My Mama Cloth Adventures and Review of Four Sources
Written by Natalie Klejwa, Contributing Writer
What in the World is Mama Cloth?
Eighteen years ago I cloth diapered my first two babies in white cotton pre-folds coupled with Gerber’s hard, crinkly plastic pants. Not because it was fun and I wanted to. I did it because we were dirt poor. We didn’t have a “pot to pee in”, as my mother would say.
Since the baby boys couldn’t pee in a pot yet anyway, we had to find a cheaper alternative than disposables. By the time #3 came along, we were able to indulge in the luxury of disposables, and I never looked back.
Until four years ago.
Number seven came along, and one of my younger, more hip friends introduced me to the *new* cloth diapering wave. I was HOOKED! (Are you wondering what this post is really about? Bear with me. I’m getting to the Mama Cloth.)
I became infected with “cloth diaper addiction” and learned all the lingo on Diaper Swappers. And that, girlfriends, is where I first heard the term, “Mama Cloth“.
I knew immediately what it meant.
A trip back to Bible times. Bloody strips of stained cotton. Scrubbing those strips in the river nearby with the other women. That is what I envisioned, and let me tell you…there was NO WAY on God’s green earth I was going there. The very thought made me feel the cookies coming up.
Fast forward a couple of years. I was still hooked on cloth diapers, and I had read a few reviews of Mama Cloth…mainly out of morbid fascination. I wanted to know what these “Bible times” (or maybe hippie??) ladies had to say about their bloody strips of cotton.
I found out they weren’t bloody strips of cotton, after all. They were these lovely, soft, luxurious, trim little things that didn’t leak, felt comfy, and were easy to wash…especially if you were already cloth diapering. (Just throw them in with the diapers!)
Hummmmm…pretty? Comfy? Didn’t leak? I tucked all that in the back of my mind. And then, a few months ago, my oldest daughter started showing all the signs that she would be cycling soon. (And not on her bicycle, either.) That got me thinking about the three other little girls that are growing up so fast, and how, one day, there will be four of them (I’m sure I’ll be in menopause by then) cycling every month.
And THAT got me thinking about all the pads we’d need to buy. The money we’d need to spend. The garbage that would be piling up. Just from our family! I jumped over to Diaper Swappers and started reading MORE about Mama Cloth…this time with an eye to try some. I was expecting a baby in March, and I thought perhaps a postpartum experiment would be in order.
Based on the reviews, I chose four companies that sounded promising, and I bought a few pads from each just to try them out. The rest of this post is just my personal opinion about these pads. What I love, you might hate. What I did NOT love…you may find to be the ultimate solution to your personal happiness. I will tell you that I paid full price for these pads, so at least you know my opinion is unbiased and not based on a feeling of gratitude to someone for giving me free Mama Cloth.
The Essence of Eve panty liners ~$5.00 each
The Essence of Eve
I decided that the pad I use most is a panty liner. I use those every single day, and now that my daughter is in “pre-cycle” mode, she needs to use them every day too. I found some very simple, economical liners at Essence of Eve for only $5 each. My daughter and I have been using these every day for several months, and they are still in fabulous condition after being laundered over and over.
There’s nothing fancy or pretty about these liners, but they are practical and cheap. And they’ll probably last a few years. This was my very first Mama Cloth experience, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I MUCH preferred the soft fleece to the papery disposable liners. I was looking forward to expanding my Mama Cloth repertoire now!
Party in My Pants Mini liners $9.99 each
Party in My Pants
While I’m not super excited about the name of this company (I am a Christian woman, after all), if you can get past the name, this company has some pluses.
Their customer service is AMAZING. I ordered my “personal party” on a Friday morning…and got my little lovelies the very next day! They were wrapped in tissue paper (like a gift) and came with a chocolate. Why, by George, if I didn’t just sit down and have a party!
So now that I could understand the company name a little bit better, with chocolate lips, I unwrapped the goods. I purchased two beautiful, thin, cotton panty liners. The fabric selections were all so pretty…it was hard (and loads of fun) to choose! Now these liners were TWICE the cost of the Essence of Eve liners, but they were also more professionally made.
Party in My Pants has a waterproof backing to prevent leaks
All PIMPS pads (yes, cringe if you must, I certainly am) have a leak proof backing which is awfully nice, especially if you are nervous about leaks, like I am. The other neat thing about these pads (all sizes) is that they are as thin as a razor. (OK…not that thin…but THIN.) So if you worry about a big thick bulge in your back side…one modest option is to cover it up with a longer top, but if it must show…and you don’t want the bulge to distract…then these pads are certainly something to consider.
Party in My Pants: two medium, all cotton pads for $12.99
I also purchased two medium, all cotton pads for $12.99 each and four of their super pads in the flannel version for $13.99 each. They offer free shipping if you place an order over $100, and they also give you $1 discount per pad if you order three or more.
After I had my baby, I tried both the cotton and the flannel versions of these pads and found that the flannel was softer and nicer than the cotton. I *think* the leak proof backing actually adds a stiffness to these pads that make them a little less comfy than all the other pads I tried. The flannel helped to offset some of that stiffness, but the cotton pads were too stiff for my liking.
Party in my Pants super pad in flannel $13.99 each
The bottom line for me was that these pads are not as comfortable as some of the others I tried, and the benefits of the leak proof backing and the razor thinness of the pads (not to mention the delicious chocolate) are not worth the uncomfortable feeling I had in my pants when I was wearing them.
Party? Not so much.
Domino Pads Medium Regulars $12.80 Heavy Regulars $13.95
A few nights ago as I sat up in the wee hours of the morning with my newborn, I got to thinking. What does the word ‘Domino’ have to do with a woman’s cycle? I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s because I’m sleep deprived, but I don’t get it. Regardless of what the connection is (or isn’t), these pads are terrific.
Oh Domino Pads, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
- I love the super soft, absorbent, natural bamboo material that they use.
- I love the contour fit.
- They wash up beautifully.
- They are cushy and comfy.
- Super soft. (Did I already say that?)
- No leaks.
- The dark, swirly colors make it hard for stains to show.
These are my top pick. In fact, I loved the four pads I bought so much, I went back and bought some more. I have to say, the comforting feel of these pads on a sore, postpartum mama was a real blessing.
While I love Domino pads, there was a final company that came in a very, very close second for me.
