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Teens/Tweens and Cloth Pads Q&A

Teens and Cloth Pads – 14 Year Old Answers Your Questions About Using Cloth Menstrual Pads

Crystal Burton (and her teen daughter) 
Owner of Tree Hugger Cloth Pads

Are you a teen curious about using cloth pads?  Are you a parent of a teen or tween and wondering what to tell them about cloth pads?  We have some information that you will want to hear.

Our daughter is currently 14 years old and uses cloth pads.  As a child of parents who make and sell cloth pads (Tree Hugger Cloth Pads), she certainly had common knowledge of cloth pads well before her period but that doesn’t mean she didn’t try disposable pads first!  Disposable pads/Tampons are still very much mainstream and what is being used today by most teens so she wanted to try them to experience the "norm".  We bought her a box of disposable pads (we allowed her to choose – this isn’t about forcing anyone) but she quickly decided that cloth was 100 times more comfortable and was what she wanted to use from then on.

We get a lot of questions from parents about what it is like as a teen using cloth pads, which cloth pads they should buy for their teens/tweens, and many other questions like "how do teens use cloth pads at school?".  So we came up with an idea:  Let’s collect some questions from our private cloth pads Facebook chat group members and have our 14 year old daughter answer them.

Keep in mind she is shy so many of the answers are short but they are honest, personal, and come directly from her.  Perhaps you will learn something from her answers.  In the end, know that using cloth pads as a teen is certainly an option and is likely a lot easier and less complicated than you may at first think.

Q:  I'm starting to stock pile for my daughter, so far I've gotten light, heavy days and pantyliners, are night time ones used lots?
A:  I personally use night pads whenever I'm at home, so I think I use night pads the most. My second most used would be heavy because I don't have to change them as often if I'm at school.

Q:  At what age do you think you should start a stash for your daughter?
A:  It depends on what age you got your period. I got mine around the same time my mom did when she was younger, right before I turned 12. So if you started your period when you were twelve then maybe start a stash for your daughter when she's 11.

Q:  Are your friends more curious or grossed out by the thought of cloth?
A:  I'm not sure. we don't really talk about it. I think they respect it.

Q:  Which fabric (top) is your favorite?
A:  My favorite is cotton knit, the second is regular cotton and third is minky.

Q:  Is it easy to use cloth pads while in a school setting? Where do you keep your wet bag for convenience?
A:  it is usually quite easy. I use a dual pocket purse wet bag and keep it in my backpack. Although it depends on what school you go to. Sometimes you aren't allowed to take your backpack to classes so in that case, I would keep it in my locker. 

Q:  Have you ever tried disposable pads or tampons? If so, what are your opinion on them vs cloth?
A:  I have tried them but I definitely prefer cloth. Not only because they are more comfortable and save money, but because they are much better for the planet! 

Q:  My daughter is turning 9 in March...I want to start her straight on cloth when the times comes but I'm nervous about how she'll deal with them at school.
A:  Well, the wet bags make it more discreet because they look like a snack or makeup bag. Or you can use a pad wrapper to take one to the bathroom so that you can just stuff it in your pocket. That's what I recommend.

Q:  Do you hand rinse first & if you do how do you feel about that? Do the standard size & width cloth pads work well or are they too bulky? Are you comfortable leaving the house with them or use disposable when getting out? Is it common for young girls or do most of your friends use disposable? Does staining bother you? Sorry, haha, I've got a 12 yr old who seems a little on the fence about cloth but definitely very curious.
A:  No problem! I don't hand rinse them because I prefer not to handle them if I don't have to. I find that the standard sizes do work well for me, even in leggings you usually can't see it. I also use cloth when I leave the house. I don't actually know anyone else that uses cloth but I'm sure some people at my school do. Staining doesn't bother me because it is gonna get messy again so I think it's alright.

Q:  What is her favourite size - does she prefer 7” or 9”. Is narrower better?
A:  I use nine-inch (day)pads because I find I don't need it to be narrower. I don't use pantyliners I just wear light pads if it's a light day.

