How are you dealing with your postpartum period woes?

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Photo courtesy of Lunapads.com
At risk of tempting the universe, I'm going to put it out there: my last period was in August 2008. I got pregnant about two weeks after, and since then, have not had a single bout of menstruation. My child will be fourteen months on the 27th, and, just to remind everyone, it's May 2010. Jasper has started to wean, but part of me wants to keep going until August just to make it two full years.

I was getting a little antsy about this, because I think nearly everyone I know who had a baby around the time I did has their period back. Some of them are still breastfeeding, and some of them aren't. Some of them never breastfed, so it's no surprise there. Anyway, I started doing some online research, and here is what I've found:

  • While not super common, if you're breastfeeding, it's totally normal for your period to still be MIA fourteen months after giving birth. In fact, there are numerous instances in which menstruation does not resume until eighteen, twenty, or even twenty-four months postpartum.
  • If you aren't nursing overnight, but are breastfeeding during the day, your period is probably going to come back before or around 20 weeks. It seems that overnight feedings, coupled with your unique hormone levels and arrangements, are what keeps the period at bay.
  • If your period HAS come back and it's been super heavy (like it's necessary to use tampons AND pads, for example) for months on end, there is evidence that acupuncture treatments can help regulate your cycle.

So, now I know: I'm (most likely, barring any major medical conditions I'm unaware of right now) ok.

My question for YOU, Offbeat Mamas, is this: what are good alternatives to plastic pads and tampons?

Pre-baby, I always used whatever came wrapped in pink (or green) and sold by the dozen or two. Meaning, I always used plastic menstruation items. I never even thought about cotton alternatives until five or so months ago, when I was at a local store that sells them. At the time, I was politely bemused by the idea, but convinced they could never be strong enough. Once my period nightmares (about it coming back) started a few weeks ago, I started re-visiting the idea.

I know about the DivaCup. I don't know exactly how it works, though I get the general idea. Lunapads seem like an alternative I can work with, but $17 a pop is a bit pricey (though I suppose spending $5 each month for the next twenty to thirty years, it would all even out). I visited the websites for Pandora Pads and Glad Rags, and am now more overwhelmed than ever. Too many choices!

You know where I'm not sure I can boldly go? To Lunapanties land.

So, riddle me this, Mamas: have you tried Lunapanties? Would you? Also, what did you pick–Lunapads, Glad Rags, or Pandora, or something else?

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  1. I personally can't wrap my head around cloth pads (or the disposable ones for that matter), I keep thinking it would feel too much like a diaper. I am a DivaCup lover… it has become a girl necessity for me.

    4 agree
  2. I LOVE my DivaCup. It revolutionized that time of the month for me. It takes a while to adjust to the fit and feeling, but after a few periods it isn't noticable and very easy to use.
    Fingers crossed I will still love it after the entire baby/birthing experience.

    2 agree
    • I just got my period back (11 months exactly) and the Diva Cup is still working fine. I'm having a few insertion issues but I'm pretty sure that's the good old learning curve (i.e. just how much of my hand needs to be in my vagina for this to sit right?). They do have another size for women who have had children but I don't seem to need it.

      1 agrees
    • Ok, a question (and this could be kind of dumb, but I'm just wondering): do you use ONE cup the whole period, just rinsing it and whatnot, or do you buy several cups and change them out?

      • You use one cup the whole time and just rinse it out when need be. It works great and I love it!!

        1 agrees
      • I just boil mine in water for a few minutes at the beginning of my period to give it a good clean. And then, like Lisa said, you just rinse it out when you empty it.

        1 agrees
    • Ditto! I love it. I bought the DivaWash (but I've also used regular hand soap too – not sure that's recommended or not?!) – I only use that before I put it in at the start. During my bleeding, I just empty, rinse with hot water and put back in.

      1 agrees
  3. Still have not had my rag at 12 months Post partum. But before baby I used a combo of gladrags and diva cup, and its likely I will use the same when the red beast returns.

    • I read that nursing at night is basically what keeps the period at bay! So I guess whenever Jazz night weans is when mine will come back. UGH.

  4. I have a question for the DivaCup users. What do you do when you know you won't have access to a private bathroom? Do you just resign yourself to using regular tampons that day? For women who work outside the home, this could be the majority of their period days.

    1 agrees
    • If I have to empty my cup in a stall, I wipe the cup with toilet paper instead of rinsing it and re-insert.

      • I do the same, and if my hands are dirty, I wipe them clean too. Or I may not empty it at all, if I don't think I need to.

        • I do the same. And I usually have a wet wipe in my bag. I would recommend not doing this until you've tried emptying it at home several times and can do it without making a mess. It took me a few tries to get the hang of it πŸ™‚

          If I'm going to be somewhere with a portaporty or crazy bathrooms (like a theme park), I go the disposable route.

          Oh, and I have a Diva Cup and a Keeper. I like them both and use them interchangeably.

