I know this can be a delicate and embarrassing topic for some which is why I'm posting it after the April A-Z Challenge.
Just before I restarted my period after giving birth, I started seeing posts all over the internet about disposable pads and tampons, and the problems they cause because of the chemicals in them. It answered a lot of questions I didn't even realize I was asking.
Why am I always getting a rash when I don't use a tampon?
Why am I always dry and uncomfortable when I do use a tampon?
I had to choose which was the better of two evils, not even knowing there were other options.
The other options:
The extreme option - hystorectomy, will end periods forever no need for any of the above or below products...I don't advise it except for medical reasons. But my humor is such that I couldn't resist adding it.
Less extreme options:
Menstrual cup - like the Diva Cup, Lunette Cup, Mooncup, etc. I primarily use the Diva cup with back up mama cloth and LOVE it!!! There is a bit of a learning curve but so worth it, it lasts from 1 year (suggested time to replace) to 10(from a couple of women whose posts I've read). They are sized in 2 sizes, one for women under 30 and who have never given birth, and two for women who are over 30 or have given birth. Each one is created different so if the one you buy never fits comforting don't give menstrual cups up as a lost cause, research some more and find a different one that fits more comfortably.
Cloth Tampons - These are good, I've used a few and they work good. They are much more comfortable the disposables but the menstrual cup is much more comfortable still. Here is an etsy shop where you can buy them, or you can make them yourself.
Cloth Pads - I love these, I use them as back up for the menstrual cup, I also used them after my postpartum bleeding was through, 5 weeks postpartum, before the numbness was completely gone and my bladder issues resolved at 9 weeks postpartum, I hadn't time to make any before giving birth and I had a large stash of disposables that I needed to finish. So I made them when I had time that first month. This is the pattern I used. Here are a few places to buy ready made pads if you have the inclination and money:
Moocowmomma Postpartum/Overnight Pads
PoshPads - Panty Liners
Pixadoodles - Moon-thly Pantyliners
This next set of links is from the WAHM section in www.diaperswappers.com. you do have to be a member to buy but it is free and easy so don't let that stop you from buying from these great mamas!!
Tree Hugger Mama Cloth
Mother Moon Pads
The Naked Pomegranate
However, Not everyone has the means to buy ready made pads, and neither do they have a sewing machine and the skills to sew a strait seem if they did. If you fall in this category the rest of this post is for you.
I was thinking about women who are struggling so much with the economy so bad and the difficulty finding any money even for necessities. So this is what I came up with as I was unsuccessfully trying to go to sleep.
Fleece, you can cut up an old fleece jacket either from your closet or acquired from a yard sale/Goodwill. Also you can find fleece in the 'end of bolt'/clearance bin in any fabric store for about 50% off.
Wash Clothes, Again from your own linen closet if you have an abundance, or from yard sales, goodwill, most department stores have 8-12 packs for under $10 that would work perfectly. If you happen to be cloth diapering your child and have them, I often use newborn prefolds for night time, or extra boosters/inserts (not microfiber unless it is topped with something else) then they would work perfectly as the 'soaker' layer.
Needle and 100% polyester thread, no cotton as it could wick blood through and get it on what your wearing where polyester won't.
Or Fabric Tac Glue.
Favorite disposable pad in the sizes you wear. I'm using a long regular and a panty liner here.
Unless your using snaps or velcro to secure your wings I would either fold the wings under or cut them off, as I'll be using different wings.
Lay them on your fleece, and cut out as many as you want/need, We are using these as waterproof liners and you will be able to change out the soaker layer leaving the fleece in place until it is to damp to protect anymore. So you won't need as many as you will soakers. I would suggest 2 over nights (however many nights you plan on going before you wash your pads) and 3-4 day time if you have enough fleece, don't forget to leave enough for the wings and the straps on top to keep soaker in place.
I cut the straps about 3/4" wide and as long as the pad is wide where you plan on placing it.
I made the wings the same width and long enough to tie underneath, to show you one option, another option is no wings fleece doesn't slide, or snaps most craft stores have snap pliers, Velcro either sew on or glued. you could even use buttons.
I sewed one and glued the other.
I hand sewed the smaller with 100% polyester thread and glued the larger.
Simply tri - fold or fold in quarters and secure understraps and you have a cheep and natural mama cloth solution. You can also fold then sew the washcloths into a pad so you don't have to worry about folding them later, but it will also take a little more time and effort to get them clean and dry then leaving them a single layer. for over night/postpartum you could use 2 cloths or even 3 if your flow is heavy enough to warrant it.
You might want to make sure that your panty liner is as long as your wash cloth, I had to fold down my cloth and then trifold to get it to fit which made it bulky and a little uncomfortable.
I hope this is helpful to someone out there!