My BFF, Adrienne, gave birth to her fourth baby in early August, and was the lucky Mama to test all of the pads in this review. I plan on using these same pads when I eventually have another baby, but I decided I would be a much better PP Pad Party hostess if I didn’t also have a newborn to deal with!
The pads are listed in alphabetical order. She encountered no leaks with any of her pads.
Here’s the full line up, from largest to smallest:
Pad description: Cotton Candy Eco Cloth pads are topped with fun, high quality cotton woven fabrics, contain heavy bamboo fleece and/or flannel absorbent cores, and are backed with a complementary coloured soft, water resistant micro-fleece. They are fastened with poly resin KAM snaps. All fabrics have been washed and dried prior to construction to minimize shrinkage and to prep absorbent materials. CCEC washes & dries all of the HOBF (absorbent core material) 2-3 times before sewing, but it’ll get more and more thirsty for up to TEN hot washes!) Since CCEC pads don’t have a PUL layer hidden, this will ensure pads are at their comfiest, with tons of breathability and no leaks!
Pad specifications: size: 13″ | absorbency: POSTPARTUM/OVERNIGHT | core contains: 4 layers heavy organic bamboo fleece
Pad review: The Cotton Candy Eco Cloth pad was the first one Adrienne received while she was still pregnant, and I think how pretty is was helped ease her concerns about embarking on the beaver canoe journey with me. (Inside joke… ask her husband!) I prepped the pad for her (because I’m an awesome friend), and CCEC recommends avoiding using the dryer, or at least only drying on low, so as not to cause the pad to lose shape (although they are pre-shrunk). I definitely noticed that it takes a while to hang dry (at least 24 hours) and was still a bit damp after a low dryer cycle. Even without having washed it 10 times (about how long it takes for maximum absorbency), Adrienne didn’t experience any leaks. She found that, compared to some of the others, this one didn’t fade after washing and really held its shape nicely. She would definitely buy more CCEC pads for her stash!
About Cotton Candy Eco Cloth: CCEC is based in Niagara Falls, ON, and officially had their first store stocking April 1st/14 (no foolin’!). Owner Jenna’s experience with disposable postpartum “boat” pads was her inspiration to launch CCEC, and advocate for cloth pad education & usage. Cloth pads are absolutely a life-changing switch, for women’s comfort, safety, reproductive empowerment, and for the sake of our planet. You can read Maman Loup’s CCEC review here.
Pad description: Color Night/Postpartum Pad | GladRags holders are made out of comfortable cotton flannel fitted with a snap and “envelope” for the inserts. GladRags inserts consist of super-absorbent terry cloth and flannel for maximum protection. GladRags’ Night Pads are longer and wider to provide more coverage while you sleep. In addition to extra coverage, the night holder contains a layer of ultra-absorbent terry cloth. The Night Pad can also be used as a postpartum pad or for heavy flow during the day. (Tip: Freeze the inserts for soothing relief postpartum!)
Each Night Pad includes:
1 Night Holder (approximately 14″ long and 3″ wide at the middle)
Here’s a picture from their website showing what the “inserts” look like when tucked in the pad:
Pad review: Adrienne really liked the hour glass shape of the Gladrags pad (its my preferred pad shape, too). On its own, she found the pad to be quite trim an still absorbent without even adding the boosters. Adding the boosters, especially both of them, made it too thick for her liking, and the bulk created by using both inserts made it too uncomfortable for sitting. The length of this pad made it great for the early days when she actually got to stay in bed. This pad held up well after multiple washes.
About GladRags: From their website: “Inspired by the simple utility, earth-friendliness, and comfort of cloth diapers, GladRags was founded in 1993 in Portland, Oregon. It began as a home-based business that quickly outgrew the extra bedroom and moved to its own building. Today, GladRags is still a small company but with a big presence, promoting positive attitudes toward menstruation and making the environment a safer, cleaner place.”
Pad description: Postpartum/heavy flow/overnight pad | Middle has 2 layers microfiber, top layer charcoal bamboo fleece, back layer PUL. Wings have 2 snap settings.
Pad review: Being made overseas and imported by Hip Huggers, this pad is by far the absolute cheapest in our review stash. Adrienne liked the stay-dry feel of the bamboo charcoal fleece layer, and found the PUL backing reassured her that she would be leak free on longer outings. While too wide for a normal menstrual cycle, this pad (the widest in our stash) made her feel like she was truly protected during those early days. (Trust me, she was already going on outings when her baby was a few days old.) The downside of the PUL backing is that it is very warm, which is particularly noticeable to a new Mom during a Montreal summer.
About Hip Huggers: Angela is based in Victoria, BC. With the birth of her newest little Hip Hugger, she put her postpartum pads to the test! You can learn more about Angela and Hip Huggers in my profile.