    • It is my understanding that you do not have to empty the diva cup as often as you would typically change a pad or tampon. I think you can have it in for up to 12 hours.

      With that in mind, you may be able to go the entire day without having to empty in a public restroom.

      3 agree
    • I usually empty mine once every 24 hours (I think I have fairly normal periods; I usually used 3-4 regular tampons a day before i switched to my divacup), and so I've never had to empty mine in a public bathroom. I just do it in the shower and avoid any mess entirely.

      3 agree
    • I also just wipe it with toilet paper and re-insert. It really isn't too much of an issue. We have stalls at work and I empty it once during the work day on my heavy days.

    • I'm one of those girls with a very heavy first day and relatively light days thereafter, so on day one I'm emptying the cup every few hours. Because of that, I either use regular tampons on the first day or do the toilet paper thing… after that, I can leave the cup in all day when I'm at work with no problem.

      • Ditto this. There's usually one day of my period where I need to empty the cup once or twice in the middle of the day, and after that it's once in the morning and once in the evening.

    • This is coming from a someone who has not yet experienced post-baby menstruation, but before I got pregnant I was a pretty heavy bleeder, and there was never a time that I HAD TO empty my Diva while out and about or at work. Sometimes I'd do it because I thought I was cutting it close, but then I'd be surprised to learn that it holds way more than I thought it does. But yeah. I'd wipe it out in the stall, go rinse it when I'm done and go back in the stall. Kind of a pain but NOT worth switching back to tampons for a day. I'll never go back! Neverrrr!!!

      1 agrees
    • you can also take a bottle of water in the stall with you (the kind you have to squeeze to the get water to come out work best as you get some pressure) and use that to rinse it before re-inserting it.

    • I consider that blood is pretty clean when it's relatively fresh (ie inside your body), so just pour out and re-insert as quickly as possible without it coming into contact with anything other than my (clean) hands. Then wipe my fingers with tp. I have to do this many times a day and I've never had any problem.
      I'm more comfortable with this than risking instroducing outside things like tp fragments to my insides.

    • Yeah, I just dump it into the toilet, maybe wipe clean with TP and re-insert. No biggie. I also read this great story once where someone was in a public toilet and a girl in the stalls just yelled – "I'm coming out to wash my menstrual cup, if anyone's gonna be grossed out, close your eyes!" and it ended up being totally fine, with a bunch of people getting educated about the existence of menstrual cups. I would guess that would depend a lot on where the public toilet is.

      2 agree
  5. I had a Keeper for a while but had to switch to DivaCup because I was allergic to the Keper material. It is fantastic! I have had some issues with it not fitting right (just a matter of trying out a different brand) but it has worked very well to reduce the number of pads I use. Highly recommended.

    (I've never given birth, but see no reason why it wouldn't work beautifully for someone post-partum)

  6. I'm going to have to agree on the Divacup. You have to learn to put it in properly, the same way you have to learn to put a tampon in properly, but once you figure out what works, it's incredible. The best part is if you're on HBC or charting, or otherwise know about which day your period will come, you can just put in your Divacup that morning and never have to have that "Oh-no-need-to-find-a-bathroom-right-now" feeling–without any ill effects should your period NOT come that day (the feeling of pulling out a dry tampon, youch!)

  7. I've had three periods so far since June 2008 (It was a nice run, that's for sure.), and I got a Diva Cup right when my first postpartum period started. My last period was pretty heavy, and I had major problems with getting it situated right so it wouldn't leak. I'm probably going to give it one or two more cycles before trying something else. I work outside the home, so for my first two, lighter periods, I think I managed to only empty it one time in the bathroom at work. As jehara said, I just used some TP to clean it out (though walking out of a stall with hands like a crime scene perpetrator was kind of weird–these things are messy, right?). I LOVE the idea of emptying it in the shower. Why the heck didn't I think of that sooner?! Though I don't think I could go 24 hours without emptying. A couple of other brands I've heard of (in addition to the Keeper) are the MiaCup (http://www.miacup.co.za/) and the Meluna (http://www.femininewear.co.uk/menstrual-cups-c-15.html).

    As for the Lunapanties–no freaking way. I can get on board with cloth pads–in fact, I've been considering ordering some so I can quit using disposable pads as "backup" against leaks with the Diva Cup. But I couldn't just rock out in the same pair of period-undies all day. And I'm not all about multiple underwear changes throughout the day. I can't imagine the motive behind this design. I guess if you have no idea when your period is coming, you'll constantly be prepared for it…?

    • Hey there, first off I must disclose that Lunapads are both clients and dear friends of mine, but I'll also say that I came to know the owners through first trying and loving their products over 10 years ago.

