If you're jumpin' on the "crunchy" bandwagon, you might as well go full force and and grab "alternative" feminine products as well. The damage modern feminine hygiene products can cause to your body is scary - especially when we're talkin' reproductive damage - but that's another post for another day. I've never been a fan of medicinal birth control or knowingly altering the hormones in my body - I honestly don't know why. I'm sure there were a few times along the way where I thought four periods a year would be amazing, but I just always felt like something that unnatural could have some serious consequences - and we're finding out that truth daily and you can read more about that in Taking Charge of Your Fertility which I highly recommend. I never thought too much about the extent of the damage that could be caused from tampons, and even pads, however. You can read quite a bit about all of that on The Eco Friendly Family here.
I've been interested in reusable feminine hygiene products for a completely different purpose, however, for quite a few years now but only recently discovered the "trendy" marketed ones. I like to plan ahead, and when you live out in the country - it is quite common to go a week without power and get snowed in without a way to a store. Doesn't seem like a big deal for someone who is used to the convenience of a store down the road - but, it isn't a good idea to get caught up in the idea that modern things are ALWAYS reliable. Natural disasters happen, and if you're not ready for that, you'll be blindsided. September is natural preparedness month - and what a better way to be prepared (other than learning unassisted childbirth and relactation skills)? This was one of the reasons I invested in a small stash of cloth diapers with my daughter even if I planned on using disposables, and really the reason of this post because I think every girl should have a stash of reusable feminine products just in case - or at least the patterns to whip some up by hand- even if you use the others on a regular basis. I would suggest you check out a cup or try a natural sea sponge if you're a tampon kinda gal - but I'm not convinced that either are perfectly safe (at minimum, they can mess with the ability to fully empty to bladder), so pads are a great option - and pantyliners are great throughout your cycle when a cup is just too much.
I've been working on my own DIY cloth pantyliner/pad stash this weekend and wanted to share my patterns with you. They are so easy to make - and I look forward to presenting my daughter with her own, beautiful and safe, stash of reusable feminine care when she enters that stage of her life... although, I have to admit - I probably will be purchasing a portion of those (available in super cute patterns all over the internet) rather than sewing them - because let's face it, even the beginner sewer can make a set, but that doesn't mean they'll be gorgeous. There are hundreds of patterns across the net and as many different ways to use cloth feminine hygiene as there are cloth diapers. There are also women who choose to "free bleed" - which reminds me of elimination communication for menses. With the period panty options availble, free bleeding is much easier and these make excellent backups for cups, sponges, and mama cloth pads especially without a PUL backing. But, I digress - all of these topics will be covered at another time.
For my set, I'm using flannel, PUL, and terry cloth in various combinations. I'm doing these low cost with some remnant fabrics, leftovers from other projects, and reusing some items - but you have so many options to make them perfect for you. I recommend making one of each style and trying it on to see how it feels as your body, your panties, your sensitivity will all determine what style/shape/fabric/length...etc. is best for you. You can also scour this site for an overwhelming amount of information on making cloth pads and have fun with it!