wearing the right size, it will be comfortable, and you will feel better physically, plus you will look better, so you will feel better mentally as well! I currently wear a 34J+, so it’s hard to find a good bra. I did wear Bravado bras for a couple babies, and they were soft and comfortable, but just didn’t work for my small rib cage + large cup size combination. www.breakoutbras.com is excellent for women of all shapes and sizes. Superb customer service, good selections, and good prices.

    BUT Katy Says (http://www.katysays.com/thanks-for-the-mammaries/) that it is a good idea for our health to skip wearing the bras, at least some of the time. This past summer I probably spent half my days bra-less. It was different, but nice. (Only at home with family!!)

  6. Linda, I am in my late 40’s, and I also have extremely heavy periods, for one or two days each cycle. On heavy days I simply stack, or layer, 2 or 3 pads to soak up the flow. I’ve used cloth pads since 2008, and won’t go back to disposables. In 2011 I bought a diva cup. It can be a huge mess, you’re right! (I love having a peri bottle on hand!) Depending on what I’m doing on those heavy days, I may or may not use the cup, backed up with the pads. I have to empty it every hour or two during that time! But on the other days I can leave it in for 8-12 hours, and just have a single cloth pad in case of overflow.

  7. Thank you so much for posting this! I switched to cloth a few years ago and will never go back.

    One little trick I found: infant t-shirts. They fold up perfectly, and the sleeves fold over to hold everything together. It makes the perfect size cloth pad, and it dries much faster than layers that are sewn together. I made a DIY panty liner to wear under the pad. Have never had a leak! And since I had twins, will probably never run out of their old, stained shirts.

    Reduce, reuse, recycle!

    1. Just a little more to add: I, too was a heavy gusher. Since switching to cloth my cycles have become much lighter. Still heavy, but so much better than before!

    2. What a great idea! That’s why I always preferred prefolds and pocket diapers over all-in-one, so they dried. And I’ll chime in with you that with cloth (and therefore no chemicals in sensitive areas) the flow is lighter and I have fewer cramps.

    3. I would love to see a picture of this! Such a cool idea! I am way past having baby things around, but I would love to see how you do that 🙂

  8. I am in my late 40’s and have only used reusable pads a few times. My periods are extremely heavy. So heavy that I will soak up a super plus tampon and overflow fairly quickly. I cannot imagine a cloth pad being able to handle it. I have to wear a large pad to back up the tampon. If I tried to use a diva cup it would be a huge mess. As much as I would love to use these things, I cannot imagine it working for me. Maybe when I was younger, but not now. I am planning to buy my daughter some cloth pads though.

  9. This post turned me on to Party in my Pants and I’m so grateful! They work great! Especially in regards to handling “gushes” (clots) and better absorption in general compared to disposable pads. I tested them on my most recent cycle and was able to do so with one of the sample packs (appx $60) so I could try different sizes. I’m thrilled with them and ordered more so I don’t have to launder them in the middle of my cycle. Highly recommend this brand. (I was not impressed with glad rags, btw).

  10. I always wore underwire until after the birth of my second child. After being wirefree for a year, I just couldn’t go back. My favorite bra is Barely There wirefree with petal concealers. (Apparently after breast feeding two children there was no other way to cover up these nipples).
    I’ve been doing cloth pads for four years (I started with pantyliners and pads.) I even used them post partum after my last two pregnancies. I will admit though, my light colored ones have had staining issues, but I don’t let it bother me. (I feel similarly about the occasional cloth diaper stains). My favorite are from an Etsy seller and are pink and red, so they are pretty and don’t show stains. I also transitioned to using a Lunette cup with pads a backup and I love it even more than pads alone.
    Thanks for talking about this topic. I did some posts a few years ago reviewing and comparing products because the process of starting out can be so overwhelming. Glad to see someone else is helping ladies see their options.

