disclaimer: This post may contain TMI (too much information) for some readers - namely, men!
I gave birth to my baby girl 18, almost 19, months ago. I breastfed for 14 or 15 months. My dear Aunt Flo, thank God, did not bother to visit during most of those breastfeeding months. She showed up once around 13 months, and then not again until I had completely stopped breastfeeding. The very idea of using tampons in that sensitive, episiotomy-scarred area was akin to fingernails screeching across a chalkboard. So I was in no way going that route. Disposable sanitary pads are, well, gross. And stinky. And uncomfortable. And a waste of money. And generate a lot of trash for my tiny bathroom trash can that I am too lazy to empty everyday. You get the point - not going that route, either. Are there really alternatives? You betcha! I discovered "mama cloth" in the course of cloth diapering and participating in a few different online communities of cloth diapering mamas. Turns out, there are a plethora of mama cloth makers right on Etsy! It really is less gross than disposable pads, they do not stink, and they are super comfortable.
I have tried a few different brands now, and my favorites so far are April M Designs. They are all 100% cotton flannel, which is soft, trim fitting, and absorbant. I am definitely liking the more natural fibers like cotton, hemp and bamboo better than synthetics. Just look at this adorable panty liner she has available right now! And, I can't say if it's for sure from using cloth, or maybe just from being different since giving birth, but my cycles are definitly lighter. I wish I could say they are also shorter like some people supposedly experience when using cloth, but they are not. Another plus for me though is way less cramping! I have read that all the chemicals in disposables contribute to excessive bleeding and cramping. And, I'm doing laundry all the time anyways, so it's not any harder or adding more work to my day.