♫♪ Oh where, oh where can she be?! She’s not in the drawer, behind it, or in my purse. Perhaps my kids hid her from me! ♫♪
Happy Birthday! That’s what my uterus said on January 25. What a shitty gift. My uterus is a habitual re-gifter because she gave me that same gift on Christmas Day. No biggie, I’ll just grab my Lunette and be on my way. These days periods aren’t a big deal because the menstrual cup is one of those life-changing devices that makes each monthly visit less uncomfortable and less of a chore.
WHERE IS MY CUP?! I looked in my “cup” drawer and only found the cups left over from demonstration videos of the wrong size, or the one cup (I’ll leave the brand out of this because it is a personal thing, the cup works fine) that doesn’t fit me well. FINE. I’ll try the other cup again, what choice do I have?
After several attempts it just wasn’t working- even with the stem trimmed it was too low and I couldn’t manage that way. My only other option was to use the tampons leftover from many moons ago.
I had forgotten how much I despise those things. The only thing they have going for them is that they are quicker to use. I have been so uncomfortable for this cycle and the CRAMPS! I forgot what a pain cramps were and now I know conclusively that the cramps were not just related to my period. That realization is a bit frightening, that something so small could impact your week in such a miserable way.
Today I find my cup, even though it is too late for this month. Did the kids find it and use it as a hat on a tranformer? Maybe it is in one of the 15 purses that are in my closet? In luggage from a trip? IS LIONEL RITCHIE HOLDING IT CAPTIVE? God why is my memory so bad, I just used this thing last month for crying out loud! Mom brain, that is why.
If you haven’t made the switch YET just think about my week. It sucked… I had to change tampons every couple of hours, I have a waste basket that looks like a biohazard bin at the hospital and I think my husband now has a new appreciation for my cup usage. It has felt so wasteful! Not to mention the cramps…
Warning: This post will use the words “vagina” “insert” and “blood.” This post and video will not contain graphic images or real live footage of either insertion or removal, rather, it will simulate these actions using a champagne glass.
By far, the questions I receive most about menstrual cups relate in some way to either “How do I get in in there and get a good fit?” to “How can I remove this thing without getting blood all over me?” It took me a while to work up the chutzpah to film and post a video demonstrating these acts. Plus, how does one demonstrate something so personal without actually showing a vagina?!
The solution was to use the trusty champagne glass, and to simulate the process of removal step by step on a toilet while fully clothed. Most people just don’t know what to do with the cup when it is out and full, so I’ve taken that process and filmed it. The cup itself doesn’t have menstrual fluid, rather, it is a mixture of olive oil and fruit punch to simulate the viscosity.
The video is self explanatory so please, watch and learn!
Next week I will have two more videos covering the other questions ranging from “Can you poop with these in??” and “What happens when you do a cartwheel?” to “Will it stretch me out?” There are *almost* no stupid questions so I was happy to answer these for the over 500 comments that were left on my first cup video. My audience on DDL is mostly adult women who have given birth, but the audience on YouTube is much more diverse, and includes young girls. These girls deserve answers so I hope these videos help to that effect.
This next giveaway in the week long celebration of my 4th Blogging Birthday is a biggie from my friends at Green Team Enterprises who distribute some amazing natural parenting brands such as Little Comfort, Lunette, Grandma El’s. Loohoo Wool Dryer balls, Earth Mama Angel Baby, even Piggy Paint! There will be two winners- 1 for the 6 Little Comfort One Size Bambee Fitteds and 1 for the Lunette Cup. You already know how much I love my menstrual cups, and so far the Lunette happens to be my favorite (not just saying that, it is the best fit for me), so if you’ve been hoping to win one this is a second chance for you!
The Little Comfort brand is relatively new to the US. I’ve tried them many years ago and I definitely agree that they are the softest diapers I’ve used yet!