Talulah Bean Baby Moon Super $15.95
So…I don’t know what a talulah bean is. I’ve never seen them in the canned goods section of Walmart, anyway. Bean rhymes with green though…and cloth pads are a very “green” choice these days. These particular pads are as dreamy to wear as they are to look at. I only bought two of their Baby Moon Supers for my postpartum nights, and they did the trick quite nicely.
This company uses minky material to make their gorgeous pads. I LOVE minky. Plus I love the WORD, “minky”. It makes me think of “silky”, “pretty”, “cutie”, and a host of other appealing things. You know…sort of helps to disassociate oneself with the actual reality of one’s cycle, which is not quite so “minky”.
I loved these pads so much, that I went and bought a little stash of pretty pads for my daughter who will be getting her cycle in earnest very soon. They are a little smaller in size than the Domino Pads, making them a good choice for your medium days, although they do have these wonderfully large Baby Moon pads that are PERFECT for nighttime.
Thus ends my own Mama Cloth adventure. Now it’s YOUR turn. If you use Mama Cloth, what are your favorites? And if you don’t use them, feel free to share why.
Or maybe this post has you thinking for the very first time…”why not?”
Stephanie’s note: Adding my two cents in, as usual… I love Natalie’s reviews and might have to go purchase a few new lovelies for myself (mmm, chocolate), but did you know that it’s also easy to make your own, if you are “sew” inclined and want to make it even more cost effective? I prefer my bought pads to the ones that I’ve made, but nonetheless. It’s a good option for some.
This is really interesting to me. We have moved to cloth for everything else (yes, even cloth TP), but mama cloth is one thing I haven’t quite made it to. I might have to try one of your suggestions. Either that, or get a diva cup 🙂
We use family cloth/cloth tp too! Our ‘order’ was first cloth diapers, then mama cloth, and then family cloth. If you use cloth for tp, you’ll love mama cloth!
Yes! I made these when we were in our first year of seminary! it was a such a money saver. AND… best of all my “time” has actually gotten shorter and lighter!!! Cloth is definatly the way to go!
My “time” got easier and less painful, too, when I switched.
I have not used any of those brands, since I need super long/overnight pads.
I can’t use traditional pads because the chemicals burn my skin or have gluten in them in some fashion.
I did however order mama cloth from two DS women, and I am so in love with the Tree Hugger Mama Cloth shop and service. I was able to order from all the way over here in Germany without any issues. I’ve been using mine now for almost 4 years, and there is no staining!! I am not sure if I got overnight or PP pads, but they’re great. I’ll have to do some research in my inbox before I order again.
Here’s her Hyena Cart shop: http://hyenacart.com/stores/TreeHugger/
The other advantage I’ve found to mama cloth or even the diva cup is that I no longer get that achy, crampy feeling as much when on my period. I don’t know whether it is the chemicals in the disposable pads or if it is just in my head. Also, not getting rashes from the paper pads is another great advantage.
I have a MeLuna cup and it’s fantastic. Same principle of not having to keep buying supplies but I can use the same one throughout my time and in my opinion, it cleans up easier.
Is there an argument against tampons that I should know? I used pads until college, then made the switch. Tampons felt much more sanitary to me. We cloth diaper, though, and my cycle isn’t too heavy, so I’m intrigued.
I hate to say it, but tampons may actually be the worst for your body (health wise) because they are inserted up inside of you (along with all the leftover chlorine, dioxin, and various other chemicals used to produce the materials in a tampon)–and there it sits, being absorbed by your body for hours daily, several days in a row.
Well I know tampons can cause toxic shock syndrome, but I am sure that’s not the only thing. If your period is light & you already use cloth diapers, I think it would be a super easy switch for you. I am the exact same way, and I just toss my pads in the same wetbag & wash with my diapers. I do still use tampons when I swim, but that is so infrequent.
You might try a menstrual cup like the Diva Cup. Tampons are typically made with nonorganic cotton (which is soaked in pesticides) and synthetic fabrics such as rayon (which are derived from petroleum). They bleach the cotton to give it that “pure” white appearance. As Erin said, they can cause toxic shock syndrome (which menstrual cups do not due to their nonabsorbancy nature). They disrupt the pH of your vagina and cause dryness. For me, I could always feel them, they always leaked due to a poor fit, and they hurt taking out. They also leave microscopic fabric particles in your vagina and are throught to contribute to cancer. The diva cup has none of these disadvantages once you learn how to use it, and it’s great for heavy flow. I was always a disposable pad girl and now it’s my diva cup with a cloth panty liner. Hope this helps.
I have heard that tampon ‘residue’ can leach off when they are inside you – and so depending one what the ones you use are made with/treated with that could potentially be harmful (items I’ve heard they can contain are: bleaching agents to make them white, dioxins, pesticides, waxes, surfactants, dyes, aluminum, copper, boron, etc). I have not done a huge amount of research into it though, so am not an authority on the subject! 🙂 A few of my friends who are tampon users and didn’t like the feel of the cups use these http://www.abbyslane.com/Sea-Pearls-Natural-Tampons_p_13.html and love them! I use Domino Pads and love them!
I agree with the other replies about chemicals on them etc. I’ve heard of the cups, sea sponges, and also used to use the natracare organic tampons. Those are some options. I only use cloth pads myself now,
I have used cloth as a back up for my diva cup for the past 2-3 years. I have no desire to go back. I recently had “the talk” with my 11 yr. old about her impending period, and we ended the talk by going shopping on Etsy for her personal supply of pads. She got to choose the fabrics, and it made it much more fun than handing her a generic box of disposables.
I gave cloth a try at one point and keep going back and forth between my diva cup and non-bleached disposables. But honestly, I have irritation problems even with the more natural disposables, and sometimes I don’t feel like messing with the cup. I think my problem with the cloth is finding a good routine for washing. We don’t have anyone in diapers anymore here. Does anyone have any suggestions for a simple (and NOT gross) washing routine? I have an HE washer, and though it does have a soak option, its not quite like soaking in a big vat of water like the other machines allow.
My oldest daughter will be approaching that age soon, and I definitely don’t want to go the route of regular, chemical laden stuff.
I have a Diva cup, but have never tried it. I can’t figure out how you use the thing..LOL Any tips?
I’ve been using a Moon Cup (very similar to Diva cup) for a few cycles, now, and I LOVE it!! I have to say, though, that it took several days to get used to. I almost gave up because it didn’t seem like it was in correctly and was very uncomfortable. I would suggest experimenting with it once your flow decreases a little. That way you can get used to it with less mess. 😉 It’s SO worth it, though! Follow the instructions and stick it out a little longer than you want to! It really does work!
