Warning… If you’re a dude, don’t read this. Seriously, I’m about to get really graphic. If you are a dude who happens to be a doctor or a health instructor (or even a very involved and awesome dude accustomed to this kind of thing) though, by all means, continue.
For some unknown reason, many women I know find cloth famine pads gross. I think that having chemicals pressed against my more delicate parts a lot grosser than having to wash my pads. I also find the smell of the chemical laden disposable pads disgusting… revolting even. Until I became an “eco-friendly menstruater” I thought that periods just had to be disgusting and that was that. When cloth feminine pads and the menstrual cups entered my life, I realized that the process wasn’t gross and smelly… the products I had been using were.
In the past, I mentioned how tampons make me feel like I’m dying. So, I think it’s clear that comfort is a major consideration in choosing feminine products for me. And speaking of comfort, I think you should know why I feel that cloth feminine pads belong in your birth bag.
Maybe your labor will be awesome and you won’t tear or get bruised up or scuffed up in any way. That would be awesome. But what if you are? Postpartum bleeding (if any damage has been done to the peri-area) is not the same as having a period, but no one warned me about that. It was like I was beat up in my vagina, and then Aunt Flo comes to visit for an extended period of time to boot.
Here’s another thing they didn’t warn me about with my son. Because I was damaged, the paper pads that they provided at the hospital for my use felt like sand paper. I felt them with my hand and they seemed adequately soft, but to my beat up labia, they just made everything hurt more. With my daughter, I brought cloth pads. I still tore, but the comfortable quality of having real cloth against my skin felt nurturing instead of torturing.
If I were to do it all over again, I think I would have even used something larger, like a brand new organic pre-fold for the first night, because I had no idea I would bleed more than I did with my son. No pad in the world would have contained that. After that initial night though, cloth pads designed to handle overnight flow worked perfectly and comfortably.
Even if you never use them for your actual periods, I would still suggest that all birthing moms get a set of these. I feel so strongly that the cloth pads will be reused and loved for years to come though, that I tell my pregnant friends to just trust me on this one. It may seem like a splurge, but they soon end up saving enormous amounts of money, just like cloth diapers do.