Over the past several years I’ve been working on paring down my wardrobe to pieces from sustainable brands with natural fibers. This definitely includes the pieces that I wear closest to my most intimate parts.
I’m writing this just shy of four weeks postpartum with my second baby, still bleeding here and there and still using my sustainable postpartum pads.
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. Purchases made through this links pay me a small commission for my referral, at no extra cost to you. As always, I don’t ever link anything I don’t or wouldn’t use myself.
why choose sustainable postpartum pads?
When I began preparing all my postpartum supplies, I wanted to have natural and breathable materials to wear against my lady bits. I already knew of a few brands but I began searching for sustainable postpartum pads and underwear to have in my stash.
I had already previously made the switch to a menstrual cup and had a few cloth pads on hand so this wasn’t a huge jump for me. Reusable cotton pads were also a lifesaver for me with breastfeeding. I didn’t have a totally zero waste postpartum but I was more conscious about minimizing waste this time around.
I used traditional maxi pads after my first birth and was just so uncomfortable. They were bulky and itchy and they filled the trashcan up so fast with plastic waste.
Another really great thing about sustainable postpartum pads is you can use them to make padsicles. Just brew up your favorite herbal sitz bath mixture, soak a little onto your pads and pop them in the freezer!
what does postpartum bleeding look like?
Maybe this is a similar case for you or you’re just venturing into planning out to have a more sustainable postpartum. Either way, if you’ve found yourself here, I know you must be at least a tiny bit intrigued.
If you’ve had one or more babies you may already have an idea of what your postpartum bleeding looks like. If this is your first, the initial 24-48 hours are the heaviest. From there, your bleeding, or lochia, could last anywhere from 2 -12 weeks. This will all vary based on your body, your level of activity, if you’re breastfeeding etc.
Remember that your body just birthed a human as well as an organ that sustained your baby’s life while inside the womb. This leaves behind a very large wound inside your uterus that’s going to take time to heal.
sustainable postpartum pad options
I wanted my body to heal comfortably as it needed, so I chose to use breathable and natural materials as opposed to plastic and other synthetic materials for my postpartum pads.
Because bleeding can last for several weeks, my preference is to use reusable cloth pads. They’re just more comfortable to me against my skin and I like knowing that I can reuse them over and over during the several weeks postpartum as well as when my period returns.
With reusables there will be more laundry–which might turn you away. But I promise, once you get into a routine it’s so simple and easy to maintain.
natural materials + affordable price point
Rael has some really great options for both organic cotton disposable and reusable pads. They are hypoallergenic and made without the use of toxins, chlorine, pesticides, and fragrance. The pads also feature wings, leak lock technology, and a super absorbent core. They come in five different sizes to accommodate various body types and menstrual conditions.
The brand’s mission is to provide every woman with access to quality, high-performing period care that’s as good for you as it is for the environment. They also produce packaging that is recyclable.
Rael is my top choice for sustainable postpartum pads as their products are natural, breathable and affordable. I’m also a huge fan of their protective period panties to alternate or even pair with a pad.
minimal design + heavy absorbency
If you’re looking for a very minimal pad but one that still absorbs a heavier flow, Glad Rags are another organic cotton option. These pads have wings with a snap enclosure and come with two extra inserts for added absorbency. Using 100% organic cotton, they’re made without plastics or perfumes.
This brand also takes sustainable postpartum pads to the next level being 100% compostable once they’ve ended their life cycle.
Fun fact: they use a local bike delivery service to receive finished goods from their local sewing partner.
stunning prints + adjustable snaps
These cloth pads consist of a water-resistant anti-leak base layer of recycled post-consumer polyester + polyurethane laminate with wings designed to snap fasten around the base of underwear for security. The wing snaps have 2 size options in width to cater to your desired fit. Each size cloth pad contains varying layers of absorbent organic bamboo cotton fleece.
The colors and the prints on the fabric are so beautiful, you almost don’t want to hide them in your underwear! Their trial pack is such a sweet gift to give as a gift to a pregnant mama to support her in postpartum.
