Night pads: How big is too big?

I do love a longer pad. Even when my period is almost finished and I need a thinner pad, I still prefer it to be around 11 or 12 inches for the daytime. Nights are a different matter altogether. I like BIG. I need to be comfy and I can’t be comfy with a short pad. Even if it’s a well-fitting pad, I can’t sleep unless I know I’m properly covered from front to back.

There is nothing more irritating about menstruating than tossing and turning all night – constantly straightening a pad that has bunched up, or slipped backwards, or twisted sideways. Or being too worried to lie on your front in case you have a gush and leak off the front of a pad and onto the bedsheets. Or being too worried to lie on your side in case the pad doesn’t absorb quickly enough and you leak onto the wings. Getting a decent night pad is important!

Most of my night pads are 14 inches. Lots of UK makers offer 14 inches, usually as a night or postpartum absorbency. Buying a longer pad in a lighter absorbency often means contacting a maker for a custom slot. However there are a few makers that offer any size pad in any absorbency and they’re easily ordered directly through their websites – Dimplemuff and Dinkydotbots spring to mind. Buying from a UK maker, you should expect to pay between £9 and £13-ish for a 14-inch heavy postpartum or night pad, plus postage on top.

Anyway, for nights I tend to go for a heavy pad regardless of how heavy my flow actually is. Just so that I have that peace of mind that I don’t need to think about it all night, or rush to the loo the second I wake up. I also quite like feeling well padded down there – like a little foof cushion. Comfy. But, given my love of the longer pad, I wondered if I had an upper limit. I started searching for mega pads. What was the longest I could find and would I reach a point where it wasn’t comfortable any more? How long is too long?

Here is a selection of some of my night pads:

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I’ve put a regular 10.5-inch pad (from Butterfly Cloth Pads, topped with hand-dyed jersey fabric) over on the left hand side for comparison. This gives you a better idea of how humongous my mega pads are!

The rest are (left to right):

11.5″ Dinkydotbots (cotton)
12.5″ Mimi’s Dreams (cotton flannel)
13″ Green Cycle (bamboo velour)
14″ Eco Rainbow (cotton)
15″ Environmenstrual (this one goes the opposite way to my other pads, so the cotton print goes on the bottom; the top is purple bamboo velour)
16″ Homestead Emporium (bamboo velour).

The widest pad is the Green Cycle and you can read a review of that one here but for this post I’m going to focus on the two longest pads.

Environmenstrual:

This is an Australian maker and I ordered this 15-inch pad from her Etsy store specifically so that I could try a longer pad. It was $23.70 (AUD) including shipping to the UK, which is around £13.27. I think that’s an excellent price for such a good quality pad, particularly given the postage cost.

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This is the only pad I have that goes cotton side down in my knickers. It has two core layers of bamboo fleece and a hidden layer of waterproof PUL fabric under the cotton. So for a very heavy flow, or for wearing for a longer time overnight, you can be sure that nothing will leak through. The other side is a lovely deep purple bamboo velour. It is a great fabric for fast absorption and the central zigzag stitching minimises the chance of any run-off.

So how did it fit? Very well actually. It gave brilliant coverage front and back. I wasn’t worried at all about leakage. It’s a fairly heavy pad. I wondered whether the weight of it might cause problems but the interesting thing about having the cotton side down (rather than the usual fleece) is that it seemed to keep the pad in place without any movement or slippage.

It wasn’t so wide or so long that it stuck out of my knickers. However my knickers are probably more … ahem … voluminous than most. This one didn’t hit my length limit. I needed to go bigger…

 

Homestead Emporium:

A Canadian family business, I follow their Facebook page just for the stunning photos of their rural lifestyle on the homestead. It’s nice knowing that my pads have come from a happy place!

Again, I ordered this 16-inch Ultimax pad from their Etsy store. This one was $28.35 (CAD) including shipping to the UK. That’s about £14.57. For a pad of this size and absorbency, that’s not too bad given that it’s travelled a long way! It’s worth noting that anything from overseas with a value of £15 or more is liable for import VAT (if HM Customs notice, that is). If you’d rather not run the risk of extra charges, Luxury Moon is a UK-based stockist with a selection of Homestead Emporium (HER) pads.

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I must admit, this pad scared the bejesus out of me when it arrived. It’s a behemoth. Truly mahoosive!

But actually it’s also surprisingly thin and lightweight. The serged edging helps reduce the bulk, I think. And there’s no PUL layer, just a water resistant fleece backing fabric. I prefer pads without PUL anyway so I had high hopes for this one. But it’s just so HUGE! Surely this would be my limit?!

I can honestly say it was SO comfortable to wear. It’s the middle of summer at the moment and it wasn’t too hot, despite the bamboo velour covering the vast landscape of my nether regions. I really liked the area it covered at the back. We’ve all suffered from period knicker skids due a pad that’s too short haven’t we? Haven’t we?! No? Just me then… Awkward. Well anyway, there’s no chance of that with this pad. I have since bought a couple more 15-inch HER pads and they are definitely now up there with some of my favourite brands.

