If you’ve had anything to do with me for the past few weeks, you’ll know that I’ve been taken over by a cloth diaper obsession. Some people would totally balk at this, because they don’t like the idea. That’s cool by me. But I’ve got to tell you, some of those little tiny diapers with kangaroo and chickadee prints are the cutest friggin things I’ve ever seen. So don’t knock it until you’ve done endless hours of online research and window shopping.
What does this have to do with the title of my post? Cloth for ladies? Well, it has a little to do with it. Babies aren’t the only ones that get cute handmade cloth these days: ladies can have it too! (If you are squeamish about reading stuff having to do with PERIODS and MENSTRUATION, please stop reading here. Again, folks, I’m not squeamish about that stuff. Natural processes, natural body parts, etc etc. So I’m going to happily write about it, and if you want to go on your way, please do so.)
In the cloth diapering and green family community, babies aren’t the only ones to get cloth. What did ladies use before the invention of Tampax and plastic pads? Why, they used cloth of course. And thanks to modern fabric like ZORB, bamboo and hemp terry, and PUL (polyurethane laminate), there can be absorbent, waterproof, thin pads that sit softly against your skin. In fact, there’s a booming internet business dedicated to selling cloth pads for ladies.
I’ll take a minute to acknowledge that some people might think this is totally gross. I think I said before (in my first cloth diapering post) that it’s about how you perceive grossness. I hate disposable pads and tampons and haven’t used them since 2007. I don’t like how they feel, I don’t like how they smell, and I don’t like throwing away so much garbage. That’s just how I roll with that particular thing.
That said, I haven’t considered mama cloth until recently. What was I using? I used the Keeper up until my pregnancy. I got it in January of 2007 for $30 (now they are running $35), and I used it for a solid three years. That’s $10 a year. You’d probably spend $4-5 a month on pads and tampons, which would be about $60 a year. I figure I’ve already saved about $150 in that regard. Oh yeah, and again, gross mention, close your eyes if you can’t handle it, but I haven’t had a single yeast infection or UTI since I started using the Keeper. It could be a coincidence, but hey, it’s true. (That’s my little advertisement for the Keeper. You can also get the Diva Cup — available at Whole Foods or other natural foods stores — or the Lady Cup, made in Europe and available to us Americans on Ebay.)
Well, the Keeper was enough for me. Why isn’t it still?
There’s this little thing called lochia. I’m really not going to explain it since you can google it for yourself. I can just say that after you give birth, your body begins to heal, and from what I hear, you definitely need pads — tampons or cups like the Keeper are unacceptable given the tenderness of your hoo-ha and your body’s natural healing process. Well, call me crazy, but I decided I really didn’t want to use Poise or Always. So I got some cloth.
The first place I searched was Amazon. I KNEW there had to be cloth pads out there! I found Imse Vimse, a bigger name brand that also produces some high end cloth diapers. I ended up getting a set of overnight pads because the price was right, and the reviews weren’t too bad. A ton of other cloth diaper manufacturers make pads — Sckoon, Fuzzi Bunz, Happy Heinys, Knickernappies … they’re all out there. Do a search for cloth sanitary pads, and you’ll find tons of the name brand items. Luna Pads and Willow Pads are also some big names. Check them out.
Well, you say, I see those boring white Imse Vimse pads in your picture, but where’s the cute stuff from?
It’s from Etsy. For those of you who are already addicted, you know the glory of Etsy. I found this shop that makes cloth napkins and breast pads. The robot breast pads are from this talented lady, as are the super duper cool 15 inch postpartum pads, the skull and crossbones pad, and the yellow monkey liners. Flannel, lovely, soft — and waterproof! The other two, with the monkey/jungle designs, are from this shop, which mostly boasts cloth diapers, but occasionally stocks reasonably priced packs of pads. I just feel nice having some cute prints.
Lots of other ladies make handmade pads — you can find them on Etsy or on Hyena Cart.
Okay … questions?
- But won’t they leak? Most fans say absolutely not at all. They are backed with a waterproof barrier — fleece, wool, or PUL.
- How do you wash them? In the washer! Cold water. I plan to rinse mine in cold water before washing.
- How do you store dirty ones? In a waterproof bag.
- How many do you need? Probably about 12 for a normal period. More if you like!
So that’s my post on cloth pads (and you can see my soft, cloth breast pads in the picture too). Some might think I’m crazy, but hey, the prints are cute, the fabric is absorbent, the environment is healthier, and they’re reusable! What’s not to like?
Yes, this is a post about bras. It’s not going to be provocative or salacious, because maternity and nursing bras are none of those things. They can be reasonably pretty, but you won’t be left feeling terribly randy after putting one on.
First of all, as a pregnant lady, you’re going to have to accept that you’ll have to spend a little money on bras. And, if you’re like me, a chick who places a high premium on extreme comfort in the breast-y area, you’ll want to lay down a bit of change on a FEW very nice brassieres.
I said a FEW. I said NEED.
