My Mama Cloth Adventures and Review of Four Sources

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Written by Natalie Klejwa, Contributing Writer

What in the World is Mama Cloth?

Eighteen years ago I cloth diapered my first two babies in white cotton pre-folds coupled with Gerber’s hard, crinkly plastic pants.  Not because it was fun and I wanted to.  I did it because we were dirt poor.  We didn’t have a “pot to pee in”, as my mother would say.

Since the baby boys couldn’t pee in a pot yet anyway, we had to find a cheaper alternative than disposables.  By the time #3 came along, we were able to indulge in the luxury of disposables, and I never looked back.

Until four years ago.

Number seven came along, and one of my younger, more hip friends introduced me to the *new* cloth diapering wave.  I was HOOKED!  (Are you wondering what this post is really about?  Bear with me.  I’m getting to the Mama Cloth.)

I became infected with “cloth diaper addiction” and learned all the lingo on Diaper Swappers.  And that, girlfriends, is where I first heard the term, “Mama Cloth“.

I knew immediately what it meant. 

A trip back to Bible times.  Bloody strips of stained cotton.  Scrubbing those strips in the river nearby with the other women.  That is what I envisioned, and let me tell you…there was NO WAY on God’s green earth I was going there.  The very thought made me feel the cookies coming up.

Fast forward a couple of years.  I was still hooked on cloth diapers, and I had read a few reviews of Mama Cloth…mainly out of morbid fascination.  I wanted to know what these “Bible times” (or maybe hippie??) ladies had to say about their bloody strips of cotton.

I found out they weren’t bloody strips of cotton, after all.  They were these lovely, soft, luxurious, trim little things that didn’t leak, felt comfy, and were easy to wash…especially if you were already cloth diapering.  (Just throw them in with the diapers!)

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Hummmmm…pretty?  Comfy?  Didn’t leak?  I tucked all that in the back of my mind.  And then, a few months ago, my oldest daughter started showing all the signs that she would be cycling soon.  (And not on her bicycle, either.)  That got me thinking about the three other little girls that are growing up so fast, and how, one day, there will be four of them (I’m sure I’ll be in menopause by then) cycling every month.

And THAT got me thinking about all the pads we’d need to buy.  The money we’d need to spend.  The garbage that would be piling up.  Just from our family! I jumped over to Diaper Swappers and started reading MORE about Mama Cloth…this time with an eye to try some.  I was expecting a baby in March, and I thought perhaps a postpartum experiment would be in order.

Based on the reviews, I chose four companies that sounded promising, and I bought a few pads from each just to try them out. The rest of this post is just my personal opinion about these pads.  What I love, you might hate.  What I did NOT love…you may find to be the ultimate solution to your personal happiness.  I will tell you that I paid full price for these pads, so at least you know my opinion is unbiased and not based on a feeling of gratitude to someone for giving me free Mama Cloth. IMG 0869

The Essence of Eve panty liners ~$5.00 each

The Essence of Eve

I decided that the pad I use most is a panty liner.  I use those every single day, and now that my daughter is in “pre-cycle” mode, she needs to use them every day too.  I found some very simple, economical liners at Essence of Eve for only $5 each.  My daughter and I have been using these every day for several months, and they are still in fabulous condition after being laundered over and over.

There’s nothing fancy or pretty about these liners, but they are practical and cheap.  And they’ll probably last a few years. This was my very first Mama Cloth experience, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I MUCH preferred the soft fleece to the papery disposable liners.  I was looking forward to expanding my Mama Cloth repertoire now! IMG 0864

Party in My Pants  Mini liners $9.99 each

Party in My Pants

While I’m not super excited about the name of this company (I am a Christian woman, after all), if you can get past the name, this company has some pluses.

Their customer service is AMAZING.  I ordered my “personal party” on a Friday morning…and got my little lovelies the very next day!   They were wrapped in tissue paper (like a gift) and came with a chocolate.  Why, by George, if I didn’t just sit down and have a party!

So now that I could understand the company name a little bit better, with chocolate lips, I unwrapped the goods.  I purchased two beautiful, thin, cotton panty liners.  The fabric selections were all so pretty…it was hard (and loads of fun) to choose!  Now these liners were TWICE the cost of the Essence of Eve liners, but they were also more professionally made. IMG 0872

Party in My Pants has a waterproof backing to prevent leaks

All PIMPS pads (yes, cringe if you must, I certainly am) have a leak proof backing which is awfully nice, especially if you are nervous about leaks, like I am.  The other neat thing about these pads (all sizes) is that they are as thin as a razor.  (OK…not that thin…but THIN.) So if you worry about a big thick bulge in your back side…one modest option is to cover it up with a longer top, but if it must show…and you don’t want the bulge to distract…then these pads are certainly something to consider. IMG 08711

Party in My Pants: two medium, all cotton pads for $12.99

I also purchased two medium, all cotton pads for $12.99 each and four of their super pads in the flannel version for $13.99 each.  They offer free shipping if you place an order over $100, and they also give you $1 discount per pad if you order three or more.

