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Thinking of switching to cloth maxi pads- any advice?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

I've been looking into switching to cloth maxi pads.   Do any of you wise mamas have any recommendations?  Brands?  Should I get a "variety" pack to start?  How many do I need?

 

Thanks for your help!

post #2 of 28

I'm a big fan of cloth pads, they are so much more comfy!  How many you need depends on your flow, how often you want to wash, and if you use pads alone or something like a menstrual cup as well.  I was mostly using my Diva Cup so my stash was a lot of liners (for backup and I use them on non-period days too) and light pads for beginning and end.  Now I have a lot more for PP flow so I've been branching out.

 

I would definitely recommend getting just a few pads to try from different places that you think you might like before you buy a whole bunch.  I like fleece backed pads because they are more breathable than PUL and also they slide around less.  I only have pads that snap around my undies to keep them in place, what I find helps them stay put really well is to choose pads where the width (when snapped closed) is close to the width of your undies so that the fabric isn't bunching.

 

Here are the places I've gotten pads from and the pros/cons for each.  They are all WAHM which I prefer to support instead of big corporations and they have great products.

- GEM Cloth: these are very economical and pretty, she uses cotton velour and fleece backing, all cotton inners.  These are the majority of my stash.  I prefer to get the darker velours so that staining doesn't show too much.

http://gemcloth.webs.com/padsinstock.htm

http://hyenacart.com/onestore.php?vid=3292&category=18

- Homestead Emporium: lovely pads, she has quite a following and stocks every Friday.  She uses mostly bamboo velour and fleece backing, quite a large variety of shapes and sizes are available.  Again due to staining I chose the darker swirl pads and I only have a few.

http://hyenacart.com/HomesteadEmporium/

- Tree Hugger: these are turned-and-topstitched and I personally find them a bit thicker than the other pads.  She makes fleece backed pads with either bamboo velour or minkee - minkee is all polyester but also does not stain which is a big plus, her inners are usually Zorb fabric, so it depends on what kind of materials you would like to use.

http://hyenacart.com/TreeHugger/

 

Hope that helps a bit!

post #3 of 28

Maybe I'm in the minority, but I would recommend keeping some disposables in the house if you are at all active. My close friend and I agree that cloth pads are fine and dandy for hanging around the house or performing leisurely activities, but if you are doing anything that gets you warm and sweaty, they feel pretty gross since they absorb the sweat and the moisture doesn't wick away from your skin.

 

I use a Moon Cup and cloth liners for backup protection....unless I'm at work. I work in a busy restaurant and the cloth liners are SO uncomfortable within an hour of my shift. My friend goes dancing a few times a week, and she uses regular disposable pads during that time, for the same reason.

post #4 of 28

2xy,  just curious what fabric your pads are? I have hemp, no backing (fleece, PUL or otherwise), just hemp. I wear them all day, every day during my period and don't really have that issue. After a sweaty workout, I do shower and therefore change the pad, but I've never had it get so soggy that it was uncomfortable. Just the opposite, in fact. Even damp, it's still softer and more comfy to me than a soggy disposable.

 

I use Willow Pads, and the only reason I wouldn't recommend them is that the snaps don't seem to last. If you sew, or have/know someone who has a snap press, I'd say go for it. I don't, so I just use them w/o the snaps once they fail, but it's annoying. That's my only complaint, though, and I love the hemp fabric. It's soft, absorbent, and never smells.

post #5 of 28

I have to say I actually prefer cloth for when I'm sweaty.  With sposie pads if my undies were damp I couldn't get the pad to stick to them properly and sometimes it would come unglued with enough moisture.  With cloth it doesn't matter and it's nice to have something dry when I switch pads.  It's probably a personal preference though.

post #6 of 28

Love cloth pads.  I just use Imse Vimse pads since I bought them when I bought my kids' cloth diapers.  I also use some made by another cloth dipey co that I think don't exist anymore and I really love those (they are fleece but not hot and breathe really well, way more comfy than disposables).  I bought both here where I buy my kids cloth dipeys: http://jilliansdrawers.com/products/formom/menstrualcare/imsevimseclothpads

 

My friends swear by the diva cup (also sold here) although I've never been keen on it but it might be worth a try.  And there's nothing wrong with going back and forth (cloth, disposable, cloth, disposable) till you figure out what works best.  

 

My only big advice is there are a lot of super expensive pads out there that I feel are really overpriced.  Do a little hunting or if you're crafty, make your own! http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/11/make_your_own_pad.php

 

Good luck! xo

post #7 of 28

Personally, I find sweat is a problem for cloth AND disposable pads. And I think the cloth is a bit better (though still funky). Well, you'll figure it out for yourself, but just didn't want you to think that cloth was a problem as a rule. And I find them more comfortable in terms of being able to move around. But I admit I find the cloth ones a bit of a pain when I'm out for long enough to have to change them, but people do deal with it. I have some "emergency disposables" in the bathroom closet, and they haven't been touched in years.

