Period Preparedness• Are you ready for yours in the worst of circumstances?
There may come a time when the longer-term emergency does happen. A natural disaster forces you from your home or invites newcomers who are at your mercy for shelter (think Louisiana after this last flood episode or refugees in Syria), there is a strike on city utilities (remember those in NYC?) so no trash pickup, or maybe you simply want to move to a more natural, less chemical-laden alternative.
PERIOD PREPAREDNESS FOR GIRLS AND WOMEN
Use some of these ideas to create an emergency stash for yourself and the women in your life in order to be able to handle a change in lifestyle or emergencies:
Stock up on commercial pads and tampons
This is the easiest way to become prepared for emergencies. Calculate needs each month and multiply by how many months you want to be prepared for. Be sure to include toilet paper increase during those times, as well.
Remember to keep in mind that menses are different month to month for some women, and girls will need more protection as they mature, so err on the side of a little more than you think you need instead of what you can get by with.
Make your own reusable menstrual products
- DIY menstrual pads
- Make your own rolled tampons
- DIY crochet tampon – free pattern (and use organic alternatives for stuffing that are more absorbent than typical cotton)
Invest in alternative reusable products
These alternatives require less in the way of storage, less in the water of water needs for cleaning than other cloth alternatives, and less in the way of storage room. There is a learning curve in using them effectively and being comfortable with them, but they save on materials, trash and are not full of chemicals the way commercial products are.
- Menstrual Cup – a reusable cup (typically silicone) to collect fluid and needs only a simple wash to reuse immediately
- Sea Sponge tampons – insertable sponges that absorb fluids and need simple rinsing with warm water to reuse. ( this link has tons of tips )
Learn to make emergency menstrual products
- Roll a baby sock tampon – be sure to use 100% cotton
- Make a paper towel tampon
- Fold a few washclothes or t-shirts folded into thick strips
Collect comfort supplies
- Stock up on medications to help relieve cramps and puffiness
- Stock and grow natural remedies for menstrual relief
- Make rice bags
- Make cherry pit heating bags (these are less susceptible to infestation and decay than rice bags)
- Store hot water bottles (these and the rice/cherry bags are great for pain relief from cramps)
- Store hand warmers. In a pinch, these can be used to help relieve painful cramps when you aren’t anywhere to warm up a bag or water.
- Comfort foods like chocolate and chocolate and more chocolate. Seriously, if there is a comfort routine you love or the women in your life love, stock up on those items.
Prepare for Postpartum needs
- Stock a home birthing kit – Kendra from New Life on a Homestead has great ideas
- Be sure to make or stock up on postpartum menstrual needs
Cleaning during Menses
- Stock extra toilet paper or bathroom wipes
- Personal bidet or a perineal bottle – allows you to spritz warm water in the area to make clean up easier.
- Make personal wipes from t-shirt sleeves – I find these to be softer than toilet paper, especially during times of chafing or discomfort from my cycle. When cutting up old t-shirts to make rags, I save the sleeves for personal cloths in the bathroom.
- Tips to cleaning your homemade menstrual products
Think about Family Planning
- Learn your fertility signals – this helps in determining not only when your period is likely to start, but also when you are likely the most fertile.
- Stock up on condoms and other barrier methods
Toxic Shock Syndrome
Please be aware of the risk of toxic shock syndrome and using high absorbency tampon products. I’m not a medical professional and don’t pretend to be one, but here is a good, solid, easy-to-read piece on the risks, symptoms and treatments for TSS and why you need to be aware, even if you use a menstrual cup instead of a tampon.
Wrapping it all up
Long term period preparedness doesn’t have to be icky or taboo. It’s a simple matter of the life cycle for us girls and the men who love us. Be sure to research your favorite method and stock up, and stock up a backup that you are familiar with using. Don’t wait til the last minute to ask a friend if she has an extra tampon, but be the friend who can hand over a tampon and three different alternatives in a time of need!