• Rosie Das

Reusable cloth pads for periods & postpartum bleeding

Up until 2015, I used to dread my periods. They were long, heavy, and painful. I used tampons and occasionally pads, and could never get over how gross they were. Also, whose bright idea was it to make them scented?! Bleurgh! I was always convinced that other people would be able to smell them and know that I had my period. Not that it’s something to be ashamed of, but you know what it’s like when you’re younger…


So what changed in 2015? Well, I kept seeing things about reusable cloth pads, and menstrual cups. At first I thought they were a hippie thing, not for me, and couldn’t understand how they could possible be clean enough to reuse. But one day, I’m not sure why, I decided to take the plunge and order some pads. I think they were from Feminine Wear, a Dorset based company.


And you know what? I LOVED THEM! Not only did the pads come in some really pretty patterns, but I started experiencing some cool side effects - my periods actually got shorter, and less painful! This is something I’d read about, but didn’t really believe til it happened to me. But sure enough, my periods went from 5-6 days long to 3-4, with way less cramping than I used to experience. They’re also way easier to wash than I thought of at first - just rinse with cold water, then pop in the washing machine! No, not gross - you’d do the same if you had a nose bleed and got blood on your top, right? Oh, and bonus - I wasn’t contributing to landfill anymore. Because yes, all your pads and tampons go to a dump, and sit there for thousands of years, never decomposing, because they contain plastic.


There are also lots of ethical companies, such as Eco Femme, who are working hard on building period positivity in countries like India, and raising awareness of the importance of sustainability and having eco friendly periods. Eco Femme actually have a pad for pad scheme, where for every pad bought they will donate one to someone in need.


Naturally, when I got pregnant, I knew that I wanted to use reusable cloth pads for when I gave birth. In case you didn’t know, you will experience bleeding for up to 6 weeks after giving birth. This is called lochia, and is just your uterus clearing out its lining, dead cells and anything else leftover from pregnancy. It’s totally normal, and just like a period but longer. It’s not usually heavy past the first week or so, and gradually reduces in volume and changes colour as time goes on. (If you’re not sure what you’re experiencing is normal please contact your midwife, GP or health visitor). Due to having an unplanned Caesarean I did actually use disposable pads for the first few days while I was in hospital, as it was much easier for the nurses who helped change me, but once I got home it was back to my cloth pads. I bought some lovely big fluffy ones from Treehugger, which gave good coverage without being sweaty. If you’ve had stitches I would recommend waiting until they are healed before using a fluffier pad, and instead stick to cotton or jersey fabrics at first.


Cloth pads aren’t for everyone, but I love them and think they’re worth a try. If you’d like to check some out, here are my favourite websites:


Boobalou

Eco Femme

Feminine Wear

Treehugger

Earthwise Girls


PS. If finding out about lochia took you by surprise and you'd like to find out more about what to expect from the fourth trimester, book your free 20min call now to get your questions answered! Just drop me an email to book: rosie@theplymouthdoula.com


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