Little Comfort bamboo nappies are beautifully soft and gentle against your baby’s skin. This nappy is so soft you won’t believe it. It is super super absorbent. After 300 washes nappy will remain as soft as the first day you got it. Compared to other bamboo nappies, our quality is hard to beat.
This One Size nappy fits from Birth to Potty. It contains 2 boosters, both a size 1 and size 2. When both boosters are snapped together it is suitable for night and very heavy wetting babies. One of the most absorbent and versatile nappies on the market. Extenders are available for babies that need those extra few inches around the waist. The polyester element of the nappy allows the nappy to dry quicker than 100% bamboo fabrics.
Lunette Cups are made with medical grade silicone and are used during your period as an eco-friendly and more comfortable alternative to pads or tampons. I won’t go overboard on this but just DO IT. Just make the switch, even if you don’t win one today. I’ve already posted my praises and I made a video explaining menstrual cups so if I were your best girlfriend so take a look if you are still not sure. I like that Lunette offers tinted cups since clear cups stain over time.
The first prize is for 6 of those super soft Little Comfort Bambee fitteds, a $113.70 dollar value!
The second prize is for a Lunette Menstrual Cup, a $39.99 value! Both were generously provided by Green Team Enterprises.
You can enter using the rafflecopter form below. US only. Winner chooses size.
After publishing my post about how much I loved my Diva Cup I was surprised how many of you wanted more information about menstrual cups. At the time I wasn’t prepared to answer many of the questions because I had so recently started using one myself. Since then I have tried a few more brands and have had enough time to get very comfortable with using a cup. Enough so that I took out my video camera and filmed myself inserting one…………………………. into a wine glass. I hope at least a few of you were shocked for a millisecond on that one.In all honesty using a cup can change your life for the better. All women should know this is an option, especially teenagers who have decades of periods to look forward to. This video will answer all of your questions about how and why menstrual cups are the greatest things since sliced bread. If not I have some more information for you to read in this post and links to even more helpful resources. I’m also hosting a giveaway for 1 Diva Cup and 1 Lunette Cup (and extras) at the end of the post.
There are several brands of menstrual cups on the market even beyond the five featured in the video. I showed you the Diva Cup, Lunette Cup, Keeper Cup, Fleur Cup, and the Moon Cup, and MCUK. Other brands to consider are Meluna (the most customizable with options for soft/med/hard and different stems), LadyCup, and Yuuki. Another option is the Softcup that is less bell shaped. You can find a chart comparing several of these brands at The Eco Friendly Family.
Choosing a Cup
Choosing a menstrual cup can seem as overwhelming as picking a cloth diaper system. Unlike diapers for your baby it makes more sense to pick one to try and hope it works, then if you find it isn’t the best fit for you, use what you know about the first cup you tried and work based off of your likes and dislikes to pick the next one. For example, I started using a Diva Cup with great success with only one complaint- it felt a TEENY bit too long and without getting a very perfect insertion I would need to remove and replace it or else I would feel the end of it- even with removing the stem. Knowing this I looked at other cups and read reviews and experiences from other women who, with the same issue, tried a Lunette cup which is slightly shorter. I still prefer the Diva Cup and Lunette to the Keeper cup, mostly because they are more flexible. I haven’t tried any others just yet. If you are wondering if your vagina is short you can reach in; if you can reach your cervix easily with a finger then you might want to try a shorter cup or possibly use a Size 1, although most women who have given birth would be best to start with a size 2.
Other factors to consider are how soft or hard the cup is. The Keeper cup is harder which can be better for women with stronger pelvic muscles or who have not given birth. With the Meluna you can choose from different styles that would be a softer cup, regular, or hard. With cups averaging about $30 each most people won’t buy multiples to try so being a vigilant researcher and informed consumer as well as learning more about your own body (even your vagina and your pelvic muscles) will save you money in the long run.
