Photo credit: Honour your flow
3 minute read
What is a reusable maternity pad?
These cloth pads are the same as period pads and can be used for your usual menstrual period as well. They are made from cotton or bamboo and have a life span of at least 200 washes.
They are made in the softest material and feel entirely different to disposable pads when close to your skin, like you are just wearing your pants. They are available in different sizes and absorbencies, so there will be a size to suit your needs or you can mix and match different ones to tailor them to the individual flow of your period or postpartum needs. As they have press studs to secure them rather than a stick-on strip, wearing close fitting pants will support the pad to stay in place.
What are the advantages of using reusable pads?
- They are more cost effective in the long term as once you’ve bought your pads they are made to a high quality and should last you for several years.
- They are chemical free…yes, it’s true, most disposable pads contain plenty of chemicals and/or bleaches that you probably do not want near your vulva.
- They are more comfortable. Rubbing and chaffing is vastly reduced as they are made from natural fibres, in fact many women don’t feel as though they are wearing a pad at all.
- If you suffer from itching, chaffing or recurrent thrush you may find that using a product free from any chemicals reduces these symptoms.
- As they are more natural and breathable, women report that they find there is less of an odour when using reusable pads than with disposable products.
- Women report that they can hold equal or greater amounts of blood than disposable maternity pads.
- As disposable pads contain plastic and take at least 500 years to decompose, switching to reusables will help towards reducing a lifetime of period pads and/or tampons going into landfill sites.
So how do I deal with cleaning them?
Many women can be put off making the change to reusables by the thought of having to change, store and wash the used pads, especially when out and about. However, reusable pads have been reported to hold much more than disposable ones, without leaking, with women who have medium to heavy flows saying that they lasted several hours without leakage occurring. If using during the postpartum period, we would recommend 4 hourly changing, washing your hands before and after to reduce the chances of an infection occurring.
If you are out and about and need to change your pad you can use a discreet waterproof bag or a container to store them in until you return home. Once at home you can then quickly rinse in cold water and put into a wash bag and into the wash. Don’t use hot water to rinse as blood is a protein which quickly sets and will cause staining to your pad.
The beauty of reusing your pads is not only are you saving money and the planet but that you can choose which detergent that you wash them in, so you know exactly what you are putting next to your skin.
Although changing to reusable pads may seem like a big step, they are easy to care for and to reuse. They are also surprisingly easy to wear and have good absorbency, so not only do you feel more comfortable wearing them, but you can feel good about helping to save the planet too.