How many bras do you wear regularly? Before I got knocked up, I probably wore about three or four in a rotating basis, with a nice sports bra on the side. Vicki’s was my brand of choice, and I got a lot of those off Ebay (big shocker). At $20-$30 a bra, that totals $80-$120 in all. Not so bad. And since Vicki’s holds up so well, I don’t really buy bras but every two years or so. Right now, I’ve got all of those lovely ladies stashed away for thinner, less chesty times.
So how many maternity and nursing bras do you REALLY need? My answer: four is all you need, and a sports bra on the side. Seriously. Let’s see how we can do that for less than $120, since that totals my bra stash in “real” life.
1. You’ll need a sports bra. I did have one preggo friend who didn’t want to wear one, because you know, they don’t separate and lift. But trust me, there are some days when you’ll be all like, this is the only thing I can wear. At all. Seriously. (Seriously, ladies, your boobs will hurt at various stages in pregnancy.) Buy one in a couple of sizes larger than your favorite work out bra. I got mine at Target so I could try it on. I would suggest you do the same. I tend to like Champion — this looks like a good one, especially since it goes up to XXL. ($24 on Amazon.)
2. Next, you’ll need a nice maternity bra that lifts and separates. I tried A LOT of different kinds of brassiere — cheapies from Target, Playtex, Bali, Haynes, Barely There … but DANGIT, the absolute best thing ever was from A Pea in the Pod. I’m sorry to say it, I know it ain’t cheap, but that sucker is comfortable and it makes my bosoms look sexy. Here it is. I LOVE it. I wear it with all of my nicer dresses and work clothes, and the ladies at APIP helped me pick out the best size. It’s super supportive, very soft, and has a big supportive band in the back. I can’t recommend it enough. ($36 on apeainthepod.com)
3. For later pregnancy, you’ll want to start buying nursing bras, which let you nurse your kiddo in comfort. You might not start wearing them, but I sure started wearing this one when I found it. I love love love it. For later pregnancy, your bubbies will start growing a second time (they start growing for reals in the later part of your first trimester), and they’ll be a bit sore. Get this lovely brassiere, and you’ll want to wear it all day long, and it will hold over into your nursing stage. Fabulous. It doesn’t LOOK like it has a tremendous amount of support, but it does, and the it has … how can I put this delicately … it has … nipple pads … that keep your ladies looking … smooth. (Yeah that’s a problem in pregnancy you might not expect, but there it is, in heat and in the AC.) Those pads will come in handy when your milk comes in as well. So, hooray for this extremely comfortable purchase. Worth every penny. ($38 on apeainthepod.com)
4. And for those days at home, in pregnancy and in breastfeeding, you’ll need a lovely inexpensive sleep bra. This is comfortable, soft, doesn’t give a lot of support, but is essential for supporting when you’re chilling. And during breastfeeding times, you’ll need one of these to sleep in since you’re boobs will be all over the place and producing some unpredictable fluids at unpredictable times. I got the Medela Sleep Bra, and I enjoy chilling in it. It’s not fabulous for going out out, but it’s fine for the grocery, or Babies R Us, or a walk in the park. ($17 on Amazon)
Hey yo! That’s $115. I did pretty good. And remember, you’ll get some use out of these for a year or so, and if you have a second bambino, two years. Can’t argue with that!
If your budget is tight and you don’t want to spend all at once, then don’t! I lived on the APIP maternity bra, the sports bra and a couple of my old Vicki’s for months, until the Vicki’s weren’t cutting it any more.
Do splurge. I swear. Just splurge on those two bras, and you’ll be set. Honest.
I don’t recommend going on the cheap, particularly for nursing bras. I did buy a couple of Playtex nursers at the Leggs Haynes Bali Playtex outlet (of which there are many in the world), and after wearing them a few times, I can attest that they dig into my skin and leave red marks on me at the end of the day. Those clips that let your boob free? On the cheap bras, they’re ugly, crappy plastic and poorly placed. They HURT. Like heck. Not cool. When you’re nursing and want a really nice bra, get this one instead of a cheap two or three.
Get measured! Don’t GUESS what to get. And go in the store and try them on! The only one I ordered from the online was the sleep bra.
Sorry, I don’t recommend the Bravado line. I find that they have stiff feeling material, and they dig in the skin. Not cool. And they are more expensive than APIP bras, believe it or not.
I won’t comment one way or another on Motherhood Maternity bras. Try them on, but see if they are comfortable. Walk around in one for a day with the tag on so you can return it if you need to. I really don’t like any of their other stuff though, since it has poor fit.
Don’t overbuy! You don’t need more than four. Wash often, hang to dry, and keep them nice.
Buy them in nude. Nude works with everything. Don’t bother with white or black. Nude it is.
And that’s it … I’m going to try to roll with what I’ve got for nursing, so we’ll see how that works out. I might have to get maybe one more, but that’s all. And I’m done.
