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Menstrual Cups- An Introduction

I bleed each month to help make humankind a possibility. My womb is home to the divine. A source of life for our species. Whether I choose to create or not. But very few times it is seen that way… We menstruate and they see it as dirty. Attention seeking. Sick. A burden. As if this process is less natural than breathing. As if it is not a bridge between this universe and the last. As if this process is not love. Labour. Life. Selfless and strikingly beautiful.”
– Rupi Kaur
Well, this post is not about breaking the Period taboo, however each time we bring this topic up and talk openly about it, it in a way does make us feel more empowered, it does make Periods and period talks Normal.
And the best thing that happened to my Periods in these past 24 years is Menstrual cup!
Most of you will know that I have clothdiapered my son and as a CDing parent and as someone who looks for alternative sustainable solutions to almost everything around, I had to give a try to Menstrual Cup.Those of you who don’t know much about  cups would  question the need to use a cup when there are several good quality pads and tampons available.

The pads may be good absorbents, but they are not eco-friendly, no matter what these brands claim, the pads do stink more often than you would want, and sometimes they leak too. Menstrual cups to me have meant freedom, it makes me feel like I’m not on my periods, wish there was a magic potion for PMS and the pain that periods bring.
Bringing here answers to some of the frequently asked questions about menstrual cups-
  • What material are these made up of and how are these eco-friendly?

These are made up of Medical grade silicone. The average user throws away an astonishing 125 to 150kg of tampons, pads and applicators in their lifetime. Silicone made menstrual cups are eco-friendly because they last 1-5 years. Imagine the number of pads you will add up to the land-fill in all these years. Hence, in comparison to disposable sanitary pads these are way better. In fact, silicone is a greener substitute to plastic as it is derived from silica that over few years goes back to it’s natural form.

  • Is inserting a cup easy?

Easy or difficult differs from user to user, some get it right the first time, some need to try a few times. There are many ways  to insert a cup, The most popular ways to do it are-   C fold & Punch Down method.  C-fold- Take your cup, fold it in half so that the lips touch together, then slowly bend the cup in half again lengthwise. You will see that the point of insertion looks like a C (or U). The other popular method is Punch down- Hold your menstrual cup. Use your thumb to push the lip of the cup down towards the base of the cup. Then remove your thumb as you squeeze the edges together.

  • Does it not hurt?

Not really, it may be slightly uncomfortable initially, but it should not hurt.

  • Are there chances of infection?

No, not at all. The blood remains inside the body, so there is no chance of contamination unlike it is in case of pads.

  • How often does one need to empty it?

Since each woman has different flow pattern on different days, you may have to check every few hours in the beginning to understand your pattern. Say in every 2 hours when you begin.

  • Does it not leak?

If inserted well, it will not leak.

  • How do I clean the cup?

Cleaning is very simple, during your cycle you just need to wash it each time you empty the cup, once the cycle is over to you should cleanse it in hot water (to sterlise it). Dry it and keep it in an airy place. It is advised to sterlise it before and after your monthly cycle.

  • What are the things I should follow to maintain hygiene while using the cup?

Using clean cup and washing it under running water whenever emptying it is important. Another thing to take care of is that your nails should be short and hands clean.

  • What are the various brands available?

There are several brands available in India now,  to name a few-          Sirona, Boondh, Rustic Art, Stonesoup And SheCup to name a few.

Hope this has motivated you to give cups a try! Do connect if you have any questions.