  11. I mostly use a sea sponge, but I have been wanting to try reusable pads and I ordered the sample you mentioned. I loved the information on bras and I have had the same experience since nursing that my body does not like underwires. My mother also has had breast cancer and I’ve learned a lot about the importance of the lymphatic system because she has lymphedema due to the removal of a few of her lymph nodes.

  12. I found the entire article with all the different topics to be informative and interesting! Thanks for sharing, and I plan to definitely check out Mama Cloths.

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      Glad you found it helpful and interesting, Nikki! Hope you like the cloth pads as much as I do! 😉

  13. You have covered a sensitive topic very tastefully with plenty of humor at the same time! As a very private gal, I sure do appreciate the way you handled the issue while giving plenty of relevant tips…I am looking forward to trying out reusables myself! As for the unmentionable bra…blah! lol Health problems make my weight go up and down quickly and swelling and all…I never feel like anything fits right. But I’ve never tried nursing bras…that’s what I am trying next. Thanks for all the unmentionable tips and funny discomfort with the topic – probably similar to many of us. 😉

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      RebekahG. — Awwww! Thank you for your kind words. I’m a fairly private gal, too — so writing this took quite a bit of bravery!!!

      If you are finding your weight/size going up and down, then I highly highly HIGHLY recommend that you try nursing bras — especially the Bravado ones. I don’t feel like I’m wearing a nursing bra AT ALL. It’s not uncommon for women to have different sizes based on hormones/the time of the month. Even the time of DAY can impact size — and this is for non-lactating women. So it makes sense to wear a bra that can move with you. You’ll have to (discreetly?) let us know what you try out. 🙂 Here’s to typing without blushing too much! 😀

  14. I made my own cloth pads a few years ago for after I gave birth because I figured all the reasons I thought it important to use cloth for my baby would be the same for me. I used the kiki cloth pattern, and they’ve been great. I think they can be used longer than disposable, but I love being able to change any time I feel like I need/want to and not be throwing money away.

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      Amanda – Way to be super mom! Do you still use the cloth pads you made? I agree with you — cloth pads can be worn much longer/carry more flow than disposable pads. And you can’t beat the feeling of saving money!

  15. I’m glad KS has taken on this topic! It’s great to see some new people catching on to the idea.

    I have been using reusable products for more than a decade now and have tried a lot of brands. There’s a 10% discount on Sckoon cloth pads and cups in my post with details about why this is my favorite cup and the pad is a good one.

    I have one Party In My Pants pad that is not a favorite because the top surface is not flannel; it’s an organic cotton woven fabric that I would call calico (I’m no expert on fabric names…) and it’s got a sort of crisp texture. It’s a little cooler than flannel on very hot days, but overall I don’t like the way it feels. They do make flannel pads as well, so that’s something to consider when ordering: If you are particular about having very soft panties, or if disposable pads feel scratchy and itchy to you, go with the flannel!

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      Becca – I’ll agree with you that I highly prefer flannel over cotton. It’s just so soft! Thanks for the extra info in your comment.

  16. Has anyone here tried using a paper towel between your pad and your skin, or between your panty and your skin? I’ve been doing this for about a year now and I find it very refreshing to use these rather than a panty liner to catch v. discharge and gives me a better idea of the flow progression during my cycle and just everyday normal discharge too. It also helps keep me drier during the menses as most pads tend to collect blood at the top for quite awhile leaving one with a wet feeling for awhile. Another benefit is that it can also help keep the skin away from direct contact w/the chemicals in the regular pads. I know paper towels are not chemical free but pads probably have more of it than paper towels. The paper towels they sell at Whole Foods seems to be the most natural, but they’re a bit on the thin side. I prefer Bounty Select a Size. I change it every time I empty my bladder and it feels good. I only wonder about breathability compared to cotton…but then again… (and I’m not saying I’m against cotton pads, just trying to defend the “breathability” of paper towels) Cotton pads are rather thick and if you blow on them, you don’t feel the air coming out of the other side. The same may appear to be the case with paper towels, but at least you can see tiny holes in them when u hold them up to the light. I welcome any feedback on this and especially on any chemical-free paper towels you might come across.