Thanks! I’ll do that:)
I have a little pail (purchased at glad rags )that I keep under the sink with cold water and a little bac-out enzime cleaner. Just dump the water daily (maybe a little gross?), and then I can wash every couple days like normal, maybe an extra rinse if desired.
I use a bucket in my bathroom during my cycle. I change the cold water 2 times per day for about 5 days then I wash the very small load as I used to with diapers. I rinse each pad thoroughly before I add them to my soaking bucket.
I snap a small wetbag onto the toilet paper holder. I rinse the pads with cold water and throw them into the wetbag then throw them in with my diapers or towels-super easy and they wash up great. I made the switch to cloth once I realized I didn’t need a pail of bloody water in the bathroom. 🙂
I don’t have children and have a simple method for my cloth pads. After use, I rinse out the pads and put them in a large tupperware container. I soak them in water and some Biokleen stain remover. I change the water and stain remover once a day. My container (1 qt?) is big enough that I can fit almost all my pads in there. By the end of my cycle, almost all the stains are gone! Then I either wash them or if laundry is a ways off, I lay them out and let them dry until laundry. At that point they are basically clean and smell good like the stain remover. I have also forgotten the change the water everyday and nothing happens. 🙂
The Biokleen stain remover is called Bac-Out. Sounds like Rita and I use the same process. BTW, I love Bac-Out for everything. Its awesome!
Thank you!!! This is really helpful. We love Bac-Out too…it’s helped unclog drains among its cleaning capabilities. I have been wanting to switch to cloth pads, but I’m just completely overwhelmed with the choices and how to make it work- pantyliners/light days and heavier/overnight needs. This helps…but I am still overwhelmed- LOL- especially after reading all the comments. Guess I’ll just have to jump in and order some and figure it out from there. Right now I use the 7th Gen tampons and pads, but don’t love them. Definitely better than the Always junk though. I am so intrigued by the testimonials from others about cloth lightening the flow. It’s certainly a more natural option and I can’t wait to try it!
My routine is probably as minimal as it gets. I have a great zippered wet bag leftover from diaper days. I just throw my pads in there and store it on the back of the toilet, or under the sink when we have company. =) I used to rinse them out, and that does help prevent stains. But after a while I just quit worrying about it. I will rinse if it is super full. I used to have to wash once mid-cycle, but now my stash is big enough that I really don’t have to until it is over. Then I throw pads and bag into the washer and run a cold rinse. I then run a full load of towels with them on hot. I haven’t been using any special detergent like I did with diapers–just a free/clear deterg. I used to add a splash of Bac out until I ran out. And that is it. I hang them on the line with towels on nice days. I also bought a mini wetbag that has a front pouch for clean pads (fits about 2) and a waterproof pouch for dirty pads. Fits them perfectly and makes it super easy to keep up with when on the go. I also agree that my flow seems to have decreased a bit with using cloth. Cramping is almost nonexistent!
We don’t currently have any little ones in diapers but we still have our diaper sprayer hooked up to the toilet – I use that to spray my pads off really well, and then put them in a little foot-pedal garbage can with removable bucket that I keep behind the toilet (at this point they are pretty wet, and I don’t add any ‘soak’ water). We also have a HE machine, and I do a cold rinse and spin, then do a warm wash with extra rinse. I have had no problems with staining, etc and the little can I have is small enough I can dump it into the front loader without touching anything.
About an argument against tampons…. For me at least, I am sensitive to the chemicals in disposable pads and tampons. I currently wear disposable pads for a 4-5 day cycle, but by the end, I am feeling like the skin is very dried out down there. I cannot wear a disposable pantyliner every day, because it causes the same problem, but with longer use, I get to be very irritated and painfully dry. So, I do wear cloth liners for anytime I’m not bleeding.
Whether you have the same reaction to those chemicals or not, with a tampon, you’re sticking them up inside of you. Also, I don’t think it can be good to hold all that blood in there inside of you just sitting against your insides.
I’m seriously considering just switching to cloth pads, especially because I have a baby due in June, and by the end of my postpartum period, wearing a disposable pad is causing me real problems. But, the idea of spending a couple hundred dollars on pads is just too much for me. I doubt I’ll get any cloth pads made in the next few months. Maybe, I’ll just improvise with my children’s cloth diaper doublers every few days postpartum to give myself a break….
On Domino Pads´ site, there is a video of a tampon in a cup of water, and all these little bits swim off. It had turned me off tampons forever! I don´t want bits of cotton floating around in there!
I have a few mama cloth pads, but I haven’t used them in a long time. I use Seventh Generation pad/tampons for the most part, but have to use one of the huge overnight pads at night. My periods are really heavy and I could never use just a pad. I may start trying to use the cloth ones at home as a backup for tampons(yes I leak through super plus tampons).
I’ve thought about my daughter using them in the next few years when she will begin to need them, but I can’t imagine having to manage them at school.
I love to sew and love to make things like this. I’ve made cloth diapers in the past. I may experiment and see what I can come up with:)
I’m glad to hear there is someone else out there who has the same heavy periods! I have to double up my protection or I would be changing things every 1/2 hour…
I use homemade mama cloth as my backup and for my nighttime needs.
They are no fun are they?!
I’m with Jessica; I’d love to hear the routine others use for washing them. We don’t cloth diaper and won’t be, so I need my own personal routine. Any suggestions?
What I do is rinse them out in hot water, spray them with peroxide, and stick them in a mesh laundry bag in my laundry room. (My laundry room is right next to my bathroom. If it wasn’t so close by, I would likely use a wet beg rather than a mesh bag and keep it under the sink.) Then after a couple days they go in the machine. I usually wash them with towels. Since they’re rinsed out, they really could be washed with anything, but my hubby requested they not be washed with his clothes! 🙂
Rinsing them out is kind of icky, but I think that a bloody soaking pot sounds grosser, and my hubby would flip if I did that! lol
I love my Fuzzi Bunz pads and their prices are so much better than the ones listed in your trials. You can almost buy 3 of their pads for the price of 1 of yours! Fuzzi Bunz make amazing diapers, and their momma products are the first I reach for. I just bought the Diva cup and have been liking it as well. I bought a small, pretty bean crock that I bring out during my period and put by the toilet. I fill it with cold water and a squirt of soap. After all is said and done, I dump the water and wash the pads. No fuss, no muss.
