Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Green Cycle

I went shopping this weekend.  Not grocery shopping, which is what shopping for me usually entails, but the kind of walk around Target, Wal-Mart and the mall type shopping.  I don't like shopping because I find it depressing.  I usually find things I like, but then have to talk myself out of them because I'm not making those "things" a priority with my money.  Then I'm depressed.  Ick, who wants to feel that way?  So, I typically don't shop. 

This weekend was sort of a rarity for me though.  The kids were with their grandparents and I was on a mission.  I was looking for some clearance snow clothes for the kids next year.  Both my oldest and youngest will need new snow pants and the middle one will need a new winter coat.  Please note, that I struck out on all accounts.  But, there is a point to this I assure you.  When walking around all these stores, I found myself doing a little cart spying.  Please tell me that you do this too-when you peek at what others are buying.  I'm not doing this to judge anyone on their purchases, but looking at what everyone else was buying gave me a real sense of satisfaction that I'm not spending my (and my husband's) hard earned money on disposable items.

Over the past 18 months or so, our house has rid itself of most disposable paper products.  We have no tissues, no paper towels, no baby wipes and no feminine products.  That last one is what I noticed most this weekend.  Cart after cart I saw had pads and tampons in them and all I saw were dollar signs ($$$)!.  For over a year now, I have used cloth menstrual pads and this past summer I purchased a Diva Cup.  Before I lose you with the "OMG that's gross!" and you click out of the screen, please hear me out. 

My inital purchase was for 8 pads.  I paid about $25 for them (that was roughly the cost of 3 months worth of tampons and pantyliners for me).  I used them in conjunction with my regular tampons and if they got anything on them, I just rinsed them out in the sink with cold water and washed them with my diaper laundry.  No big deal.  Not disgusting or gross.  No sticky tape on the underside of pantyliners sticking to my more sensitive parts.  After a couple months, I started using them for overnights as wearing tampons for my whole period kind of made me skiddish about Toxic Shock Syndrome.  I actually don't know anyone that has had that, but during the 5th grade "learn about your body" lecture the nurse frightened me for life, so it's still a concern.  Again, I rinsed the pads out in the morning and tossed in the laundry.

As I continued to read anecdotal stories of women who had made the switch to all cloth, I learned a few things.  Many reported less or no cramping, shorter periods, lighter flow, fewer pre-menstrual symptoms, etc.  Also, many related the chemicals in tampons/pads were what was causing the problems and once they stopped using them, their health improved, or at least that "time of month" was easier.  I needed a tampon alternative, because I just wasn't keen on wearing pads the whole time.  Enter the Diva Cup.

I purchased one in May of 2010, and while there was a learning curve (I didn't give up my tampons completely for another 3-4 months), I now love it.  The Diva Cup is a silicone cup that collects your menstrual flow similar to what a tampon would and at least once every 12 hours (more often if needed), you remove it, dump and rinse.  Easy peasy.

Changes I have noticed are a shortened period, less cramping and more comfort.  My period used to be 5 days and now it is 4 (with only very light flow on the 4th day).  I used to have cramps 2 days before the start of my period and then 2 days once it started-not terrible debilitating cramps, but enough that I didn't feel good for most of those 4 days.  Now, I have light cramping on the day I start, which lasts about 6-8 hours, kind of a nauseous, icky feeling.  As far as comfort, I don't think it can be beat.  No more scratchy pads or smelly ick.  No more irritation/dryness by day 5 like I had when using tampons.  I won't ever be able to say that I love having my period (really, who does that?), but it's much nicer now than it was a few years ago.  And, I'm saving $8-$10 a month by not buying disposable products.  Good for me, my wallet and the Earth.  That's a win-win-win!

Sources to find cloth menstrual pads.  There are hundreds I'm sure, but these are Diaperswappers mamas who work work at home, and I'm always for helping someone be able to stay at home.
Tree Hugger
GEM Cloth
Mother Moon Pads

As for the Diva Cup, I bought mine from Amazon using gift cards I earned through Swagbucks, so it was free.


  1. There's a chance you are eligible to get a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.

  2. SuperPayMe is a very recommended work from home site.


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