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      C – interesting question. I may or may not have used paper towels in a pinch in my life before (blush). However, I’m not sure I’d rely on them full time. My cloth pads feel wonderfully ‘breathable.’ I’ve done some reading that the recycled paper products include BPA. I haven’t spent the hours to confirm research on this, but it seems pretty standard. Boo. I’m not sure there is such a thing as chemical-free paper towels. But props for the creative solution!

  17. Just a bit of history told to me long ago from an elderly woman who lived through the depression. She said they used the old rags for their pads. That’s how it got named “being on the rag”. And they would wash them out, hang them on the line and re use. No disposables back then.

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      Thanks for sharing this tidbit of history, Shirley! You’re right — disposables are a relatively “new” invention! It’s amazing how things change with generations, though. I never even knew cloth/reusable were an option for decades!

  18. Slightly embarrassed

    Does anyone have experience using cloth pads for urinary incontinence? I have continence issues due to MS, and I currently use maximum or ultimate absorbency Poise brand disposable pads. They hold quite a bit more liquid than disposable menstrual pads, so I don’t think that simply using a reusable pad meant for mentruation would do the trick.

    Thanks!

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      I may or may not have used them for incontinence myself. 😉 (Oh, how having a baby will change you….)

      I know that lots of folks have responded to Party In My Pants that they use them for this purpose. Worth giving a shot! And it will feel soooooooo much nicer than using a plastic disposable menstrual pad (or worse — Depends).

  19. I love…love…LOVE…my Moon Cup!! Haven’t bought a single pad or other menstrual supply in over three years. It’s wonderful and I never have to worry about forgetting to bring stuff with me when I go out. It’s amazing and frugal. I’ll never go back!

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      Amy – Thanks for sharing what you love! Cups are an awesome way to go. 🙂

  20. Fantastic post! Thanks so much!! I’ve used a diva cup for about 6 years, and additionally my aunt made me some reusable pads. I think it might be time to buy more, though, as they’re not quite heavy-duty enough. The pads mentioned here look great but seem a bit pricey—can someone recommend a more affordable, sturdy, high-flow option?

    My daughter is still little, but I fully plan on introducing her to cloth and silicone cups as “normal.” There’s no reason not to : )

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      Julie — if you are looking for heavy-duty pads, check out the Super pads from Party in my Pants. They also offer frequent sales and clearance prices. I know lots of people also like lunapads, but I don’t know how their heavy-flow pads work.

      Here’s to teaching the next generation a new normal!

    2. Becca @ The Earthlings Handbook

      My favorites for very heavy flow are Mimi’s Dreams with the hemp core and polyfleece backing.

  21. Thank you for being brave enough to share. I have been curious about cloth pads but was never brave enough to take the plunge. I am ordering a sample. I also need a new nursing bra and always buy an underwire since I am huge (36FF) so I will be looking into this other company. Thank you!

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      Joy A — Thanks for your kind words. And here is to cloth pad bravery!! I hope it is a blessing to you. 🙂 And you’ll have to let us know what you think if you end up getting a bra from Bravado. I love how comfortable they are for us larger-sized women. 🙂

  22. I’m a big fan of my reusable pads from Lunapads. They are so much more comfortable than disposable pads!

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      Lisa — I’ve heard great things about Lunapads. And I totally agree about cloth being more comfortable!

  23. As hard as this post may have been to write, I’m so thankful you did! I have never heard of cloth pads and bought a sample right away. I use cloth diapers and knwo this would be much the same and save so much money.
    Thank you again!

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      Heather E. — Awwwww. Thank you for your kind words. I hope cloth pads will work as wonderfully for you as they did for me.