I was SO excited to see that I’m not the only one into this. I mean, I knew the fact that someone was making them said that there were others, but I feared they were just the real crazies. Ha! Maybe I’m becoming one of them! Anyway, I haven’t told anyone except my husband (he thinks it’s great!) for fear that people would think I’m weird and gross, but truly, I’m already washing poop out of cloth diapers, so my gag reflex is pretty calm! I found a “green” Etsy shop that makes Mama Cloth, ad so far, I don’t think I’ll go anywhere else. It’s a one woman show, and she’s using her Etsy shop for extra support for her kiddos. What’s not to love?! Her pads are so comfy, and since she doesn’t use PUL, they are not stiff and they dry quickly. They have been super absorbent. I can’t get over how much better they are than disposables! Here’s the shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/MamaBearBabyWear She also does cloth diapers and wipes. I am using her wipes with my soon. There are perfect!
I use fuzzibunz (yes, like the diaper) and I am pretty happy with it. The “stuff” stays on the surface more than I would like, but it doesn’t leak through – so that is good! I do feel like the one snap on the wings doesn’t help it stay too put. They want to shimmy back and I have to readjust through out the day! But they are cute 🙂
Well, I promised hubby I wouldn’t ever blog about this, but this isn’t my blog. 😉 I use bumbledoo & CC Bums. Both are wahms & both are on FB. Bumbledoos are a little more professionally made, but both feel & work great (& are pretty!). I have one liner from Party in my Pants, but I thought it was a little scratchy. I need to start looking into something for post pardum bleeding since I started well past that (after I started cloth diapers!). It would be nice to have the more comfy (& IMO healthier!) cloth for this time around.
I’ve been on Etsy looking for some post-partum and a few of the sellers allow customized orders. I haven’t contacted anyone yet, figured I wait until the month or two before baby is born, when I’m nesting and know I’ll be more productive 🙂 I too started after my son was born, so I don’t have anything good for that in my stash.
LOL! Nope, it’s my blog and we can talk about this if we want to! My hubby just won’t read it, so he can pretend like we’re not talking about it. 🙂
LOL! Yes, don’t let your hubby read these comments for sure! 🙂
I love domino pad. I simply cannot get enough of them. I also use Luna Pads. Which are quite affordable. Both worked great postpartum, I like that you can customize the absorbency with the Luna pads, and they are pretty comfy. but domino pad take the cake in comfort and fit for me.
I have a little stash of cloth pads, but I really only like the liners. I find the “Medium” pads to be too bulky–even when I wear jeans, plus I’ve had them leak through!! I like the liners well enough–they are nice and thin, but I’ve leaked through those too. I’m really at a loss as to what to do. I’ve also tried the Diva cup and haven’t had luck with that either! I think I need to buy a “shorter” cup but don’t want to pay for another one that might not fit. Blah.
This has always intrigued me, too, ever since I heard of this maybe 5 years ago. I haven’t ever tried them because…I leak through SUPER tampons in 2 hours….I’ve always been SO nervous with pads because in my experience I have leaked through those more…any advice for those of us with a heavier flow?
While my flow has slowed since having my daughter and switching to cloth, I used to have terribly heavy periods, so I can relate. Some ladies I know use a menstrual cup (like Diva or Lunette) in combination with a high absorbency cloth pad. The heaviest I’ve found have been Happy Heiny’s and Knickernappies stackables. But Luna Pads also makes a heavy weight pad, though I haven’t tried it myself. There are also many Etsy sellers who make heavy weight pads. Personally I’ve almost never had a leak since going to cloth, but as I said, my flow has been lighter. That being said I’m also using them during my postpartum bleeding and I’m had virtually no leaks (I a had a couple small ones from a pad sliding during the night, but that used to happen with disposable pads too, even if I also wore a super tampon over night.) Most cloth pads are made of many of the same things are cloth diapers so they will hold quite a bit. Some are a little more bulky, but I was used to the super absorbent and bulky menstrual pads I used to have to wear out of fear of leaking through my clothes (happened to me way too often in high school) so i didn’t find the cloth to be bulky and it was way more comfortable. But it is different and does take some getting used to.
Try a Diva Cup! It holds a lot of liquid, is easy to clean out and insert, and saves a lot of money to boot!
I have sewn my own liners are ♥ them! I used flannel on the outside and terrycloth on the inside. They are wonderful and soft. I haven’t tried pads yet, but it’s definitely on my to-do list.
I always had heavy periods but I started used Mama cloth last year before I got pregnant with my second child and I had the lightest periods ever. It was weird. (I’m willing to give the credit to strange post partum periods, which apparently are common, but I also had virtually no cramps, after years of agonizing 7 day cramps, and I have heard that the lack of chemicals helps lessen cramps with some people, who knows.) I have a couple of reviews on my blog for a few other products. I tried Fuzzi Bunz, and GladRags pantiliners. Then I tried Knickernappies and Happy Heiny’s menstrual pads. But my ultimate favorite ended up being a Etsy seller called Caroline’s Creations. I now buy almost exclusively from her shop. But I’m probably pretty well stocked up on products at this point. My current stash includes 12 panyliners that I use regularly and 6 backups (brands I’m less fond of). I have 6 long heavy pads from Caroline’s Creations, 6 Happy Heiny’s overnight pads, 2 Knickernappies stackable pad sets (each includes a fleece liner and two pads, one small and one large), I also have four heavy/postpartum pads, 3 regular size light/medium flow pads, 3 regular size heavy flow pads from Caroline’s Creations. I’ve been able to use cloth pads almost exclusively during my postpartum recovery and it has been so much more comfortable than I ever expected. However, while I prefer the bright colors of most brands because they don’t stain much, I did find the white of Happy Heiny’s convenient during my early labor and parts of my postpartum period when I wanted to be able to tell home much I was bleeding.
I have been using cloth and the diva cup for years and have loved both since day 1. It seems that maybe the bleach (or some other random chemical) in regular feminine product upset my system, because since the switch, I have had zero issues. I have a young daughter and when the time comes, I plan on introducing cloth as the only way to go…
I bought a diva cup over a year and a half ago and never looked back. So easy to use, so easy to clean, so comfortable. My period hardly disrupts my life at all anymore. It doesn’t leak but jut to be safe I wear it with either a Glad Rags (my favorite) or Lunapads (also great) panty liner. I too found PIMP panty liners too stiff and scratchy and they are so narrow they really got my panties in a bunch, literally! I always wore disposable pads before (tampons never worked for me), so being able to use the diva cup has been tremendously liberating for me.
