CONTENT NOTE: All things period related. This post contains an affiliate link with Mooncup.
So, it’s been around eight months since making the transition to using reusable period products.
For a while, I’ve been wanting to make changes in my lifestyle to be more sustainable, because I want to do my bit to help out the planet and reduce my waste. One sustainable switch that has been a constant since the pandemic, are my reusable (or ‘zero waste’ as it’s often marketed) period products. Especially so in the early days of lockdown, where I heard cases of people not being able to buy period products in certain stores because they weren’t deemed essential (whoever made that decision: seriously?!).
So, as I’ve written about in the past, I switched from generic pads and tampons, to reusable cloth pads and a menstrual cup. The pads are from a company called Naturally Lady and the cup is by Mooncup.
FITTING & FIDDLY
I use size B of the Mooncup (there are two sizes, A and B) as I’m under 30 and haven’t given birth vaginally. For the pads I use the large size for more coverage, as they are similar to the night-time pads I used to wear prior to switching.
Honestly, I’m really liking it so far. Like most trying the menstrual cup out, it can be a bit fiddly to make sure it’s fitted right, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty straightforward. I have heavy periods. So there’s been a few times where I’ve wondered if I’ve fitted the cup properly or I’m just having some leaks, like I did with regular tampons, because of my heavy bleeding.
I do over-check just to make sure it’s suctioned properly to the vaginal walls, but even when all is well, there will still be a little blood at times, hence the reusable pads. I’ve come to the conclusion that perhaps that’s just how my body is wired. The pads, that attach around my pants with popper buttons, can move around a bit, or capsize (swivelling the wrong way round) if your pants ride down, so I make sure they don’t. I’m considering getting the medium size pads as well, as wearing jersey with a long cloth pad can make a silhouette show, somewhat.
SEEING WHAT I BLEED
This is one thing about using a menstrual cup. I actually see what I bleed, not all soaked up in cotton or plastic. Obviously, we know period blood is red. But seeing it as it is as I changed it in the shower, I was quite awestruck by just how red it is! You know the little aliens in Toy Story where they go ‘Whooooaaaaa!’? Yep, that was me.
Also, my Mooncup has measurements along the silicone so you can see how many mls you bleed. Pretty cool! One particularly heavy cycle, I managed to tot up that I bled approximately the equivalent of a 400ml bottle of water, give or take.
CLEANING & STERILISATION
Since using it every month/month and a half (my periods are thankfully, becoming more regular right now, but knowing me that’s subject to change) cleaning and sterilising my menstrual cup has become a lot easier. I’ve found using fragrance-free soap (DO NOT use any soap with coconut oil in) at the end of my cycle is best rather than in between changes, as it causes irritation for me. Not good.
So in between changes I use water to thoroughly rinse and clean the cup before reinsertion. After cleaning with soap at the end of my cycle, I sterilise with water and a sterilising tablet, leaving it for at least 15 minutes. After drying it’s back in its cotton bag, ready for the next use.
CLOTH PADS: SO COMFORTABLE!
I can’t get over how comfortable my cloth pads are. They are so comfy. I have plain black ones as part of Naturally Lady’s Starter Kit (8 pads and a wet bag) and also because I don’t have to worry about seeing lots of stains, especially when using just the pads. Despite the moving around a little (as is the case with any cloth pad) I’ve not looked back since switching.
I’ve had a rare case (literally twice), where half of my washed cloth pads are still drying and the rest in the wet bag ready for the wash (I prefer to put them in with a dark load as not to be wasteful with the washing machine) where I’ve ran out and had to use a disposable pad, but as long as I keep on top of that, all is good.
I’m looking to buy some more from this company, as they’re dedicated to reducing waste (a lot of generic pads either end up in landfill or our oceans, affecting aquatic life) and I’ve so far had a wonderful experience with them. Cleaning is incredibly easy, at first rinsing as much blood as possible from them with cold water, before putting them on a 30 wash or lower (can’t wash them any higher than 30) before hanging them out to dry.
LESS STRESS: IN GENERAL & PANDEMIC
Doing my bit within my means to help the planet is something I’m passionate about. Period products was one way I could make a change there. Knowing these products can last around 10-15 years means it can save a lot of money, despite being a little pricey when you purchase them, as they are an investment. My Mooncup was around £18 and the pads and wet bag at around £30.
It makes me feel better as well, knowing that that pack of pads and tampons I would have bought can go to someone else who might not have been able to access them. I do what I can when in a shop (not been able to much with COVID19 sadly) to donate packs of pads and tampons to period poverty collections. Tackling period poverty is something I’m passionate about as everyone who has a period should be able to access sanitary products.
With the pandemic, again, this investment has lifted a massive stress off my shoulders, and it gives me a relief knowing that what I would have bought, someone else won’t be going without who needs it.
* Please support your local period poverty organisation and/or if you have any pads/tampons that you are no longer using, please consider either donating them to a collection point or to a friend or family member who needs them. Period Poverty UK is an organisation to have a look at.
*If you like what I do and want to support me and my blog, please consider supporting me on my Ko-Fi page, where your contribution will help continue my being able to write, (I’ve recently gone full-time due to the COVID19 pandemic) hosting writing classes and be able to help re-jig and update my blog in the long term. Thank you very much!
5 thoughts on “Reusable period products: 8 months in”
I relate. I don’t like the cup yet…coz pad is comfy for me…
When the lockdown was announced. I went to the store to get packs of pads…
Hey April, glad to hear you’re ok 🙂 No worries you don’t have to use anything you’re uncomfortable with 🙂 I made these changes as I was thinking about them for a while and was comfortable with them 🙂 Take care of yourself xx
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Thank you for writing and linking this, feel free to add the #MenstruationMatters badge too so people can read others’ experiences.
I feel so guilty about using disposable products. I’ve tried cups but they just hurt so much, they feel so big and awkward inside me especially when my vagina feel sore, couple that with having to cut off the stem so it doesn’t cut me, I’ve given up with them.
And pads, I love the idea of reusable pads but pads aren’t something I like wearing. They feel cumbersome and I don’t like feeling sticky and dirty (I know it isn’t dirty) when I’m feeling at my worst anyway.
So, here I am feeling guilty and wanting to do more for the environment but needing to also look after me at the same time!
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Don’t feel guilty at all. It’s about finding what works best for you, lovely 💜 If it helps, have you looked at organic cotton period products? They don’t have any of the glues and nasties in regular products, and take around 1 month to biodegrade of memory serves correctly. They are more expensive than the shop own brand essentials products though, so if you can’t don’t beat yourself up 😊 In the words of Auri Jackson ‘I want to be your cheerleader, not your police!’ 💜💜