Ever since my very first period, I’ve been an all tampon all the time kind of girl. Growing up sharing a bathroom with my mom and my sister, very few of the mysteries of life remained mysterious, so I was very familiar with menstruation and all varieties of feminine hygiene products out there by the time I started my own menstrual cycles.
The disposable ones that is.
I tried a disposable pad for approximately 10 minutes after I began that first period and could not handle the way in which it stuck to my behind despite placing and replacing. Forget this! It felt like a Barbie mattress in my pants! Since we were at a family event at the time, I rummaged in my mom’s purse for her spare tampons – problem solved.
Fast forward 10 years – I was now postpartum with my first son and tampons were no longer an option. I suffered through roughly a month of various sized pads unsticking from my underwear (and thus sticking to me), puffing up my clothes and just being all around genuinely irritating in every way because, hey, that’s what you have to do right?. Suffered was definitely the operative word!
Then, after 14 months of not having to worry about feminine products in the least (thank you breastfeeding!), I assumed I would just return to tampons and be on my merry way. But I couldn’t get comfortable with them again. No matter how heavy the flow or what absorbency I used, they were uncomfortable, painful to remove or adjust and generally not the dear ol’ friend that I remembered. Since being immersed in the world of cloth diapers for over a year, I had heard talk of cloth pads and reusable feminine products and was intrigued. After all, I was already laundering stinky diapers, a few cloth pads wouldn’t bother me in the least!
I bought a couple of reusable/cloth tampons from an Etsy shop (but with a way cuter wet bag in a pink swirly design), in mix and match sizes – a super, three regulars and a lite absorbency. They inserted as easily as an OB tampon (and while I do prefer an applicator, it was not really that big a deal), they absorbed well, and the rinsing/soaking seemed to completely remove stains. I also scored some back up panty liners for light flow days from a different Etsy shop and absolutely ADORED them. They were so cute! Odd, I know, for a feminine hygiene product, but the seller does custom fabrics, and I chose some pretty, princess girly ones. Who doesn’t want to have nice, pretty things for days you’re feeling yucky? And, again, the rinsing worked marvelously well. I threw them both in with my cloth diapers when I washed them.
I had also heard about the Diva Cup and realized that as nice as the cloth tampons were (no more painful removal and no more forgetting to buy boxes at the store! no more crazy chemicals!), it was silly to go buy more and keep washing when I could just get a reusable menstrual cup. I tried and loved it! No short time limits, comfortable, healthy and safe, the list goes on and on. There is a bit of a learning curve to insertion and removal, but if you time it right, you really don’t ever need to take it out when you’re not at home, which is super convenient. I told my sister and her college girlfriends about them and totally converted them over to the Diva Cup. I even got her one for Christmas!
So, for me, that just left the postpartum period. Once I had delved into the world of cloth pads and reusable feminine products, I knew that after my second child was born I just could not go back to sposie plastic pads making my bottom sweat. Too gross! So, I ordered a postpartum set from the same cute little Etsy shop as well as a couple more in various absorbencies and they were lovely! So much more comfortable (although I won’t lie, I prefer the Diva Cup, but since that’s not an option postpartum, a girl has to make do with cloth!), so much more cute and fun and easy as pie to wash with my cloth diapers. And now that I’m expecting my third, I have those same postpartum pads all ready to go!
Thus, I’ve come full circle from disposable tampons to Diva Cup and should I ever be blessed with daughters, we’ll be starting with cloth/reusable options from the get-go. Even though a young teen might not be comfortable with a menstrual cup quite yet, cloth pads beat the pants off of the disposable ones!
Lina is a Catholic, crazy, crunchy, (wannabe) crafty mama living the Army wife at Ft. Bragg. When she’s not finding new ways to be crunchy, she’s raising two boys with another surprise on the way this fall – all cloth diapered of course! And, she finds time to share her life on a regular basis through her blog.