I’ve used cloth before and I loved them, but I had heard several different ways of keeping them clean. A few places suggested that soaking wasn’t nessacary and to just toss them into your normal laundry. They were terribly wrong. Luckily for me I caught the problem in time, and I threw my pads away before there was a health issue. I will spare you all the story because it is very yucky, but I will say that you are dealing with blood, and blood attracts bugs and bacteria by nature. Proper cleaning is of the utmost importance when dealing with cloth pads. I also wonder about some people’s soaking habits – changing the water at least daily is super important. The pads get a bad smell if you don’t, and I wonder if bacteria can be completely eradicated. I am not trying to scare anyone off of cloth pads – just warn you that there are risks.
On another note, I love menstral cups and would use those exclusively except that I haven’t found one that fits me yet (I have two), and they can get pricy.
I would actually like to know more about the health issue associated with washing the pads with the rest of the laundry. I do this sometimes.
I use GladRags. When I first learned about them, I was so repulsed by the idea. As I learned more about cloth pads, I wanted to try them more and more. Now I LOVE them. I have written a blog post recommending them as well. I have an extremely light flow, so I can get away with wearing thin, comfortable pads with these cloth alternatives. I just can’t get over the comfort. The environmental friendliness, financial savings, and better health sweeten the deal that much more.
I use Go With the Flo pads and really like them. They are topped with bamboo velor so they are super soft, and are backed with either fleece or wool, which are naturally water resistant so they don’t leak, and there are so plastic-y type materials to be uncomfortable. They are having a group buy right now, through their FB page, (http://www.facebook.com/GoWithTheFloPads) where you can order their pads for 40% off! So, I’m getting a good stash for my post-partum needs in June, for a great price!
Emily, how does washing work with the wool backed ones? I know we hand wash our wool diaper covers separately, so I’m intrigued. I need something breathable without any PUL or plastics, so this option sounds promising!
I also use Go with the Flo pads. I tried one PIMP panty liner and detested it! Love GwtF! Her dyeing patterns are beautiful! I do have some wool-lined pads. I haven’t had any issues. I actually just wash them with my towels, so they get a hot wash. There is a tiny bit of shrinking, but not enough to effect quality at all. Also, her customer service is fantastic. A super nice lady! =) The group buy going on right now is an amazing deal! I am too stocked up from her once/year seconds sales, so have forbidden myself to buy more right now.
Just Simply baby also has mama cloth. I have never used this product, but I am in love with their cloth diapers. I am sure that their mama cloth rocks just as much.
I started using mama cloth after my first son was born. While I was pregnant with him the decision to use cloth diapers was made. After he was born I decided that if I can clean poo off a cloth diaper, surely I could handle mama cloth also. I stocked up while nursing him, and when my cycle returned about 9 months after the birth I made the switch and never looked back. I found a seller on Etsy who I purchased my first stash from, then I also purchased 3 glad rags pads from a local cloth diaper store. I much prefer the glad rags as they are more breathable. The Etsy seller used a layer of PUL in the middle of the layers to prevent leaks (which works wonderfully for that purpose), but it just didn’t work well for me. I’m pregnant again and thinking of making my own to start replacing the ones from Etsy and also looking back on Etsy for some post-partum options.
I use Talulah Bean exclusively and like you I love the minky. I highly recommend them.
Check out the Diva Cup for a tampon alternative — I use it with cloth panty liners and have a mess-free period every month!
I am very sold on cloth pads as well and they seem to last a long time. My daughter, however, prefers to use tampons. I guess it can be an issue if you’re caught carrying cloth pads at school by peers. They also work great for those of us who experience stress incontinence from delivering several large babies. I have had mine for so long, I don’t remember the names of mine.
I used mama cloth for the first time after the birth of my second child in 2010. I hated the feeling of disposable pads after my first child was born (I’m normally a Diva Cup user when not postpartum) and figured mama cloth had to be more comfortable than the crinkly paper pads. I bought a full postpartum supply from Homestead Emporium, and loved them. They top their mama cloth with bamboo velour, which is super soft and dyed in beautiful swirly patterns to hide stains. What I appreciated most was the helpfulness when I was ordering – I had a lot of questions and wasn’t sure how much of anything to get, and they were super nice, patiently explained all my options, and made really useful suggestions when I asked for them.
Thanks for the very interesting and intriguing post. My biggest question is – how do you clean these? We cloth diapered all of our children but no longer have diapers to wash. Do you wash these the same way as cloth diapers? Any tips on what to do when it is such a small load?
You can wash them with the towels- but it’s often recommended to pre-rinse them or to do a cold rinse in the washing machine first and wash on warm to help extend the life of the pad.
I prefer not to wash mine with the diapers, so I wash with towels/underwear. I simply pre-rinse the entire load and then wash them all together. But you could rinse in a sink instead.
I wash mine on hot with my natural clothes detergent. No second rinse. Dry either medium in dryer or line dry.
If its a really small load of JUST pads you would have to have the water level high enough in the washer to make sure there is enough water to clean them. I recommend putting them in with towels etc as I stated but doing it this way also works.
This has been a main conversation here lately. I was planing on ordering a diva cup as soon as I found a sale and then I found out I was pregnant. I looked at cloth liners for now but got overwhelmed by the number of choices after picking out cloth diapers I think I was done with making decisions. I don’t know if I could switch to cloth pads full time. It’s tempting because I hate disposable anything and most people say their periods get lighter with cloth. I do have a heavy period so picking the right brand and then finding a storage spot for them as well as using a wet bag when outside the house has me holding off. I give people credit for using them for postpartum with my first daughter I ended up with depends (at the nurses suggestion) because the pads the hospital gives you where sliding around to much and being anemic I could use the extra protection. If anyone has a brand that is like ultra absorbent with a waterproof backing they can recommend I might try it once I get my cycle back. (if it’s anything like my first daughter I won’t to wait more then a month after delivery to use them)
Do you think any of these would work well with thongs?
PIMPS, Domino, and Lunapads have pantyliners made specifically for thongs.
Probably better off with a diva cup for thongs.
