Cloth pads

Okay, you might say, “Eww!” or “WTF?”, because that was kinda my first reaction when a friend mentioned that she’s using reusable cloth pads. But then she said something like, “But you cloth-diapered your son, isn’t that just the same?” That got me thinking.

As a baby, Sidra were using cloth diapers all the time. My mother sewed a bunch of them for him (it was really a lot, like 50 or something so they lasted the whole babyhood). He never got any rashes, bumps, or any problems on his skin; and I think he looked happier in cloth diapers. I always have some suspicion on those disposable diapers, they look so bulky and closed-up they can’t be comfortable. Of course, I had to use them sometimes when I took Sidra out for practicality reasons.

I never felt comfortable too using disposable pads, but it seemed like there were no other option. But after that talk, I did some research (I mean ‘googling’) on the net, and found out that there are a lot of women giving up disposable pads or tampons over cloth pads. They are said to be much more comfortable, no more sweats, itchiness, rashes, chafes, or adhesive strips sticking on wrong places. Sounds promising.

Then I saw pictures of those cloth pads and I thought they looked so damn cute. I always hate the look of those white stuffs. That was enough a reason to get me making one. Okay, that’s kinda shallow, but I’m a shallow person anyway. When the time came, I tried it on, and I never thought that it could be that comfortable. I ended up sewing more of them so I didn’t have to use disposable pads any longer.

Of course there are nobler reason than mine, like them being environmentally friendly and cost-cutting as well:
- Apparently an average woman will use around 17,000 pads or tampons in her lifetime, while cloth pads can be used for 5-7 years. I can’t bear the thought of me shedding several thousands of that stuffs.
– When cloth pads wear out, they can be easily composted since they are made of natural materials, while the synthetic materials in disposable pads can’t be recylcled or composted.
– In the long term, it is less expensive to buy and produce cloth pads compared to disposable products. They can be made by hand for little or no cost.
– Cloth pads are less likely to cause rashes. Women with sensitive skin and allergies may find cloth pads to be more comfortable against their skin.
– Cloth pads, like all menstrual pads, remove the risk of TSS associated with tampons.

I made my pads using scraps of double-gauze cotton fabrics, they are very soft and comfortable on the skin. Other popular fabrics are flannel, terrycloth and hemp. The inside layers are made from layers of baby burp cloth materials that I bought in Yuzawaya. I like them because it reminds me of Sidra’s cloth diapers. There are types of cloth pads with waterproof backings and removable pads, but I made mine without them since I don’t have that many flow.

I think the task of washing them after use (I wash them while taking a bath) is no more hassle than washing stained underwear from shifting disposable pads. Cloth pads can also be simply soaked in cold water for sometime, then tossed into the washing machine like regular laundry. Well, I prefer doing those than wrapping disposable pads in layers of tissue paper and slipping them deeply into the dustbin like it was something shameful.

Anyway, Sidra said that my winged cloth pads look like vampire bats. I find his comment amusing. After all, they both suck blood.

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Links:
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloth_menstrual_pad
Why use cloth?: http://www.comfyclothpads.com/
How-tos and patterns: http://www.labyrinth.net.au/~obsidian/clothpads/links_make.html
FAQ, tips, how to wash, etc:http://www.labyrinth.net.au/~obsidian/clothpads/padindex.html

  • Stephanie

    Made some for myself this year. I use cloth diapers for my daughter and thought I should join the green “flow” movement. I used flannel and an old style fuzzy cotton mattress pad – sounds thick but it wasn’t. Anyway, I am super impressed with how absorbent they are. Beats any disposable pad. Looks like a nifty pattern! Love your work!

  • Natalie

    I started cloth padding when I was about 19, 13 years later mine are still going, though they probably do need an upgrade, I don’t quite have enough to last through my seven day (yes, 7!) cycle. Due to circumstances a few years back I got back into using conventional protection, and my lord did downstairs not like that! Itchy, irritated, fragranced… ugh, I couldn’t wait to switch back!

  • Claudia

    Yes, you are right! I think that I will try that in 2009 :)

  • ikeow

    guess what…
    i’ve been googling some how to’s about making this kind of cloth pad. this is going to be my next project…thanks…

    oh, by the way, you’re awesome! ;)