I’m not sure if I have any male readers, but, if I do – I’d like to suggest that you men go ahead and skip over this post. I’m going to talk about “girly” things and if do you decide to read on, and feel uncomfortable with the content, I cannot be held responsible because I have given you fair warning!
Now, go on! This is your last chance! 🙂
Okay, ladies. Here goes. For a few months now, I’ve been casually investigating the world of cloth menstrual pads. A while back, I found a website that explained a lot about the health/expense/convenience benefits – unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find that page again. The other day, however, I was browsing through the products from Tiny Birds Organics and I came upon a link to a free cloth pad pattern that doesn’t call for a serger. It definitely piqued my interest, but I was having a busy day so I tucked the information in the back of my mind and decided I’d revisit it later.
Well, this morning, I woke up and as I lay in bed, my mind started working. Cloth pads? Hmmm…I could make those. It would be pretty inexpensive. Much cheaper than buying tampons and pads every month! I may as well go for it – if I can cloth diaper, I can use cloth pads! Maybe I could even sell them! My mind began to race as I made plans to visit the fabric store today.
So, after I got up and took care of a morning diaper change, some breakfast, and some routine baby-proofing of my living room, I sat down at the computer to investigate the world of cloth menstrual pads. I came upon some great websites with some very nice looking products – GladRags and Lunapads, for example. GladRags are very similar to the pattern I found on Tiny Birds Organics. Lunapads are a bit different because instead of inserting absorbent layers inside the pad (depending on your flow), you actually attach the absorbent layers to the top of the pad. According to Lunapads, they are the most cost-effective option because you don’t have to change the entire pad each time, and their absorbent liners are cheaper (hopefully that makes sense). I also found some more independently-owned, smaller-business-type companies that sell cloth pads, but they didn’t provide nearly as much information, photos, or explanations of how their pads worked and/or if they were comparable to some of the more popular brands. I’m sure I could also find some providers on Etsy but I was really just looking for some quick comparisons.
Anyway, I definitely liked the design of both the GladRags and the Lunapads, but I still feel like it would be cheaper and the quality would be comparable if I made them myself. I’d love to take it even further by selling them (once I get the hang of it) but I don’t know if there would be a huge response. I’ve told a few girls about this idea before, and while some of them were slightly interested, others scoffed and squealed about how “gross” and “weird” it sounded. I guess for me, I’m thinking about dealing with cloth pads in comparison to scraping almost-toddler poop off diapers. It doesn’t seem so bad when you think of it like that! 🙂
I realize that many of you may feel reluctant to give up the convenience of disposable pads and tampons, and there may even be some of you that are tampons-only type girls. Even with cloth diapering, I fight the convenience battle with myself. But, I have to encourage you to do some investigating of your own because honestly, the payoff in terms of health and money-saving is unbeatable!
Here are some websites that give great insight into the world of alternative menstrual products:
To be honest, I cannot fully promote the use of cloth pads because I have yet to try it myself. I can, however, take a look at the figures (I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot on feminine products because I’m never sure how much I may need). I also find it interesting that most pads and tampons, like most disposable diapers, are bleached, which means they contain a very dangerous, cancer-causing chemical called dioxin. That’s a pretty scary chemical to have right next to such sensitive areas! Of course, there are unbleached, organic cotton products, but even then, as far as tampons are concerned, there is a very significant risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome, or TSS, which could be avoided altogether by using the DivaCup or cloth menstrual pads.
Another tidbit that increases my interest is the use of cloth pads for postpartum bleeding. I was really uncomfortable in those behemoth pads that always seemed to get sticky and misplaced inside of the weird, netting-type postpartum panties. I’d love a comfortable, cotton alternative.
This is a whole lot of rambling for a very simple idea, and I’m sorry. 🙂 Let me break it back down – I am about to go to the fabric store to pick up a few items, and then I’m off to my mom’s house where we’re going to try to make a few different types of cloth pads, with a regular machine and with a serger! Then, I will decide if I can afford to make the small investment, not only for myself, but for the start-up of a little business. I’d like to eventually extend my expertise to a few different types of cloth diapers, cloth wipes, and soakers, but that will come some other day. One step at a time, you know? 🙂
I’d really love some feedback on this. How do you feel about the idea of using cloth pads? Would you prefer to buy them from a large, professional company? What are some of the reasons you’d rather not use cloth pads?
I’m going to post my creation later today or tomorrow. I won’t really have a chance to “try it out” until the end of the month, but I’ll likely do a giveaway for a few of them so that some of you have the chance to try them, risk free. 🙂
Thanks for your help!