Zero Waste Periods : Cloth Pad Review – Bloom and Nora

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In the UK alone, we use about 4.3 billion single use sanitary products a year. An individual will be using around 11,000 disposable sanitary pads in her lifetime. And an estimated 1.3 million pads get flushed down the toilet, costing millions in clearing blocked drains. These plastic pads not only sit in the landfills for years (around 500 years), but the toxins used in these pads are polluting our oceans, thereby endangering the great marine life. The dioxins and carcinogens that are in these pads, enter our bodies through contact and can be literally deadly. So what is the solution?

Switch To More Sustainable and Healthier Options – Resuseable Cloth Pads

I have been using a menstruation cup for years now after having experienced terrible rashes from disposable pads and extreme dryness from tampons. But I could not go zero waste with my period right away. The cup is not the most convenient thing to empty, wash and insert back in in public washrooms. And I go on long walks which again makes cleaning after a few hours a difficult job, so I always used a sanitary pad to go with my menstruation cup. I might have cut down my use of disposable sanitary products by 90% but not completely.

Enter Bloom and Nora Cloth Pads

Bloom and Nora sent me their trail pack of sanitary pads made with 100% natural fibres. It was an opportunity for me to go zero waste in the red zone area, and I couldn’t have been more delighted.

I was sent a trail kit with two blooms and two Nora pads ranging between their four available sizes. I have used them over the past three cycle and I think I have enough experience to share my thoughts with you.

Blooms are basically made of bamboo core making it extremely soft against your skin and super duper absorbent. My baby uses bamboo nappies and I always thought he is so lucky to have something so cushy against his bits. Now I know how good it actually feels!!

Nora’s are known for it’s stay dry technology and stain proof quality and I have to say, after three cycles they still look as pearly as new.

Performance

In terms of performance, they get five stars from me. Not only are they soft but also leak proof. The outer PUL protects the clothing from getting wet and the leak proof edges prevents blood from seeping out.

The Nora Maxi and Bloom Mighty were the perfect team for the first day and night which is when my flow is the heaviest.

And Midi and Mini have performed excellently paired with my menstruation cup on long hikes and walks where there was no access to private toilet or cleaning facility. These pads successfully held any leaks from the overflowing cups and kept me dry and comfortable enough to finish my journey.

Life changer

One thing that I love about cloth pad is the fact that I don’t get any rashes. Disposables have the quality of drying out the skin which often left me with a rash. So not only did I have to go through the cycle (which in itself is an inconvenience) but also suffer in agony days after my period was over.

Washing

As a cloth nappy mama, it was no science for me know how this stuff worked, but for noobs I would recommended atleast three washes (no soap required) before use. This helps with the absorbency. You will see the absorbency improve with use.

After use, wash the blood off with cold tap water and put it either in your laundry basket or in the bathroom bag by Bloom and Nora, which is perfect to keep all the soiled pads together.

When ready, wash it on 40 degrees with a non-bio detergent. No need to tumble dry. Honestly, these pads dry in a flash and tumble drying may not damage the pads right away but will take away a few years of performance from it.

Price

Each one of the pads are less than a tenner and you will need about 10 to 12 pads each cycle. Less if you wash them more regularly. So a £100 for the next 5 years seems like a reasonable investment. That is less than £1.80 a month towards your period.

Conclusion

After having used both Bloom and Nora Pads, my favourites have to the bamboo Bloom pads. It felt the softest and most comfortable against my skin and felt light but sturdy. Nora had no performance issue but my skin was not necessary always happy with it. I felt the urge to change more frequently with Nora than in Blooms.

Also absolutely loved the poppers unlike the sticky wings of the disposables (often tore my knickers). They held the pads in place for hours and the wings were wide enough to prevent leaks but slim enough for comfort.

I also prefer Bloom for it’s colours, they suit my personality bold and bright.

Bloom and Nora is inspired by the daredevil feminist Amelia Bloomer who once said, “When you find a burden in belief or apparel, cast it off”

Disposable pads put a lot of burden on our environment and health, I think it is time we cast it off too. What do you think??

 

 

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Cloth Nappy no0b? My Top 10 Tips

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I have been advocating cloth nappies since baby Roshan was teeny weeny. The more I use them, the more I believe in them. It is a learning process and a very satisfying journey too.

For a beginner, the world of cloth nappies can seem like a minefield. And that is exactly how disposables became a successful industry. It is easy to not have to research or think twice –  just buy a packet of disposable nappies that require no prep, no laundry and no maintenance (none of which is actually as tedious as it may sound).