  24. I love my reuseable cup. It has so many benefits. I have never used mama cloth but I did wish I had some when my last baby was born. It would have been so much more comfortable. I LOVE Bravado nursing bras and plan on wearing them after baby is weaned! Great post.

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      Shiree — if you do find yourself needing postpartum pads, some companies make extra long pads that offer amazing coverage and are just lovely. And it’s always great to hear from a fellow Bravado bra lover. 😉

  25. Thanks for this post! I’ve used reusable pads and menstrual cups for around 12 years now, and would not want to have to go back to disposable. The cups hold way more than a tampon and don’t have to be checked as much. Back when I was single and working, I could go a whole workday without needing to check it. I also love that if I’m going somewhere and think my period might start, I can put the cup in and go and I’m not wasting anything if it doesn’t start. I prefer to use the cup with a thin cloth pad as a backup leak protection, just for peace of mind. I also get rashes from disposable pads, but not from cloth. I have made my own cloth ones and I just wash them with the cloth diapers. I also like the tip about the peri bottle!

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      RMS – I think you just might be my mama cloth/cup hero! Thanks for sharing your story. It’s always great to hear from someone else who has been a long-term cloth/cup user. 🙂

  26. As I learned more about the dangers of using disposable menstrual products a couple of years ago (read here: http://wellnessmama.com/25415/problem-with-pads-tampons/), I started to make my own reusable mama cloth. I was always a tampon user, and HATER of disposable pads (yep, that smell!). Within the last two years, I’d heard enough about menstrual cups that I decided to take the plunge. The first cycle was a bit rough, but I vowed to try it for at least three cycles. Now, I’ll never go back! I used to have horrible cramps, but that hasn’t been an issue since switching to reusable products. If you’re interested in a cup, this site has a great chart to compare the sizes of the various cups on the market as most are labeled as a Size 1 or 2 / pre- or post-childbirth (I based my decision off the only tampon I’d ever found to fit well): https://menstrualcups.wordpress.com/2010/08/19/cup-size-comparison-charts/

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      Ashley – way to make your own mama cloths! Wow! And thanks for the tip on the cup sizes.

  27. Thanks for writing on this topic, I hate that it’s still considered taboo to talk about menstruation, it’s not a choice or an option but a part of life! I did go ahead and order the free sample liner they offer ($3.99 to ship). I am excited about getting it as it weighs heavily on my mind and my heart to throw away disposable pads, I think about the sheer amount of trash I’m creating just from menstruating alone and it is upsetting. I have considered using the diva cup, I just haven’t taken the plunge. I’m also very grateful that I’m not blessed with an over abundance of chest, so I have been bra free for going on 2 years. I have a chronic pain condition that started around that time, and I found that the straps from bras, no matter how well fitting or well designed, were causing me pain and my lymph nodes were always swollen while wearing them, so I simply stopped. I know this isn’t an option for everyone, but I’ve been feeling better and no more arm pit lymph node swelling since dropping the bra.

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      Lyn, glad that the cloth pad gives you some better options. And that’s fascinating about the bra strap correlation to back pain. Thanks for sharing!

  28. A friend turned me on to using a cup a few years ago. Having been a straight pad person til then, I was hesitant, but have come to appreciate it – though I do often use a reusable pad as a backup. Now that my daughter is reaching that age, I want to start her out with reusable, but have been struggling with knowing what to get since I don’t have much experience myself and the upfront cost is so high it’s hard for me to invest in a stash when I’m not sure she’ll like it. Thanks for writing this article – I appreciate your bringing it up. I appreciate the bra tips too – I like having my distaste for underwire validated 😉 and the interpretation of those size numbers is helpful, as is knowing there’s an advice line – I may have to give Bravado a call.

    1. Bethany Wright (Contributing Writer)

      Glad it was helpful for you, Amy! I hope you’ll be able to find some good solutions for your daughter. Yes, it is an expensive up front cost. But it also took my breath away to realize that we could be spending upwards of $40/m once my daughter gets a little older. Glad cloth pads are an option!

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