Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mama Cloth, here I come!

I once read that "cloth diapers are the gateway drug of green parenting" and I have to say, after 2 years of CDing our daughter, this is bang on. Cloth diapering has opened my eyes to the fact that there are a plethora of other reusable alternatives to personal and household items that most commonly come in a disposable form - for example, cloth wipes, (un)paper towels, coffee filters, straws, wrapping "paper" and, yes indeed, feminine hygiene products.

My first foray into a reusable option for contending with Aunt Flo was The DivaCup, which I had the opportunity to review this past winter (in the nick of time - got to use it for a single period and then boom, Li'l Man decided he was ready to start camping out down there!) The DivaCup is a specific brand of menstrual cup, which is one main type of reusable monthly solution. The other type is cloth menstrual pads or, as they are often affectionately referred to as, "Mama Cloth". So basically menstrual cups are the reusable equivalent of tampons (an internal solution) and cloth pads are the reusable equivalent of disposable pads (an external solution). 


I did have a positive experience with the DivaCup in the limited time I got to try it and certainly plan to use it again when my regular cycle returns, however I've been eager to try "Mama Cloth" as well for a few reasons:
  1. A menstrual cup (such as my DivaCup) is not an appropriate solution for postpartum bleeding, which I'll obviously be contending with shortly!
  2. The DivaCup does take some time to insert, remove and clean. As such, I feel like I would likely prefer cloth pads at times when I'm in a hurry, when I'm out and about, on lighter flow days, etc.
  3. Cloth pads come in the coolest variety of styles, patterns and textures! Similar to cloth diapering, I can see it becoming almost addictive trying a bunch of different varieties. :)
  4. Menstrual cups have recommended replacement guidelines (e.g., one year for the DivaCup) whereas cloth pads should last much longer than this, assumimg they're well-made and cared for properly.
During my postpartum period, I'll be getting the opportunity to review various brands and styles of "Mama Cloth" from a few different vendors, and you'll be getting the opportunity to enter and win some of your own! Stay tuned. :)

Curious to hear - how many of you have already tried mama cloth? Love it? Hate it? What about menstrual cups? Feel free to share your preferences and your stories! :)

20 comments:

  1. I've been using Diva Cups for almost 10 years. Although you mentioned replacing it annually, my first one lasted for 5 years. I'm nearing the 5 year mark on my 2nd one, and will probably replace it in the New Year.
    Will never go back to tampons :)

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    1. 10 years, wow! Didn't realize the DC has been around that long. Some nice savings for you too!

      Indeed, I've read/heard from others that the DC can last quite a bit longer if cared for properly. Clearly "official" product replacement guidelines err on the side of being overly conservative, and it's up to the owner to judge when the product truly needs replacement in practice!

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  2. I do not require any of these products but if I did I would definitely be using the Diva Cups.

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  3. I tried cloth diapering my oldest, and it just wasn't for me. Mind you, that was 20 years ago and the diapers are much different now. I learned of diva cups after my hysterectomy, but I think I would have liked to try them.

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    1. Yes, there are many, many types of cloth diapers available now from dozens if not hundreds of brands (some big and many smaller "work at home mom" shops). Most of these are as convenient as disposables!

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  4. Oh wow, I didn't even know about these alternatives! That's so interesting about the Diva cup!

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  5. Oh mama cloth. I did use Charlie Banana, I love them because they are so soft. It takes getting used to when it comes to washing but mama cloths are great.
    Now the Diva....I don't know if I can do it, LOL!

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    1. I was admittedly a bit squeamish at first myself with the DC but it was definitely a lot easier/less awkward right from the get-go than I thought!

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  6. Great review! I haven't tried them and personally have no interest. I try to be green but stop at my monthly cycle :) Glad they work for you!

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    1. Thanks! And absolutely - you've gotta do what works for you! :)

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  7. I LOVE my Diva Cup and mama cloth. The Diva Cup took me a few cycles to get used to, but I am SO glad I stuck with it. It is so much more comfortable and less icky than tampons. Mama cloth is awesome, too, for light days and for being in a hurry, like you said.