I remember as a newbie, asking my friend Ashleigh scores of questions about the nappies as she had been using it for months. With her help and a lot of research, I finally settled for the cloth nappies I wanted and never looked back.

Here are some of my handy tips for anybody who wants to consider cloth nappying their child:

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1. Try them all

There are a variety of cloth nappy brands. I would recommend picking a few popular brands and trying one or two of each before you build or buy your stash. What may suit one baby may not suit another. What your friend may find easier to deal with may not be your cup of tea.

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2. Embrace secondhand nappies

The whole idea of reuseable nappies is not just to reuse it on your own child. Cloth nappies have such a long shelf life that there’s a huge second hand market for it where you can buy very expensive brands for cheap to try on before investing. I brought many a brands for second hand before naming my favourites. They tend to come very clean and very well maintained.

Nappy Libraries are also very helpful. Seek advice there. You will be amazed!

3. Always pre-wash

New or second hand, always pre-wash your nappies. New nappies often get better in terms of absorbency with multiple washes. And with second hand stuff, you want to make sure that there isn’t any debris, bacteria or dust (in case it’s been sitting in someone’s cupboards for a while).

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4. All-in-ones

Even though rumours abound about all-in-ones not being as efficient as the others, some of them are very good indeed. TotsBots easyfit stars are my favourite British brand – suitable for use overnight or for outings when we know we won’t be back within 2 hours. And always have some ‘all-in-‘ones handy for travel. It makes changing quicker and less bulky to carry!

5. Doesn’t have to be all or none

If you are into your disposables or are finding the idea of going all out with your cloth nappies, then don’t. We still use disposables from time time especially when camping or going for a weekend stay at a friends. So ease yourself into using cloth nappies. Maybe start with night time nappies or pop one on when at home.

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The best way to dry your washed nappies is to let them dry in the sun. Sun is known to remove stains and kill harmful bacteria too. In England, sunshine seems like a joke, but the weather in England is, on the contrary, really beneficial for the nappies.

Just sunshine tends to leave the nappies very crisp and slightly rough, whereas a bit of sunshine followed by shade is perfect to keep the fabric soft.

7. Let it rain

Every now and again, it is a good idea to strip wash your nappies. I do it maybe once every couple of months, sometimes I leave them for a bit longer. In England, strip washing simply happens accidentally to be honest.

Strip washing is basically a process where you wash your nappies completely clean of any detergent residue or any general wear and tear to make sure the nappies are as good as new, and it helps improve the absorbency too.

One of the best ways to strip wash is to leave the nappies out for couple of days or more when it is raining. This should be done after the nappies have been washed once in the machine with detergent. Instead of bringing the nappies back home after they have dried, the idea is to let it get rained on for a few days.

This can be done by using washing machine too. Simply wash the nappies once with detergent and then do a few more washes without any detergent. It is just that rain is free of cost.

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8. Get organised

Cloth nappying is not just about choosing and buying nappies. Make sure you have a bucket for soiled nappies, wet bags to carry soiled nappies back home when traveling, a non-bio detergent and a washing machine (basic I know)

One other essential I would recommend is an electric clothes hanger. During winter this little technology works wonders.

9. Laundry Routine

Laundry really doesn’t have to be so tedious. Make sure you have a routine though. It is very easy to get used to and if you have bigger kids, they can help too. I wash my nappies every other day (it is especially helpful if you have a small stash). And I do clothes in between. The only time I skip doing any laundry is when it has been raining and my nappies haven’t dried yet.

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10. Cloth Wipes

Not only is it environmentally friendly and chemical free, it is also very practical.

Just how disposable wipes can be chucked into the bin along with disposable nappies, cloth wipes can be chucked into the cloth nappy bin after use and washed along with the nappies in the same wash.

The only time I use disposable wipes is when outdoors. So again, it doesn’t have to be all or none. A little bit of both works quite harmoniously for us.

Please let me know if you have any more tips to add in the comments below.

Lullabum AIO Plus by SuperBottoms Review

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Ever heard someone say, “living childhood through your children?”

With Lullabum by Superbottoms you can do just that. Lullabum is covered with motifs and songs from your favourite bollywood songs for children.

Now who doesn’t love a fluff bum? I do. And to have a fluff bum covered in memories of childhood makes my heart go all warm and fuzzy.

What’s more? Some of the songs on the Lullabum are the songs Baby Ro absolutely loves as well. So you can only imagine my excitement when I received a package from Superbottoms!