 

For my flow and habits, 10 pads more than cover it. I make a point to do the wash the first couple days of my moon time, and after that I don't have to change nearly as often. I could probably get away with just 5 or 6 pads total, honestly.

 

I think a variety pack is a good idea, chances are you can use each of them in some way or another, and if you find you really like a certain style better then you can just round out your stack and order more of those.

post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thank you thank you thank you!  To all of you for your replies, this is great info.  Also good to know to keep an "eye out" when I work out (I like to run), I hadn't thought of that as a potential problem.

 

I have a friend who swears by her diva cup.  However, I've always been a bit nervous about it- too worried I wouldn't get it on right, etc- but I suppose it's worth playing around with while I'm finding the right pads for me.

 

Thanks again for all of your help!  Still open to more advice if there are some mamas out there who would like to chime in. :) 

post #9 of 28

They're flannel. TBH, I'm not fabric savvy and wouldn't know what kinds to look for.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post

2xy,  just curious what fabric your pads are?

post #10 of 28

I love my cloth pads.  My cycle was long and very erratic my entire adult life, until I switched to cloth a few years ago.  Maybe coincidence, but I am not going back.  They're also a lot more comfortable.

 

The pads you buy will last a looong time, so try to get ones that will be perfect for you.  My advice, buy a sample from several sellers to see what you like best.  I hate thick pads.  I think a lot of wahms who make pads have experience with cloth dipes, and they're making pads way too thick.  Blood is nothing like pee as far as how much absorption you need.  You need a soft liner, minimal absorbent layers, and something to stop wicking.  Thick pads are uncomfortable and really hard to get clean.  I like my pul pads better than wool;  the wool is too thick.  And I am a fabric snob, but I personally cannot tell the difference between bamboo velour ($$$ )and cotton flannel ($) when I'm wearing it.  Also, think color.  White or cream pads are going to show stains, whereas a darker color or print will hide them.

post #11 of 28

I switched to cloth pads too a couple years ago (Lunapads).  I love them!  Right now I use them at night, while I use a cup for the daytime.  Since I use the pads for night only, I only go through a few of them each cycle.  The first couple nights I use the extra long pads, then the midsize pads for the next couple nights.  The last day of cycle I sometimes will use one of the liners rather than the cup because it's such a light flow by then.

 

Cupwise, first I tried Diva cup, but it was uncomfortable and challenging to use, and leaked a lot.... after further internet research, I learned that the shape of Diva didn't suit me (my cervix sits too low for the longish Diva cup size).  There is a brilliant lady on youtube whose id is MenstrualCupInfo, she has a channel called The Cup Guru.  She has tons of helpful videos if you are interesting in cups.  Very sweet lady, she answered my emails and helped me identify a proper fitting cup.  Now I use a pretty blue Lunette cup, and have a vibrant pink Ladycup which I don't use as often but always take out of its pouch to admire the pretty color!  They fit perfectly and I don't even notice when they're in. 

 

Disposable pads were always a nightmare to me, sticking to me, bunching up in odd configurations, smelly, gross to dispose of.  Feeling self-conscious carrying them around the grocery store when buying them.  Cloth was a dream compared to that.  The only thing which bothered me was the soaking and cleaning of the cloth ones.  I love the cups most, they are easy to use and so little maintenance.  Once I had a proper fitting one, I have no leaks, and no discomfort.

post #12 of 28
I love.gif Lunapads too. They are so well made and the snaps last forever. Also they have really pretty prints. I suggest getting the starter pack then you know what you'll need. I wear the liners all the time and use 2 of the extra long ones back to back during my heaviest time at night.

I use the Diva cup sometimes. Sometimes it's easier for me to use tampons with the cloth pads as backup. The Diva cup is often a pain to fumble with.
post #13 of 28

I have never used fabric pads--thanks for the info! I will say that for about a year I've been using the Diva Cup only. It took me a while to really figure it out, but once I got it there was no reason for anything else. :D People keep telling me how great the cloth pads are though...

post #14 of 28

Eyeing this thread as I've been thinking about cloth pads... I had a Diva cut (or moon cup) which I loved in theory, but the thing that sticks out at the bottom always bothered my labia.  I tried trimming it (as suggested) and just managed to f the whole thing up.  And, when you trim silicone it gets pointy and sharp, which did not help with the whole irritation thing.  So I totally ruined it.  :-(  Tampons are uncomfortable since my 2nd birth (don't know why) and pads feel so... gross.  

 

Quick hijack- how do you wash them?  I am cloth diapering DS#2, could I just throw them in with his diapers, or is that gross?  (It's ok, be honest.)  Generally, it seems like washing them by themselves would be such a small load that it would seem wasteful.  Or maybe with some towels?  I don't know.