AI2, AIO, bumberry, bumgenius, cloth, cloth diapers, cute diapers, diapers, eco-friendly, infant, new born, new mothers, pampers, pocket diapers, smartbottoms, superbottoms, sustainability, sustainable

The Poo-Pee keeper (An introduction to cloth diapering)

My initial days of motherhood were only spent on feeding and changing nappies/diapers,burping the baby A and when i say “only” i do mean only.  I felt like an overtired cow who frequently got showered at with baby’s pee ( luckily baby A didn’t poop that often).
It was this that asked me to look for more options other than traditional langots and modern disposable diapers which may leave your baby with rashes, earth more polluted and you with a hole in your pocket. I googled for more options in nappies, but didn’t find much help, tried using cloth liners etc. But to no avail, only until i bumped on a post about cloth diapers and then there was no looking back. I discovered this wonderful world of cloth diapering and was amazed to see so many new age mommies addicted to the colourful lot of fluffs. But why would you really want to make diapering so complex, when there are so many good brands of modern disposable diapers available to keep your baby dry and happy? 
Well the pros of cloth-diapering outnumber the cons giving you reasons enough to switch to CDs.
#1. Cloth diapers are economical:- initially it may look like an expensive choice but in longer run it will prove to be an investment which certainly is cheaper than disposable diapers.

#2. They make this earth a cleaner place by not adding to sanitary waste. How disposable diapers add up to the pollution is non-debatable; and this should be a good enough reason for environment conscious parents to switch to CDs.

#3. Skin friendly; since its just the cloth it is safer and better for your baby’s skin.

#4. They serve more than one purpose; yes, you read it right! the cloth diapers (covers) can be used as swimming diapers; these diapers save you from buying bloomers/underwears that you would otherwise buy to cover disposable diapers.  

#5. They are bright, beautiful & colourful making you want for more as your little one’s bum get smarter/cooler and cuter. ( well that’s why perhaps some brands are SMARTBOTTOMS,BUMGENIUS etc)


As a new mom who learnt through trial and error I will just give my two cents to help others with smoother diapering experience. In the beginning it may look like a mammoth of a task to choose from the whole range of diapers ( they come at a price and you must think before plunging in). Before spending a fortune, it is best to try out different options to check what works best for you and your baby. Some common kinds of cloth diapers are:

1. Prefolds: the traditional grandma’s diapering choice. These are rectangular shaped diapers that are folded lengthwise in three sections and secured with snappy/ velcro or safety pin. I have personally never used flats or prefolds, but there are moms who swear by their goodness. Firstly they are real cheap, you can customise them to your baby’s shape and need and they need much less care.
prefolds
image source: osocozy website
2. Covers: These are PUL covers that restrict the leak. One needs to put an insert in the cover. Few of my first CDs were covers. They are good because you don’t have to keep changing the whole diaper; esp. in places that see heavy monsoon as these reduce the laundry pile, because you can just change the insert if the cover is intact and poop-free.
Covers

3. Pocket diapers .Pocket diapers are my first diapers and half of my stash consists of pocket diapers. These mainly consist of a water proof outer layer, another stay dry layer, and a pocket opening where inserts/soakers are put. Most of these pocket diapers are lined in either fleece or suede cloth to have the baby feel dry because the urine is absorbed by the insert that is inside the pocket.
Pocket Diaper

4. AIO- This stands for “All in one” these are diapers with attached/sewn soaker and these leave you free of the hassle of fixing the inserts. Though convenient to change, AIOs can be slightly expensive as compared to other CDs.
All In One

5. AI2- these are all in two diapers with a main soaker and a mini soaker. these could be just used as covers or with your choice and no. of soakers. Most of them have pockets as well, so the soakers can either be inserted or snapped on; the shell can be reused if the inserts are snapped in. These are extremely easy to use and cost effective.

All in 2

My stash has a combination of  all the above types except pre-folds and these are Indian, Singaporean and American Brands (thanks to Baby A’s Aunt and daddy’s job that requires him to travel all across the globe) I have been using these diapers depending upon hours I need to diaper my baby (I give a lot of diaper free time) and some I prefer for outdoors while others for the night diapering. I came to make these decisions after a lot of trial and I am still learning.

Hope you found it helpful for your cloth-diapering journey; more about prepping, cleaning, maintaining and folding the cloth diapers Here.

Happy diapering 🙂