Ha, ha! I’m so tickled to see this post – I’ve just giggled all day about it. 🙂 My husband won’t let me post on my blog about Mama Cloth, so I’ll just say my piece here. LOL He says that I’ll get lots of nasty comments since I once did a post about hankies and was told repeatedly that I was gross. 😉
I love my Mama Cloth. I started using it 2 1/2 years ago and I won’t look back. My periods got lighter…and my pocketbook got fatter. 😉
I just GEM Cloth and LOVE it!!!! http://gemcloth.webs.com/
Excuse me….I USE Gem Cloth. I got so excited, I had typing issues. 😉
Something to think about… From the research I have done on bamboo fabrics, the processing uses harsh chemicals and basically turns bamboo into a polyester-like fabric. Even if you use organic bamboo, the way they make bamboo into cloth is heavy on chemicals and very unnatural. That said, I use Glad Rags, which are cotton, a natural, breathable fabric. The idea of bamboo polyester or PUL just doesn’t sounds like a good idea. There should be good air circulation down there, if you know what I mean. 🙂
Bamboo and fleece both breathe actually, but PUL doesn´t.
I have been using mama cloths for over a year as has my oldest daughter and we won’t look back. I made them at home so we could tweak the design from time to time to get what we liked best. They are so much softer then anything disposable, good for the environment, and super absorbent.
i love cloth pads! i started using them after developing an allergy to both “Always” and “Kotex” products (not a fun thing!). i will never go back to disposables. my period got lighter and i no longer have an allergic reaction during that time of the month. i don’t have kiddo’s in diapers but it’s still not a bother to me to simply throw them in a delicates bag and run them through a rinse cycle, then just dump a load of regular clothes in and wash them all together. 🙂
This is so interesting. I am going to make some but not for the monthly period. For the daily urine incontenence problem I so hate to wear pads. I wore so many when I was younger with heavy periods. Some days it is risky to be out and about without some protection. These soft flannel and fleece pads would be comfy and feel mostly like I dont have them on. I could do that. Thank you for blogging about pads and giving me a new idea.
I started using cloth pads about a year ago when I developed a sudden and extremely uncomfortable allergic reaction to disposables and tampons. I needed them suddenly, so I didn’t have time to order them online. I plundered my daughter’s cloth diaper stash and made some quick, unattractive, but shockingly functional pads from my daughter’s prefolds. They were only the cheap Gerbers, so the fabric certainly wasn’t soft and cushy, but compared to the burning my disposables had been causing, I was in heaven! I didn’t even have a waterproof backing, and I was shocked by how leak-free they actually were! I loved that everything actually absorbed into them instead of sitting on the top of a paper pad right next to my skin, making me feel like I’d wet my pants. My period was suddenly much lighter as well, which I never expected.
I’m quite curious about Mama Cloth. I’ve looked into the diva cup, and since I can’t handle tampons, I can’t see tolerating that either. We’re going to be moving to Brazil at the end of the year. We’ll be living on a missionary base where the washers only have cold water coming in and everyone hang dries their clothing. Also, clothing there is rather thin, as it’s quite humid and would take forever for think items to dry. I wanted to try mama cloth, but the thought of washing them in cold water and trying to figure out a way to get them dry is quite overwhelming. In fact, when we went in January to visit, our thin clothes didn’t even quite dry fully. I’d imagine the thick cloth wouldn’t dry either. Any thoughts or suggestions?
Also, how would one go about cloth diapering there? I currently use pockets, but I can’t see getting them clean or dry in Brazil. Thanks!
Have you thought about using a menstrual cup? I’ve been using a Meluna cup for a few months now and love the easiness of a cup – just rinse and wash twice a day and that’s all. And it’s only one cup that lasts for a few years. There are lots of websites or forums to discuss the various types, have a look!
What can’t you tolerate about the tampons? I have used both and there is no comparison. I have been using the Diva cup for 8 years and I can’t imagine using anything else. There was a big learning curve for me, but once I figured out how to insert it, it is awesome. So if your issue is about how they feel, I’d suggest giving it a try. I honestly can’t feel anything when I have the Diva in. I do use mine turned inside out as the handle always poked me, but it’s fine now. I could never go back to using a dry tampon after trying the Diva. I hope you find something that works well for the new climate you are moving to. Maybe you could try flat birdseye diapers to fold and use in your pocket diapers. it’s super thin and could be stuffed quite well in a pocket.
I reallly love my diva cup, and I would think that would be the most painless solution for where you’re headed. It does take a bit to learn how to use, and you have to know your body, but it sure is effective! I would think that getting a few pantyliners would be helpful for insurance, though.
Elizabeth, I second the Diva Cup suggestion. Love mine. It does take some getting used to though. But the lack of gross garbage and laundry is awesome!
Simplest cloth diapers to clean are birdseye flats. I handwashed ours for a month when we were out of a washer. I highly recommend Green Mountain Diapers’ flats. I think they have an economy package along with covers and pins that would be a great buy, and I think they specifically recommend that package for missionaries. Hope that helps!
Thanks! I’ve never been able to use tampons because they’ve always been uncomfortable. Since my last child, I’d be more concerned that the Diva cup would fall out. I know, TMI, but my son got stuck coming out and I had to be cut horizontally and got an almost 4th degree tear on top of that. Ever since I’ve been quite loose….for lack of better words. I don’t know, maybe I’ll look into it again. Thanks again for the help.
Can anyone give me suggestions on how to fix a mama cloth issue? I have been trying to use these pads I got on Etsy, but the don’t stay in place. They ride backwards in my panties, leaving me with no coverage in front. All my underwear are stained now. =( Grrr. Did I just get poor quality pads? Can anyone recommend a brand that stays put? I have a very active job and nothing short of disposable adhesive extra-long pads has ever worked for me.
That was exactly my thought that it could happen. I have not used cloth pads for years (about 25 or so) and have not missed them a single day mainly because of this problem. BUT my, so long ago, where simply a cloth folded with out the fancy button to hold them. So what I did back then was simply having a safety pin in front, from outside the panties holding everything in place.
