Once you are on the reusable scene suddenly your eyes opened to reusable alternatives to practically everything you previously discarded. My reusable journey started with nappies, which I think I found out about because I had seen a friends baby a few years ago with a pretty nappy on. When we found I was pregnant I quickly did my research and discovered a world of choice. My next step was then to reusable wipes. These really are a non-optional accessory if you are using real nappies but I’ve already written about that in another post, so I won’t bore you tears with that one again.
After that I started to look at the other baby related consumables I was using, as all of these things are overpriced. It’s like when you are planning a wedding, if you just call it a party it would cost a quarter of the price. Baby stuff is the same and I didn’t want to pay it. That’s when I found reusable breast pads. I use Little Lamb ones which are made from bamboo and wow! they are soft. Even once breastfeeding and leaky boob days are over I might just carry on wearing those things anyway. They should make bras out of that stuff. Plus it is super absorbent. I have had absolutely no leaks with these which is in stark contrast to the disposable versions.
The breast pads subtly led me into a world of reusable products for women. And when you start to think about it we really do use a lot of disposable products. Cleansing pads, cotton wool and then the obvious sanitary towels, tampons and panty liners. Cleansing pads and cotton wool were easy to replace. I just bought (actually I got them free with an order of something else) some more Cheeky Wipes and now just use these for removing make-up etc. With a little bit of coconut oil they will remove even the most stubborn waterproof mascara. However menstrual products would require some specialist equipment.
Before I committed to RUMPs (reusable menstrual products) I had to decide how I felt about them. Was I happy to handle this sort of bodily fluid? If I was, how would I go about cleaning them? How do you store them? Do they smell? To answer these questions I did what every normal person does and Googled it. During my research something weird happened. It was not my attitude to RUMPs that changed but my attitude towards my body, specifically my period.
Like many women, when that time of the month rapidly comes round I drag out the sanitary towels and the baggy knickers and reside to the fact that this is way of things for the next seven days. Six on a particularly lucky month. I then shove handfuls of towels into the little zippy pocket at the back of all my bags and just look forward to it being over. At some point, usually around day five or six I find that the pads start to irritate a bit but there is not a lot I can do. Normally I use this as a sign that it’s nearly all done with. What my research told me was that I don’t and shouldn’t have to feel like this. My period is what makes me a woman. It’s the little sign every month that everything is ticking over nicely. It is just an alternate ending to the complicated process that gave me Emily. I should really be quite proud of it.
Now I’m not sitting here saying that I always want to be on my period and that is the best time of my life. It’s not and it is unlikely ever to be. However I could make it enjoyable and comfortable. I could allow it to be a form of self expression even in a very private way. I could embrace it and save both myself some money and the planet at the same time.
Consequently I ordered myself a basic looking set of pads. I mean they look soft and comfy but they’re not pretty or anything. When you look on Etsy you find that there are a whole host of work from home mothers making these things in such amazing prints and styles, but they are all largely in the States. That annoyed me. Therefore I did the obvious thing and bought a sewing machine and decided to make my own.
These are what I have made so far. Now you have to keep in mind that I haven’t used a sewing machine since year 9, so about thirteen years ago. Hence I’m pretty bloody pleased with myself. I fully intend to keep going until I have a good sized set and I will keep my eyes open for pretty prints that I like.
It has been fun to start on a journey to save money and the environment, and found a new hobby along the way. Not bad, I’d say.