Before CJ's arrival, I decided I was going to try out cloth pads (or "Mama Cloth") during my postpartum period. Like cloth diapers, mama cloth comes in all sorts of styles, sizes, materials and patterns, so I was happy to get the opportunity to partner with two different brands to review their offerings.
The first brand I worked with was Stitched by Hand, an Etsy shop owned by mama of 6 (soon to be 7!) and former blogger Holly. This lady is one talented seamstress; in addition to mama cloth, Holly also offers nursing pads, crocheted hats, natural teethers, stuffed baby toys and other hand-stitched goodies. I partnered with Holly previously to review an adorable crocheted owl hat (which S still wears today!) and giraffe stuffy toy. This time around, Holly sent me three different cloth pads to try out. She generously threw in a pair of nursing pads too!
Holly always packages up her orders minimally but attractively. Love it!
Here are the three cloth pads, right side up and upside down. Notice they are all different sizes, shapes, patterns and materials yet use the same type of snap closure. From what I've seen so far (from Stitched by Hand and other mama cloth sellers), the vast majority of cloth pads use this snap closure/attachment method.
Let's look at each pad in a little more detail.
First, the Organic Bamboo Velour Overnight / Postpartum Mama Cloth.
This pad is made with super soft organic bamboo velour on top for a total pampered luxurious feel, a double inner layer of French Terry for absorbency, and backed with a layer of waterproof PUL to ensure no leaks with the fewest possible layers for less bulk. Each pad is turned and top stitched allowing for the most comfortable fit, and has a "channel" sewn in the center to help direct the flow towards the middle of the pad, and not overflowing towards the edges.
Measuring approximately 12 inches long, and 3-4 inches wide on the padded part itself, the snappable wings help hold the pad in place and offer even more protection. The wider ends on this style work wonderfully for a heavier flow, and it's extra length makes it the perfect overnight or post-partum pad. (Choose backing color from: pink, dark blue, seaspray, yellow, or red)
Second, the Extra Coverage Mama cloth in the Funky Flower print:
This pad is made with 100% cotton flannel on top, an inner layer of French Terry for absorbency, and backed with a layer of waterproof PUL to ensure no leaks with the fewest possible layers for less bulk. Each pad is turned and top stitched allowing for the most comfortable fit, and has a "channel" sewn in the center to help direct the flow towards the middle of the pad, and not overflowing towards the edges.
Measuring approximately 10 inches long, and 3 inches wide on the padded part itself, the snappable wings help hold the pad in place and offer even more protection. The wider ends on this style work wonderfully for a heavier flow.
Finally, the Evening Butterfly Mama Cloth:
This style has the same product description as the extra coverage version, however does not have the wider ends so it's more suitable for a regular/lighter flow.
All of these pads have the same laundering/care directions:
For best care, pre-rinse with water and oxy or hydrogen peroxide to prevent staining, and wash on normal cycle with your other laundry. May machine dry.
Holly also offers pads in a minky fabric, if you're looking for some extra-fluffy protection! :)
My Review - Mama Cloth:
Upon opening my package, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the cloth pads were smaller and trimmer than I anticipated. As a total newbie, I guess I had this idea that mama cloth would be bulkier than disposable pads - similar to the size ratio of cloth diapers to 'sposies. But this isn't the case at all - at least not with Holly's cloth! All three pads are actually much thinner than disposable pads designed for heavy flow/postpartum use.
Prior to laundering, I took measurements and all items were quite close to description for length. I decided to measure the wing span for width rather than the tip. Here's what I recorded:
Overnight/Postpartum: 13 x 6 1/4 "
Extra Coverage: 10 1/4 x 7 1/4 "
Regular: 9 3/4 x 7 1/2 "
Breast pad: 4 1/4 ish
I prepped the pads by laundering once with my cloth diapers (including a hot wash cycle and medium dry). All items came out perfectly - no shrinking, fading or wrinkling. I re-measured a couple of them just to check, and indeed, they still had the same dimensions.
