Cloth Pad Suggestions

When buying pads it is not a good idea to go out and buy a stack from the one place, or lots of pads in the same style or length. Buy one or two to test out to see if that style fits your body, your lifestyle and your preferences. We are all different, and what one person finds good in a pad may not work for you. Also you might find different pads suit different days of your cycle. If you like it, by all means, go back and buy up big, but its better to be safe than sorry, than to end up with a room full of products that aren't quite right and you end up not using. Or worse still, turn you off using cloth!

When you make the decision to go cloth it can be exciting and expensive, so buying packs where you save a few dollars is appealing (and combined postage is cheaper than buying one pad from several sellers), but remember that pads you won't use don't work out to be economical in the end. So you don't need to be scared of pad shopping, but it is important to put some thought into it.

The larger brands can be more expensive, so if you are on a really tight budget, then perhaps stick with some of the smaller WAHM options, as they tend to be a little cheaper. However sometimes you do get what you pay for, and there is a lot of difference in the fabrics that go into a cloth pad, and expensive fabrics (like bamboo velour and silk) are going to make a pad cost more than a flannel/Flannelette one, but that extra expense may give you a pad you like better. There is even the option to buy second hand if that doesn't bother you.

If you are not happy with the concept of staining, then light coloured pads should be avoided (at least until you work out your washing routine and see if you have staining problems), and synthetic tops (fleece, suedecloth, velour etc.) are less likely to stain than natural fibres.

If you see pad styles you like but don't like the fabrics, or would like it made slightly differently, don't be afraid to ask (The worst they can say is no!). Some pad makers are happy to customise the pads.

If you don't want to buy Post Partum pads, you can use nappy boosters, folded face washers or even 2 pads together to extend the length of your coverage. Or look for night/long pads you can use. But if you'd normally not wear long pads, then you might find the expense of these longer specialty pads to be a waste.

Working out what you need/want in a pad

First look at the disposables you have been using:

  • Are you using the super absorbent kind, or the light ones? - This might tell you what sort of absorbency you need in a cloth pad - a heavy absorbency or a lighter "liner" type.
  • How often do you change them? - This will again help you work out what absorbency you need. If you need to change them every few hours because they are full, then you'll need a more absorbent pad. If you can go all day on the one pad, then you'll probably be fine with a lighter absorbency pad. If you like to have a fresh pad on all the time, you can probably go for a lighter absorbency, and you'll need a lot more pads.
  • How are they for length? - Do you find you need night ones for the extra length or you leak off the front and/or back or are regular fine? This will help you work out what length pad you like.
  • Do you find you need the wings? - Do you even like wings on pads? If you regularly see blood on the wings of your disposable winged pads, then you might need them, if not, then you may not. Most cloth pads have wings, but some don't. If you horse or bike ride you might need to find wingless pads, or ones that secure with a flatter closure like velcro. Wingless pads do generally stay in place without needing wings - as your body and your underpants hold them to you, but you will have to remember to hold them or take them out when pulling your underpants down to go to the toilet, as they don't stick to the underpants, and can fall out.
  • If you've ever leaked off the pad, where has that happened? - This might tell you what sort of shape you need. If you leak off the centre crotch area, then you'll want a winged pad. If you leak off the front or back, then you'll need a long pad. If you leak off the sides towards the back you may like a pad with a [[[flared]] back section.

++Then think about your preferences:

  • Ease of use? - Do you want something you just pop into your underpants like a disposable (an AIO. Or something where you can adjust the level of absorbency by adding more or less inserts into a cover (pocket or base+Insert design), or other system that involves folding or doing something to the pad before use.
  • Quick Drying? - Is speed of drying important to you? Most pads shouldn't take more than a day to dry (on the line or hanging inside - using a dryer is of course quicker), however this may be a factor for you. There are some styles that are faster drying than the kind you simply use like a disposable.
  • Fabrics? - Do you want a particular fabric? Do you not want a particular fabric? Is organic or natural important to you, or do you focus more on softness or look? Or is stain resistance more important to you?
  • Shape? - Working from the last question on disposables… what sort of shape do you think would provide coverage in the areas you need. If you don't leak off a normal shaped disposable, then that shape would be fine. If you leak off parts of a pad, then you might want a more shaped pad to cover those areas.
  • Waterproofing? - This usually depends on how heavy your flow is. A pad of just absorbent layers is all natural, but not leak-proof. Generally these need many more layers to achieve enough absorbency for a medium-heavy flow, which can result in a bulkier thicker pad. With waterproofing, you are less likely to bleed straight through the one spot, as the blood can spread out more through the rest of the core of the pad - this is more effective with something "waterproof", rather than "water-resistant". If your blood spreads out over the surface of the pad and you have a light flow, you are more likely to be able to use a non-waterproofed pad. If you flow mostly in one place , then you will probably find that without waterproofing you will leak though the pad in that place. If you have a heavy flow, you will probably find waterproofing essential. Your needs can also change through your period, so on heavy days you may need waterproofing but on lighter days you should be fine without it. Generally waterproofed pads are thinner than non-waterproofed pads.
  • Lifestyle - Consider your lifestlye (how often you want to be washing) as well as your budget (and how often you would like to, and need to change the pads) when deciding how big or small your stash will be. If you want to wash less often (or perhaps only at the end of your cycle) then you will need a bigger stash than if you want to wash frequently. (The more pads you have will also help reduce the wear on each pad if its used only once per cycle rather than 3 or 4 times).
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