Q:  The most embarrassing thing for a teen girl in my school a good 20 years ago was changing for gym class and having the other girls figure out that you were currently menstruating , or even being aware of someone menstruating ( noticing thread of a tampon sneaking out, realizing that someone is wearing wings! Oh My!) My question: is this still taboo? Does cloth ever become gym room talk? What advice do you have for teens fearing the " they're all going to know" dread?

A:  I don't hear other girls talking about it but I just wear a longer shirt for gym. So I change my pants first so my shirt covers it.

Q:  My daughter is turning 10 in March and has expressed she doesn’t want to use disposable and that she only wants to use cloth. What kind do you think is best to start her off with? If she takes after her older sister she will probably start in the next year or less.
A:  I think start by getting her a couple light and/or heavy day pads and have her try wearing them around the house before she actually gets her period so that she will be used to wearing them by the time she gets it.

Q:  Do you feel more empowered about your cycle because of the nature of your parents business?
A:  I don't know about being more empowered but periods are definitely a more normal subject than in most houses. I mean my dad calls himself pad man so I had to get used to the idea of periods being talked about constantly pretty fast. I also had a lot more knowledge about it prior to getting my period.

Q:  Do you share with friends that you use cloth pads? What's their reaction?
A:  We really don't talk about periods but they likely all know what my parents do.

Q:  With your parents in the cloth pad business, were disposable a possible option? I'm allergic to disposable, and my 7yr old has only seen cloth a d cup, but when she starts (I was young so I'm assuming she will be too) do I introduce both or just what we do?
A:  Disposable was an option for me but I tried and decided I prefer cloth. I think you should tell her what you use but also explain the other options so she knows what's available.

 

We really want to thank our daughter for answering your questions.  Being a daughter to owners of Tree Hugger Cloth Pads is a unique experience and we are glad she was willing to come out of her shell a bit to answer your questions.

Do you have other questions?  Contact us and let us know what you are wondering.  Together we can help a new generation of girls and women adopt cloth menstrual pads as a positive lifestyle choice.


Edited after publishing:

We received an email from one of our helpful customers who happens to be 17-years-old.  She wanted to share her answers and we are happy to have them.  The answers above are from our 14 year old and below we will post the Q&A with the answers from our 17-year-old customer.  Shout out to Rachel for being so helpful!

Q:  I'm starting to stock pile for my daughter, so far I've gotten light, heavy days and pantyliners, are night time ones used lots?
A:  Personally, I do not use the night time ones a lot and I didn’t actually but any until recently. But everyone is different, would suggest buying one and letting her decide if she likes it or not before investing in many of them. Also her needs might change over time, I started really liking pantyliners and now I don’t wear them as much.

Q:  At what age do you think you should start a stash for your daughter?
A:  I started pretty late in the game at 15, way later than my mom. So I was able to have already built a well developed stash of things I liked. I would suggest starting the stash once you feel comfortable talking with your daughter about menstruation and relatively close-ish to the time you would expect her to start.

Q:  Are your friends more curious or grossed out by the thought of cloth?
A:  I am pretty proud that I was able to convert one of my friends and my mom. My friend and I actually talk about it a lot. She converted her mom too! As for my other friends there were curious but their mom though it was gross and decided it was not an option …. it made me disappointed to think they couldn’t choose this option for themselves (even at 16). I think it depends on your friends and I have really close relationship that I can talk about stuff like this.

Q:  Which fabric (top) is your favorite?
A:  still undecided, but I do really like cotton/jersey knit even though most of my stash is minky.

Q:  Is it easy to use cloth pads while in a school setting? Where do you keep your wet bag for convenience?
A:   it's super easy, I mean I am in high school and just take my backpack to the bathroom and change between classes or I wear a heavy pad if I know for some reason I won’t be able to change when I need to. I have a small one pouch wet bag that is discrete and looks like a pencil case in my backpack that I use for clean and dirty (I don’t usually go through that many pads because the school day is short).

Q:  Have you ever tried disposable pads or tampons? If so, what are your opinion on them vs cloth?
A:  Even Though I was fortunate enough to start right away with cloth, I am a swimmer and a lifeguard so cloth isn’t always an option. Unfortunately, I have not yet figured out a cup so I use tampons. As for disposable pads, I had to use them because I had nothing else but I really don’t like them after using cloth. I think it should definitely be a choice and even if your daughter chooses disposables it’s all about comfort for that person, this is super important. Coming from a person with sensory and touch issues.

