I made my bud Erin research what is new and exciting in the world of reusable understuff. Not only is it nice to skip the disposable stuff, but it’s kinda cool too.
Note: I didn’t include menstrual cups because you don’t really need them when you’re pregnant, and it’s not recommended that you put anything in your vagina right after giving birth, so I just skipped it.
A recent trend has taken hold of the internet, bombarding my Facebook feed with images of svelte women in lingerie who have apparently just peed themselves. Their sexy, come hither looks belie the truth, which is “I am on the rag and if you touch me right now I will karate chop you. Now get me a fresh pair of sweats and a chocolate shake and shoo.”
There are thongs and panties that promise to absorb your menstrual flow, reusable (washable) pads that look eerily like baby dribble bibs, reusable nipple pads that could double as pasties in any Gentleman’s Club, sporty granny panties for incontinence, and activewear panties for (apparently) sweaty yoga vaginas. If you are leaking: there is a product for you!
It’s kind of brilliant (if it works). While the idea of washing two tampons worth of blood out of a pair of panties in my kitchen sink isn’t exactly appealing, using these products would generate a lot less regular waste and cost. The incontinence panties could be a huge lifesaver for late pregnancy and postpartum, when your lady parts start waving the white flag of childbirth, but you still have to do things like leave the house. (I, for one, see no reason to wear stylish, lacy panties postpartum because Don’t Touch Me Even Again Please, but love the idea of not having to wear a giant lady-diaper every time I walk out the front door). The reusable nipple pads seem like a no-brainer.
Having not actually personally purchased any of these products and peed myself a little to test their functionality, here’s a breakdown of what’s out there.
Dear Kate makes reusable understuff specifically geared towards active ladies. Their lacy panties come in several styles, from hip huggers to thongs, and start at $32 a pair. Most styles can hold up to one tablespoon of liquid, so might be best for lady sweating or very light spotting. Also available in plus sizes!
She Thinx panties are the workhorse panties for your period. They come in an abundance of styles, offering different levels of absorbency and protection. The hi-waist and sport styles can purportedly hold up to two tampons worth of blood. The company states that these underthings can eliminate the need for panty liners, and protect you (along with use of tampons or menstrual cups) on your heaviest days. They’re cute! But can someone please explain how a thong can protect you from a strong breeze, let alone a light day of bleeding from your nether regions? They come in plus sizes and start at $24 a pair.
These undies are specifically marketed for everyday use for women (and men!) with incontinence issues. If you pee a little when you laugh (that was just a really good joke, okay) these puppies will prevent embarrassing pee stains on your power suit in the boardroom. The moderate absorbency panties can hold up to a teacup and a half worth of pee over the course of the day. Why they measure pee in tea cups, I’m not sure. Panties are $34.90 and size up to XXXL.
Lily Padz are silicone nursing pads that self-adhere to your nipples and prevent leakage. (Instead of absorbing leaking milk, they prevent it from even happening.) They come in different patterns, like hearts and lace, if you’re into that sort of thing, or want to take advantage of the fact that childbirth has given you massive stripper boobs. (You go, girl.) Apparently, you can wear these instead of wearing a bra, which sounds sort of painful to me, but there you go. Starter kits start at $36.95.
Bamboobies are soft, fabric nursing pads that can be tucked into your bra, washed, and reused. These seem like a great product for women with an established milk supply, who are old pros, or not immediately postpartum (because one thing you will not be doing a lot of right after having a baby is laundry). They come in regular and overnight. Packs start at $14.99
Before checking out this site, I had no idea what my postpartum perineum was missing out on: its own pillow. These soothing, reusable (but not indefinitely, as they’re made with food-grade ingredients) pads are built to comfort your chapped, aching, been-through-hell lady parts immediately after childbirth. Nipple pillows will set you back $24.99 on Amazon.
Have you ever looked at your perfectly cloth-diapered baby and thought, “I wish I had one of those?” Then these reusable pads from Hibaby are for you! They come in a variety of patterns (owls! Feathers! Nightmare Before Christmas guy!) and can absorb at the rate of a regular flow maxipad. While good for the wallet and environment, this is definitely a choice. 6 pads cost $26.99.
If you think washable pads are just a fringe hippy thing, check out your local Target for these Lunapads. They actually outperform disposables with the comfort and softness of your most comfortable pair of underwear, and will keep you covered through pregnancy, postpartum and beyond (this includes sneezing).
Have you tried any of these (or other) reusable underthings? Did you love it? Hate it? Feel like you were borrowing your baby’s very lacy, sexy diaper? Please share in the comments!