      I just had my first baby (a little girl) 13 weeks ago and I actually have to respectfully say that Lunapanties are a preggo and post-partum gals dream. To clarify though, you don't really use them as an all day heavy flow thing. To get really specific, it's not like you use nothing else and wear the same pair of period undies on your heaviest day. I used to use them as backup for a diva cup, or as the only thing I'd use on the last very light flow day of my period. That said, if too much leaked through I'd change them half way through the day. The "Deluxe" model which allows you to just change a liner that sits on top is perfect for this kind of thing to.

      But for those of us currently between our periods, ie/ pregnant or not yet back on board after having a baby, Lunapanties have become my favourite underwear. I personally wore the thong style through my pregnancy and they were great for the luekorrhea (ie/ extra discharge) during my pregnancy, and they were great for the final weeks of my post-partum bleeding. For the first few weeks I was using full on pads (also Lunapads), but once I hit about week 4 when I was really just spotting I was so happy to get rid of the extra bulk and switch back into my Lunapanties. Again, I went with the thong style as that's my preference, but they've got other styles as well (bikini, brief etc). I was so very happy to get back to basically regular underwear with just a little bit of extra padding, it was one of the things that made me feel like my body may one day actually get back to normal.

      1 agrees
      • I love Lunapads. I like to wear Lunapanties at night during the first few days of my period when the flow is super heavy. I have a menstrual cup (Lunette), but it's never really been comfortable to me. I am so sensitive during my period, I don't want ANYTHING up there.

        The products are pricey, but I've tried other reusable menstrual pads and it's my favorite brand.

        To me, it's the same logic as using cloth diapers for your babies. It's more comfortable and it's better for the environment. What's not to get?

  8. I just got my first post baby period at 6.5 months, which I attribute to not being able to pump as frequently at work as I'd like, so I'm in the same boat. I'm a big fan of the menstrual cups–I used a Keeper pre baby but am switching to the Divacup now due to the latex nature of the Keeper and some dubious ethical business practices of that company. I have a couple of Gladrags too that I use as back up–they are not thick really, and are very discreet. I find I have to empty about 2-3 times in a 24 hour period, but often I work my 12 hour shifts and am fine on all except the heaviest day.

    Off all the pads, I think the Lunapads appealed to me most–I like their design (you just change the top liner usually) and I find the gladrags are just a little too short in the regular size and too long in the overnight size for me.

    Good luck!

  9. I have a Mooncup – same principle. So great. There is a wealth of info on the Livejournal menstrual cups page if you need more details or some troubleshooting help.

  10. Before I got pregnant, I too was a DivaCup user. I love it. I only have to empty it once a day. It's kind of exciting to see how many people use the DivaCup. I didn't realize they were so popular.

    • I know, right, I just keep scrolling and seeing "Diva Cup, Diva Cup, Diva Cup." It's exciting. Haha.

      1 agrees
      • I would *never* use a DivaCup. A friend of mine just had to give up hers after the first use because it caused a vaginal prolapse. No thank you. I'll take store-bought pads and tampons over my vag falling out any day! Lol

        1 agrees
        • Vaginal prolapse? Yikes. How? I used menstrual cups for almost ten years until the leaking got too bad for for me. I have scoliosis and I have just enough of a tilt to the vaginal canal that I could never quite get a good seal. I really regret not being able to use the cup, though, since I loved almost everything about it.

          I plan on using cloth postpartum (2 more weeks now!) and I found a small etailer called gemcloth that makes really nice pads for a good price.

        • Not that I'm discounting your friend's experience, but I too would be interested in knowing how use of a cup caused vaginal prolapse. From what I understand, it's caused by weakening of the muscles and ligaments. I don't think menstrual cup use is supposed to be a factor, though I could be wrong.

          • I guess her doctor told her that it can potentially be caused by the suction the Diva Cup can create in some women. So, when it happened, it was after a few days of wearing it, and when she took it out, her cervix apparently followed. She was told to stop using it immediately, start doing Kegels, and never put it back in.

          • Old thread, I know, but…

            Since the amount of suction involved in using a menstrual cup is minimal, I think your friend's doctor was misinformed. (Unfortunately, many are… I've heard of doctors thinking that they could cause retrograde menstruation because they wouldn't leak when full. Um, this cup user can tell you definitively that they leak when full!)

            If you're concerned, just be sure to break the (small amount of) suction before you remove the cup. It's a matter of pinching the base, refolding the cup or pushing a finger up to the top of the cup, depending on the brand/your anatomy.

            2 agree
  11. I love my mooncup. I started with a Diva cup a few years ago, and while I liked the idea, it was never quite as comfortable, cause it was a little too long, even with the stem trimmed all the way. About a year ago, I switched to a silicone mooncup, and it is so much more comfortable.

    They do take a few months to get comfortable with, but I will never ever go back to pads or tampons.

  12. I've been using the sadly-discounted FuzziBunz cloth pads, and I love them. I've had less cramping, and they're a million times more absorbent. It's kinda weird to adjust to, but I can't imagine ever going back, you know?

