Edited by 1love4ever - 3/29/14 at 12:14am
Pads are so varied! Personally I prefer all in ones with wings. PUL isnt neccessary most of mine dont have it. You need to figure out what your period is like, i have a rather heavy period so I choose more absorbant pads and have quite a few 12" or longer for overnights. Most cloth pad makers will specify how absorbant their pads are. As for choosing one brand/maker, thats tough! What I did was buy a few different maker's pads and tested them out and then bought more of the ones I liked. Personally, mom's crafts 4 u is my absolute fave, she is amazing, friendly and makes great pads, I am in love with her bamboo velour pads, http://www.etsy.com/listing/103738433/organic-bamboo-velour-mama-cloth-pad so comfy! I also like naturally hip http://www.etsy.com/shop/NaturallyHip she has some hemp pads which are great :) and I also like blossoms pads liners (her normal pads are ok but i find them a bit bulky), mimis dreams are great http://www.etsy.com/shop/MimisDreams,
I also have 2 fleurcups, which I like, they take some getting used to though. They are a great alternative to tampons! I could never use tampons so the cups work well. I prefer my cloth pads though :)
I'm so glad to hear that you're switching to cloth! After using cloth pads for a few years now, I would never go back to sposies. The cloth ones are so much more comfortable!!
No, you really don't want a PUL layer in your pads. It sounds nice (waterproof) but actually it isn't...you want your pads to be breatheable (so you can avoid yeast infections, etc!), and synthetics tend to retain odors as well. It's much better just to change your pads before you leak through them (and I find that I don't have to change my cloth pads any more often than I had to change sposies).
I use GladRags pads...I started out with a sampler kit, which has one overnight pad, three day pads and three pantyliners, as well as a mesh laundry bag and a wetbag for transport. Eventually I added a couple more of everything, because I didn't have a laundry machine in the apartment and washing by hand several times a period got kinda old. :) I'd say, start with a similar assortment and then add on what you find yourself doing laundry in order to have more of!
I'm not a cup user (I always hated tampons), though I know many people love them. I'll have TracyGladRags come and comment on the differences between the brands--she is the owner of GladRags and knows pretty much everything that's out there.
Forgot to add, I really like having the option of adding/removing absorbent inserts as you can do with the GladRags pads, because I tend to have a couple days of heavy flow and then many days of pretty light flow. This way, I can gradually decrease the absorbancy of the pads I use. That said, I really like the panytliner pads (they're so small that I don't really notice them), and they're a lot more absorbent than "pantyliner" implies.
I agree with starrlamia, definitely buy ones with wings!
I've tried a variety of menstrual cups, so wanted to pop in and share my two cents here. Whichever cup you use, they are a billion times better than tampons - no waste, no chafing, no itching, basically no risk of TSS.... the list goes on and on!
Here's a little overview of the different cups I'm familiar with. There are a lot of cups out there in the world, but I only know the ones that are registered with the FDA because those are the only ones that can be sold in the USA.
Whew! That's a lot of info, I know, but if you have more questions you can check out the FAQ link in my signature or ask me here. Hope that helps! :)
I use glad rags and love them. I mainly use the overnight all the time because I have a bunch of kids and im very active and I like knowing I got myself covered. They wash us incredibly soft and they inserts are removable which also allows you to add more if need be. I personally like have the snaps on them to hold them in place plus they are flat enough taht you dont feel them when sitting.
This is exactly what I use! I'd say I have about 10 in the rotation and they work perfectly. They're so inexpensive, can be put through the wash a zillion times, perfectly breathable, etc.
I'm not sure if this is common, but my flow has dramatically reduced since using cloth (and a diva cup when swimming). So it might make sense to go through a couple of cycles with your inserts before going all gung-ho buying spree, ykwim?
I see the cute ones on etsy and other maker's sites and always tell myself they're adorable, but I don't mind just bleeding on straight white boring ones!