Maybe you’ve never heard of cloth pads or postpartum cloth pads before. Cloth pads are an amazing and natural alternative option for dealing with your menstrual, postpartum, or even incontinence needs. You can save money💰 and help the earth by not filling up landfills with nasty disposable pads or tampons. Cloth pads come in many styles, fun prints, sizes, and fabric options to fit your individual needs. Postpartum cloth pads are just larger and thicker versions of regular cloth pads. There are many different types of postpartum pads to choose from, some even include a pocket for adding an ice pack! Once you are done using your pads you can save them for the next baby. You can also sell your pads and recoup most of the costs as long as they are in good condition. For selling and buying gently used or new cloth pads, I like using a group on FB called: CLOTH PADS B/S/T
My Experience With Postpartum Cloth Pads
With my first son, I didn’t begin using cloth diapers until he was around two months old. I was simply unaware that there were more natural alternative options. This time around, I wanted to use cloth diapers starting in the hospital. I decided I wanted to push myself even further and use nothing but postpartum cloth pads at the hospital as well. Go big or home, right? The only thing I wasn’t willing to do was forgo the epidural. As fate would have it, my epi ended up wearing off 2 minutes before labor 😒 (thanks, karma). You can read my ridiculous LABOR STORY HERE if you are dosing off on this part of my blog.
I thought that using newborn cloth diapers was going to be a cinch since this was my second time around. I was a bit hesitant about attempting to try postpartum cloth, thinking it would be a hassle or not contain everything. Ironically, it turned out to be the complete opposite. Using postpartum cloth pads was a great experience and using newborn cloth diapers …. uhh not so much. If you read my labor story you know that Abram weighed a whopping 10 pounds at birth. The first cloth diaper I “attempted” to put on him didn’t even fit around his waist! I was only able to put him in a couple other newborn diapers when he got sent to the NICU for respiratory breathing issues. Sadly, my hospital cloth diapering plan ended there.
The very first thing I put on after giving birth was a pair of mesh undies, a giant disposable pad, and one of those ice pad packs that the hospital provides. I felt like I was sitting on Alaska. When I tried to use the restroom (which was an ordeal all on its own) the pad was sliding all over and falling out. That was the moment I knew it was time… time to switch to postpartum cloth pads for good. I grabbed my 16inch UltiMax pad from Homestead Emporium and snapped it around my mesh panties. I sprayed my famous healing “hoo-ha” spray onto my pad and slowly pulled my undies back up. To my surprise, the gentle fabric felt amazing on my sore and weary perineal region. It wasn’t near as bulky or shifting around like the disposable was. I wished I had used cloth with my first baby.
The nurse came in later that night to check my bleeding and wanted to look at my pad. I told her she would have a harder time seeing everything since my pad was made from cloth and rainbow colored. A weird conversation I thought I’d never have. She told me she had never heard of cloth pads before and thought it was very interesting. That was the moment I rambled on and on about the benefits of cloth in my postnatal, medicated, sleep deprived state. Good times. 🙂
My hospital stay was the perfect opportunity to share my passion for using cloth. Some of the nurses wanted to see my cloth pad and newborn diaper stash. It was a lot of fun showing them off and educating them on the different options. I was told I was the first person to bring cloth diapers and use cloth postpartum pads in the hospital. Hopefully, I won’t be the last and the trend will continue!
How To Use Cloth In The Hospital
If you are interested in using postpartum cloth pads during your hospital stay or right after, keep reading. I’m going to lay it all out for ya!
You might be thinking that the last thing you would want to deal with is storing and dealing with cloth pads after birthing a baby. I’m here to tell you it’s totally doable and your downstairs will thank you. When I was packing my HOSPITAL BAG I brought one medium sized wet bag to store my clean cloth pads and one large DIAPER PAIL LINER (basically a giant waterproof wet bag) to store all of my dirty cloth diapers, clothes, and pads. I hung Both wet-bags conveniently on the inside of the bathroom door.
When I was ready to change pads, I’d be sitting on the pot right next to the wet bags where I could easily grab a clean one. I’d use my lovely peri bottle (Aff link) Fridababy Fridet, The MomWasher to clean myself before misting my fresh pad with my homemade healing spray. I’ll provide you with the ingredients to that in a moment. I would then pull my undies back up and head to the sink to rinse off my dirty pad.
It only took a moment to rinse it off in the sink and drop it into my diaper pail. Then I’d obviously follow up by thoroughly washing my hands. Rinsing cloth pads by hand doesn’t gross me out because there are no chemicals in the pad. It doesn’t stink like a disposable does, at least not near as much. It’s my own body after all and I’ve dealt with poop, pee, and vomit since having little ones. Once you become a parent, the “eww factor” goes straight out the window!
I had just enough postpartum cloth pads to get me through my hospital stay. I even had a couple extra pads to wear when I got home while I washed the rest.
If you are wanting to use postpartum cloth pads at home you will apply most of the same principles I used at the hospital. All you will need is somewhere in your bathroom to store your clean pads in. I personally liked storing mine in a drawer or a small wet bag that hung on my doorknob in my closet. I had a medium sized wet bag hanging on the other side of the doorknob that I would store my freshly rinsed pads in. When I was ready to do diaper laundry I would dump the dirty pads in with my diapers and wash on hot like normal. I kept my healing spray and peri bottle next to my toilet so I could easily grab and use during each change or bathroom break.