After I had my baby, I tried both the cotton and the flannel versions of these pads and found that the flannel was softer and nicer than the cotton. I *think* the leak proof backing actually adds a stiffness to these pads that make them a little less comfy than all the other pads I tried.  The flannel helped to offset some of that stiffness, but the cotton pads were too stiff for my liking.

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Party in my Pants super pad in flannel $13.99 each

The bottom line for me was that these pads are not as comfortable as some of the others I tried, and the benefits of the leak proof backing and the razor thinness of the pads (not to mention the delicious chocolate) are not worth the uncomfortable feeling I had in my pants when I was wearing them.

Party?  Not so much.

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Domino Pads  Medium Regulars $12.80  Heavy Regulars $13.95

Domino Pads

A few nights ago as I sat up in the wee hours of the morning with my newborn, I got to thinking.  What does the word ‘Domino’ have to do with a woman’s cycle?  I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.  Maybe it’s because I’m sleep deprived, but I don’t get it. Regardless of what the connection is (or isn’t), these pads are terrific. 

Oh Domino Pads, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways:

  1. I love the super soft, absorbent, natural bamboo material that they use.
  2. I love the contour fit.
  3. They wash up beautifully.
  4. They are cushy and comfy.
  5. Super soft.  (Did I already say that?)
  6. No leaks.
  7. The dark, swirly colors make it hard for stains to show.

These are my top pick.  In fact, I loved the four pads I bought so much, I went back and bought some more.  I have to say, the comforting feel of these pads on a sore, postpartum mama was a real blessing.

While I love Domino pads, there was a final company that came in a very, very close second for me.

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Talulah Bean Baby Moon Super $15.95

Talulah Bean

So…I don’t know what a talulah bean is.  I’ve never seen them in the canned goods section of Walmart, anyway.  Bean rhymes with green though…and cloth pads are a very “green” choice these days.  These particular pads are as dreamy to wear as they are to look at.  I only bought two of their Baby Moon Supers for my postpartum nights, and they did the trick quite nicely.

This company uses minky material to make their gorgeous pads.  I LOVE minky.  Plus I love the WORD, “minky”.  It makes me think of “silky”, “pretty”, “cutie”, and a host of other appealing things.  You know…sort of helps to disassociate oneself with the actual reality of one’s cycle, which is not quite so “minky”.

I loved these pads so much, that I went and bought a little stash of pretty pads for my daughter who will be getting her cycle in earnest very soon.  They are a little smaller in size than the Domino Pads, making them a good choice for your medium days, although they do have these wonderfully large Baby Moon pads that are PERFECT for nighttime.

Thus ends my own Mama Cloth adventure.  Now it’s YOUR turn.  If you use Mama Cloth, what are your favorites?  And if you don’t use them, feel free to share why.

Or maybe this post has you thinking for the very first time…”why not?”

Stephanie’s note: Adding my two cents in, as usual… I love Natalie’s reviews and might have to go purchase a few new lovelies for myself (mmm, chocolate), but did you know that it’s also easy to make your own, if you are “sew” inclined and want to make it even more cost effective? I prefer my bought pads to the ones that I’ve made, but nonetheless. It’s a good option for some.

About Natalie Klejwa

Natalie is wife to Joe and home educating mother to nine children ages 2-20. When she isn't teaching children, changing diapers, or cleaning the kitchen, she administrates the Visionary Womanhood blog and runs their family's cottage business, Apple Valley Natural Soap. Her latest book project is Three Decades of Fertility.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for these reviews! It was very helpful in selecting which ones to try.

  2. Christine Glickman says:

    Hi! I ordered some mama cloth today based, in part, on your post. I can’t wait to get them an try them for myself. I was thinking about the name Domino also. Maybe it’s because the fleece is always black with white snaps? :)

  3. Cloth pads was among those things I was definitely never going to use… last year! Now I’m addicted. My stash comes from rcdboutique, happahpad, NaturallyHip, CloudTwine, thecrazyelephant, and I love them all!

  4. Little bee creations is inexpensive, well made, and comfortable. It’s great for building up your stash. She changed her style in feb 2013 and they’re even better.

