Cloth Menstrual Pads: If You Say the “M.C.” Phrase I’ll Explode

Posted 02-6-2014 at 09:06 AM by Banana Cat

I have always hated disposable menstrual products.

I have battled eczema my whole life. My arms and legs are literally scarred from the irritation and give me a mottled snake appearance (though snakes are far cuter with their little shiny, beady eyes). When I hit puberty, I was terrified to discover that disposable menstrual products irritated my skin too. Thankfully, I never broke out in a proper rash like my arms and legs do, but the irritation combined with heavy, irregular periods due to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome made me want to murder my uterus whenever I had my menstrual cycle.

One afternoon in college, while I was sitting in my dorm room procrastinating a paper, I came across a random forum post that briefly mentioned cloth menstrual pads. Uh, what? Ew. So “ew” I had to Google it (you know how that is). As I studied pictures of pads, the questions that came to mind were answered almost immediately. Is cloth comfortable? Of course it is, it’s not itchy, crinkly paper. No added scents to irritate. Oh, but the snaps on this brand were metal—but nickel free, hmm (I’m definitely allergic to nickel).

By the way, this is why I hate and NEVER use the term “mama cloth.” Anyone can use cloth menstrual pads—not just moms! I don’t know where the term started but “cloth pads” is just as short and more descriptive. As a teenager I totally would have felt uncool and gross using the term “mama cloth” since it sounds like some old lady product I’d totally die before admitting to using, like ever, totally.

There are a thousand brands of cloth pads out there. The most “commercial” ones I know of are Lunapads—made by the same folks who sell the Keeper and Moon Cup menstrual cups—and Party in my Pants Pads, which are often in little health boutiques. Just like cloth diapers, there are a million options in cloth menstrual pads. There’s a “pocket” type where you have inserts just like pocket diapers, except pad shaped, all in ones, even a few that have snap-in liners. You can choose from cotton, bamboo, hemp, velour, flannel, plastic snaps, metal snaps…the list goes on. For my first cloth pad I went with an all-in-one style liner, because I didn’t want to mess with different inserts and liners were cheaper than full pads, because they have less absorbency.

Large-Pads1

They look just like disposables, except they’re cloth. I much prefer snaps to that sticky backing on disposables that’s either too sticky or not sticky enough, never just right!

Diaper Swapers

Why Counting Kicks Matters

Posted 01-13-2014 at 10:23 AM by whitneywalters

When I was twenty five weeks into my latest pregnancy my baby gave me a scare that I will never forget. I had been out with my Mom doing some shopping that day, we were pretty busy and walking a lot. After dropping her off I noticed a couple minor contractions, I figured I just needed to get off my feet and drink some water but then I got to thinking, I had not felt any baby movement since breakfast. I tried not to worry about it since I was still driving myself home at the time but I paid very close attention to the contractions I was feeling, they were not regular, not very painful but they did make me feel very breathless.

I got home and told my husband what was going on. He looked up labor and deliveries number for me while I drank a large glass of ice water and tried to lay down. This usually would make my baby go crazy, this time she did not move at all. So I tried a second glass of ice water and laid down again. She was completely still, I even pushed on my belly a little where I knew she liked to kick, no response. We were both pretty worried now so I went ahead and called. They asked me to come in right away to get checked.

I did not want to wait around and find a babysitter so I drove myself over and had my husband stay home with the kids. I got there and a nurse started checking for the babies heartbeat, silence. I was starting to panic, the nurse searched for a good five minutes before she told me she was calling my doctor and ultrasound. I broke down, I was convinced something happened and my baby died. I called my husband so he could have the kid’s uncle come over and he could get the hospital. Then I called my parents and they headed right there also. I  called my friend who lived in town so I would not be alone, my parents and husband were both twenty minutes away from where I was. My friend came and held my hand while we waited.

Taste of Breastmilk

Posted 12-19-2013 at 01:34 PM by angelaw

Before you even think it, yes, I have tasted my own breast milk. I have never been brave enough to try that of a friend or one of my sisters, but I have tried my own. It took me three different milk producing times to finally do it, but I did and it wasn’t bad at all.

I have heard several descriptions of what human milk tastes like.

“It tastes like cereal milk. You know, when you’ve just eaten a bowl of cereal and are drinking the milk left in the bottom of the bowl?”

“There’s a hint of vanilla and honey.”

“It kind of reminds me of almond milk, but a little sweeter.”

