A Woman’s Monthly Friend: Baby BeeHinds Eco Pads
Now this might gross out a lot of women, but what if I told you there was a reusable version of your disposable tampons and pads? Something that would save millions of female sanitary items ending up in landfill each year? Well such things do exist – your equivalent tampon is the silicone menstrual cup and reusable cloth sanitary pads, made in much the same way as modern cloth nappies but a lot trimmer and for mums! I am not going to save this article from the bloody details as let’s face it – we all have to deal with it once a month and frequently talk about our baby’s toileting habits!
Most women I discuss this with are not surprisingly, quite disgusted by the idea. But I was recently at our local swimming pool where I met a woman who noticed that my daughter’s reusable swim nappy has the same print as her Eco Pads. We got talking about these wonderful women’s accessory and as she quite correctly said – it’s only her blood so what’s the big deal?
Admittedly when I first started using modern cloth nappies I was quite repulsed by the idea of reusable sanitary items myself. But soon enough I realised that the idea actually made sense – why would I be environmentally conscious enough to opt to use cloth nappies and still allow myself to contribute my own personal sanitary items to landfill each month for several decades? So before I had to face the idea of using tampons and pads again I got myself some Baby BeeHinds Eco Pads.
In the USA alone, it is estimated that approximately 12 billion pads and 7 billion tampons end up in landfill annually. A single woman alone will use over 10 000 sanitary products in her lifetime. Just like disposable nappies, a sanitary pad takes between 500-800 years to decompose. They are made out of non-renewable petroleum based products hence they are doing significant damage to the environment before they are used! Environmental impact aside, women’s sanitary items contain chemicals, including dioxin (a known carcinogen), that are both environmental pollutants and harmful to the user. The rayon fibres used to make tampons are absorbent but also harbor bacteria that cause toxic-shock syndrome.
The average Australian woman spends $120-200 a year on personal sanitary items, or between $4000 to $7000 over her menstrual lifetime! A slicone menstrual cup will set you back around $40-50, and reusable sanitary pad costing on average around $12 each, with both lasting many years.
I had many questions myself before I decided to start using eco pads so I will try to address some here…
Aren’t they big and uncomfortable? How do they stay in place?
Actually quite the opposite! They are quite trim and so much softer and comfortable that they disposable version! They come in different sizes both to cater for fit and flow. The resin snaps on the wings make sure they remain secure.
How do I know what size will work best for me?
Buy a trial pack! This is very individual; I have asked a few people the same question and everyone is so different. For women who have a very heavy flow they would need more regular and night sized pads, for women with a lighter flow lights and liners might be adequate.
How many do I need?
Most women would probably use around 5 eco pads per day/overnight; to account for washing every 2 days and drying around 20 ecopads in a mixture of different sizes is ideal.
Can they be used for postpartum bleeding?
Most certainly yes and they are so much nicer than the giant disposable ones that are like incontinence pads! The ‘nights’ size would be best to use in this scenario and change to a ‘regular’ size once the flow slows down.
Isn’t is messy? What about staining?
They are easy to care for. They just require rinsing in cold water after use, wash within 24 hours in cold-warm water with an eco-friendly detergent and line dry, too easy! The purple cotton velour hides any sign of staining.
What about when I am out and about?
Just like using modern cloth nappies, a ‘mini’ wet bag comes in handy here. I recommend having 2 pad bags – one for clean pads and one for the used pads. The wet bags just go straight into the wash along with the eco pads!
I only wish I had discovered these sooner. I am yet to try a menstrual cup but it’s definitely the next step for me after using eco pads. Hopefully as more parents become educated about using modern cloth nappies for their babies, they become aware of the availability of lady cloth and realise how much sense it makes to literally ‘cloth’ themselves each month when aunt flo arrives.