Menstruation is a natural and inevitable part of a person's life. While disposable menstrual products have long been the norm, there is an increasing awareness of the environmental impact they pose. Cloth pads have emerged as a sustainable alternative, offering both eco-friendliness and comfort. In this essay, we will explore the hypothetical menstrual needs of a person over the course of their cycle, discussing the number of cloth pads, absorbencies, and sizes they might use to ensure a comfortable and eco-conscious experience.
Understanding Menstrual Flow and Needs
The menstrual cycle typically lasts between 21 to 35 days, with menstrual bleeding generally lasting anywhere from 2 to 7 days. To tailor the use of cloth pads effectively, one must understand their menstrual flow and needs. These can vary from person to person and even from cycle to cycle. Factors such as age, overall health, hormonal changes, and lifestyle can all influence menstrual flow.
Light Flow (Days 1-2): At the beginning of the cycle, many individuals experience light bleeding. For this stage, thin and small-sized cloth pads with light absorbency (typically 20-50 ml) are ideal. These pads offer comfort and discretion.
Moderate to Heavy Flow (Days 3-4): As the menstrual flow increases, moving to moderate/heavy or xheavy absorbency as well as larger-sized cloth pads than used on previous light days provides better protection without sacrificing comfort. Many people use x-large and overnight pads during this time as well to prevent side and front/back leaks especially when sleeping.
Tapering Flow (Days 5-7): Towards the end of the menstrual cycle, the flow tends to decrease. In this phase, whatever size and absorbency feels most comfortable and is sufficient for flow are used. This can vary person to person so once you have an idea of your typical cycle you can judge what works best for you.
To determine how many cloth pads one might need for a complete cycle, we need to consider several factors:
Frequency of pad changes: On average, most people change their disposable pads every 3-4 hours. Cloth pads can often last longer, but it's essential to gauge personal comfort and hygiene.
Washing frequency: Used cloth pads should be stored until laundry day. Depending on washing schedules, one may require more pads. We like to wash once per cycle.
Personal comfort: Some individuals prefer to have extra pads on hand for peace of mind and for unexpected longer cycles, situations where one may want to change more often or handling unanticipated heavier flow.
For a general median 6-day menstrual cycle, one might need:
- Light Flow: 6-8 small-sized pads
- Moderate Flow: 8-10 medium-sized pads
- Heavy Flow: 6-8 large-sized pads
This estimate can be adjusted based on individual preferences and circumstances. For each category, we like to have at least a few additional pads for security. Additionally, if you love to coordinate your pads or enjoy having many fun prints and colors to suit your mood like we do, having extras to choose from never hurts!
Choosing the Right Cloth Pads
Selecting the right cloth pads involves considering various factors:
Material: Cloth pads are often made from cotton, bamboo, waterproof or highligh water resistant matericals like PUL and polyester fleece or a combination of all of those. Consider personal comfort and any sensitivities or allergies when choosing materials. Over the years, we at Novel Red have found the having a mix of fabrics is beneficial as different fabrics have different attributes that are ideal for specific seasons, flow types and ease of care.
Style: Cloth pads come in various styles, such as all-in-one, pocket, or snap-on. Here at Novel Red we prefer the all in one snap on style. This style, we have found, is hassle free and allows us to make the most aesthetically pleasing pads and liners possible which makes a time of the month that would otherwise be less than ideal, more comfortable and with a touch of personal style.
Sustainability: Opt for brands that prioritize sustainable practices, using eco-friendly materials and packaging. All reusable fabric pads and liners are much more eco-friendly than single use and disposables. They can easily last years when properly taken care of which makes a huge difference in landfill waste! All of our fabrics are the highest quality available. Some companies use lower quality fabrics that are processed with chemicals
Washing and care: Read and follow the manufacturer's instructions for washing and maintaining cloth pads to ensure longevity.
Switching to cloth pads is a sustainable and eco-conscious choice that offers comfort and flexibility during menstruation. To choose the right cloth pads for your menstrual cycle, it is crucial to understand your flow, needs, and preferences. By selecting the appropriate absorbency and size for each phase of your cycle and estimating the quantity needed, you can make a positive impact on both your menstrual experience and the environment. Make an informed choice today to embrace a greener and more comfortable menstrual journey.