I can’t really say that I have any description that is any better than the ones above. I do know that when I was pumping for the twins, I was eating quite a number of Whoppers candies/malted milk balls (because I had heard that malt was somehow supposed to increase milk supply and I needed all the help I could get to produce enough for twins) and my milk smelled ultra sweet, almost like icing. But, it wasn’t until after the birth of my youngest son that I finally tried my own milk.

Hubby loved it! He was always asking for some, either pumped, or from

Breast Feeding – The Good and The Bad – My Experience

Posted 12-2-2013 at 12:06 PM by whitneywalters

I have been a breastfeeding mother for a total of seventy five months, split up between four children.  I am currently pregnant with my fifth child and plan to nurse this baby for at least eighteen months. Three of those months I tandem nursed my first two children. I have breastfed while pregnant, through a miscarriage that ended in a d&c,  with a cover ( did not last long ), without a cover, working out of the home, in public, in church and pretty much everywhere you can think of.

Overall, my breastfeeding experience has been a good one. I had very little problems when it came to breastfeeding. I have dealt with thrush and mastitis but those are the only two health issues I have had.

Non-Toxic Polish Choices For Breastfeeding Moms

Posted 11-27-2013 at 08:06 AM by yoliyoda

It’s been awhile since I’ve had the effort and energy to doll myself up–hair, nails, and makeup. However, now it has been almost 4 months and now I’m getting back into the swing of things. But, some beauty routines simply have to change to adapt to my little one. While I had already thought that my large hoop earring would have to be shelved until further notice, there was another aspect of my beauty routine that I hadn’t thought of changing until recently: my nail polish.

Like many breastfeeding mamas, at times I find it necessary to stick my index finger between my little one’s gums, into his mouth, to break his suction on my nipple. Until recently I had only thought of my hands simply needing to be clean, not toxin free. I recently did a cute style on my nails. I was admiring them when the smell of chemicals hit me. It wasn’t until the first time after that when I placed my finger in him mouth did I wonder what my polish might taste or feel like to my little man.

So just what is in nail polish anyway? Every brand has different recipes, but most include “film forming agents, resins and plasticizers, solvents, and coloring agents” (DiscoveryHealth). One of the main ingredients is nitrocellulose. Guess where else you can find this ingredient? Dynamite.

In terms of plasticizers and resins, you might find amyl and butyl stearate, castor oil, glycerol, fatty acids and acetic acids. Butyl Stearate is a known irritant.  Acetic Acid can be used to treat ear infections, but hasn’t been study for use in patients under the age of 3. Glycerol can be “ taken by mouth for weight loss, improving exercise

My Milk Sharing Journey: Part One

Posted 11-26-2013 at 09:55 AM by angelaw

After I gave birth to the twins via surrogacy, the parents asked if I would pump milk and send it to them. Of course I agreed. I don’t know if I realized what a commitment it would be, but knowing that I was giving them an amazing gift kept me going strong. I pumped every three hours round the clock for 6 months, collecting approximately 60-70 ounces daily that I would freeze and then ship to them once a week. I appreciated the extra calorie burn that came with making milk and I was quickly down to well below my pre-pregnancy weight in no time!

After the six month mark, I had some issues with the parents and I had decided to stop pumping and shipping to them. However, since I was pumping so often, just stopping would have caused some extreme engorgement. I chose to continue to pump and store the milk, but to slow down significantly on how often I would pump. I was pretty much weaning myself from the pump.

By the time I was done pumping completely (around 12 months postpartum), I had built up quite a stash of milk. I had heard from a lady I worked with about moms looking online for breast milk donations for their little ones. I decided to check it out. I will admit that at the time (before Facebook and other social media sites were a big deal) I had a tough time finding moms in need of milk. I, instead, came across many men who were looking for the milk for, um… “personal reasons”. After posting an ad on one site that I had milk available, I finally started getting some emails from somewhat local moms looking for milk.

Cost Savings of Breastfeeding

Posted 11-22-2013 at 07:21 AM by angelaw

I guess I never really thought about it until recently, but there are HUGE savings for the breastfeeding mom’s family over using formula. I have nursed my two boys for well past their first year of life (youngest is 26 months and going strong!) and have never supplemented with formula. I honestly didn’t know how much it cost until I looked it up to make sure I was accurate before writing this blog.

I am part of an online baby and children’s resale group and noticed a lot more demand for formula. Even at a ‘discount’ mothers are paying around $15-17 a can from other moms on the site. I have heard that a can usually lasts around 3 days maybe up to 5 and that the retail of the average can of formula is around $25. So, just by nursing exclusively the first six months, I saved my family approximately $1500! Now, I’m sure that if I were to have chosen formula, I would have used coupons and shopped sales, so that may not be an exact. But, I think that my estimate is pretty close to the savings I have benefited from by breastfeeding and what I figured above was just for the first six months each time.