It did come up quite high at the front. Now this is where I think I probably have found my limit. If you’re like me (you’ve had babies and you’re a bit porky), you probably have a bit of a belly apron. You know what I mean, yes? That wobbly bit that got stretched beyond all recognition and will never go back. Add to that the scar crease from two caesareans and you have a lovely tummy flap. Now in terms of pads, there’s only so far up it can go before you find yourself tucking it under your gut! And, to be quite frank, I don’t think there’s much likelihood of me bleeding from my navel so I really wouldn’t want a pad to creep up any further than that.

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So there you have it. A completely pointless experiment in which I discovered that 16 inches is as long as my vagina can handle. In terms of pads, that is. Ahem. How big do you like yours?

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21 thoughts on “Night pads: How big is too big?

  1. Malene M August 25, 2014 at 09:03 Reply

    First of all – your Homestead Emporium pad looks sooo awesome. The colours are gorgeous. Second: I used an Environmenstrual 12,5 inch night pad last night, and I personally think that that is my limit. It covered perfectly, and even though I had a heavy day yesterday, I didn’t wake up to a murder scene. And I slept really well. 🙂

    • The Pie Patch August 25, 2014 at 09:08 Reply

      Just shows how different we all are, doesn’t it. 12.5″ would be a perfect length for daytime for me. But I guess a decent quality brand speaks to us all, whatever the length!

  2. lea August 25, 2014 at 12:29 Reply

    I love a good ultimax for nighttimes. I found that 17 inches is perfect for me overnight too. I have 1 ultimax and 3 ultimax slims. I have worn the slims during the day during a particularly heavy month and they were great. Plus, HERs are beautiful. Great post!

    • The Pie Patch August 25, 2014 at 12:44 Reply

      Thank you! They are definitely up there with my comfiest pads now. Their jersey tops are great too.

  3. Anna August 25, 2014 at 13:55 Reply

    I’ve been a big brave girl and gone up to 12″ this month! Think that may be my limit though! It’s made for much more comfortable nights 🙂 got a lovely 12″ bamboo valuer from HER!

    • The Pie Patch August 25, 2014 at 14:11 Reply

      Lots of people seem to like 12″ for night time. And there’s a lot of love for HER too!

  4. Sue Reed August 25, 2014 at 14:51 Reply

    I use my ultimax during the day, and i swear by my mega pads made by honour your flow for night time for the ultimate coverage x

    • The Pie Patch August 25, 2014 at 15:05 Reply

      Honour Your Flow is a great brand too. How long is their mega pad? Is that your limit, do you think?

  5. ginacaro August 25, 2014 at 21:31 Reply

    I’d never thought about using reusable pads before! I’m off to Google them now. What’s the best brand to look at?

    • The Pie Patch August 25, 2014 at 21:41 Reply

      There are all sorts of brands! I have a list of makers with links to sites on here under the “Muff Fluff” tab. You can also find a beginner’s guide & a post about caring for your pads so have a scroll through & read up.

      If you’re UK, try Feminine Wear, Luxury Moon & Boobalou. They stock many brands so it’s easier for beginners to see a few different ones.

      My own personal favourites are Lady Days, Beau Bespoke, HER, Dimplemuff. Actually there’s too many to list! Of course if you currently prefer tampons, you might want to consider a menstrual cup instead but that’s a whole other subject!

      • ginacaro August 25, 2014 at 21:43

        Great thanks for that. I’ll take a look 🙂

  6. christy golding August 25, 2014 at 21:36 Reply

    I’m a small pad girl…. 8-9 inch is perfect for day, and 9-10 at night…. though i’m not overly heavy even on my heaviest day, and don’t bleed much during the night…so no real need for big pads.

    • The Pie Patch August 25, 2014 at 21:43 Reply

      Slightly jealous that your pads are much cheaper to buy than mine! 😉

      • christy golding September 1, 2014 at 10:32

        they are… that’s a good excuse to buy more…yes???

      • The Pie Patch September 1, 2014 at 11:15

        Absolutely, yes!

  7. Candise Moore August 26, 2014 at 21:08 Reply

    I have juSt taken delivery of a 14in night pad from Fannie and Flo – it is mahoosive! I had underestimated just how long it would be but I can’t wait to try it 😉

    • The Pie Patch August 26, 2014 at 21:33 Reply

      Big pads can look a bit scary. Might surprise you how comfy they are though. Good luck!

  8. Elizabeth Pugh August 29, 2014 at 15:53 Reply

    I never go bigger than 8′ causes my flo is super light

    • The Pie Patch August 29, 2014 at 16:08 Reply

      Oh, lucky you! Makes them much cheaper to buy. Even my light flow pads need to be long though, just because of body shape & the direction my flow tends to go.

  9. Jessica GreenChix McBride August 31, 2014 at 11:03 Reply

    Personally I like the dinkier ones, but it’s only for spotting for me. 9-10″ tops. I have made some big ones for customers though. I made a 16″ last week for a charity campaign and the largest I have ever made was 22″ and 6″ wide custom for a much more curvier lass.

  10. Riley August 31, 2014 at 22:36 Reply

    Love my HER ultimini! I do find it’s a bit wide for me but hey it still works! 🙂 honestly it is the longest pad I’ve tried just because my underwear has a VERY narrow gusset and anything over that, while I would like a longer pad just for nighttime security, tends to simply be too wide. Oh well. Good I suppose that I don’t have an excuse to buy more pads 🙂

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