Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mama cloth: Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love, well, you know...

You know, mama cloth isn't just for mamas.

"Cloth menstrual pads" just sounds so... clinical, though, doesn't it? And, as many women have told me, a little gross.

It was a stretch for me to try them, I won't lie to you. You skeptics have my sympathy. The idea of washing "that" was a hard one for me to wrap my head around. I was cloth diapering for a full year and a half--washing pee and poop nearly every day--before I could bring myself to wash "that."

But after the birth of my daughter, my second child, I couldn't imagine using disposable pads... ever again!

This is what convinced me:

After giving birth, every woman passes lochia for 3-6 weeks, and tampon use is not only sternly disrecommended, but it's just plain dangerous.

That means shelling out about $12 for a pack of 20 "heavy flow" disposable maxi pads with wings. Twenty pads? That wouldn't get me through two days if I were changing frequently enough to not feel, well, utterly disgusting. This is lochia we're talking about. For the first week, I would probably require a pack a day. I confess I'm a little neurotic about changing frequently.

Suppose we did go with that, though--with only 20 pads every two days after the initial week. That's $42 a week for a minimum of two weeks, but more likely five weeks.

In case your toddler has commandeered your only calculator by playing "Where's Puppy" on your iPhone for the 73rd time today (mine has), and you can't do simple multiplication because of that phenomenon we all call "mommy brain" (I can't), that's $84 the first week, and $42 for each additional week. That's $294 in disposable menstrual products. (Before you ask, I did have to track down my husband's calculator for that. He "doesn't believe in smartphones." I guess his old-fashioned electronic instruments are good for something.)

When I first did the math, and after I picked my jaw up off the floor, my first thought was, Do you know how many adorable newborn cloth diapers I could buy for $294???

Instead, I spent about $90 on cloth pads of various sizes. I washed and dried them twice a day (and if I'd bought more, I could have stretched that out much longer), never once experiencing the dread of almost running out and sending a mortified husband out on a grocery store run at 10 pm because the baby wouldn't.stop.eating long enough to let me do an errand.

So that's more than 200% savings just to cover the postpartum pad-wearing stage, and you recover your loss in just a few weeks.

What could you do with that extra $204?
  • Hire a postpartum doula or a cleaning service to help take the load off as you recover from childbirth and adjust to life with a newborn.
  • Get a massage and pedicure... twice.
  • Treat your husband to a fancy date night.
  • Stock up on coffee, your new best friend. Welcome to life with a newborn!
  • Save it. College isn't getting any more affordable.
  • Donate it. Buy two pregnant women their own stashes of mama cloth.
The best part? Not only did I more than recoup my $90 in the first week-and-a-half postpartum, but my stash of soft, comfortable, absorbent pads was waiting for me when the old monthly visitor started coming around again just in time for my daughter's first birthday party.

And here's the real kicker:

Cloth menstrual pads are chemical-free and linked to shorter, lighter, less crampy periods.

For the longest, I thought that was just a sales pitch. But it's true! My menstrual periods post-mama cloth have been an average of 2 days shorter than they were when I was using chemical-filled disposables. I can change them every time I go to the bathroom guilt-free, knowing that the money has already been spent and will never need to be spent again, which makes each period as comfortable as a period can be.

You've reached eLeMeNO-Pee because you're interested in using cloth diapers instead of disposables on your baby, and part of your reasoning is probably that cloth diapers are non-toxic. Have you thought about the toxins in disposable menstrual pads? Forget looking at labels; look at their advertising. "Infinicel?" What IS that? I'll tell you one thing, "infinity" is not the duration of time I'm interested in wearing a pad for.

Plus, who can resist a cloth pad when it looks like the new Party in my Pants thong liners?

There's no way you can say mama cloth is only for frumpy, uber-eco-friendly moms. Eco-chic is in, sister. Saving money is in. A chemical-free period is in.

What do you have to lose?

Your local rep
can help you figure out how many you'll need, and eLeMeNO-Pee carries Party in My Pants cloth pads, so you can choose between multiple lengths, thicknesses, and styles to suit your clothing choices, your flow, and your lifestyle.