YES, you need to buy new shoes. Along with the maternity clothes. An expense you didn’t know about? Not me, you say? Well, read on …
I recently heard something on the radio that I figured out around week six of my pregnancy — pregnant women shouldn’t wear high heels! Check out the full article HERE. If you don’t end up reading the article, let me summarize in my own vernacular:
1. During pregnancy, your body starts to release the hormone relaxin. Relaxin’s main purpose is to soften the joints of the pelvis so that it becomes more flexible during birth. Unfortch, it ends up softening the joints in the whole body — which leads not only to a nicely relaxed pelvis, but also a body more prone to pulled muscles, back pain, and you guessed it — foot pain! The foot is all full of bones and joints and ligaments, and relaxin makes them mash all down and out and about, making your foot mooshy, big, and not easily supported.
2. Heels hurt your foot, even on the best of days when you are non-pregnant. They may look super cute, but they hurt your feet and your calf muscles. And they make you more prone to fall — and when you’re preggo, you’re wobbly and more prone to fall anyway.
3. You shouldn’t wear super FLAT soled shoes either — like Uggs, ballet flats, or flat-soled flip flops. They give those mooshy big feet like, NO support.
In conclusion, you have to be WISE about the shoes that you wear during pregnancy, or you’ll end up with sore feet, super-swelling, and possibly a sprained ankle or worse from a fall. Wear supportive flats instead!
Here are my suggestions for the shoes you need during a summer pregnancy:
1. Fit Flops: I had these guys before I got preggo. My mom’s best friend gave them to me, and my mom thought I’d never wear them since they’re not “cute.” Instead, I wore them all last summer. My dog ate one of the pair, and I got a second pair from Amazon ASAP. Ever since it got hot, I’ve worn them as much as possible, all the time. They’re great on long walks, trips to the mall, or just about anywhere you go. They are extremely supportive (MUCH different than other flip flops), and they’re the most comfortable shoe ever. The CLAIM is that they burn more calories because of they way they’re shaped. I don’t know about all that, but I know they are really awesome and comfy. I’ve never had a day that my feet hurt in these … Buy ‘em on Amazon!
2. Anything by Born, really: I have a pair of Born wedges very similar to these. I will warn you that I fell the first time I wore these guys, but that’s mostly because I’m a klutz and was adjusting to the height. I have not fallen since, and as such, I highly recommend these guys. If you are allowed to wear open-toed shoes at work, these will work well. They are cushy and soft on the sole, and very comfortable and cute. I got mine at DSW. No pain in these guys either …
3. Earth Shoes – I just got these guys last week, and I’ve broken them in after only a couple of wears. They have negative heel technology, which adjusts your posture and is easy on your back. Some of these crazy shoes that claim things like this don’t really work, nor are they comfortable. The Earth shoe really works. I have crazy flat feet that are super painful during this stage of pregnancy, and these automatically lift me into a better posture, and make me feel like I can stand up all day to teach my classes. They have the reverse heel, a strong arch, and toe support. I’ve successfully killed the arch with the flatness of my feet, but otherwise, the support is totally working for me. Tip: try these on in a high end store like Comfort One or The Walking Company, and then order your size on Ebay. You can see Earth shoes run $100+ … but I got them on Ebay for $50.
So these are the shoes I wear most often this summer. I can also recommend for the cooler months:
- A pair of knee-high boots by Born – cute, comfortable, supportive … will look great with skirts, dresses, trousers, or jeans. I love mine!
- A pair of flats by Clarks Unstructured – extremely breathable, soft insole, and molds easily to your foot. I have two pairs and have worn them until my feet expanded by a half size. Great in winter, spring or summer!
- Waterproof knee-high boots by Merrell – excellent design, wonderful replacement for Uggs (which aren’t waterproof!), and will get you through those cold, rainy, snowy months. I have a pair of Merrell knee-highs that aren’t waterproof, and I’ve worn them til the soles have started to decay. I plan to get these next!
- Casual shoes by Merrell – super comfort and warmth in winter. Perfect to wear with jeans or trousers … can be worn to work as well. I’ve loved my casual Merrells.
Of course, I also recommend a high-quality sneaker. Walking is great during pregnancy, and although all the shoes above are excellent for mall walking or taking a stroll, you’ll need something dedicated to exercise. I recommend Merrell or Saucony on that front … but you probably already have a favorite brand.
Remember, your feet will grow at least one half size during pregnancy (mine did by four months or so), and maybe more during the hot summer months when swelling is at its worst. So yeah, there’s no getting around it: you WILL need several new pairs of shoes to get you through. Make sure they are high quality, supportive flats or wedges, and not heels, flat-soled ballet shoes, or Ugg types. Try more expensive brands on, and pick one or two items to get you through the preggo season. Try them on at the store, and then search on Ebay! Never hurts to hunt for a bargain …
Happy shoe hunting!
Welcome to the Savvy Mom Space
I’m a liberal feminist that believes that liberal, feminist ideals should gel with embracing your gender and motherhood (if that’s what you feel like doing). I support all kinds of moms and dads and parents. Oh and, although I totally love that natural vibe and not harming the environment, I supplement my organic milk and fresh fruits and veggies with the occasional Twix, the frequent Oreo, and the daily Coke Zero. I’m opinionated, not easily offended, and a loudmouth in person and on the internet. I am what I am. Welcome.