 

Thanks!

post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharon, RN View Post

Eyeing this thread as I've been thinking about cloth pads... I had a Diva cut (or moon cup) which I loved in theory, but the thing that sticks out at the bottom always bothered my labia.  I tried trimming it (as suggested) and just managed to f the whole thing up.  And, when you trim silicone it gets pointy and sharp, which did not help with the whole irritation thing.  So I totally ruined it.  :-(

Have you tried flipping your cup inside out?  I haven't done it myself but others have had success with it.  Basically the stem (or your now trimmed sharp thingie) would then be inside of the cup and not actually touching you.  Worth a try if you still have it.

 

There are also many other cups out there now in different sizes, shapes, and with different stems which may work better for you.

post #16 of 28


I had the same problem with Diva.  I guess my cervix sits too low for the longish shape of the Diva.  Now I use a Lunette cup and it's a perfect fit.  I love it.  But there are tons of other cups as well.  Good resource is Menstrualcupinfo channel on youtube.  She demonstrates the differences between all the cup brands.  I've also heard like pp said you can turn Diva inside out and that will serve to shorten it a bit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharon, RN View Post

Eyeing this thread as I've been thinking about cloth pads... I had a Diva cut (or moon cup) which I loved in theory, but the thing that sticks out at the bottom always bothered my labia.  I tried trimming it (as suggested) and just managed to f the whole thing up.  And, when you trim silicone it gets pointy and sharp, which did not help with the whole irritation thing.  So I totally ruined it.  :-(  Tampons are uncomfortable since my 2nd birth (don't know why) and pads feel so... gross.  

 

Quick hijack- how do you wash them?  I am cloth diapering DS#2, could I just throw them in with his diapers, or is that gross?  (It's ok, be honest.)  Generally, it seems like washing them by themselves would be such a small load that it would seem wasteful.  Or maybe with some towels?  I don't know.

 

Thanks!



 

post #17 of 28

I would just add... make sure to rinse your pads in very cold water before washing them.  Otherwise, the stains will set.  I am able to keep stains off of mine by using this method.

post #18 of 28

This is all such great info. - I have been thinking about switching too for awhile.

 

Here's my dilemma - I have a really, really heavy flow - to the extent that I usually use a tampon and a pad together. Does anyone else have experience with a heavy flow and cloth pads? I don't really feel good about the diva cup idea...it just doesn't appeal to me...

post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ButtonGirl View Post

This is all such great info. - I have been thinking about switching too for awhile.

 

Here's my dilemma - I have a really, really heavy flow - to the extent that I usually use a tampon and a pad together. Does anyone else have experience with a heavy flow and cloth pads? I don't really feel good about the diva cup idea...it just doesn't appeal to me...

Personally I find the cup even more comfortable than tampons, so I definitely would consider it (there are lots of other cups out there also, like the Lunette I believe is wider/shorter and has more capacity which may be good for heavy flow).  But even just with pads I would definitely give it a go - many women find that their flow lightens noticeably when they stop using disposables.  I love that aspect myself!  Also less cramps.

post #20 of 28

Yes! Try cloth, you will love it! I would also recommend a variety pack, or even several different types to see what works for you. I've only ever tried Lunapads (www.lunapads.com) .  I bought them for myself after my son was born 5 years ago, when I was cloth diapering him.  With the exception of post-partum with my twins, I have only used cloth exclusively for the past 5 years. I kept a few disposables for back up, but don't like the plastic-y, sticky feel of them, so gave them away.

 

I'm not sure if anyone has brought this up yet...maybe TMI, but when I am pregnant, I have copious discharge.  My first pregnancy, I used Always and Stayfree, and suffered from chafing and soreness constantly, from using them for 9 months straight.  During my second pregnancy, I used my lunapads, and hardly noticed the discharge.  It was such a relief not to have that irritation for my whole pregnancy. The pregnancy was hard enough. ;-p

 

I think I have about 10 maxis with 2 liners each, 4 mini pads with 2 liners each, and a week's worth of pantiliners. That seems sufficient for my needs, and I wash them about every 3 days during my period. I soak the used pads in a pail of cold water (changing every morning and evening), and throw them in the laundry with my darks, or my whites, or my reds...or pretty much anything actually! After they soak overnight, the blood rinses out, so I don't worry about blood on the rest of the laundry.

 

I used to use tampons on my heaviest days too, but with all the media coverage about the OB disappearance, am re-thinking that. I have a few Instead cups I am trying this cycle, and if I like them, will probably go for a Divacup to use on the heaviest days along with my Lunapads.

 

For really heavy flow-if you are not interested in a cup, you can either buy the wider/longer pads, or get ones that you can add more layers to.  I am at a bit of a disadvantage, as I've never tried any other brands to compare, but with Lunapads, you add liners on top of the pad, and then change out the liners when they are wet.  So on a really heavy day, you can add 2-3 liners, and either take them off as they are wet, or use them for longer before changing the whole pad.  I like the way I only need to carry a small cloth bag of liners if I am out for the day, as I swap out liners, and leave the pad itself on, as it doesn't get wet unless I wait too long to change liners.

 

Hope you find some that you like! I'll never go back to disposables, cloth pads rock!

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