Thursday, May 3, 2012

A look at the unmentionables... which I am going to mention!

Hi there all..... today I wanted to talk about sanitary wear for women and babies.... well yes... nappies (UK) or diapers (USA) ARE sanitary wear.

When my children were young I purchased a whole load of amazingly absorbent terry squares.  That was all you could get then. Now don't get me wrong, this is not a rant against people who use disposables.  That is their choice and I honour their right to make their free choices.  I completely sympathise with the overworked, busy mum trying to fit in all her chores, making a choice to use disposables. Believe me, I have been there too!  However, with a little thought and a different kind of planning, washable nappies need not be the huge effort to manage as some might think, and in the long term, even with washing costs may well work out cheaper.  For my family, with so many allergies using washable terries was the only way I could control what went against their skin, and for me that was most important.

I used them throughout the infancy of my four children, even when we went camping.  Occasionally I would venture into the heady heights of disposables, but they were too expensive on our low income so we always came back to good old terries.  Then I lent them to a good friend who thinking I was never going to use them again, gave them away!  Well I was not amused.  I could have used them for so many things!  

However, now my children have all grown; sooner or later I expect to be made a granny.... so, I decided to purchase more nappies.  Well, imagine my surprise and delight to see so many innovations.  I went to town,:)  on the Internet, and purchased a whole load, most used, ......clean and beautiful.. and also made some, just to see that I could, and I could!  In fact, now I have got enough for all four of my children to have babies all at the same time and have a complete set each.  I am rather proud of myself!  But of course my lads think I am mad, and they don't want to be daddies just yet thank you very much.  I did tell them it wasn't a subtle hint, but raised eyebrows was the answer I got.  That's OK.... my brother's partner has a baby, I can wait!  

My daughter and her Dad though, looked at these little gems and oohed and ahhed most gratifyingly... can you say that?  And Dad and I reminisced about the joys of beautiful white nappies on the line.  My daughter Mimz asked why, apart from the cost and eco friendly nature of these washables, did I think it was so important that we use washables?  Why?  I took a deep breath and reminded her of the misery of the rashes she used to get when using throwaway sanitary pads.  (And disposable nappies can do  this too!)

She, along with many other girls her age, used to get the most appalling rashes and cramps. Instead of celebrating her cycle, it was utter misery. (I know, many women can't actually say they celebrate their cycle, but I try to keep my daughter positive.)  Then I persuaded her at last to try washable sanitary pads. I made her a set of a dozen, with material she chose herself, and then the day came to try.  There are many, many patterns to chose from, free on the web, and with a little ingenuity you can make your own to suit your particular body shape and needs. If you don't want to spend a great deal of time making something which you may not use, then you can purchase sample ones of the web site.  In the Uk I found Feminine Wear to be particularly helpful.

At first Mimz was dubious after all I am a Mum not one of her peer group, and it is hard to be different isn't it?  When she tried them they felt 'different'.  She had to 'deal' with her flow, rather than dispose of the whole thing and pretend it wasn't happening... but at the end of her flow... no rash.  Next time, she used them again, no rash and reduced cramps.  We looked into the possible cause of such problems.  There is a lot out there you know.  Most of it is about the bleaching agents used to give women pads that look like bandages. Pristine, white and sanitised. I ask you!  For goodness sake women are not ill when they have their flow.  They don't need bandages!

Here is one quote I lifted from the web just today...

"A study from Korea extracted the chemicals found in sanitary pads and tampons throughout the world. While results varied with the different products, octachlorinated dioxin (OCDD), hexachlorodibenzofuran (HxCDF) and octa-chlorodibenzofuran (OCDF) were detected. These are all banned toxic substances.
According to HR 890, "An independent study in 1991 found that tampons commonly included one or more of the following additives: Chlorine compounds, absorbency enhancers (such as surfactants like polysorbate-20), natural and synthetic fibers (such as cotton, rayon, polyester, and polyacrylate), deodorant, and fragrance."

Well I don't know about you, but for me those chemicals are a no-no.  I don't care if they meet some psuedo  guideline that says it is OK for x amount of exposure..... x could mean anything as a one off hit, not repeated exposure of years of using these products!
Any way my daughter was shocked... so we did more research.... here is what Wiki says...
“The materials used to manufacture most pads are derived from the petroleum industry and forestry. The absorbent core, made from chlorine bleached wood pulp, could be reduced to make slimmer products with the addition of polyacrylate gels which sucks up the liquid quickly and holds it in a suspension under pressure. The remaining materials are mostly derived from the petroleum industry, the cover stock used is polypropylene non woven, with the leakproof barrier made from polyethylene film. 

Well I want to save our forests and reduce dependency on petro chemicals!
And then  there is this...
About 90% of the materials used to make sanitary pads and liners are plastic and include polyethylene, polypropylene and polyacrylate super absorbents. The extraction, production and manufacture of which contributes Nitrogen oxide, Sulphur dioxide and Carbon dioxide to the environment – ozone depleting gases; human toxins that lead to cancer and birth defects as well as chemicals that cause the acidification of trees.
:// on.. do your own searches... inform yourself, don't take my word for it.

My daughter was convinced.  So much so that she decided to tell her friends, no mean thing when you are a teenager.  She generated interest and a few friends had some made for them, tried them and were impressed. 

As a by product, Mimz declares openly that she feels much better, no longer gets the rashes and much reduced cramps.  While I can't genuinely state that she celebrates her monthly flow, at least she feels better about it.

However as in all things we have freedom to choose.  But should you get the rash a nice soothing application is chickweed or plantain macerated oil.  You wont get this from your local pharmacy so here is how to make it. Almost for free.... you can even use recycled glass jars! Just purchase your oil.

A cold macerated oil.
Collect loads of chickweed (this is what it looks like....   or loads of plantain (this is what it looks like ...  Let them dry on a cloth before using, better still collect on a dry sunny day, but frankly we haven't seen much of those lately.  (Though I am not complaining, we need the rain.)  Both these herbs aka weeds, are known for their wonderful healing properties and are amazing in your herbal 1st aid kit.

Take the dry plant material and place in a large kilner/mason jar.  Fill up with vegetable oil.... I prefer olive oil myself,it seems to be less reactive than any other I have tried, but you have to use what you can get. Poke all green matter down into the oil and seal.  Place the jar on top of a cloth or kitchen paper, no matter what you do it always seems to leak a bit as it is macerating.  Give it a good shake once a day, and let to steep for at least a week better if it's about 6 weeks.  Strain and bottle. If you want to, you can get a fancy application bottle, or upcycle a glass antiperspirant bottle which has been well washed out.  Apply over affected area each time you need to go to the bathroom.  A little goes a long way, but you should find relief really quickly.  This oil is a gentle application for cuts and grazes and inflamed areas.

Look up the other uses of both herbs.... I love them.!

Do let me know your thoughts.... I don't mind if you disagree, I love it when you add to what I have mentioned. After all it is in talking that we share what we know for when we need it.

Green blessings to you all.  Lynne. /|\ 

Disclaimer!  I have no financial interest, or hidden agenda in linking you to any of the web sites I mention.  They are usually there simply because they have information on that is useful.  Just so you know. :)

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