    I've not tried any other brands, or the DivaCup — though I mean to at some point! I really want to buy some of these when I get a chance; they were well-loved on another forum I read.

      • For me the
        diva cup does – I always found tampons made a
        difference for cramps versus pads, and the diva cup seriously relieves cramps for me more than tampons. I have them worst during my first heavy flow day and I feel the difference if I forgot my
        diva cup.

  13. I have tried every brand of cloth out there – and the only ones that didn't leak for me were http://www.homesteademporium.com and http://www.partypantspads.com. I didn't have good luck with the luna pads – I found them very uncomfortable. Homestead Emporium was great – she actually asked me a bunch of questions and then recommended a type of pad I never would have purchased and they are now my favorites. I purchased one of her custom slots and she was super to work with.

  14. before gettin pregs (sept 2007) i used the diva cup for 2 cycles. i was just starting to get the hang of it and then got pregs….so i didn't try again until spring time of 2009 when i started on birthcontrol again. it was a lot harder to use after having a baby for some reason and i just couldn't get it situated right. instead i tried the natural sea sponges, which work OK most times but i still had leakage problems. i went off b-control a few months later and i didn't get "real" period until A YEAR LATER just a few months ago! and then it went away again. …i am still breastfeeding ('round the clock it seems)and so who knows when it will come back.

  15. I used the keeper pre-baby for 10 years, and I have a Diva Cup post-baby. I always use cloth pads as back up, and I know I've saved a lot of money over the past 10 years, even though I paid a lot in the beginning.

    My advice is to buy a couple cloth pads/lunapanties to start with, and then more when your finances are ready.

    My favorites I found before my baby was born, and they are hemp next to the skin, and wool next to panties. I've never had any problems with leak-thru, and I bought them to use as postpartum pads. I love them best. They're from a little hippie store in Garberville, CA that I wish I could remember the name of so I can order more.

    I've also used microfleece and lunapads.

    If you're remotely crafty, you can make them really easily.

  16. I can't believe no one has mentioned PIMPs! (Party in my Pants). I switched to them about a year ago and other than heavy flow overnight they work great for me and are way more absorbant than you would expect.

    • I have used PIMPs (www.partypantspads.com) for the past seven years and have never looked back. They are my favorite cloth pads ever and I love that the company is owned by a pair of super cute sisters who do everything themselves.

      For things like swimming, etc., during my period, I've been using sea sponges for the past five years. Anyone else use these?

      And nope, haven't gotten my period yet, and it's been almost 3 months since the babe was born, but I, too, am breastfeeding at night.

  17. I am an Instead Soft Cup user. LOVE THEM. I know they are similar to a diva cup, but I've never been able to transition over. I just like the idea that I can have sex with them in (nothing hanging down) and they aren't a tampon (which are completely uncomfortable to me post-baby). πŸ™‚

    • I didn't even think about whether or not I could have sex with a DivaCup in, so thanks for bringing that up. I'm checking out the Instead cups! πŸ™‚

      • You really can't have sex with a Diva Cup in. However, my favorite thing about the Diva Cup is that, unlike tampons, it doesn't absorb absolutely every liquid your body puts out. Since it just collects whatever fluid appears, your vagina just retains its normal level of wetness. This could be…beneficial…to having sex.

        1 agrees
    • Do you (or anyone) know if the moon/diva/whatever cups are smaller than the Instead Soft Cups? I love the idea and the product, but the Insteads just don't fit well. They're supposed to sit behind the pubic bone and they don't.
      I'd be interested in trying the divacup, but I'm concerned about the size.

      (I'm very comfortable with putting them in and I know they're in as far back as possible. My cervix and I are on friendly terms, so that's not the problem.)

      • All the other menstrual cups have a significantly smaller diameter than Instead cups. I had the same issue with Instead, but I love my Divacup.

        • I have the opposite problem–I love Instead and can't feel it while it is in (the diameter is not a problem for me), but all the reusable cups look so long. Does anybody know of reusable cups that are flat (like Instead) instead of tubelike or tampon-shaped (Diva cup)?

          • There aren't any, because the way that reusable cups fit is completely different from the way that the Instead cup fits.

      • reusable cups are more shaped like an eggcup. Have a google to see what they look like. They're totally different to instead cups.

  18. 'Party in my pants' all the way. They are thin (like an always ultrathin) superabsorbent (more so than always) and really comfortable. And the bottom layer is waterproof to avoid soakthroughs.

    • This is my favorite comment because you used "party in my pants." AWESOME. πŸ™‚

  19. Diva cup!!! I had difficulties with insertion and getting it properly situated, so I use one of the alternative methods – instead of folding it in half, you take one part of the rim and push it down inside the cup. You'll wind up with a nice blunt point for insertion, and it pops open more easily, for me at least. I also empty mine in the shower in the morning, and then again at night in the toilet, when I have plenty of time for clean-up if things get messy.