    I had no idea there was a 1 year replacement rec. I swear when I bought mine it said it would last 10 years or something like that. I've had it for about 5 years with no signs of degredation. Guess I'll have to look into it.

    I wrote about my experience here, if you're interested: http://www.urbanearthworm.org/2012/04/26/diva-luna-mama/

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    1. That's a great post - thanks for sharing! It's pretty staggering when considering both the amount of preventable waste and potential savings by switching to reusables.

      And like I mentioned to Beth above, official replacement guidelines definitely appear to be conservative for menstrual cups. If yours appears fine with no sign of degredation, my guess is it's still perfectly safe to use!

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  8. I`ve used the luna pads. They`re nice, absorbant, and more comfortable than traditional plastic pads. I do find them challenging to use at work (no wet bag in my purse!)

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    1. Lots of Etsy shops sell mini wet bags which are the perfect size for mama cloth! I'm gonna grab one or two of these myself. :)

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  9. I love mama cloth. It's a lot more comfortable and I don't get the irritation that I used to with disposable pads. You do have to get the right pads though. There's a lot of pads out there that I do not like. That's why I started making my own a couple of years ago. Now I also sell them (http://www.etsy.com/shop/nessiesboutique).

    If you're looking for a small wet bag for your cloth pads, I recommend Monkey Foot on Etsy (the wet bags are also sold in the Canadian store called Lagoon Baby). The inside is made of ProCare instead of PUL (I'm not a huge fan of PUL inside wet bags). I love my Monkey Foot wet bag :)

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    1. Hi Agnes! I just checked out your boutique. Love the styles you're offering! Looks like a very unique construction and sweet patterns too. :) Thanks for the recommendation re: Monkey Foot as well!

      Did you previously make and sell cloth diapers too (perhaps via a different online shop?) I seem to recall this? Also your Cloth Diaper Trader site is quite nifty! :)

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    2. Thank you! I hope you had a chance to look at the sold ones as well. The store is starting to look a little empty since I sold a few things yesterday.

      The sewing is more of a hobby. I don't get to sew cloth pads and wipes much these days. My 2 kids and 5 websites like to keep me busy.

      Yes, I used to make cloth diapers under the name "Northern Baby". I was asked many times why I stopped making them for sale, so I wrote a blog post explaining why :) http://www.northernbaby.com/2009/09/11/the-reasons-why-i-stopped-selling-cloth-diapers

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  10. I have used a DC for a couple years prior to getting pregnant with my first baby (who is now 6 months old). I loved it, even though it did take some getting used to. I had a hard time with tampons, and really didn't enjoy super large pads, so it was a welcome suggestion when a newly met friend told me about it as I had never heard of them before. While pregnant, I decided I wanted to CD, and that's when I learned about mama cloth. I decided to take the plunge and bought a sample pantyliner from Lunapads a couple months ago as I was planning on getting an IUD and was told I would have some bleeding with that (I hadn't gotten my cycle back prior to this). I really liked it and have since ordered more from Lunapads, and I also got a few off of Etsy. I also just received an email saying I won a Lunette Cup (similar to the DC), so this is good timing as I would need to get the larger size after having my baby! I hope I like it as much as the DC. I will have to look into the wet bags mentioned above for my Mama Cloth as usually just use it at home as I have nothing to put them in when out and about. Can't wait to hear about your post-partum experiences with these products!

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    1. Congrats on the LC win! I hope it works well for you too!

      Yes, I'd say a wet bag is pretty much mandatory. I might even get two for my MC - one for home use and one for one-the-go! Since we started CDing we've been using wetbags for numerous things - dipes of course, but also our daughter's damp bath cloths (one bag in the bathroom) and her mealtime cloths and Norwex cloths (Kitchen wetbag hanging from the stove). Love how they keep things neat & organized until laundry day!

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  11. I love my lunapanties with liners. I have a little zippered pouch where I keep an extra set of lunapanties and liners so I can keep clean and fresh through my cycle. I think I have been using the same pairs of panties for 3 years and they are still in great condition with appropriate cleaning. I wouldn't ever go back to disposables.

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