How Many PP Pads Do You Need?
It’s important to remember that all women bleed differently and for different lengths of time. I am probably average or had a slightly longer bleeding time than average. Most women will use postpartum cloth pads for a week in a half to two weeks. If you wash every second or third day which is what I do with my diaper laundry, I would recommend these amounts of postpartum cloth pads below. Obviously, if you wash every day you can get away with less. If you have extremely heavy periods, you will probably want to add a few more large and heavier pads to your stash than what is suggested here. On the contrary, If you are naturally a super light bleeder you may want to scale back on the heavy pads and stock up more on the lighter cloth pads.
✔️ Two to four super heavy* 15 to 17-inch pads. (Overnight and first few days)
✔️ Eight to twelve heavy* 13 to 14-inch pads. (First week or two)
✔️ Three to six medium*or heavy* 9 to 11-inch pads. (These could be your regular cloth pads for when your bleeding starts to slow)
✔️ Four to seven light* cloth pad liners. (When bleeding slows down and for postpartum discharge)
Here is a graph of what normal postpartum bleeding aka lochia will look like. This may help you get a better idea of what to expect.
Changing Postpartum Pads
In the first week or two, I had to change my pads a little more often since I was bleeding at my heaviest. in those first few days, I had to change every 2-3 hours. Once my bleeding started evening out I could go a little longer like 3-5 hours between changes. If I started to feel dirty or wet I would change. It all depended on my flow and the type of pad I was wearing at the time. I saved my biggest pads for overnight and had no issues with leaking except for one time. It was a very small leak and I was wearing one of my smaller postpartum pads for overnight when it happened.
After the second or third week, I switched to my regular sized cloth pads during the day and used my postpartum ones for night. I believe I started using cloth liners around the end of my third week followed by regular cloth pads for overnight. After a few days of wearing cloth liners, most of my bleeding had stopped and I just had some postpartum discharge. That carried on for a couple of more weeks. I stopped using cloth pads all together right after my 6-week check-up.
Note: If you are soaking through postpartum pads every hour, CALL YOUR DR. You could be hemorrhaging!
Washing Your Cloth Pads
When washing your postpartum cloth pads you want to make sure they have been rinsed off to avoid staining. You can also rub a little OxiClean and peroxide, or a stain stick on them after rinsing. You can rinse your pads by hand in the sink or stomp on them in the shower. Make sure you store your pads wet, in a wet bag until you are ready to put them in the wash. Note: Some people do not rinse their pads out and put them directly into the wash. Once you get your pads in the wash you will want to do a rinse cycle before actually washing them. Wash them on hot and use a cloth diaper safe detergent or one that is free of dyes and perfumes. A few great options to try are Tide Powder Original, Seventh Generation, Persil, Ecover, and more. After the wash, follow up with an extra rinse cycle. I like to wash my diapers and pads twice in a row in order to eliminate any odors that may be lurking within the fabric layers. Since postpartum pads are so thick I suggest putting them in the dryer for a little while. After my pads had dried for 30 minutes I liked to finish them off by hang-drying.
NEVER use fabric softener on your pads or it will cause them to repel and not absorb properly. You may want to check with your pads washing instructions to make sure you don’t void any warranties. I added 1/4 cup of bleach to the wash (with a full load of diapers) so my pads would be super clean after my postpartum bleeding ended. You can also try adding vinegar to your wash as it acts as a natural fabric softener and helps to eliminate odors. Once your cloth pads are dried, give them a good “smell test.” If you smell anything off, wash them again. I had to wash a couple of my pads a few times after my postpartum bleeding was over to get them 100% odor-free.
All Giveaways are open to the US 🇺🇸 and Canada 🇨🇦 only.
Giveaway #1 (CLOSED) Win a 3 pack of Charlie Banana Super+ feminine pads! (Includes Small Wet Bag) Click the image below to enter this giveaway.
Giveaway #2 (CLOSED) Win $20.00 off Homestead Emporium’s Etsy Shop. (You must be an email subscriber in order to enter this giveaway) You can purchase your very own custom postpartum pad or anything else she has to offer! Giveaway Rules: Simply share this post on Pinterest by clicking the pinnable image at the bottom of this post. Comment below and let me know what your Pinterest username is. If you are feeling happy, let me know something cool about yourself, I’d love to hear from ya! 😎
Giveaway #3 (CLOSED) Win an entire cloth pad starter kit from the Etsy shop “Made By Mother.” The winner will receive two liners, a regular and heavy cloth pad in this beautiful hand-dyed bamboo velour! (This giveaway will be posted on my Instagram page @MyGreenNest around the 1st of July) Be sure to follow me so you can enter for your chance to win! 🙂
Ashley D Wilson
Vlogger for MyGreenNest.comHi, I’m the one responsible for all the crazy things that go on here on the blog. Take a look around if you like what you see, subscribe. I am super passionate about helping new moms with this thing called parenting.