  20. I love my keeper – it's like a diva cup almost exactly, just a different brand. I've had it for almost six years, but now I'm pregnant. I will certainly be ordering a 'postpartum' diva cup or keeper. It was like $30, comfy enough, and lasted six years. At $5 a month I would have spent $360 on disposables. I saves a lot of money and landfill space. I also preferred putting a keeper in my body than tampons. Amazingly, I always had it packed when I needed it. I'd also like to order or make a bunch of lunapads for after the baby comes.
    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/11/make_your_own_pad.php – how to make your own reusable pads.. cool!

  21. I might be flogging a dead horse here but I also LOVE my divacup! Granted…it took me a few cycles to fully get used to it, but now it's second nature. I started using mine when I was 17 and only had to finally replace it when I lost it. Even post-baby I still fit a size 1 with no leaks, except that I usually use extra protection on the first day. I use the thinner liners from my sons cloth diapers as back up! Also, just a side note: at first I was having a lot of difficulty getting it OUT! I have come to realize that if you take a square of TP and use that to grab onto the little "stem" it makes it WAY easier. This is THE best purchase I have ever made and I recommend it to every lady in my life! At the risk of TMI, I also often use it while I'm ovulating to save my undies from the..you know…egg whites.

    1 agrees
  22. While I haven't had a baby yet (but am TTC), I am a huge fan of the Diva Cup. I have had mine since 2003! It's saved me a couple of hundred dollars by now at least not to mention all that waste from the boxes and little plastic wrappings on tampons. One thing that I love about it is how great it is for travel. I can go away for the weekend during my period and not have to think about a thing or try to figure out how many tampons to bring with me. I do occasionally have a problem of leaking if my time of heaviest flow comes at night. I just sleep on top of a towel then.

  23. I hate (hate, Hate, HATE) using any kind of pads. It makes me really uncomfortable. I think it's because my periods go really wonky. I don't have a constant flow anymore. It just comes out in clumps and therefore doesn't get a chance to soak into them properly. Anyone else have that issue? I couldn't get used to any of the cups I tried, so I stick with o.b. tampons. They have limited plastic wrap and no applicators, so I feel less guilty about the waste.

    • I totally feel like an outsider because of this, too, but I'm pretty uncomfortable with the cups. I never, never, never use pads, only tampons – I was a competitive swimmer in high school. I think o.b. tampons are nice because there is less waste, but I worry just as much about chemicals. Natracare is another no-applicator brand and they aren't bleached with chlorine and are totally biodegradable, but they're more expensive. I stick with the o.b. since you can get them almost anywhere.

      • Ditto to this. I use the o.b. no applicator tampons, and the cup products just generally give me the heebie-jeebies. I think I could do it if I had an autoclave, or some sort of designated "period cup cleaning area" but I can NOT abide by sterilizing something that collects bodily fluids in the same place I make food.

  24. I love my mooncup! I started using a Mooncup (like a Diva cup http://www.mooncup.co.uk/) when I moved to Scotland last fall and discovered I couldn't find my favorite tampons. While insertion takes a little practice (and yeah, occasionally I ask myself, like GA said, exactly how much of my hand I have to put in my vagina to get it all situated), but I love it. I SO love it. I spend less money on my period, and my vagina is so much happier (no unpleasant drying effects from tampons for me, no ma'am!) Finally, I feel better about life in general because I am not contributing so much more waste to landfills.

  25. I tried and hated the cups, but then I don't use tampons either. Feel much more comfortable in pads, believe it or not. I do use and love my cloth pads, though. You can find them pretty darn cheap on Etsy and HyenaCart.

  26. Go with a menstrual cup! You'll never want anything else. I personally have a DivaCup, which I purchased mainly because it was the easiest to find (the Whole Foods by me carries them) but also because it is made of silicone which is the least porous material and thus the least resistant to harboring nasty bacteria or um "leftovers". It rinses really well, I only rinse with hot water during use, and then on the last day after I'm done and ready to put it away I use hot water and soap. (soap in the "area" – not good)

    this site

    http://femchoices.blogspot.com/2005/07/methods-to-insert-menstrual-cup.html

    has some great photos of different ways to fold it for easy insertion.

  27. I am not postpartum, but I like the silicone Keeper. It is a LONG learning curve, at least it was for me – it took about 6 cycles (yes, 6 MONTHS) for it to be comfortable and to not leak. And on my heaviest days I have to empty it about every 3 hours. However, on pads I had to change them every couple of hours, so that's a slight improvement.

    I usually take a damp paper towel into the stall with me if I have to empty it in a public stall, mostly to wipe my hands. That's it. It's easy-peasy!

    I was NEVER able to use tampons – within an hour of putting one in, I would start to develop symptoms of TSS. But using the Keeper I have (slightly) lighter periods, little to NO PMS, and NO cramping. I'll take it!

  28. I am absolutely a Diva Cup wearer. It works super for me whether my period is really heavy or light. I too boil mine before my period and after, just to make sure it is super clean. No complaints here.

