tml Using a Reusable Menstrual Cup for the First Time. Tips and Tricks.

Using a Reusable Menstrual Cup for the First Time

Using a reusable menstrual cup for the first time was a bit scary for me. I wasn’t sure how to use a reusable menstrual cup and was full of worries. I was worried it would fly out at an inappropriate time, get stuck, be messy and be painful. However, I am determined to master cup use and increase my reusable menstrual product arsenal to include both cups and reusable menstrual pads. I have been ready, with my Cups, and was just waiting for my cycle. My family was planning a vacation and I took them along just in case. Turns out, Aunt Flow wanted to go to the beach too! I had my first cup experience via hotel, beach and out on the boardwalk.

I have been ready, with my Cups, and was just waiting for my cycle. My family was planning a vacation and I took them along just in case. Turns out, Aunt Flow wanted to go to the beach too! I had my first cup experience via hotel, beach and out on the boardwalk. I learned how to use a menstrual cup for swimming and I’m convinced that if I can do it in this setting, anyone can! Here’s my possibly too detailed experience, some tips, words of encouragement and advice:

first time using a menstrual cup

     My post-partum menstrual cycle returned way before I hoped it would. With my last baby, it was gone an entire year! With baby number 4, it returned just before he was 6 months old. Luckily, I had been collecting reusable menstrual pads and knew I would need a cup for heavier days and swimming. I got a Lena cup size 2 and Lunette cup. I was ready to go and was just waiting for the knock at the door, or um uterus I suppose. Tick tock cycle!!

     I was crampy for almost two weeks and started to think it would never arrive. It was my second postpartum cycle and I thought that perhaps it went away again. I hoped it went away again! I am tandem nursing (nursing two children), but my baby has been sleeping longer spurts at night. I knew this would trigger my cycle just in time for our trip to the beach. As I packed for vacation I put my menstrual cups and a few pads in my suitcase. I was glad that I did! Hours after arriving at the beach my cycle started!

(Pinterest image below)
Using a reusable menstrual cup for the first time can be tricky. I got my cycle on vacation and used my cup for the first time at the beach. Read about my adventure and mistakes so you don't make the same!

      I looked at the reusable menstrual cup and thought, no way. It looked huge and I was already feeling crampy. I thought there was no way I could wear this thing. However, I had 4 little ones who wanted to go to the beach and swimming pool. I knew it had to be done. I broke out the pamphlet from my cup box, gave a verbal warning to stay out of the bathroom and locked the door. First, I rinsed it off in very hot tap water. Next, I practiced folding it a few times. To my surprise, it didn’t look much larger than a tampon. I remembered how I used to pull out a fully fluffed tampon pain-free and this increased my confidence. I sat down on the toilet and began to insert it.

     I held the cup near the top where it was folded. However, as I inserted it I realized that I couldn’t keep it pinched in that spot for long. I slid my fingers down the cup and kept it pinched closer and closer to the bottom. I could tell the cup was opening up as I pushed it further towards my cervix. Finally, it stopped. I knew I hit home base. I could easily touch the stem and remembered reading about trimming it. First fear…GONE! No way this was going to get lost, I could easily touch it with my finger and the stem was nice and long.

 My first mistake

     I put on my bathing suit and wore the cup for just over two hours before I checked it. While it wasn’t painful, it wasn’t completely comfortable and I knew it was there. Maybe it was my anxiety about something going wrong, but I looked forward to seeing it again. I sat on the toilet and tugged. I thought oh no… it was stuck!! I immediately pictured going to the ER on vacation to get it out and was horrified at the thought. I pulled a bit harder and heard a pop, the suction broke! Ouch! I thought I ripped out my cervix. I looked closer at the pamphlet and read that I needed to pinch it to remove it, similarly to how I inserted it. Oops. I should have read the instructions better first.

     It was a heavy flow day and the Lena cup, affiliate link below, was maybe 1/3 of the way full after just over two hours. I dumped it into the toilet and rinsed it in the sink. While the tips of my fingers did get a little blood on them, it was a surprisingly clean process. The cup rinsed clean in seconds, I could see that the air holes were unblocked. I reinserted it much easier the second time. I stood up and walked a few feet. I could feel it shift and move into place. I should have rotated it, I should have rotated it!! I thought! Either way, it now well seated and I was off to the beach…

 

As I stood on the beach, I looked out over the ocean and wondered if there were sharks in the water. I imagined my cup flying out, releasing the menstrual blood and attracting a swarm of sharks to my location. Menstrual cup shark bait?! Then, I remembered that it didn’t come out easily when I wanted it to and started to walk into the water. I hoped it wouldn’t shoot out like one of those champagne party poppers from the fireworks store. Luckily, it didn’t and my confidence grew even more. I left it in for 4 hours this time, walked the boardwalk and even went out to dinner with my family. I was so busy that I forgot about it and eagerly waited to inspect it when we returned to our room.

     This time, I pulled the reusable menstrual cup down with one hand and used two fingers from the other to pinch it. It came out easily and since I held it upright there were zero spills. I dumped it into the toilet I was sitting on and rinsed it in the sink. Then, I decided to retire it for the day and switch to reusable pads. To my surprise, it took awhile for any blood to come back out. I think that collecting it so high-up meant that the rest of the track was pretty clear. While I did have some blood on my suit, I realized that this was because there was already some on the equipment from when my cycle started and I have a nice collection of cloth pads going to wear as overflow protection.

     I continued to use the cup for 3 more days on vacation. My confidence grew and grew. I did not attract sharks, it did not get stuck or shoot out like fireworks, it wasn’t painful and was a surprisingly easy and clean process. I even smelled the cup. Zero smell at all! I keep thinking, why didn’t my OBGYN tell me about this? Cups are my new obsession and I can’t wait to try more brands, share with other women and help spread the word about chemical free, zero waste, reusable products that are good for Moms and the environment!

Want to work together? E-mail MamaBananasAdventures@gmail.com.
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