How to Rock a Sustainable Period

I've already shared my love for my menstrual cup in past post: Periods are Rad-ish. But I wanted to dive deeper and share (overshare ?? haha)  how I have come to have a completely sustainable period. Along with some tips for washing menstural cups and reusable pads, because I was very overwhelmed by the thought of washing reusable pads. It's actually easier than I thought!

I use the Dutchess Cup.

I first started using a silicone menstrual cup after my first pregnancy. Cups are so much more comfortable than tampons and they hold a lot more, which is helpful because periods after baby can be much heavier than you're used to. Cups are also so much better for the environment since they last for up to ten years and you really only need one.

When I first started using my cup, I still used paper pads for any drippage. I was intrigued by the idea of cloth pads, but after having a very complicated wash routine with Judah's cloth diapers, I thought it would be similar for pads and it overwhelmed. I actually some cloth pads after Maple was born and didn't start using them until she was two!

But once I started using them, I was hooked. They are so much more comfy than even the organic pads that I had been using. And washing them is pretty easy! I did have some trouble finding resources on the internet on how to wash them which is the reason that I wanted to do this post!

The method that I use for washing is the Shower Stomp. I put my used pads aside until my next shower. Then I pop them on the floor of the shower while I'm in there. This also saves on water since I would be using the shower anyway. I tap the pads with my feet a bit, but the water does most of the work. After the shower, I squeeze out excess water and put them in a wet bag until the next time that I do laundry. If there are any stains, I use a splash hydrogen peroxide and it clears it right up!

Here is a run down of the pads that I use:

Liners: I recently started using these liners from FD Market and they are perfect for the last couple of days of your period, when you did need a cup or a thick pad. They are soft and thing and still quite absorbent. They hold two tablespoons of fluid.

Bamboo Pad Set with wet bag
This is my dream team for those heavier days. I like having a wet bag and an extra pad with me while I'm out. I was skeptical of the light lining in some of the pads, but it's actually great because you can see if you need to change your pad. The dark lining makes it hard to see what's on it. All of these pads are bamboo which is super soft!

If you're not ready to take the plunge into cloth pads, not all paper pads are created equal. When I take a month off from my cloth pads - which is okay to do - I have two brands that I really like.

I really like both of these lines. They are both made of natural ingredients and are better for you than other brands that use chemical dyes to bleach their pads. 

And since I talked about my pad wash routine, I will tell you how I take care of my cups! Every other month or so, I boil them in a pot of water for five minutes. After every use, I wash them with dish soap. I use Seventh Generation. I try to never have to change my cup when I'm out, but I get asked about this a lot on Instagram. If I have to, I cross my fingers for a single stall bathroom. I would not change my cup in a bathroom with stalls, because there would be no way to rinse it. In a single stall bathroom, I carry the cup to the sink and rinse it. Which is kind of gross for other people, so I make sure to soap up the sink and rinse it all out completely. I really try to not have to do this, and with a cup you can go long periods of time without changing it so it is pretty easy to avoid!

And I also just want to note, it's okay to take a month off from cloth pads or cups or both. The first couple of months of quarantine, I just did not have it in me to deal with cloth pads. And that is okay. I care about the environment for so many reasons, but sometimes I just have to focus on what's best for me or my family for whatever reason. When I've gone on vacations - because I always get my period for vacations especially if there's a beach involved - I bring tampons and regular pads. 

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