  29. Um, I got a flannel shirt from the thrift store and cut it up into rectangles and use it as pads. Soft and comfy, absorbant, and makes paying for cloth pads seem ridiculous. Also I can cut out different sizes for different levels of flow–I have a big rectangle for night, and smaller ones for daytime. I've never had an issue with it getting dislodged, but if you're worried, you could safety pin it to your underpants. You can rinse them out and use them again immediately, or just make enough that you can toss them all in the wash when your period's done. The only time I have any discomfort with them is when I'm riding my bike.

  30. Mark me down as another Diva Cup woman. LOVE mine. I love that I don't have to take anything extra with me when I go out and I don't leave anything behind me either (which is especially nice if I have to empty it while visiting friends). There is a learning curve. But once I got past that it was perfect. It's been more than two years since I bought it, so the cost per month is getting down to almost a dollar at this point. The savings over pads and tampons is incredible.

  31. I just gotta say, I'm loving all the reusable menstrual product love going on here. It's great to see so many women who've made the switch!
    I noticed there is some confusion over Lunapanties and since they are a relatively new concept to most women I thought I'd explain a little.
    Basically Lunapanties are a pair of Organic cotton underwear with a Lunapad built right into the crotch. You can add and remove liner inserts as needed, so there's no need to change the underwear throughout the day, just swap out the liner for a fresh one. They really cut down on the bulk of a traditional underwear/cloth pad combo.
    I also thought I'd let y'all know that the DivaCup is 15% off right now on Lunapads.com so if anyone's considering it, it's a great time to take the plunge!

  32. I totally LOVE my keeper! They come in before and after birth sizes. You can order them on the keeper's website. The diva cup is a little bit harder, and the keeper is softer, so if you have a sensitive um, area, the keeper is better. I highly recommend it!

  33. i love the diva cup, but have made my own pads before and they work alright too. the diva cup saves money and is easy to use.

  34. Huh, I have to wonder why the diva cup is so much more popular than the keeper. I have been usung the keeper for almost 7 years. I had some trouble with leaking for a few years but that stopped for some reason. I love it, and couldn't live without it. I suppose I am a fan of the keeper because it is less porous than the diva cup but I suppose the fact that the material is firmer is the drawback for many people. Whatever works for you!

    As far as cotton pads go, I made a bunch using upcycled flannel shirts from a thrift store. I still have then and they still work! I have a few of the store bought cotton pads and they are much thicker and more absorbent for heavier nights, but that is rare.

    Good luck Ariel and I am so glad to see so many people embracing non-disposables! Of course, I still use organic cotton tampons occasionally πŸ™‚

  35. I'm an offbeat stepmama, and therefore have never given birth. But I just wanted to chime in and say that sea pearls sea sponge tampons absolutely changed my life. Maybe I'm being dramatic, but then again, maybe not. If you're comfortable with your body and what comes out of it (as I'm sure anyone who's been pregnant has had to learn to be if they weren't already), they're terrific. They come in different sizes and you can trim them a bit if need be. I love that this topic is being discussed, hooray for non-disposables! http://www.jadeandpearl.com is great, not sure if its been mentioned yet.

  36. I breastfeed around the clock and got my period back exactly 4 weeks after stopping bleeding postpartum. NO FAIR!! I guess that is why many people in my family have babies exactly a year apart… very quick return to the cycle.

  37. I've never given birth (heck, I'm not even sexually active) but I must join the Diva Cup supporters. I looked into sea sponges and Moon Cup but I could get a Diva Cup in town and went with that. It's been great. As for helping with cramps, I read somewhere that because it's not right up against your cervix like a tampon, it's not interfering with the flow and my cramps haven't been as bad with the Diva.

    It's been interesting reading about what all you moms use and the potential problems with all of this. Very informative! Thanks!

  38. Hey, I already commented and am a faithful divacup user but I was just wondering…I had never noticed that it helped with any "symptoms" of my cycle. I guess I get how it helps with cramps, like what Heidi Aphrodite said, but some people mentioned that it helps with PMS and makes your period lighter and I'm not sure I get that. Maybe I'm just missing something. Can someone explain?

    • I've been using the divacup for over 5 years now. It has never changed anything about my period, or symptoms. It simply allows me to go longer without having to run to the bathroom to change and less leakage.

  39. im not a mama but i have spent the better part of 2 years on a journey to have a better period.

    this is what i know;
    -Organ(y)c is a company that makes a good "in between" product, they are 100% cotton but disposable. when i talk to women about how much of a difference cotton makes i suggest they start with these.
    -if you want to try the reusable cotton get them on etsy i got mine for around $2-$5, and you can have them specially made just for you.
    -experiment- try all sorts of things, i went way back in time and used rags, honestly rags. and they work the best for me. i even had some made that are 2 terrycloth layers and pretty flannel, i got 15 for $20

    i had the most awful periods ever until i quit using the disposable products, i hardly have cramps at all anymore, I'm less anxious about leaks and smells. I'll also note that i am an Olympic style weightlifter and have never had any problems in the gym using these products so i think you can do just about anything with them.

    don't get tied up in the idea that you have to do it one way or the other. good luck finding what works for you.

