Friday, March 10, 2006

A Hush-hush topic!

I've been thinking to write an entry about a certain topic for a while now but was rather afraid it might sound too weird. Well, here I go in all my weirdness!

Back about 5 years ago I started using cloth pads rather than disposable ones. I don't remember particularly where I first got the interest; probably some random web page I stumbled on while surfing. But it got me doing some research on all those disposable pads almost all of us use.

Most pads are made of paper pulp bleached white with chlorine gas, and the toxic chemicals from this process goes from the factories into the rivers and oceans where it harms all sorts of wildlife, including humans. This is a problem with everything made of paper in our society today. So, just from the ecological point of view, disposable pads are hard on the environment.

Many people say that disposable diapers are bad for the earth because they end up clogging landfills. But what most women don't stop to think about is that the plastic liners that make pads leak-proof are made of the same materials as disposable diapers. Think about how many pads one woman uses in her lifetime and how much that is apt to clog up a landfill. Not to mention the individual wrappings on each pad!

If you are big on saving the earth, you might definitely want to consider using cloth pads. But the biggest selling point I have found is the effect they have on your body. I have personally had 2 friends who had very painful periods every month. I mean, these gals missed work one or more days a month from the cramps. I convinced both of them to give cloth a go and neither has looked back. They both report having much lighter periods, much much lighter cramps and no more missed work. If that isn't a major selling point I don't know what is! I'm still trying to do the research on exactly how the cloth helps in this regard but I seem to remember from earlier research that it possibly has to do with the way the gel in the disposies pulls the stuff out of your body. When there's nothing to pull it out, it just comes out naturally much easier.

Right after the Little Miss was born I was stupid enough to use disposables (after about 3 years in cloth) because the hospital provided them. 2 weeks later I ended up with the most horrid rash. Not a good thing on a post-partum bum!

I think a lot of women just don't realize that an alternative to disposable pads exist. So I thought I would bring it to more people's attention. The brand I started out with is called Many Moons. They have served me well but I wouldn't necessarily recommend them. They are the type that have a liner that you have to fold up and insert into the pad. Not really hard but just a pain when you're doing laundry. I ended up sewing all my liners in just to not have to deal with it. Although I see now that their liners are just one piece that you don't have to fold so that would be a lot better than what I have.

Last year, in anticipation of actually having a baby, I bought some post-partum pads from Pretty Pads and I would definitly recommend them. As my Many Moons pads start to wear out, I will replace them with Pretty Pads. They are an all-in-one design (no liner to fold up) and they are very well.

Some might think that laundering would be a pain. When I first got mine, I soaked them and Boraxed them. But now-days I put them in a plastic bag as I use them and then at the end of my period (which usually only lasts 3-4 days) I throw them all into the washer on the sanitary cycle. So it's really only 1 extra load of laundry a month. Mine are pretty stained but I know they're clean and no one else sees them so it's no big deal. I wore my post-partum ones several times during this last miscarriage and they are fleece-topped and didn't stain at all.

Initial costs will vary depending on what you buy. I think when I originally bought mine I spent less than $100. They can easily pay for themselves in just a few months! I gradually added to my stash so that I can now go my whole period without having to wash. I also have some for night-time use which is nice. Most places say the pads will last 4-6 years. My original ones are going on 5 years and I can't see they will need replacing anytime soon. It helps that I have a large stash but I also wear them every day outside my period for added protection. Even with constant wear, they are holding up great.

There are other alternatives of course. There are menstrual cups and there are a variety of organic disposable pads that are much better on your body and the environment.

I'd really encourage you, if you've never given it a second thought, to think about the alternatives the next time you buy a box of disposables (diapers too but I'll save that for another post!). There's a wealth of options out there these days (there were very few choices back when I bought mine) and there are lots of home-based businesses on ebay selling them. You can get enough of a stash to try without investing much money.

1 comment:

savvy saver said...

Great post! I'm a fan of cloth and Diva cups! Very earth- and body-friendly!