I won’t lie and say that there are no costs when you choose to breastfeed. I, myself, bought a breast pump and around 5 nursing bras and a couple nursing tank tops. I also would consider the increase in the cost I saw when I went to the grocery because of my ‘nursing mom’s appetite’. But, if I am supposed to add all of those up when comparing breastfeeding over formula feeding, I should probably consider all the bottles, bottle cleaning tools, drying rack, purified water, etc. that also come with formula feeding.

Handling SPD

Posted 11-22-2013 at 07:10 AM by whitneywalters

What is SPD?
– SPD or symphysis pubis dysfunction is a stiff joint the connects your pelvic halves. Your body produces a hormone called relaxin, which softens your ligaments to get your body ready for birth.
You pelvic joint moves a lot more during pregnancy, which can cause inflammation and pain. It may lead to SPD.

Common symptoms are -
Back, hip or pelvic pain.
A grinding or clicking feeling in your pelvic area. ( I had it with my last two pregnancies and again with my current. The best way I can describe the sensation is sand in your joints. )
Pain in your thighs. Often made worse by walking up stairs, getting out of bed and parting your legs.
Pain is often worse at night, making it hard to sleep.
If you get SPD in one pregnancy, you are likely to get it again. SPD can develop after pregnancy as well.

For more information – http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a546492/pelvic-pain-spd

I have had SPD in my past two pregnancies and again in my current. The first time I did not start getting symptoms until around thirty weeks, it was around twenty five  weeks the second time and now in my current pregnancy I started getting the pain at twenty weeks. There are several things you can do to try to lessen the pain. 

Breastfeeding: It’s All Or Nothing?

Posted 11-8-2013 at 01:15 PM by yoliyoda

“Exclusively breastfed”. It’s two words that when placed together create a golden ideal for some mothers. Many of us read the research about the benefits of breastfeeding our children exclusively for the first 6 months and then continuing afterwards for the first year or beyond. So many of us start with the idea that we can do it. We don’t think about the fact that life happens, issues arise, and something just might get in the way of the best laid plans.

Many mothers may find themselves in the position that I was in: formula in the fridge. I had a hungry baby and supply issues that just weren’t going to be solved overnight. I did what I had to do for my son at the time. However, just one sip of one bottle took him out of the “exclusively breastfed” club. It was devastating on so many levels, and for a short time I wondered if my breastfeeding efforts were still worth the results. Very rarely do we read about the benefits of supplementing. It can leave a mother feeling it’s all or nothing.

However, there is hope on the horizon. Often articles do a clean-cut comparison to show the dramatic differences between breastfed and formula-fed babies by citing the statistics on exclusively breastfed babies. It might be that many scientist only include exclusively breastfed babies in their research because there are too many factors for babies that are supplemented–factors that might skew the outcome, or make result subjective (such as how much formula they have, what time of day, what brand, ect.) But remember, the wording of the studies and statistics don’t null and void the benefits of some breast milk over none at all.

There simply needs to be more research done into the benefits of supplementing over exclusively formula-feeding. The information published prompting breastfeeding should speak to the mass experience of mothers. The truth is that according to the CDC, in the US 76.5% of babies

Cloth Diapers and Tummy Troubles

Posted 11-8-2013 at 12:29 PM by whitneywalters

It is the middle of the night, your baby wakes up crying. You pick her up to comfort her and the smell hits you. You know immediately what is going on, your baby has diarrhea. I know I am not the only mom that has dealt with this. I will never forget the time that my youngest came down with rotavirus. She was so miserable and the smell was the worst. We were washing diapers around the clock to keep up and keep the smell away. We thought about switching to disposables during this time but since her skin was already very irritated from the diarrhea, I did not want to make it worse. Between lots of diaper changes, lots of CJS at each change and baths, I was able to keep the rash pretty much at bay.

Even my best diapers were not able to contain all the mess at times. We had a few blow outs and times it would leak out around her legs. It did not matter if you changed her in a matter of moments after, the diaper just was not always able to keep up. For this reason, I was keeping a fleece cover over her diaper at all times. If it got dirty, I would immediately rinse and wash it to prevent it from getting a lot of stains.

We were washing her diapers twice and I sunned her diapers as much as possible to help with the staining as well. It seemed like the minute one load was out, another was in. We made it through all seven days of her being sick and used cloth the whole time. One of my fleece diapers did get stained