  40. Glad Rags are just freaking great! I'm a heavy overnight bleeder and I love their overnight pads. To finally stop leaking, and not have that disgusting wet-plasticky feeling of a disposable pad, and do things a little better for the environment… YAY.

    Also while pregnant I've been using their mini-pad sized ones, without the stuffing though. My discharge has been pretty intense and is harder to clean out than non-preggo discharge.

    My alternatives-to-tampons experiences have been laughable. I mean, hilarious, like blood spattering all over a whole bathroom of white tile. So I mostly use Gladrags, sometimes NatraCare or o.b. tampons, and sometimes disposable pads when travelling.

    Glad Rags people are here: http://www.gladrags.com/s-5-about-us.aspx

  41. Just wanted to chime in as another Keeper user. I've been a keeper user for 11 years (just got my second last year!) and I can't see myself ever going back. I use cloth pads for my first heavy night as a back-up (I have a bunch of pads I made, and I've also bought pads at a local crunchy-granola type health store). When needed (usually just the first day) I empty it in a toilet and use toilet paper to wipe it. Most days, I just empty once or twice a day (usually in the shower in the morning, which makes clean-up very easy).

    I found it very easy to get used to, and really have nothing bad to say about it.

  42. The Diva Cup changed my life. I wasted too many years buying tampons. I try to tell everyone about it, at first most are skeptical but if you give it a shot it can really be life altering. To think of all those times when I was a waitress and had to run to the bathroom every hour or two to change my tampon in the middle of a busy Saturday night shift!!! when I have my cup on I can go 5-6 hours without changing. I also like the lady cup.
    I wish more women would try these instead of being weirded out by these products. Oh well, it's their loss, really.

  43. I have tried a variety of many different brands of cloth pads, but I must say that Swaddlebees (the ones in the main picture for this post!) are my favorite, hands down. I have the organic cotton with polyurethane laminate backing ones and I have never had a leak, even on my heaviest of days. I bought a tub of Oxo-Brite from my local "green" retailer about a year ago for around 11 bucks to whiten them when needed, and it works like a charm. The cotton looks clean and white every time I pull them out of the dryer. They have also held up extremely well – no pilling or signs of wear that I have experienced with other brands.

    Many people have a serious fear of cloth pads because they imagine that it will be like wearing a diaper, but now that I've tried them, I could never go back. It's like wearing cushy organic cotton on your panties instead of petroleum-based plastics and chlorine-bleached paper… something that has been proven to contain dioxins linked to cancer in women. For me, the choice is easy.

  44. Party in my Pants!!! They are the best cloth pads in my opinion. A wonderful choice of fabrics, and fairly cheap. I also use a Diva Cup, but have grown to like my PIMPs much better.

  45. I've been using the Keeper for about 3 years now, and I love it! Like many others I struggled a bit the first few months to get the hang of it, but I knew I would love it from the first time I tried it.
    And it has seriously changed my period experience: I have almost no cramps now, my period lasts for 4 days (as opposed to 6 when I used tampons) and I hardly think about the fact that I'm on my period. It's so great to not have to worry about leaks or that horrible tampon smell.
    Seriously, I cannot recommend this product enough!

  46. I'm another Diva Cup user. (No babies yet, but will probably start TTC next year). It instantly eliminated that whole "trying to sleep without wiggling around and with trying to remember to keep your legs closed and lay on your back" situation. And I mean INSTANTLY.

    Love at first insertion.

    I can sit cross-legged on the floor with no leaking worries, I can roll around, I can do anything I want to without that constant chirping in the back of my mind that's reminding me to be careful.

    I use organic cotton panty liners, those really thin little ones, just for "just in case" purposes, but I don't actually need them.

    And if you put the cup in on the morning you know you'll get your period there's less of a "mess" situation when you take it out to dump it because everything was contained from the very start.

  47. I love that we can openly talk about menstration without being embarassed or condescending. When I asked a question about "period during wedding day" on a popular site I was attacked by most of the members (comments such as "if you're going to be a baby, wear a diaper) and told I was vulgar (uh, because it's not a natural thing all women experience??), so it is great to get some genuine answers to questions I've been asking for the nine years since I started my period! Thanks ladies! πŸ™‚

    That being said, I feel mother nature cheated me! I started my period one week after I stopped my post partum bleeding… and yes, I was breast feeding. Grrr. Anyway, if I were you I wouldn't switch back to the disposable kind, if you can help it. I am still using disposable pads, but after this post, not anymore!