So now the important details - ease of use, comfort/fit and performance!
All of the mama cloth pads are easy to put on - just place, snap underneath and you're done! No fiddling around with throwaway parts and sticky, awkward wings like you get with disposables. All pads are also super soft and comfy to wear - again, a welcome contrast to the papery, rough feel of 'sposies. The postpartum pad feels particularly luxurious with its organic bamboo velour outer. All pads have been cut to a perfect width for a "standard" pair of underwear so there's no jutting out, bunching or pinching of material.
Performance-wise, I was impressed by how much flow all of the pads could handle! I started wearing my mama cloth 3 days postpartum, as I felt more comfortable wearing those pseudo-diapers to contend with the initial super-heavy flow. So I'd say my flow was similar to a heavy period when I started wearing my mama cloth. I mainly used the postpartum pad overnight but I was able to use the other two during the day for at least 2-3 hours at a time. True to description, each pad directs flow along the core and not out toward the edges, providing an effective guard against leaks. All in all, I felt very confident wearing these pads!
The only usage issue I noted is that, with a lot of movement/activity, the larger two pads can shift so that one or both ends are hanging off the side a bit. My guess is that this isn't a problem with Holly's design so much as a challenge with cloth pads in general, since they attach via a single middle snap vs. disposables which stick right down in one spot. This was only a minor nuisance, however.
As for care & maintenance, I rinsed each pad after wearing, stored them in a small wetbag and then laundered them with my regular loads - both cloth diapers and clothing. The pads have generally washed out well, though some minor staining has developed on the postpartum one. Admittedly I haven't used any pre-rinse agents so this probably could have been prevented with a li'l more TLC. Not a huge deal, though, and the staining could probably still be sunned out.
All in all, I love my Stitched by Hand mama cloth from and will definitely use it again when "Aunty Flo" returns! The pads are all sewn extremely well and the material appears to be quite hardy, so I'd expect them to last at least a few years - possibly all the way to the Big M!
As I mentioned earlier, Holly also sent me a pair of nursing pads, in the same Evening Butterfly print as the extra coverage pad.
These nursing pads are made with 100% cotton flannel on top, an inner layer of French Terry for absorbency, and backed with a layer of waterproof PUL to ensure no leaks with the fewest possible layers for less bulk and breathability. Each pad has sheared edges (so slight fraying after washing is normal) and top stitched allowing for the most comfortable fit.
Pads measure approximately 4 inches, and come in a set of two.
My Review - Nursing Pads:
Similar to the mama cloth, these nursing pads are also very trim, and slightly smaller in diameter than other cloth nursing pads I've used. They fit nicely into the cups of my nursing bras and lie flat & smooth so it's difficult to detect that they're on. I do usually wear a bra with a molded insert which fully conceals any nursing pad, however it's good to know these ones are virtually seamless when worn with an unmolded bra as well! As for leakage absorption, the pads do a fine job - no issues here! I was a bit concerned when I noticed the outer edges beginning to fray following the 2nd or 3rd wash, but Holly reassured me that this is normal and expected. The fraying results in a natural look which is her "signature", and the double zig-zag stitching prevents the pads from coming apart. (Obviously I didn't read the product description close enough as this characteristic is mentioned right in there - oops! I'll claim Baby Brain on this one! ;) Overall, these are trim, well-performing nursing pads with a funky touch - definitely recommended!
To purchase some mama cloth, nursing pads and/or other hand-stitched goodies of your own, head over to Stitched by Hand and shop to your heart's concent! Use the special discount code M2M10 and receive 10% off your order! (Note: Etsy policies apply to all purchases.)
Holly has offered to give away 2 Mama Cloth pads from Stitched by Hand to one lucky Manager to Mom reader! Winner chooses from among available styles, materials and patterns. Open to CAN/US.
To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Please follow all instructions within each entry option to ensure your entries are valid.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: The prize is being provided and shipped to the winner by Stitched by Hand. I received no financial compensation for writing my review or offering this giveaway, although I did receive the sample items free of charge. This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours.