It’s Plastic Free July and it’s time our periods are no longer a burden on the environment. Did you know that many mainstream brands of pads contain plastic, which means they take 500 years or more to break down. A recent study has found that some mainstream brands of pads contain 2.4g of plastic per pad and 36g of plastic per pack of pads. That’s up to 5 plastic carry bags per pack, and does not include the packaging.*
We can do so much better than that, and thankfully we now have options to have completely plastic free periods. Here’s my favourite products that contain no plastic in their products. I also consider whether they contain dioxins and other chemicals, which can affect our bodies and the environment.
Not all period underwear are created equal. Period underwear is such a great addition to the sustainable options for periods, but recently it was found that some brands contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs). PFA’s are a class of toxic chemicals linked to significant health impacts like cancer, reproductive problems, and endocrine disruption. They also do not easily degrade in the environment or in the body and can accumulate over time. The following brands do not contain any PFA’s
Happy Flow is an online course for girls aged 9-12 and their mums/carers to do together. It can be done before or after she gets her first period.
Happy Flow educates and empowers girls to prepare for and embrace their period and help them understand the change their body is about to go through. We show them it’s a natural process and nothing to be ashamed of, as well as help them feel safe having conversations with their mum/carer through the journey.
This is not your usual read a book and discover, Happy Flow covers all the details to make your daughter confident and comfortable with her body, it’s ALL the details I wish I knew when I first started my period, and it’s also a time to bond over. She knows you have her back!
We talk about:
How to prepare for this time as a mother
Learning the female reproductive anatomy in a fun and relatable way
The how’s, what’s, why’s and when’s of our first period
How menstrual hygiene products work and what is the best one for you
How we feel and behave differently through the four inner seasons or phases of our menstrual cycle
How to track your cycle and why it’s so important
The importance of honouring this Rite of Passage, and how to do it in the most appropriate way for your daughter
If you’re ready to be having open and supportive conversations with your daughter, and ensure she is fully informed and confident with her first period, sign up to Happy Flow here now.
In a 2019 study by Libra it was found that Periods remain one of, if not the most stigmatised topics for Australian women. Here are just some of the statistics.
– 75% of women surveyed think there is stigma associated with periods. Periods were listed as more taboo than drugs, sex, STD’s and mental health.
– 8o% of women will hide their periods. Avoiding swimming, light coloured clothing and hiding period products in their sleeves and bras.
– 70% of school girls would rather fail a subject at class than have their peers know they have their period.
– 25% of 18-24 year old women were too embarrassed to purchase period products.
– Almost 50% of women aged 25-39 think society’s views on periods is old fashioned
– Less than 1 in 10 Australian women feel empowered when they have their period.
So what can we do to change period stigma?
Talk to our daughters about what’s going on for us, and what is happening to them. We don’t want our girls to think it’s normal for them to hide what is so natural. It’s also really important to ask them about how things are at school. Do they feel comfortable when they have to change a pad or other product? Do they know where the best toilets are to go to? Are their friends supportive and do they talk to their friends about when they have their period? We may think they’re comfortable at school, but there could be other things happening that we aren’t aware of
What is a normal cycle length when you first start your period?
When girls first start their period, and potentially for the following 2-3 years, their cycles do not follow the 26-32 day norm that we are used to. Some things to remember.
– A normal cycle length for girls can be anywhere from 21-45 days, with an average cycle length of 32 days.
– The amount of days they have their period can also range from 1-7 days.
– The flow can change from cycle to cycle from light spotting to heavy.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The key at this stage is to always be prepared with pads, undies, or whatever form of product you have chosen. Carrying emergency pads is always a good idea, and if the flow is heavy, wearing backup pads and undies.
It’s also a great idea to start tracking their cycle at this point. It can often feel like you might have your period every week, or only every few months. But if they are tracking, they have a much better picture of just how often and how heavy each cycle is. Often changes in their moods and energy can be the first signs of an impending bleed. After a number of cycles they’ll get a much better idea of what is normal for them.
What to focus on when tracking your menstrual cycle.
Tracking can either be done with an app like Clue App or My Flo, or just in a diary.
A good idea of what things to focus on each day include:
– What day they are on, EG, day 1 of the cycle is the first day of bleeding
– How heavy the flow is, spotting, light, heavy.
– Any cervical fluid or vaginal secretions, if so, is it clear, stretchy like egg white, tacky.
– Food cravings
– Appetite in general
– Energy high or low
– Chatty or quiet
– Tender breasts
– Happy or sad
– Focused or distracted
– Productive or unproductive
– How does your hair and skin look?
Tracking your menstrual cycle is not only about when you’ll get your period, it’s an overall look at your whole wellbeing. If things are going wrong hormonally, the menstrual cycle is often where the signs will first show up. With a good picture of how the menstrual cycle looks for each individual, you will be able to take these along to your health practitioners for the right support.
I’ll admit it, I was sceptical. Would I need to change undies every few hours, and how was the laundry going to go?
