My First Menstrual Cup

Welcome to the January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Experiments in Natural Family Living

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have reported on weeklong trials to make their lives a little greener. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Photo by Danilla

In December, as my youngest child turned 20 months old, I was met by the return of my menses. Being pregnant and/or lactating for almost ten years (my oldest child is 9 years old), I’ve only had a handful of periods during that time.

I can’t say I have missed dealing with it. I hate pads; they leave me feeling wet and rashy and as though everyone can see the outline. Remember when disposable pads used to be really thick? I do. I resorted to using tampons pre-motherhood (and in those rare instances since). They didn’t have the same issues as the pads, but they came with their own. They tend to leave one feeling dry, and there is always the thought in the back of my mind about toxic shock syndrome. Both disposable pads and tampons create a lot of waste, both during production and in land fills.

When I had children, and subsequently began using cloth diapers, I was introduced to the idea of cloth pads. It seemed like a better idea than disposables, but it didn’t address the other problems I had with disposable pads: the wetness, rashiness, or bulkiness. I really didn’t want to switch to pads, so I told myself that with as infrequently as I had a period, it really didn’t warrant storing a bunch of cloth pads in the interims.

A few months ago, I began taking a closer look at my options, as we may not have more children, and I knew I would eventually reach a point where my daughter’s nursing (despite nursing through day and night) wasn’t enough to keep my cycle away. I knew I wanted to try a menstrual cup. I asked around about different ones, read reviews, and ultimately ordered one to put away. I then proceeded to forget about it.

So, when my period decided to show, I was a little bummed. Honestly, I was hoping that it would stay away for a while longer. I was a bit mopey. Here I was having to deal with menstruation and the struggle we’ve been having about whether or not to have another child seemed to dangle closer, as my fertility began to return.

Then I remembered my menstrual cup packed away in my drawer. I wouldn’t say that it was like opening up a gift, but it did make my day a little brighter. So, I tried a menstrual cup for the very first time.

I took out the cup, washed it, and then looked at it. It seemed a bit intimidating. I then compared it to the size of something else and decided that I would be just fine. It was much easier than I thought it would be. It had all of the benefits of tampons without the drawbacks. I did have some leakage in the first couple of days, but I don’t know if that was because it was my first time using it, my first menses in a long time, the fact that I was having to dump it every 1-2 hours in the first days, or a combination thereof. When menses moseys back around in a month or two, I’ll gladly try it again. I much preferred it to tampons, but I think I’ll make some cloth panty liners for back up on those first days.

The next challenge? Emptying the menstrual cup in a public bathroom with my entourage in tow.

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31 thoughts on “My First Menstrual Cup

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  3. Ah, my son is almost 22mths old and my menses just returned too. I’ve only had a handful of periods over the last five years so I wasn’t too jazzed to see it return. I’ve been using pads, but, like you, don’t really care for them. Maybe I’ll give the cup a go in a month or two — I’m hoping more like two😉. I don’t know why, but the cups sort of intimidate me too.

  4. Im not looking forward to the day mine return either, my son is now nearly 14 months so perhaps the time has come to order one, I have always used tampons before so this makes sense in a ‘green’ way🙂

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  6. Yea, I’m glad you found it when you needed it!🙂 It took me a few cycles to get the hang of my cup. I find that having a cloth liner is all I need those first heavy days, just in case. (Often, just some red undies will do the trick!) I found the same drawbacks with tampons and pads and much prefer this. My son’s gotten over seeing me empty it, though it’s led to some interesting conversations.🙂

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  10. I’m definitely interested in trying this whenever my period returns after this babe is born, although I also wonder what it will be like to change it in a public restroom with the entourage in tow😉 It’s already difficult to do basic bathroom things with my 18 month old shadow right next to me every time I use the bathroom!

    • I’ve used one since my first was 8 months old, and I’ve rarely taken it out in a public bathroom. I found that after pushing out a baby I have a much better idea of which muscles do what, so I can keep it in when a sink wasn’t handy, I’ve also found that after I got better at putting it in, I really only needed to empty it a couple of times a day at most.

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  18. I love mine too… I was fairly anxious about trying it for the first time, especially since it was before I had children and, well, I was quite shy about that sort of thing! I have a new one waiting to be used when my menses returns this time. I really recommend them – it made my life so much easier.

  19. Cool! I can’t wait to try this when my period returns. I am going to make cloth pads, but somehow I feel like I would have to change them a lot. I would rather make a thin cloth pantiliner and use the cup. Thanks for sharing your experience! It makes it a lot less intimidating!

  20. I’ve used a cup since 1997, and because I work in an office I often empty it in a public restroom. Here are lots of details about how to make it work! I will admit that I avoid emptying it when my child is in the bathroom with me because the large amount of blood in the water might scare him…but the times when I have had to do it, I just distract him with conversation and stand in front of the toilet when flushing, and it’s been fine.

    • Becca, I’m hapy to find someone that uses the cup since a very long time. Most of women have doubts about its usage as think it would leave any tiny .. micro laceration of our vagina wall.. and other sustain tha my “Gyn” said “no way to use” they are not hygienic etc etc…. I do not believe on that as mnstrual cups are in the market since the ’30.. and now materials are really soft and non allergic. This year I will do my routine gyn visit and will talk about this iin specific, but can you give us any word about??. Thank you a lot!!!

  21. I’m using the cup since 2010 and it is great…and I also had to change it while I was out with my 3 years old baby saying..: mom are you changing the menstrual cup? where are you putting it.. etc etc. But it was quick, becasue I’m used to. There is a website (http://www.coppetta-mestruale.it) that delivers worldwide the menstrual cups. Actually I got 2 brands from them: The Meluna and the Iriscup…as I gave birth naturally and have heavt flow i got L size from both brands. I love them!

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  23. I also prefer the feel of the cup to the dryness of tampons. I’ve only tried my cup for a few cycles and I like it, but still haven’t mastered proper insertion 100% of the time. I’m using cloth liners as backup. Hoping I’ll eventually get it, because I still use tampons if I’m going somewhere where leaking would be stressful.

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