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Menstrual-Views: Your Baby's in Cloth But What About You?
by Stacy Jones Tolentino

Okay moms, I have a question for you. Now that you've made a firm decision to cloth diaper your little one, have you given any thought to using cloth products for yourself during that girly time of the month? I had never considered this until I started noticing a lot of advertisements for cloth menstrual pads on many of the same web sites where cloth diapers are sold. Why would anyone wear those? That seems gross! How the heck do you clean them? I wondered. Then I realized that these are the same thoughts that so many people have about cloth diapering. When you think about it, women wear cloth menstrual products for many of the same reasons that they diaper their babies with cloth: It's natural, healthier, and more comfortable than wearing plastic/synthetic feminine products. Further, there is nothing gross about being a woman and menstruating, so surely there is nothing gross about laundering cloth menstrual products. And finally, cleaning them can't be any more difficult than cleaning cloth diapers. In fact it's actually easier. What? You're still not convinced? Then read on because StorkNet recently interviewed me and two other moms who wear cloth menstrual pads. And I'm hoping that this 'Menstrual-View' will change your own views about the type of feminine protection that you use each month!

StorkNet: Why do you use cloth menstrual pads?

Gina (Michigan): I use them for comfort, because they are extremely effective, and for my health. There are no harmful materials or chemicals in cloth pads. They are also economical!

Rebecca (Georgia): I use cloth pads because the disposables are so uncomfortable. I live in a hot climate and the plastic just felt, well, yucky. Plus, I read an article that stated the quantity of disposables women put in landfills every year and it stunned me.

Stacy (California): I wear them because I don't like having to buy pads at the store every other month. Store bought pads and liners run me at least $50 a year. It's not much money, but it still seems like a ridiculous waste when you can just invest in a supply of reusable cloth pads. I also like the comfort of cloth pads. Wearing cloth pads just makes that time of the month less dreadful and bothersome and sort of special. I have never worried about the chemicals in the store bought pads, but this would have been a concern of mine if I used tampons. I would never want something so chemically laden to be inserted inside of me for days on end. That is definitely not healthy.

StorkNet: Do you use cloth pads full-time or part-time?

Gina (Michigan): I use them full-time. Nothing works better overnight or on a busy shift at work. (I am a nurse.)

Rebecca (Georgia): I use them full-time.

Stacy (California): I've been using them part-time because I'm not crazy about the ones I have right now. But after I buy some good ones, I'll switch to using them full-time.

StorkNet: Do you use a particular brand cloth menstrual pad or something else?

Gina (Michigan): My favorite cloth pads are Work-at-Home-Mom (WAHM) pads . . . Lots of great places make them! I also like Gladrags and Pandora pads.

Rebecca (Georgia): I use pads I made myself. They are all flannel tops and inserts. Some have a pretty woven as the bottom layer. I combined several patterns online and a traced disposable to make my own pattern. I am satisfied with the shape, but made several mistakes . . . I'm on the lookout for some WAHM made pads that might not have those problems. I don't think I have the energy to make mine all over again!

Stacy (California): I use my son's old diaper doublers, which are shaped like menstrual pads and quite thick. (Remember, I'm very frugal.) Unfortunately, unless I've got tight underwear on, they don't seem to stay in place very well. Also, I don't need such a thick pad for light days. For these reasons, I'm shopping around online for some "real" cloth menstrual pads. I want the ones that have wings, snaps, and inserts. And they've got to have a really pretty pattern.

StorkNet: How do you get them clean?

Gina (Michigan): To get them clean, I soak the used pads in cold water in a pail, changing the water daily. I throw them in the washer at the end of my cycle for a wash on hot with detergent and dry them in the dryer.

Rebecca (Georgia): I put them in a pad pot full of cold water, then wash them with a diaper load. (Cold water rinse, hot water wash, minimal detergent.)

Stacy (California): I soak them in a small bucket of cold water with a bit of detergent and Arm & Hammer Washing Soda. I change the water daily and at the end of my cycle, the pads get washed in the machine by themselves on a low cycle with more detergent and washing soda. (I keep the bucket covered and out of reach in the garage.) I dry my pads on the clothes line outside or in the dryer during the winter months. My pads always smell fresh and are never stained.

StorkNet: Thanks Gina, Rebecca, and Stacy, for sharing your menstrual-views with us!

For more information and resources about cloth menstrual products be sure to read these articles: Going With the Flow and Why Reusables? But don't forget to bookmark StorkNet first!

© Copyright 2002 Stacy Jones Tolentino/ Homefront Publishing
This article may not be copied, reproduced, republished, abstracted, posted, transmitted, or otherwise, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of Homefront Publishing. Single copies may be made for your personal, non-commercial use provided this copyright notice remains intact. For permissions send an email to readabook@aol.com.

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