Pad description: 17” postpartum pad. Made with one layer of fleece on the back, layers of bamboo fleece in the core, an additional layer of bamboo fleece that extends fully into the wings, and topped with organic jersey in a fun print. Comes with two snaps to be fully adjustable. Measurements: 17” Long, 2.5-3” Snapped
Pad review: Perhaps the most ringing endorsement of the absorbency of this pad was that, after having her water break seconds before hopping into a friend’s brand new car, she wore this pad all the way to the birthing centre. (Who needs to sit on a towel when you have a Janine’s Place pad?!) The pad was drenched when she arrived, but her own car seat and pants were dry. The Janine’s Place pad is best suited for those first few days of heavy flow and ample time lying in bed. It’s definitely too bulky to be worn out of the house, but, like my Janine’s Place overnight pads, (which I love) it’s not meant to be subtle! This pad is the longest one in our review stash, and the most reliable for bedtime/bed-rest.
About Janine’s Place: Janine is located in Woodstock, Ontario and haarecently added mama cloth to her already established sewing repertoire. She also makes a variety of wool products, including cloth diaper soakers, teethers and adorable slippers for the whole family.
Pad description: Postpartum Pads & Inserts are each 14″ (35.5cm) long and approximately 2.5″ (6.5cm) wide when snapped / folded. Pad Base: 2 Layer, 100% cotton flannel base topped with an absorbent panel made of 2 layers of 100% cotton fleece, and 1 layer of PUL to prevent soaking through. Nickel-free, Silver-plated brass single snap fastening. Insert: 2 layers of 100% cotton fleece.
Pad review: Adrienne thought her Lunapad was the cutest of the lot, with its sweet little elephant print! As is the nature of flannel, that part of the pad did fade significantly. She also found the ric rac ribbon that holds the insert in place got somewhat deformed after washing. It is only in hindsight that Adrienne and I realized she was wearing her Lunapad upside down. You’re actually supposed to wear them with the ric rac ribbon facing up, allowing you to swap out your insert without changing the whole pad. (It’s like an AI2, but for Mama Cloth!) Even wearing it upside down, she didn’t have any issues with leaks. In fact, with the ric rac ribbon and insert under the pad, she didn’t experience the shifting that I’ve seen mentioned in some cloth pad forums. She found the rectangular insert to be extremely absorbent. I have never tried a cloth pad that uses an insert system, so I’m going to give Adrienne’s Lunapad a try overnight during my next cycle and report back, this time wearing it the right way round!
About LunaPads: Jennifer from Lunapads tells me, “Lunapads International is a women-owned and operated social mission-based business based in Vancouver, Canada. Our goal is to help individuals have healthier and more positive experiences of their menstrual cycles, and by extension, their bodies overall. Lunapads’ mission is to create more positive and informed relationships between menstruators, their bodies and the Earth. We embrace a global perspective, in terms of wellbeing and empowerment for women and girls, as well as toward our responsibility with respect to sustainability.”
Pad description: Reusable Pad Wrappers: Made from water/odour resistant PUL Fabric. Great for keeping clean/soiled Mama Cloth contained on the go.
100% Cotton Pocket Pads: Great for postpartum, overnights, or heavy days. Made from 100% Cotton Flannel (outer shell), Inserts are made from Cotton Fleece (Hemp Inserts are also available).
Organic Bamboo Velour/Hemp/PUL Backed Pad: This All-In-One pad is SUPER thin but offers absorbency for heavy days. Made from Organic Bamboo Velour (layer touching the skin), Hemp Fleece (Zorb Layer), PUL Backed (for leak protection).
Pad review: Although she found both of the pads from Mama Cloth lost some of their shape after washing, she still found them to perform really well. Something she discovered with the “all-in-one” pad was that she doesn’t love bamboo velour as a top-layer on her pads postpartum. As she put it, sometimes postpartum fluids can be slimy, and of all the absorbent fabrics, the bamboo velour was the least effective at dealing with that sliminess. The “pocket pad” is designed to be able to put a booster both on top and underneath. She found the booster on top shifted too much, but liked the booster underneath (like when she was using her Lunapad upside down!).
About Mama Cloth: Meg tells me, “Hi, I’m Meg! Owner/Operator of Mama Cloth Boutique based out of Ajax, ON. Canada. EST: 2012. After cloth diapering my little one I made the switch to Mama Cloth myself. Since then, cloth has become a huge part of our household! We have switched to many alternatives such as Cosmetic pads, Baby Wipes, Cloth Diapers, Kitchen Cloth & Mama Cloth! I love that we are saving money, reducing waste, and protecting our bodies from harmful chemicals!”
Pad description: Natracare Maternity pads are extra-long and comfortably padded to give confident and secure protection for the natural blood loss experienced after giving birth. The soft, fluffy, absorbent core, made from totally chlorine free pulp, quickly absorbs and locks away the fluid so that the soft, certified organic 100% cotton cover allows your skin to breath whilst at the same time keeping you dry and free from contact with synthetic materials.
Pad review: So, no, Natracare pads aren’t cloth pads. However, we wanted to include a safe, organic, disposable alternative for those not willing to take the plunge into reusables. While traditional pads are full of many unsavory ingredients, including known toxins, Natracare pads are a disposable I’d be willing to try for postpartum (I’ve used their tampons and other pad styles). Adrienne and I were both surprised to discover that Natracare’s New Mother pads don’t have wings. She also found them to be quite thick, as she put it, like “1970s pads.” Without the magical-blue-liquid-absorbing-polymers, Natracare pads probably have to compensate in thickness. I’d prefer to wear a thicker Natracare pad than Kotex, Always and friends, but I do think wings are a necessity on postpartum pads.