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Speaking of which, let’s just take a moment to appreciate this beautiful packaging. In todays times when it is very difficult to get away from plastic packaging, it was a pleasant experience to have received a paper package.

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We received a Lullabum All-in-one Plus nappy from Superbottoms. These nappies are meant to last from about 5 kgs to 17 kgs (babies are usually potty trained by then) which makes it extremely economical in the long run.

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Lullabum came with one detached organic cotton bamboo insert/soaker and it also had an attached organic cotton bamboo lining soaker with a suede lining on top that goes against the baby’s skin wicking away the wetness, thereby keeping the baby dry. The good thing about suede is that it keeps the baby dry without wicking away the natural oils from baby’s skin. This helps prevent rashes and irritation. I really liked the feel of suede.

So the detached soaker snaps onto the popper provided just under the attached soaker. There is also a pocket available to insert any extra soakers if you baby is a heavy wetter. These nappies are meant to last 4 to 5 hours at daytime and about 10 hours at night time.

Like all cloth nappies, absorbency improves with use. I only washed Lullabum once before use and I had no problem for 4 hours. We even had an explosive poo-nami once and I was impressed with it’s hold. There was no leak whatsoever.

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The fit of this nappy can be as snug as you prefer. I have been a velcro nappy user to be honest. Lullabum is my first nappy with poppers. The reason I avoid poppers is because my baby is a wriggler and I have to be as quick as possible before he manages to get out of my various body lock tactics. Having said that, I am impressed with the fit you can achieve with poppers. I had to play around a bit to get the right fit. But with a few adjustments and a couple of trial and error, we got the perfect fit. I also had a fear of poppers popping if that makes sense. But even with my 14 month old trying his level best to pull the nappy off, he could not and that was a triumph in itself. His expression of loss was priceless!

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Another impressive feature of this nappy is it’s narrow crotch width. Narrow crotch makes for an excellent trim fit. It is less bulky and prevents the soakers or inserts from bunching up in between the legs. Now I have heard that narrow crotches and less bulky nappies automatically equate to less absorbency but this was not the case with Lullabum in my experience! So this nappy is perfect for leggings, tights and jeans kind off outfit!

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Lullabum has soon become one of our favourites from our stash of nappies. It is my go to nappy for travel purposes. We took it to the woods with us over the weekend and 4 hours went by, we forgot about nappy changing yet Lullabum kept Ro absolutely dry and comfortable. It is compact and less bulky to carry. The design is so bright and colourful that I can pair the nappy with just a top/tshirt and we are good to go. We like to wear it just on it’s own though as you can see!

In terms of cons, I actually do not have any real qualms about this nappy. Having said that my heart did sink a little when I saw a stain on it after the poo-nami. All my other nappies have a microfibre layer that goes against the baby’s skin and microfibre’s do not stain, period! But seems like suede does! But nothing that couldn’t be sunned out. I hung up the washed nappy to dry in the sunshine for 24 hours and voila, Lullabum was as good as new, soft and fresh with no stain in sight!

In terms of cost, like any cloth nappy Lullabum is a bit dear at Rs. 780 i.e £10 + shipping. Having said that, cloth nappies are expensive to buy but they are very economical in the long run. I have known family and friends who have used the same set of cloth nappies for their four to five children. If you don’t plan to have more children, you can always resell them. Cloth nappies keep their value and resell really well. You are sure to get half of the money back in the end. Lullabum with it’s cute desi print and brilliant performance is sure to sell well.

Superbottoms are available only in India and Amazon US at the moment. Shipping to other countries is available on request which can be made via email. Superbottoms is also working on it’s website to make global shipping options available online. So watch this space for updates.

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Last but not the least, Superbottoms sent me an unexpected surprise Superbag as well. This particular one is called Purple Love. Anybody who knows me will know how much I love elephants, so it was such a brilliant coincident that of all the amazing prints, Pallavi chose this particular one for me.

This bag has two compartments and a two hooks to hang it up somewhere. The bag is huge and I carry it with me all the time. I use the front pocket for pooey nappies and the big big for pee filled nappies. It is perfect way to compartmentalise the nappies. This bag can be used for so much more than just nappies. This bag is staying with me for life, I can tell you that!

I am so pleased to see another mommy all the way in India, making an effort to reduce our footprint in this world by making these amazing ecofriendly nappies, thereby making the future of our children cleaner and healthier. Please support small businesses that are trying to make a difference. Bring a change to your life and the life around you. Choose Cloth!

P.S: These products were sent to me by Superbottoms for a review. Although it is a sponsored post, all the opinions stated are my own and honest!