I’m happy to report, my experience with Modibodi has been nothing but positive. I currently have the Classic Bikini, heavy absorbency, which holds 15-20 ml, or approximately 2 tampons worth. The fabric is really soft, and the fit is true to size. Yes, you can notice the extra bulkiness in the crutch, however it didn’t feel as bulky as a pad, and I soon got used to it. For my first few cycles I only wore them on my lighter days, toward the end of my period, as I really wasn’t sure how they’d go. I found I could wear them all day without any signs of leakage, odour, or a wet feeling. I’m a menstrual cup user on my other days, and occasionally I’d wear them both together.
The real test came when I wore them on a “just in case” day. My cycle can be anything from 23 – 27 days, so when I feel I’m getting closer, and I’m going to be in a place I can’t get to a toilet quickly, I’ll wear them, just incase. This was the day I was about to photograph a wedding. I called into a cafe for a coffee on the way, (literally left home 15 minutes earlier), popped to the toilet for a last minute wee, and Hello, there she is! I didn’t have anything else, so knew it was going to be a good test.
The first day of my period is always the heaviest. If I was a tampon user, I’d easily go through 3-4 tampons. I had my telltale first-day cramps, but throughout the day I kept wondering if I actually did have my period or not, as I felt so dry! I was a little paranoid, so I went to the toilet more often to make sure there was no leakage, all-the-while wondering why I didn’t feel wet. My period was definitely there, definitely it’s normal flow, but these undies worked so damn good, I hardly even noticed the bleed! I was amazed by how dry they felt on me.
Thirty minute travel, 6 hours of shooting, a 40 minute drive home and I still felt dry with no leakage. I was super impressed!
Now I alternate between my cup and my undies, often opting for my undies at night and on the lighter days of my period. I have zero concerns over leakage.
I’ve also resorted to wearing my modibodi undies on other days. Since having three children, light bladder issues have come up when I’m really busting, despite my Doctor being impressed with my pelvic floor strength during my recent Pap test. Wedding photographers can go for hours without toilet breaks, or sometimes be nowhere near a toilet! Yep, it’s happened before! Not a full on wet my pants situation. But you know, you get to that point when you’ve been holding on long enough, your mind knows you’re actually on your way to the toilet, you’re literally 20 meters away, and a little bit of wee has to escape.
Come on! Tell me I’m not the only one! So when I’m shooting weddings, which can be 6, 8 or 10 hours, I’ll wear my modibodi period underwear to ensure there’s no wee time (pun intended) where I get stuck and can’t get to the loo quick enough. They have saved me!
So How does Modibodi work?
I recently got in touch with the lovely team at Modibodi and asked some pressing questions. Here is all you need to know for you or your girls.
Do they leak?
The underwear is designed with different absorbency levels. We have light-moderate, moderate-heavy and heavy/overnight, meaning ladies can pick out the absorbency that best reflects them. Customers who have chosen their best-fit absorbency level hardly ever report leakages. Depending on your flow, Modibodi Underwear can be a total replacement for disposal feminine hygiene products (panty liners, pads, tampons) OR can work in conjunction with them. It’s all about knowing your flow and which absorbency level suits you best.
Are they okay to use during sports and dancing?
They sure are! Mums have reported that our Seamfree range works really well under leotards (as they’re no VPL), and we’ve just launched our first pair of activewear leak-proof leggings too – perfect for sport! Here are the relevant links: Modibodi Seamfree Modibodi Activewear Leggings
Do you need to change them during the day?
It’s all about knowing your flow, and which absorbency level suits you best. Most of our customers report that they can stay in the same pair all day long (feeling dry and fresh too), and then they’ll slip into a new pair to sleep in if they want overnight protection.
How do you clean them?
We recommend a simple three-step process as follows
1. Rinse under cold water until the water runs clear
2. Pop them in the washing machine on a cold wash (they can go in with your other clothes on your usual laundry load)
3. Hang them out on the washing line to dry
Will they smell?
Our clever patented technology wicks the moisture away from the body and locks in the liquid and odour under the top layer of fabric, meaning you stay dry and odour free. If over time you feel like there’s a lingering odour, you can rinse them with a bit of white vinegar and it’ll get rid of any smells! If left soaking for more than a few hours, your underwear can end up smelling mildewy and musty. Same goes for storing your underwear in a damp place or sealed in a plastic bag for a long time. But don’t worry – all you have to do is add a little vinegar and wash again!
Modibodi have recently launched their youth range, RED, designed specifically for girls starting their periods and wanting to tackle their menstruation without having to use disposable environmentally-damaging period products (or simply wanting to avoid that awkward pad-unwrapping in the school toilets!). You can take a look at the RED range here
Beyond The Cusp Workshops show a great range of Modibodi period underwear, including Seamfree and the Red range. The girls love being able to touch and feel them, and even give them the liquid test to see how they work.
If you’re considering trying some Modibodi period underwear for either yourself or your daughter, I have a special 15% discount code for you.