Using the Cup
A cup has a learning curve but most women will get the hang of it within 2-4 cycles. Expect to have some amusing moments in the bathroom as you transport back to the first time you used a tampon and studied the booklet showing a line drawing of a teen going “Captain Morgan” over a toilet seat. Seeing a cup you might expect that it is too large to insert and be comfortable but remember that you will be folding it, and even though it still has a wider circumference than a tampon it isn’t by too much and it is much smaller than a vaginal ultrasound wand and *ahem* other things. You can find several different ways to fold a cup which is handy if you try one fold and it doesn’t work, try another!
Benefits of Using the Cup
There are so many benefits to switching to a cup. I have my reasons, in order of importance.
Comfort- When I wear a cup I cannot tell it is there. There are no strings, no weird cramps, and no pads that can be very uncomfortable. I have forgotten I was on my period several times. Some women report fewer menstrual cramps and a lighter or more regular flow after using the cup for a while. Unlike tampons and pads, cups do not pull any moisture away with them and only hold your flow.
Less changing- I used to change tampons at least 4-6 times a day. They just weren’t comfortable to wear any longer than that no matter how heavy my period. I can go all day without changing my cup and usually change first thing in the morning and then before bed. You could go an entire day of work or school without having to rummage for a tampon at the bottom of your purse in the public restroom.
Less waste- Since switching I have not purchased or wasted any more plastic packaged tampons. No more applicators, packaging, or actual feminine products being tossed or flushed.
No more chemicals- Feminine hygiene products are exposing you to more than just cotton.
Stop the midnight Target run and save money- I haven’t had an “oh shit” moment when starting my period since using a cup because my cup is always right where I left it. Running out of tampons and making my husband run to the store late at night is no longer an event we face. If I only had one cup it would have paid for itself twice over since starting to use it. Maybe even more. You’ll need to replace your cup every few years but that is nothing like buying a box or more of disposable products each month.
Troubleshooting the Cup
Common problems when inserting the cup include the cup unfolding too early, the cup not unfolding when already in place, and the cup not creating a seal that can lead to leaks. From personal experience I use a “two-handed” method to place the cup inside since my biggest problem has been the cup unfolding too early. I hold it together with two hands, as I place it in I remove one set and keep the other on the end until far enough that I can let it open. Twisting the cup will help if you have issues with it not unfolding and will help with your seal. Trying new ways to fold the cup before insertion can affect how it goes in. Each woman will find a fold that works best for them.
Other potential problems with the cup involve it sliding down which could mean the size is too small for you or that you need a softer or harder cup. Sliding can also be a sign that you didn’t get a proper seal and it is moving down because it wasn’t placed in properly.
Leaking is also normally related to how it was placed and has little to do with your flow. Most cups have ample room for an average flow. On your heaviest day you might need to change an extra time or two than normal.
Getting over the ICK factor and “Owning it”
Cups admittedly involve more “face to face” time with your lady parts than tampons or pads. Tampon applicators mean that even though you are inserting something you don’t have to touch it. People- there are sinks. Also, that vagina belongs to you and touching it every once in a while is OK! You won’t go elbow deep, but you will have to go further than when using a tampon. In reality it isn’t that far. I just want to be real here and tell people that you will have to “go there” because everyone should know what they are getting into when switching to a cup. There are good reasons to be familiar with your lady parts, how strong your muscles are or aren’t, and what is actually happening during your period. You never know when this information will help you when a health issue arises. Own it.
Where to buy?
You can find cups on websites like Amazon.com or buy from smaller businesses locally or online. Many cloth diaper stores carry them like Kelly’s Closet, Diaper Junction, and Sweetbottoms Boutique. I’ve included affiliate links in this paragraph only for anyone interested in making a purchase after watching such a fabulous video! A small percentage of purchases will go back to Dirty Diaper Laundry and might just reimburse me for the 500 (okay, 5) cups I had to buy to make the video!
All products used in this video were purchased by me. No promotional products or monetary compensation was received and all opinions expressed in this post are my own.