  5. I didn’t read through all of the comments, so this may have been said, but I think they are called domino pads because when they are snapped, it looks like a domino with one white spot on a black background…maybe?! :-)

  6. Andrea Lewis says:

    How many would I need to start? I’ve been thinking of trying this for a while but don’t know how many to make or buy. Is it best to purchase 1-2 to try first?

    • Party In My Pants will send you a free sample one if you pay shipping. That was my first one. I think it would be best to buy one from a few different companies and then make yours based on the ones you like.

  7. Thanks for the reviews! I hadn’t heard of all of these brands. I did try Party in My Pants, and I agree about the stiffness; I also find that one harder to get clean than some. My favorites are New Moon Pads and Mimi’s Dreams. I’m also a big fan of the Diva Cup. I work outside the home, so I usually use the cup away from home so I don’t have to carry supplies. It’s super-convenient! I also prefer it for light flow, but for heavy flow at home I like my cloth pads. Here is my article on alternative feminine hygiene.

  8. I just purchased two liners from Tallulah Bean and can’t wait to try them out. I mentioned your blog in my order! Thanks for the thorough explanation that helped me make the decision.

  9. I’m currently living in China, and tampons are very hard to find. However, the Diva Cup(www.divacup.com) has filled in beautifully. It seems a little expensive (between $25 and $35) when you first look at it, but when you consider how much you spend on pads and tampons each month, it easily pays for itself. Also, it saved me tons of space in my luggage that ordinarily might have been used for a stockpile of tampons. It also spared me the slight embarrassment of having to ask different shopkeepers where their tampons were kept!

    I like cloth pads, but now that I have to do a little more hands on laundry, I’ve strayed away from them a bit. Once I’m back in the States (with a nice washing machine), I hope to use them again! They are much more comfortable than disposable pads, and much better for the environment! I love the variety of colors that they come in, and the different lengths and shapes!

    Another option is Amy’s Rag Bag (www.amysragbag.com). She is willing to barter cloth pads in exchange for fabric, old silk ties that are no longer being used, or fatally torn or stained pajama pants. She will help you figure out which pad type best fits you, and is very helpful. Her pads are probably the most economical ones that I’ve found, and there are many designs to choose from.

  10. I have been wanting to make the switch to cloth for a couple months now, but I haven’t gotten around to it. I am leaning towards Domino pads, but I was wondering if you would be able to tell me what the bamboo feels like? Is it like cotton, or more like silky? I know I wouldn’t like the minky, at least not for a pad… because I love minky baby blankets! But, for a pad I just want something that is soft like cotton because thats the only kind of panties I wear-100% cotton.
    Please let me know!
    Thanks!

    • Hey S.L….Bamboo is super soft…much nicer than cotton. Part of what is so nice is that it is slightly “cushy”…like Minky…but it isn’t like Minky. I understand how you might shy away from Minky for a pad…but really, it’s quite amazing for this purpose! Hard to explain…but I love Minky too. Either choice is a good option! Cheers!

  11. I’m a little late in the game but just wanted to say that I LOVE the pads from Mother Moon Pads http://hyenacart.com/stores/MotherMoonPads/. They are topped with silky, soft minky and a snap holds the wings in place. She ships fast, has various savings options available and repeat customer discounts. I feel so pampered when I use them. Sure wish my mom would have given me those when I was a 12 year old girl. It’s crazy that at the age of 31 I (almost) look forward to my period each month for the first time in my life because I get to use them!

  12. A. States says:

    I cloth diapered my twins, except when we went anywhere or traveled. I make my own mama cloths out of scrap fabrics (I sew a lot); I experiment with shapes, sizes and thickness. No snaps, just a safety pin or two to hold them in place. I only use store bought ones when I travel. As far as clean up, I do a quick rinse and then soak them in a plastic container (that has a lid) with soapy water. Just dump the contents into the washer, run it through a spin cycle, add more laundry and wash.

  13. A. States says:

    I cloth diapered my twins, except at night and when we went out anywhere. I make my own “mama cloths” and use them all them time, except when traveling, etc. I sew a lot which makes plenty of scraps. I experiment with sizes and shapes. No snaps, just a safety pin or two. As far as clean up is concerned, I do a quick rinse and then throw them in a covered plastic container with a little soap to soak. I then dump the contents into the washer, spin the water out and throw in more laundry to wash with them.

  14. Gloria Meyer says:

    Thank you SO SO much for this post! I’ve been wanting to go cloth but have had the hardest time making a decision on which brand to purchase. We just can’t afford for me to tinker around with different companies. You’re post is going to be so helpful to me when I go to purchase!

  15. This is one of the last things I ever thought I’d be interested in….. BUT. You’ve convinced me! This is now on my long-term goal list to try out… thank you for the comprehensive review!