About NatraCare: From their website: “Natracare stands for more than just organic and natural products. We are an award winning, ethical company committed to offering organic and natural solutions for personal health care that leave a soft footprint on the earth. For all of our feminine hygiene and baby care products, we use only organic and natural materials that meet the highest organic, environmental and biodegradable standards, sourced from raw material producers that manage and monitor resources respectfully and share our principles.”
Pad description: Heavy flow reusable pad | Made with three layers of absorbent hemp fibre and a breathable waterproof layer, these pads are longer than our regular pads and have two pairs of wings that attach around your underwear. The wings hold the pad in place and make it extremely well suited for nighttime as well as daytime heavy flow or for light bladder leakages. 11 inches long, 3 inches wide.
Pad review: Öko was initially reluctant to let Adrienne test their heavy flow/long pad for her postpartum phase since it is not designed to be a postpartum pad. I assured them that she would take that into consideration, but that I really wanted to include them since Öko makes my hands-down favourite cloth pads in terms of comfort and reliability. Turns out, I’m very glad I talked them into it: the two Öko pads were Adrienne’s favourite day-time pads after the initial, super-heavy bleeding subsided. They’ll be staples in her stash when her regular cycle returns, like they already are in mine. The hemp/cotton blend top fiber provides a natural layer with a staydry feel, and the two sets of wings mean the pad stays put. The pad is also very thin, and was suitable even under leggings. (I wear their liners every day under yoga pants and leggings, and the heavy flow pad isn’t substantially thicker!) Their pads aren’t PUL backed, but rather have a thin, breathable but waterproof layer, which makes them leakproof but not too hot. If Öko were to create a true postpartum pad, Adrienne figures the only changes that would be necessary would be a slightly longer and wider design.
About Öko Creations: From their website: “Since August 2009, Öko Creations has been designing, manufacturing and distributing environmentally-friendly textile products for the whole family. Marie-Noël and Melanie Beetz, sisters with strong ecological and humanitarian values, are at the heart of this family business. Their unique experiences in textile design, health sciences and travel, combined with a childhood steeped in the smells of fabrics and the whir of sewing machines, led them to this path of entrepreneurship in the field of textile manufacturing.”
Occupied Mind Creations
Pad description: 14″ cotton velour postpartum pad (heavy bamboo fleece absorbency, hidden waterproof PUL, fleece backing), two snaps to adjust fit.
Pad review: Adrienne adored the shape and size of her OMC pad for the immediate postpartum phase. The pad was comfortable, but what Adrienne discovered was that as far as top fabrics go, she is not a huge fan of velour. OMC makes pads with a variety of top fabrics, so this didn’t hold her back from recommending the design, since the fit was great as was the comfort. The velour fabric, she found, didn’t absorb the “slimy” (non-blood) discharge associated with postpartum excretions (this discussion was a fun part of our interview, by the way) the way flannel and hemp/cotton did, so in the future she would opt for a different top fabric.
About Occupied Mind Creations: Alicia tells me, “OMC is based in Dryden, Ontario. I’ve been in business for about 3 years. I didn’t start using cloth pads until about 6 months postpartum, but if I have more kids, I will definitely be using reusable ones! I make cloth pads in a variety of absorbancies, lengths and top fabrics to meet your needs. Custom orders are always welcome!”
Pretty Eco Intimates
Pad description: 12.5″ Heavy Overnight/Postartum Pad in a ‘Sirens of the sea’ print. 100% cotton top, 2 layers of absorbent organic hemp fleece, backed in dyed fleece. When snapped, the gusset measures 3″ with an additional snap at 2.5″ for a snugger fit.
Pad review: This pad became known, in Adrienne’s household, as the “stripper” pad, because when she first saw it, she didn’t realize it was a mermaid, and thought it was a stipper on a pole. This brought us to discuss what designs are appropriate on cloth menstrual products. I have an awesome pad with RCMP on it… but every time I change it… they look wounded. Same goes for little miss Stripper/Mermaid. The pad is gorgeous when it’s clean… and of course pads aren’t supposed to be gorgeous when they’re soiled, but any design that features human or human-fish hybrids just looks kinda freaky! That said, Pretty Eco Intimates has tons of other gorgeous top fabrics if you share Adrienne and my fear of a zombie apocalypse. The long and wide back part of this pad made it excellent for her (albeit short) period of bed rest. When not lying down, she found the gusset to be a bit narrower than she would’ve liked for postpartum bleeding, as she preferred the pads with a more uniformly wide centre portion.
About Pretty Eco Intimates: Natalia tells me: “I started my business selling pads in October 2012. I had started using cloth pads myself once my period returned 11 months postpartum. I won my first pad in a Facebook giveaway and there’s no going back to yucky disposable pads & tampons! I decided that I’d love to make and sell and advocate cloth & cups. My business has grown quickly and steadily over the last 8 months I’m very blessed.”
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