OK girls, it’s about to get real over here. Period.
Yes, Aunt Flo is a bitch at the best of times with her habit of dropping into our monthly routines, usually at the most inopportune moment, to explain why all you’ve wanted to eat the last week is chocolate and fried cheese and why the sound of your Boyfriend breathing is enough to make you want to punch him in the face. But with that realisation, and relief that you’ve avoided the stork for another month, comes a week of cramps and period management. Yay.
Since having Alice my TOTM has been a total pain, literally and metaphorically. When Mother Nature’s Gift came back into my life (yes, I am going to use as many period puns as I can) I had to be put on cocodamol and Tranexemic acid because it was like being in labour again, thankfully that subsided as the months went by, however I still have issues with heavy periods and awful cramps. Once I figured out that tampons were making the cramps worse I have cut these out of my life and as I’ve learned more about the chemicals that go into the mainstream sanitary products I was using I wanted to take a step away from them.
With this in mind, and with a nudge from a Facebook ad encouraging me to be kinder to my vagina, I gave organic cotton sanitary pads a go. I ordered from TOTM and they could be delivered direct to my door on a monthly basis, a concept which received a big thumbs up from me. I was excited at my new environment and health conscious purchase but was entirely underwhelmed when I received them. In my opinion the pads I received were poorly put together, the sticky bits were all over the place and every time I changed a pad I got an impromptu bikini wax and they just didn’t do the job. I cancelled any subsequent monthly deliveries and continued on my Crimson Tide quest.
A fair few cycles passed and as I’ve become more conscious of the plastic we use as a family I decided to research reusable pads. I’ll admit, I didn’t go down the reusable nappy route with Alice so this concept was new to me. I spent a few evenings reading about reusable pads, finding so many brands out there and reading lots of tips I was a bit overwhelmed at first but when I got to grips with what was important to me I came across Bloom & Nora. The Nora pads caught my eye for a few reasons:
- They were sized in the way I am familiar- Mini, Midi, Maxi & Night. Many brands give lengths and encourage you to measure your usual disposable pads of choice but I couldn’t be bothered with that!
- Bloom & Nora make 2 types, I chose Nora as they have a stay dry upper on them- a personal preference for me (and so far works brilliantly)
- They’re pretty! To be honest, most reusable pads are made with beautiful designs, and Nora don’t disappoint with their different colours and lovely flower design for my flower
I ordered mine from Babipur a day into my cycle thinking that I would have to wait until next month to give them a go, but they arrived 2 days later giving me a chance to test them straight away! I was oddly excited! To get going I ordered a starter kit which included 1 of each size pad (4 in total) and an out and about bag (I’ll tell you more about that below) and I also got a 3-pack of maxi pads (see heavy periods above!). This was a little over 24 hours ago and I can honestly say I’m in love!
Firstly they are super comfy, to start with they feel a little thicker than disposable pads but I love the way they stay in place with the popper, rather than sticky bits so I can leave the hair removal to my beautician.
I was worried they might move around but they stay in place well and so far I have had no leaks- this is big news for me! No matter what I do, disposable pads usually fail me at some point every month so if this carries on I’ll be a lifelong convert!
Changing them and washing them requires a little bit of forward thinking but once you’re organised with the right accessories it is nowhere near as bad as I was worried it might be. I have armed myself with the following to make it easy:
Out & About Bag- I opted for the starter kit including this as it was a bit more specific and is a big help when you’re out. The bag has 2 compartments, 1 for new and 1 for used pads so you can confidently change when you’re out and bring them home to wash discreetly
Bathroom bag & Mesh washing bag- You can buy specific bathroom bags from reusable pad retailers, however I picked up this great sized bag (below) to keep my ready to go pads in along with a mesh washing bag to keep the pads together in the machine from Tiger for just £2 each
Plastic container- It’s handy to have a plastic container in the bathroom that you can pop some cold water in to store any used pads after they’ve been rinsed and before they go in the washing machine, I’m using an old tupperware container for now but am on the lookout for a coloured one to hide any used pads in as the boyfriend is overly squeamish- men!
Tips & Tricks:
Once used the pads can be folded and poppered together to keep any mess contained
Rinse the pads in cold water as soon as possible after changing to avoid stains setting
Add some water and tea tree oil to your bathroom container to store used pads before washing them. The cold water stops stains setting and the tea tree oil helps any smells and begins the hygiene process
Wash in 30 or 40 degrees, don’t use fabric softener and don’t tumble dry as this can affect the absorbency of the pads
So what has this all cost me? At first glance it seems like a costly purchase, but when you consider these pads should last me up to 5 years when you do the sums it makes a big difference to your pocket, and our landfills.
So far I’ve purchased:
Nora Starter kit- 4 pads and the out and about bag £33.95
3x Maxi Pads £22.50
Bathroom Bag & Mesh Washing bag from Tiger £4
I will probably need a few more pads to cover a whole cycle but if you consider they last me 5 years, that’s 60 periods, reusables will cost me about £1 per month. Compare this with Disposable sanitary pads which cost around 13p each, say you use 4 a day for 7 days, every month for 5 years you’ll spend over £200 on pads alone. Seems like a no brainer for the pocket, not to mention the environment.
In my first 24 hours I’m hugely impressed, not to mention feeling a little smug, but there are still a few scenarios I want to test. I love running and will be sure to let you know how they fair whilst I’m keeping fit, I’m also keen to see how a full week goes with washing and drying them all and how many i’ll realistically need to cover shark week.
If you can’t tell I’m pretty excited at this change for me and I think all girlies should give it a go- if you have already please let me know what you think and if you have any tips! And if you’re a reusable newbie and have any questions I’ve done a lot of the research already so feel free to give me a shout.