Q:  My daughter is turning 9 in March...I want to start her straight on cloth when the times comes but I'm nervous about how she'll deal with them at school.
A:  School was really a non issue as it is easy to keep it discreet (also they don’t make wrapper noises in the bathroom) with a small pocket wet bag to keep in your desk or back pack. I would say don’t let any worry about school discourage her from using cloth.

Q:  Do you hand rinse first & if you do how do you feel about that? Do the standard size & width cloth pads work well or are they too bulky? Are you comfortable leaving the house with them or use disposable when getting out? Is it common for young girls or do most of your friends use disposable? Does staining bother you? Sorry, haha, I've got a 12 yr old who seems a little on the fence about cloth but definitely very curious.
A:  i don’t hand rinse. Try to avoid touching the dirty ones. I usually put them in with my regular laundry in a cold wash. Sometimes my mom washes mine with towels and then they come out super clean, cleaner than I can get them. The standard width works fine but sometimes I need a thinner or less bulky pad so I use a different one. Super comfortable leaving the house, sometimes I worry about leaks if I didn’t bring extras with me. I think most young girls use disposables because when I bring it up most have never heard of cloth. Sometimes I care about staining but they will just get messy again so it don’t care that much.

Q:  What is her favourite size - does she prefer 7” or 9”. Is narrower better?
A:  I prefer the shorter 7” length just because I tent to near narrower underwear and I tend to stay in the centre of the pad. I find Treehugger pads to be a good length and sometimes I get narrowed ones. I do like the 9” pads for coverage if I am sitting all day or for bed.

Q:  My daughter is turning 10 in March and has expressed she doesn’t want to use disposable and that she only wants to use cloth. What kind do you think is best to start her off with? If she takes after her older sister she will probably start in the next year or less.
A:  if she wants to start with cloth, start her with cloth! I would start her with a stash that has a few of lots of different options and she can let you know what kind she likes and you can get more of those ones.

Q:  Do you share with friends that you use cloth pads? What's their reaction?

A:  my one friend I often share with her when I find a new brand or sometimes buy 2 of the same And gift her one. She is super cool about it.

Q:  Were disposable a possible option? I'm allergic to disposable, and my 7yr old has only seen cloth a d cup, but when she starts (I was young so I'm assuming she will be too) do I introduce both or just what we do?
A:  disposables seem to be ‘the norm’ for many young girls and teens so this is probably what her friends will use and know. In my experience at every sleepover we discussed periods and ‘fun ways to put in tampons’. I think it’s super cool that she was exposed to cloth before disposables and think you should let her know about all the options even if you don’t use them and she can choose what she likes best.

Q:  The most embarrassing thing for a teen girl in my school a good 20 years ago was changing for gym class and having the other girls figure out that you were currently menstruating , or even being aware of someone menstruating ( noticing thread of a tampon sneaking out, realizing that someone is wearing wings! Oh My!) My question: is this still taboo? Does cloth ever become gym room talk? What advice do you have for teens fearing the " they're all going to know" dread?

A:    I haven’t taken gym since grade 9 and I hadn’t started my period at that time so I am not sure. But In my experience from changing for other team sports it has become casual conversation, in the change room and classroom, especially by grade 12. Everyone knows it’s a thing and everyone knows how to deal with it. I often hear “does anyone have a tampon?” or “can you pass me a pad?”. I however have never heard about cloth in a change room. People are generally not looking ‘there’ and it’s pretty easy to keep to yourself in the change room. Or you could just go to the bathroom to change your shorts. Even if others do know, they experience it too and usually willing to help if you need something. 

 



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  • Lauren on

    What an awesome kid for answering these questions for us. Thank her for me, that was very good info!

  • Christine on

    Thank you so much for answering our questions. Both of my girls carry 2 pads and a change of underwear to school just in case they get their period for the first time at school. You helped answer some questions that I had. ❤️😊


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