My journey in using reusable cloth products for hygiene started when a good friend gifted me a set of cloth diapers for my newborn son. I was really thankful for it because it saved me money from buying disposable diapers.
The more I researched about it, the more I loved the idea that aside from the savings it can give us, I was also helping Mother Earth by not contributing to the waste in the landfills.
I found out that plastic, which is part of disposable diapers, takes about 500 years to decompose. I began to imagine and compute how many diapers my child will use before being potty trained, and I was appalled to think that the first ever disposable diaper used in this world is still somewhere out there in a landfill!
Seven months into our happy cloth diapering journey, I’ve got my period back. I began to think that there must be a better option than disposable napkins for my period too! I began to research again and saw options like using silicone menstrual cups and cloth pads.My sister and I decided to try menstrual cups first. But for my aunt who lives with us, who has never married, menstrual cup is not an option.
In one of our Facebook mommy groups, there was a group buy of China-made cloth menstrual pads. I bought enough for all three of us and we never looked back! That time was a milestone for us, because finally, the whole household is on trash-free period, and the kids were on trash-free potty!
Later on, we were inspired to create our own line of cloth pads and Binibining Lakambini was born.
We wanted to improve the design of the old ones we used and have them readily available here in the country. Most of the really effective and highly praised cloth pads can only be sourced abroad, and the price can be really steep. We wanted to bring back the old ways of using pasador that our elders were accustomed to. By using pasador, we eliminate the trash of the disposable pads that can amount to 16,800 pads in one woman’s lifetime.
Of course, we designed it to be more pleasing to the eye and more suitable to fit our modern lifestyle. We are so proud of our #fabpasador.
What I observed since I started using cloth pads is that is my menstrual cycle became lighter and shorter. It has normalized to just 2-3 days, in fact. I also find that cloth pads are so much more comfortable to use. There is no plastic or adhesive that chafes on my inner thighs and I have said goodbye to the stifling heat down there, which is often caused by the plastic backing in disposable pads.
I also realized through my research the amount of synthetic materials in disposables pads. Because of our mentality that for a thing to be clean, it needs to be white, the cotton pads are bleached. There are also chemicals that turn the discharge into gel to help prevent compression leaks. Artificial fragrances and odor eliminators are also present because we were made to believe that our period should smell like flowers. Hahaha!
All of these are harmful to the environment and our bodies too. Allergic reactions, hormonal imbalance and reproductive and gynecological disorders like endometriosis, are just some of the known side effects of our exposure to these chemicals from all the years that we’ve been using disposable pads. There are also studies stating that the use of chemical-laden pads causes dysmenorrhea, period-related migraines, and lengthier cycles.
Still not convinced? If you are feeling icky about washing your own blood, know that you are not alone. Once you’ve gotten over that initial feeling, and felt the benefits, the permanent switch to using cloth pads shouldn’t be too difficult. Know that our monthly menstruation is as natural as can be, and there is really no shame in having it, talking about it, or dealing with everything part of it. Next time you get that icky feeling about washing your own blood, or just using cloth pads and other reusable menstrual products, just think that our menstrual cycles has been with us since the beginning of womanhood.
Let us help you make the switch! PM us at the Pinay Doulas Collective FB Page for information on the how to avail of menstrual cups and pads from Binibining Lakambini.
Aside from being a certified birth and postpartum doula, Doula Jen is the owner and creator of Binibining Lakambini.