I’ve been using cloth diapers for almost 6 years now, but I’ve never bought or made “mama cloth”. To be honest, besides postpartum bleeding, I haven’t had much of a reason to. With my 3, almost 4, youngest babies spaced close together, breastfeeding 18-24 months each, there was no opportunity. 🙂 But with baby #6 arriving in 2 weeks, I’m now seriously considering mama cloth, thanks to this informative post, Natalie. As if I didn’t have enough last minute nesting to do, now I have to rush off and order me some cloth! 🙂 It would be so easy to wash with cloth diapers, too! I’m terrible with deciding on brands, though, and I have no time to make my own at this point. Dilemma, dilemma. 🙂 Hey, maybe someday, since I am a cloth diaper retailer after all, I may even end up selling mama cloth! (Do retailers have a “no return”policy on these?)
You can trim the “handle” on the cup to make it much more comfortable. My girls have been using Gladrags for several years and they’re still fine–got them wholesale from Frontier Co-op for real cheap (the cup too).
I’ve been using cloth pads for almost 4 years and love them! I’ve only ordered from newmoonpads.com and have had fabulous very personal customer service. Be sure to sign up for her monthly newsletter and the pad of the month club. I don’t ever plan to go back to disposable, scratchy, chemical-laden pads.
I love cloth! My faves by far are Tree Hugger Mama Cloth http://hyenacart.com/TreeHugger https://www.facebook.com/TreeHuggerCloth they are minky topped as well and have Zorb inside which doesn’t get bunchy and stiff like cotton pads. Very luxurious!
I have been using flannel pads for about 4 years ago. I did a lot of research into different “green” feminine products, and finally decided to try the flannel pad. I wanted to save a bit of money so I searched the internet until I found several patterns to make my own. I made a few of each style and tried them. I settled on my favorite style and made a bunch. My mom even made some and we have been using them since. I bought the flannel and made the pads and I made liners with layers of cotton batting between the flannel layers. I just add liners according to how heavy my flow is. I LOVE these pads! These pads have lasted 4 years and most are still in very good shape. I soak them in biz if there are stains that I want to get out.
do you have the links for how to make your favorite ones?
I make my own but I have been thinking about buying some. I can’t make mine thin enough so they are a bit bulky. Thanks for all the reviews! I
I started using cloth pads (I’m not a mama yet, so I feel weird saying mama cloth) 4 years ago out of desperation. It’s actually funny because it’s one of the first “crunchy” changes I made, yet a lot of people consider it pretty up there on the extreme list.
I’d been suffering from irregularity and severe cramps for years, and while birth control helped, I was on YAZ and started hearing about some of the severe side effects women were having and decided to drop it. And basically all hell broke loose. Then I read something about all the chemicals they use to produce and put in pads and tampons. I remembered seeing something about people using cloth pads and I researched and bought. Life changer! I became more regular and my cramps decreased. Then when we got rid of all of the toxic chemicals in our cleaners and health and beauty products and things got even better. Turns out there are a lot of chemicals that can mimic hormones and they were probably throwing my body off.
I”ve been using my same little stash of 18 pads for over 4 years now and while they don’t look as pretty anymore, I expect I’ll be using them for years to come!
i make my own, but those sure are beautiful! we cloth diaper and like you this led me to mama cloth. love it! so much more comfy that disposable! my daughters are still in dipes, but one day hope to steer them this way 🙂
pantiliners are great for pregnancy too when baby is squashing your bladder 🙂
So….why is it called “Mama Cloth? You don’t have to be a mom to have a period! Why not call them “girly cloths” or something? When my daughter gets her period, I don’t want her calling them “mama cloth”! “Cloth pads” works, too! lol
I made some out of flannel and terry cloth. Cost me all of $6 for a big stash! I had high hopes that switching to cloth would lessen the cramping, but it hasn’t. Sigh. Oh, well…at least it’s healthier and cheaper. 🙂 I talked about how I wash them in response to a comment further up.
Krill oil takes away cramps completely!
My guess is that the nick name “mama cloth” cropped up because I would bet the vast vast majority of cloth pad users came around to the idea after cloth diapering their babies. Baby cloth and mama cloth. Not saying that non mamas can’t use it, but, lets face it, your average teen is not going to be interested (maybe there are more now that green is in, but still) if she even knows the idea exists, while it is a natural extension or what a cloth diaper mama already does, so the mama world is what gave the nick name and now it’s stuck.
If you are starting off how many cloth pads do you suggest one to get?
I have 2 very very big ones, 4 long ones, 6 “regular” ones, and 6 “panty liners”. As life has gotten busier I wish I had about 12 panty liners, and 8 regular ones. But I use panty liners other times than just my period. If its just for a period 6-8 of those would do. Its helpful to have different sizes for different flow needs just like the disposable ones are made. I usually wash mine with my underwear/towels every 3rd day at least sometimes every other day. I have fairly light periods after the first 2 days if that helps.
I love cloth diapering so naturally I had to look into mama cloth. Just ordered a few to try out!! 🙂
I was just wondering about this cloth pad idea and actually considering it, so all the info in this article has been so timely!! I’m 5 mo pregnant and in a few months it might be a good time to make the switch (I’m going to CD too, so it makes sense). All the comments have been really helpful too… it’s always so helpful to hear other women’s experiences. Thank you all!
I started using cloth pads after baby #1 when my cycles came back. I love it! I have some from Homemade mama and some from Parenting by nature. I like both. The ones with PUL on the back are the best since they are still thin while absorbent.
When I am postpartum (like now) I use natracare natural disposable pads at first since I don’t have enough cloth to go as long.
I am going to find it interesting when my own 3 girls start their cycles. I don’t know how they will feel about cloth. I think if needed I will also let them use the natracare ones but they are also very expensive.
I have been using cloth pads for many years and will never go back! I have tried many different ones and my very favorite ones are from Genevieve at the Cloth Canoe. You can find her on Facebook. I highly recommend getting all your pads from her. 🙂
So great to hear of others who use cloth pads. I used cloth diapers for over twenty years with my ten children and then over 15 years ago, we started making our own pads.
I have six daughters and my last one is in the pre-cycle mode. We make our own using thick towels for the centers wrapped in soft flannel. We just add the number of layers of thickness according to our preferences.
I like the mini pad idea of using a snap that wraps around your underwear. Never thought of that! We used small pins to keep them in place or long enough ‘tails’ so they just stay put. And another great product is the “Keeper” which is a latex cup that is easy to insert and easy to clean. I used mine for ten years, which saved me lots of money and made things so much neater!
It’s so nice to not be limited by the products that companies manufacture. Health, thriftiness, and independence from consumerism offer us a little bit of freedom!
