The New Reusable Underthings

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.”

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.

UNDERWEAR:

Dear Kate

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

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.

Confitex Underwear

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.

NIPPLE PADS:

Lily Padz

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

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

Pariday

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.

PADS:

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.

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!


Erin Williams is a new mom to little lady Lucy, which she blogs about at goosecamp.co. Her interests include teaching herself how to make janky crafts, the new trend of “joggers” aka socially acceptable sweatpants, and eating pizza 3x a week while trying to stop looking like she just had a baby. She’s also the co-founder and maker of weird little things over at glamcamp.co, just in case you’re in the market for a tiny George Washington pillow with real wooden dentures or an embroidery kit about how few fucks you give.

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23 Comments

  • Back when I had time (before kids) I made a set of cloth menstrual pads and have never looked back. They don’t irritate my skin like disposables, never stick to my hair and I haven’t had a yeast infection in years. My favorite way to use them was with a Diva cup during heavy flow days. I used disposable pads postpartum and besides the extra expense had recurring yeast infections.

    For nursing pads I cut circles out of a piece of fleece and an old receiving blanket using a CD as a guide. I layered four flannel pieces and one fleece piece and zigzag stitched around the bunch (you can serge if you have a machine). These definitely show through shirts, but are super cheap and wonderful at night and when not leaving the house or wearing sweats. If you can’t take the time to make them, lots of people sell them on Etsy.

    I soak my pads in cold water overnight at the end of my period, then wash hot and dry in the dryer or wash with cloth diapers. Nursing pads go in with the kids’ clothes and a detergent with enzymes (Wisk), which gets out the milk stains and smell.

  • I use bamboobies and liked the fact that they were made from organic material (bamboo) and are reusable. However, once they’re wet, they’re wet. So if you have a milk let down and you start leaking, these babies are not wicking away moisture from your nipples like the disposable kind will. I like to use them now and then to give the ladies a break from the dispsoable pads. Definitely cannot make do with the regular (ultrathin) ones for overnight. Though I haven’t tried the overnight variety, I just use disposable. I love breastfeeding my LO and have for the last 9 months… I’m going to keep going, but I gotta say I’m looking forward to not having pads in my bra one of these days!

  • I love the bamboobies. I prefer the night time ones the best. I leak quite a bit at night and these have been soaked and not leaked through. They’re also super soft and comfortable. Disposables, any brand, irritate my skin. These are perfect.

  • I use cloth New Moon Pads (http://www.newmoonpads.com) every day: I bought the light absorbency ones years ago to use as pantiliners and they turn out to also be great for minor leaking from sneezing/coughing/laughing/ugh, everything.

  • I have used resusable menstual products for several years. Lunapad pantyliners have saved me so many times from soiling my clothes from 3rd trimester accidents. When I menstruate, I use the Lunette cup with the pantyliners for backup during the day and wear the larger Lunapads at night. I just made my padsicles for postpartum bleeding using huge overnight disposable pads and while I’m sure I will enjoy the relief of frozen aloe and witch hazel on my perineum, I can’t wait until the bleeding decreases and the pain lessens so I can go back to reusable.

  • Milk Diapers should be on this list for moderate to heavy nursing leakage. They’re extremely comfortable and absorbent (bamboobies are good for very low leakage). The company selects the fabric carefully for absorbency and also makes sure that the fabrics are dye- and chemical-free. They’re not as smooth as silicone would be, but they’re so comfortable for every day use.

  • I tried Thinx recently on a heavy day, with no tampon as backup, to see how good they really were. I had a MAJOR leakage issue after about 3 hours. I defintely love them though. I now use them on light days only. They’re super helpful for me because I constantly forget to bring tampons or pads with me when I’ll need them most.

  • Since I’m going into my second decade with Lunapads and Lunapanties (www.lunapads.com) I’m obligated to give them a shout out (I’m not affiliated, just in love). They made a huge difference for me. Highly, highly recommend getting a few pads for the especially-ugh days, but spend most of your budget (we all budget for magic reusable underthings for weird leak-y ness, right?) on the panties. They are a godsend. Head’s up for the Canadians– Lunapads is actually a Canadian company, and they sell Dear Kate undies as well, just, you know, in Canadian dollars.

  • I have been using reusables for about 15 years now and love them all! Be really honest with yourself about what is best for your body, what your convictions are for the environment and/or society, and make the commitment to doing it.
    Best for me will vary on a monthly basis, so I keep on hand 2 menstrual cups, sponges, pads and the Thinx (which are actually my favorite because I’ve never had a leak, thongs included). Currently expecting my first kiddo, so we still have to see what I will like better… pads have more absorbency adjustment capability, so I’m suspecting they’ll take the cake. Just 10 weeks to go!

  • Love the lily padz once milk supply is established. Same goes for cloth nursing pads. Going to try cloth menstrual pads next. We already cloth diaper, why not add a little more laundry lol!

  • I made cloth breast pads out of a few layers of flannel fabric and they work fine. In the early postpartum days I had to change them a few times a day and if I got behind on laundry I used disposable ones. I liked the cloth better. Now I only use them some of the time since I don’t leak much and I still like them.

    I used cloth panty liners while I was pregnant because I was super leaky (mucus leaky at first, pee leaky later) and actual pads for the first time for postpartum and they worked pretty well. I didn’t bleed super heavily- it was not the horror show I was expecting! I don’t have enough cloth pads to use them full time, but I definitely preferred them to disposables. They were more bulky, but much softer and more comfortable than disposables.

    I don’t do anything special to wash any of my stuff. My laundry is generally done all in cold. If there’s a stain I use stain remover. Sometimes I hang dry them but they get kinda still after a few uses so I put them in the dryer every now and then to soften up. Works great. When my period comes back I’ll keep using cloth, and will probably go back to using a menstrual cup, which is what I did in my pre-prego days.

  • Omg I love the Thinx! Been using them for several months now and no problems with leaking, which is such a relieving feeling. Tip though–don’t put them in the dryer. Wash & then hang to dry. Haven’t used any of the other options yet but all the booby options look super helpful for when babies happen down the road!

    Visiting from LorimerLiving.Com
    XO, Jaclyn

  • I use cloth pads on a regular basis now. They are super comfy, don’t have the awful sensations that disposables have and are easy enough to clean (nappy bucket with oxy fabric soak then in the wash). Never had a leak yet!

  • Silicon nursing cups are amazing. I used these once I was back at work pumping. They do trap sweat and can stink a bit after use, but they do the trick without any bulk.

    Thinx panties are awesome. So very thin and absorbent I toss them on the floor of the shower in the morning for rinsing then in a wet bag until I do laundry.

  • I have used the breast pads – both the silicone and the washable cloth kind. I like the silicone for "special occasions" – times you are away from baby and don’t want to leak everywhere and want to have smooth boobs. There isn’t a lot of air circulating under the silicone though, so I don’t think this would work for every day or immediately postpartum. I mostly used the cloth pads because they were so much easier (and cheaper) to deal with,… Though they can be seen through a nursing tank, they breathed much better IMO than either the silicone or disposable pads.

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