    Two questions for anyone who cares to answer:
    #1 I hate putting anything inside me so I love the idea of cloth pads, but what do you do when you're in public? I have a heavy flow and am out & about most of the time, so I couldn't fathom wearing the same one all day!

    #2 As far as the DivaCup goes, how do you know what size to choose? What's the difference between "pre & post baby"? Not much has seemed to change since then? Even slim fit tampons are uncomfortable, so should I not even attempt?

    Thanks!

    And good luck Stephanie! I think every woman hates the idea of menstration, especially after child birth.

    • Hi Halle,

      From what I understand, it is still very important to chose the Model 2 or "post-baby" Diva Cup if you have had a baby vaginally or caesarean, or if you are over 30. The difference between the two sizes isn't much, but it can be enough to cause leakage issues.

      I'm the same way about putting something in my body, not sure why. Even prior to "greening" my monthly period, I was never into tampons, so it made perfect since to use cloth pads.

      In response to your question about how to handle cloth pads in public, it's easy! I'm a busy working woman with two jobs and I go to school, too! So if they weren't easy, trust me, I wouldn't be doing it!

      Many retailers sell small "wet bags" for used pads. Or you can just do what I did and buy some tiny wet bags from a cloth diaper retailer. I bought a Ju-Ju-Be BeQuick for $15 and it has been a GREAT investment. Cloth pads fold up nicely and some of them can be snapped shut (depending on the size). Then I just toss them in my BeQuick and that's it! Washing them is really easy – warm wash/cold rinse with Purex Free & Clear has worked for me for the past few years. Occasionally, if they retain an odor, you can soak them in a mixture of half water/half vinegar for about an hour and they will come out smelling great again. And Oxo-Brite is a great natural stain remover that you might have to treat them with once every now and then if you notice staining.

      I hope I didn't make cloth pads sound too intimidating! I really do love using them and look forward to my period each month (believe it or not) because of all the cute prints/colors. Plus it feels really comforting not to be putting plastic pads against my baby-maker all day!

      • Different bodies are different – many people on the menstrualcups.org site have reported using the small cups postpartum successfully (or even 17-year-old virgins using the larger cups). It has to do with so many factors – age, parity, personal anatomical weirdness, heaviness of flow – that just putting an age limit on there doesn't really capture sizing well!

        However, the size differences are due to the fact that your pelvic floor muscles do change after pregnancy. So there's that to consider!

    • I totally agree with you! The discussion here is AMAZING to me! I had no clue it would be this awesome.

      And I also agree with you about putting tampons and whatnot inside–that's what kind of wigs me out about the DivaCup. I don't like tampons because I get little symptoms of TSS (my mother has experienced TSS, so I'm extra paranoid), and I reeeeally don't want to go back to plastic pads. I might look up some cloth pads on etsy and see if I can get a deal!

      And I also would like to know the answer to your first one! Maybe you carry a bag or something to store it in?

  48. Thank you Kristi! You actually put my mind at ease about using cloth pads. I think I'll be making my own since I need a new project to keep me busy πŸ™‚ I appreciate the insight!

    I personally don't think I'll bother looking into the DivaCup or anything. I am already uncomfortable with the idea, so I don't think it would work for me. The way I look at it is, it's natural for the blood to come out, so keeping it in kind of freaks me out.

    And thank you Stephanie, for posting this to begin with!

  49. I feel that if I'm gung-ho about using cloth diapers for our future children, then I should be up for trying new things for myself. I just finished my period (4 days when I'm on BC) that included another frenzied run to the store to buy tampons as I was out, and I want something different. Thanks to all you ladies out there who are willing to share your stories! Now off I go to check out the 8 different product links I've saved…

    1 agrees
  50. Cotton disposables are a good compromise in my experience — they're like 90% biodegradable, but they have the convenience of normal disposables. And they crackle less when you move, which is nice if you're shy πŸ™‚

  51. Hey, I just wanted to let everyone know that I completed my 2nd month with the DivaCup, and it's getting better. Since I bought an extra one when I got it for myself, I've decided to give the 2nd away on my blog. For anyone who's interested πŸ™‚

  52. I LOVE my Keeper (it's like a diva cup, but rubber… and lasts longer- 10 years). However, I have a super heavy flow (before baby) and often use a cloth pad in addition at night, and on my heaviest days.

  53. I sometimes use a mooncup, but didn't need the bigger size post-partum, and i love it, especially when I'm not sure how heavy I'm going to be (avoiding the dry tampon situation!)
    Also, I was devestated when my period returned 4 weeks after the birth of my munchkin, despite the fact i was fully breastfeeding and continued to feed til 17 months! I guess there's got to be the opposite of the women who's periods don't come back for months too!

  54. i can't use the other/alterna/cup methods. but i'm a big, big fan of Glad Rags. wish there were a glad rags laundry service for periods like i have a cloth diaper service for the baby!

  55. It is best to empty your cup at least every 12 hours. You probably don't want to keep it in all day.

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