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:
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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?