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Thursday, January 9, 2014

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Mama Cloth - It's Not as Scary as It Sounds

Mama cloth? What the heck is it? Cloth menstrual pads? Uh, no thanks. You want me to put what in my washer?!?

All of the above are thoughts that first come to mind when you hear about mama cloth for the first time. I thought it all. I dismissed the idea instantly. Fast forward a few months and my sons donned cloth diapers I swore I’d never try. I even sewed them myself. And we loved them. I sewed up some mama cloth and guess what – I loved it! That was almost two years ago and I still love mama cloth, I have not looked back since switching. You know what I discovered? Mama cloth isn’t gross and it actually made my periods lighter and my cramps almost non-existent.

I understand that when dealing with bodily fluids – be they in diapers, post-partum, or your period – it’s normal to feel a bit squeamish. I also know that once you become a mom, you get used to dealing with poop, pee, blood, and vomit. And all those things seem far less scary than they once did. Your period is a perfectly natural part of life and handling it with reusable products really isn’t all that different than handling it with disposable products.

Why would you switch in the first place? For me, I found tampons uncomfortable after having my children. And disposable pads left me feeling sore and often with a rash or chaffing. You don’t want to feel that way in your girly parts, it’s just not comfortable. I tried cloth to see if it would be a good solution to stop the soreness and rashes. And it worked! Cloth pads are much softer than disposables and they are far more breathable.

How can cloth pads make periods lighter and reduce cramps? I’m not a scientist or a doctor. But I am a woman and I have talked to many other women who also say that their periods were lighter and their cramps were reduced after switching to reusable menstrual products. The chemicals in disposable products can be an irritant that your body needs to flush out – thus the heavier flow and stronger cramping.

How do I store and wash the soiled pads? When you’re out, you can carry your soiled or clean pads in a waterproof makeup bag. Or a mini wet bag. Many cloth pads retailers also sell wet/dry bags for this purpose. If you already cloth diaper, you can rinse your pads with your diaper sprayer, or just throw them directly into your diaper pail. If you don’t have kids or you don’t cloth diaper, you can rinse them in cold water and then throw them into a small wet bag. You could also use one of those tiny trash cans you can find at the Dollar Tree or most other retailers (the type you often find at ice cream parlors to throw the sample spoons away in). It’s not actually necessary to rinse the dirty pads before placing them in a wet bag or pail, but it does help prevent staining. I throw soiled pads into my diaper pail and wash every other day when we wash our diapers. Lots of women wait until the end of their cycle, soak the pads overnight in cold water and detergent, and then wash them with regular clothing. Just don’t use fabric softener with your pads as it will cause repelling so that they aren’t as absorbent as they should be.

See? Cloth pads aren’t so scary. They can also save you a lot of money as they can be used for years with the proper care. They even come in cute prints and a variety of materials, absorbencies, and shapes. Most importantly, they are healthy for your body and our environment.

Bio: Ashley is a stay at home mom to two young boys. She blogs about life with young children and her adventures with them including sewing, cloth diapers, and every day parenting at

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