  16. jennie herbranson says:

    Call me “old-fashioned”, but I will use a tampon any day.

  17. Northwoods Momma says:

    Another alternative to costly pads – the Diva Cup! I just started using one after thinking that the whole idea was crazy. It is great – no mess, no leaks, and no need for multiple items or adding to the laundry. You can usually find them for around for $20-$30 online, and with a coupon, even less. More info: http://www.divacup.com/

  18. So great to hear of others who use cloth pads. I used cloth diapers for over twenty years with my ten children and then over 15 years ago, we started making our own pads.

    I have six daughters and my last one is in the pre-cycle mode. We make our own using thick towels for the centers wrapped in soft flannel. We just add the number of layers of thickness according to our preferences.

    I like the mini pad idea of using a snap that wraps around your underwear. Never thought of that! We used small pins to keep them in place or long enough ‘tails’ so they just stay put. And another great product is the “Keeper” which is a latex cup that is easy to insert and easy to clean. I used mine for ten years, which saved me lots of money and made things so much neater!

    It’s so nice to not be limited by the products that companies manufacture. Health, thriftiness, and independence from consumerism offer us a little bit of freedom!

  19. I have been using cloth pads for many years and will never go back! I have tried many different ones and my very favorite ones are from Genevieve at the Cloth Canoe. You can find her on Facebook. I highly recommend getting all your pads from her. :-)

  20. I started using cloth pads after baby #1 when my cycles came back. I love it! I have some from Homemade mama and some from Parenting by nature. I like both. The ones with PUL on the back are the best since they are still thin while absorbent.

    When I am postpartum (like now) I use natracare natural disposable pads at first since I don’t have enough cloth to go as long.

    I am going to find it interesting when my own 3 girls start their cycles. I don’t know how they will feel about cloth. I think if needed I will also let them use the natracare ones but they are also very expensive.

  21. I was just wondering about this cloth pad idea and actually considering it, so all the info in this article has been so timely!! I’m 5 mo pregnant and in a few months it might be a good time to make the switch (I’m going to CD too, so it makes sense). All the comments have been really helpful too… it’s always so helpful to hear other women’s experiences. Thank you all!

  22. I love cloth diapering so naturally I had to look into mama cloth. Just ordered a few to try out!! :)

  23. If you are starting off how many cloth pads do you suggest one to get?

    • I have 2 very very big ones, 4 long ones, 6 “regular” ones, and 6 “panty liners”. As life has gotten busier I wish I had about 12 panty liners, and 8 regular ones. But I use panty liners other times than just my period. If its just for a period 6-8 of those would do. Its helpful to have different sizes for different flow needs just like the disposable ones are made. I usually wash mine with my underwear/towels every 3rd day at least sometimes every other day. I have fairly light periods after the first 2 days if that helps.

  24. So….why is it called “Mama Cloth? You don’t have to be a mom to have a period! Why not call them “girly cloths” or something? When my daughter gets her period, I don’t want her calling them “mama cloth”! “Cloth pads” works, too! lol

    I made some out of flannel and terry cloth. Cost me all of $6 for a big stash! I had high hopes that switching to cloth would lessen the cramping, but it hasn’t. Sigh. Oh, well…at least it’s healthier and cheaper. :) I talked about how I wash them in response to a comment further up.

    • Krill oil takes away cramps completely!

    • My guess is that the nick name “mama cloth” cropped up because I would bet the vast vast majority of cloth pad users came around to the idea after cloth diapering their babies. Baby cloth and mama cloth. Not saying that non mamas can’t use it, but, lets face it, your average teen is not going to be interested (maybe there are more now that green is in, but still) if she even knows the idea exists, while it is a natural extension or what a cloth diaper mama already does, so the mama world is what gave the nick name and now it’s stuck.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] variations of these for decades with no problems.   Here is a review of various cloth pads:  http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2012/03/my-mama-cloth-adventures-and-review-of-four-sources.html#more… Read the comments on this article for resources on making your own pads by upcycling old tee [...]

  2. [...] and there are scores of like-minded mamas making and selling them on places like etsy. Check out this excellent article from Keeper of the Home where one of the contributors reviews 4 different brands to see which one [...]

  3. [...] curious”. Pads are regular $9.99 each, but you just pay the $3.99 shipping. One of my writers recently reviewed this particular brand (among others). (Thanks, Healthy Life Deals!) Stephanie Langford loves to share ideas and [...]

  4. [...] you know what Mama Cloth is?  Find out by hopping over to Keeper of the Home where I write about my recent Mama Cloth adventures and give a review of four different Mama Cloth [...]