Another alternative to costly pads – the Diva Cup! I just started using one after thinking that the whole idea was crazy. It is great – no mess, no leaks, and no need for multiple items or adding to the laundry. You can usually find them for around for $20-$30 online, and with a coupon, even less. More info: http://www.divacup.com/
Call me “old-fashioned”, but I will use a tampon any day.
Have you tried a menstrual cup? I use a Diva Cup along with cloth liners.
This is one of the last things I ever thought I’d be interested in….. BUT. You’ve convinced me! This is now on my long-term goal list to try out… thank you for the comprehensive review!
Thank you SO SO much for this post! I’ve been wanting to go cloth but have had the hardest time making a decision on which brand to purchase. We just can’t afford for me to tinker around with different companies. You’re post is going to be so helpful to me when I go to purchase!
I cloth diapered my twins, except at night and when we went out anywhere. I make my own “mama cloths” and use them all them time, except when traveling, etc. I sew a lot which makes plenty of scraps. I experiment with sizes and shapes. No snaps, just a safety pin or two. As far as clean up is concerned, I do a quick rinse and then throw them in a covered plastic container with a little soap to soak. I then dump the contents into the washer, spin the water out and throw in more laundry to wash with them.
I cloth diapered my twins, except when we went anywhere or traveled. I make my own mama cloths out of scrap fabrics (I sew a lot); I experiment with shapes, sizes and thickness. No snaps, just a safety pin or two to hold them in place. I only use store bought ones when I travel. As far as clean up, I do a quick rinse and then soak them in a plastic container (that has a lid) with soapy water. Just dump the contents into the washer, run it through a spin cycle, add more laundry and wash.
I’m a little late in the game but just wanted to say that I LOVE the pads from Mother Moon Pads http://hyenacart.com/stores/MotherMoonPads/. They are topped with silky, soft minky and a snap holds the wings in place. She ships fast, has various savings options available and repeat customer discounts. I feel so pampered when I use them. Sure wish my mom would have given me those when I was a 12 year old girl. It’s crazy that at the age of 31 I (almost) look forward to my period each month for the first time in my life because I get to use them!
I have been wanting to make the switch to cloth for a couple months now, but I haven’t gotten around to it. I am leaning towards Domino pads, but I was wondering if you would be able to tell me what the bamboo feels like? Is it like cotton, or more like silky? I know I wouldn’t like the minky, at least not for a pad… because I love minky baby blankets! But, for a pad I just want something that is soft like cotton because thats the only kind of panties I wear-100% cotton.
Please let me know!
Hey S.L….Bamboo is super soft…much nicer than cotton. Part of what is so nice is that it is slightly “cushy”…like Minky…but it isn’t like Minky. I understand how you might shy away from Minky for a pad…but really, it’s quite amazing for this purpose! Hard to explain…but I love Minky too. Either choice is a good option! Cheers!
I’m currently living in China, and tampons are very hard to find. However, the Diva Cup(www.divacup.com) has filled in beautifully. It seems a little expensive (between $25 and $35) when you first look at it, but when you consider how much you spend on pads and tampons each month, it easily pays for itself. Also, it saved me tons of space in my luggage that ordinarily might have been used for a stockpile of tampons. It also spared me the slight embarrassment of having to ask different shopkeepers where their tampons were kept!
I like cloth pads, but now that I have to do a little more hands on laundry, I’ve strayed away from them a bit. Once I’m back in the States (with a nice washing machine), I hope to use them again! They are much more comfortable than disposable pads, and much better for the environment! I love the variety of colors that they come in, and the different lengths and shapes!
Another option is Amy’s Rag Bag (www.amysragbag.com). She is willing to barter cloth pads in exchange for fabric, old silk ties that are no longer being used, or fatally torn or stained pajama pants. She will help you figure out which pad type best fits you, and is very helpful. Her pads are probably the most economical ones that I’ve found, and there are many designs to choose from.
I just purchased two liners from Tallulah Bean and can’t wait to try them out. I mentioned your blog in my order! Thanks for the thorough explanation that helped me make the decision.
Thanks for the reviews! I hadn’t heard of all of these brands. I did try Party in My Pants, and I agree about the stiffness; I also find that one harder to get clean than some. My favorites are New Moon Pads and Mimi’s Dreams. I’m also a big fan of the Diva Cup. I work outside the home, so I usually use the cup away from home so I don’t have to carry supplies. It’s super-convenient! I also prefer it for light flow, but for heavy flow at home I like my cloth pads. Here is my article on alternative feminine hygiene.
How many would I need to start? I’ve been thinking of trying this for a while but don’t know how many to make or buy. Is it best to purchase 1-2 to try first?
Party In My Pants will send you a free sample one if you pay shipping. That was my first one. I think it would be best to buy one from a few different companies and then make yours based on the ones you like.
I didn’t read through all of the comments, so this may have been said, but I think they are called domino pads because when they are snapped, it looks like a domino with one white spot on a black background…maybe?! 🙂
Little bee creations is inexpensive, well made, and comfortable. It’s great for building up your stash. She changed her style in feb 2013 and they’re even better.
Cloth pads was among those things I was definitely never going to use… last year! Now I’m addicted. My stash comes from rcdboutique, happahpad, NaturallyHip, CloudTwine, thecrazyelephant, and I love them all!
Hi! I ordered some mama cloth today based, in part, on your post. I can’t wait to get them an try them for myself. I was thinking about the name Domino also. Maybe it’s because the fleece is always black with white snaps? 🙂
Thanks for these reviews! It was very helpful in selecting which ones to try.
Wow I’m about 5 years too late for this discussion ?
I actually had a hysterectomy in 2015 so don’t need to worry about this for myself but I have 3 daughters with the eldest just starting her cycle.
I had always been grateful that I was born when I was- in the age of disposable sanitary items and not in my mother’s day with her horrendous stories! Or in Bible times – really how did they cope ?
I bought 6 dozen cloth nappies for my twins 21 years ago and used them for ages- only using disposable when we went out etc but gradually the convenience of them took over and I only used disposables for my next 3 babies ? I know!! I hear you all yelling at me !!
I never thought I would consider cloth pads but after reading this and all the comments I actually will look at using them for my daughters ?
I have been using cloth pads for 4 years now and I highly suggest people to join the cloth pad bst groups and try out various pad makers before buying there full stash because like some commented that one brand might not be your favorite whereas it is someone elses best pads.