This is an Australian based company, but they can be purchased in the United States from another lovely small shop jemma + way.
beautiful designs + 4 absorbency layers
It has the softest surface of bamboo velour and three layers of bamboo terry as absorbent core. That is 4 layers of absorbency in total. The back is a layer of waterproof TPU that prevents leakage.
The cloth pad has wings made of TPU. Since the TPU is not absorbent blood will not get to the other side of the cloth pad and you will avoid leaks.
organic materials + reasonable prices
If you’re just not able to settle on any of the above designs or constructions, Etsy is the best place to look for alternative options. There are several shops that offer even more beautiful designs and other various materials. I even stumbled across one maker that uses organic cotton fleece in her menstrual and postpartum pads.
Many of the shops also sell their pads individually if you are looking to try out some different brands before making a commitment.
I do love my cloth pads but there are some really great sustainable postpartum pad options out there. I like to keep some on hand in case I happen to get back up on laundry one day–which is bound to happen with a newborn!
eco-friendly + ultra thin
This company uses bamboo pulp instead of wood and cotton for their pads because it’s 15% more absorbent, grows quickly and requires less water to produce. They are made to be hypoallergenic and antibacterial while creating less waste than traditional maxi pads. They’re also biodegradable.
*Public Goods does use a membership model but they do offer 25% off your first order. So stock up on some of their other great products to prepare for your postpartum!
herbal infused + gynecologist approved
These herbal postpartum sanitary pads use botanicals to reduce odor causing bacteria and maintain natural moisture. If you just can’t find the time to add DIY’ing padsicles to your to-do before baby comes list, these are a great alternative to offer that soothing sensation without all the prep work.
Manufactured with chlorine and pesticide free cotton and infused rose, lavender, aloe and mint essential oils, these maternity pads with wings are refreshingly cool. They measure 33cm long with wings.
Each year, the Honey Pot Co commits to donating 2% of sales to charitable organizations that share their intention to provide access, connection, kindness and education to humans with vaginas across the globe.
Pro Tip: this brand can be found at Target. So, when you find your pad stash running low, this is an easy one to have your husband run out and grab for ya 🙂
extra long length + thoughtfully designed
Nyssa pads are specially designed to support bleeding and leakage post-birth. The extra long length of these postpartum pads shows the thoughtfulness and consideration of its function to support a healing mama’s body. As you’re going to be lounging, resting and in a reclined position for a bit post-birth having the confidence that you won’t have any leaks is so important.
These pads are made from chemical-free organic cotton. They have not been treated with chlorine bleach.
I’m a sucker for cute packaging so I give Nyssa some bonus points for their minimal but fun design 🙂
powerfully absorbent + radically thin
Another wingless option, Cora ultra-thin pads absorb more than 10x their weight to keep you feeling drier longer. These pads are hypoallergenic and free of chlorine, fragrances, artificial dyes, deodorants, adhesives, acetone, rayon, polyester, phthalates, GMOs and other harmful ingredients.
Because these are one of the more thin options, they may be best for after the first few heaviest days when your flow lightens up a bit.
Every purchase helps girls in need. Your Cora purchase provides pads and health education to girls lacking access to safe and healthy period care. This allows them to confidently manage their periods, stay in school and step boldly into the promise of their futures.
seriously soft cotton + sized for xs – 5xl
**TIP – when you’re out and about, wet bags (I use the same one I have for our cloth diapers) come super in handy. Just throw it in your purse or bag and when you have a soaked pad, store it in your wet bag until you can get home to soak and wash.
If you made it to the end of this, you may be feeling overwhelmed with the idea that your body will be bleeding for weeks and having to choose which products to manage your flow–all while taking care of a newborn. I’ve been there too.
But one thing that really helps me is meditating on how intricate and thoughtfully our Creator designed women’s bodies to function and essentially heal itself after birthing a baby. Yes, there are discomforts that may come along with it. But try to focus on how intentional the Lord was when dreaming up how our bodies were created to birth and deliver new life into this world.