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