Friday, March 22, 2013

Some thoughts from a grandma on cloth diapering...


Do you plan to use cloth diapers for your baby?  The current practice, at least among the young mothers that I know, is to buy the fitted (and expensive) diapers.  I would like to suggest an alternative...

I raised six children.  All were cloth diapered.  The fitted diapers were not available in those days.  Folding and pinning on cloth diapers is so very easy.  I am puzzled why anyone would want to go to the expense of buying, or even sewing their own fitted diapers.  Here are the types I used and some thoughts on each:

My first diapers were gauze pre-folded diapers that my sweet mother-in-law bought for me.  She gave me 4 dozen.  They were great and lasted for two of my babies before they got kind of thin and pathetic. When the baby is newborn, they are easy to fold to fit, and by the time the baby is walking, I used two at a time.  Voila!

Somewhere along the line, I procured some square, flat, Birdseye weave diapers. They were particularly nice for a newborn, but I used them all along, more than one as the baby got older.  I can still remember exactly how I folded them.  In fact, now that I think of it, I still have some of them and use them for other things.  For other things they are so great that a couple of years ago I bought some more!

My Very Favorite diapers appeared for my 4th baby.  They were squares of white terry cloth from England.  There were two weights.  One heavier than the other.  The lighter weight was used when the baby was littler.  Oh, my... such lovely and absorbent diapers!! I was still using them for baby #6. :)

Flat, as well as the pre-folds, wash easily, dry quickly, are Very Cheap compared to the sewn and fitted diapers.  I was in Wal-mart the other day and they had guaze pre-folds for about $12 a DOZEN!!!  If you would like, you could buy cotton terry cloth by the yard and either make your own (they should be about 27 inches square after washing and drying so wash and dry the fabric before cutting) OR ask a sewing friend to do it for you.

Another thing is, to help with the poop issue, if you wish, you could buy disposable liners, or even make cloth liners.  Want a frugal alternative?  Go to your local thrift store and purchase a flannel bed sheet.  You can easily tear it into the shapes you want your liners to be.  Just cut through the edge of the fabric, and then enthusiastically rip it all the way across!

Now, if money is Really Tight, scrounge up all the used flannel sheets you can buy or beg and make diapers out of those!  27 inches square.   Zig-zag the edges, or not.

Come to think of it, I remember now that I had some cotton flannel diapers at one time, but I don't recall when.

You will also need some "plastic pants" for covers.  They come in all sizes.  And some diaper pins or one of those cool things that stretches and ... well, like THIS.

Part of the time, I made wool diaper covers.  The first ones, I actually knitted from woolen yarn I had spun, later from some purchased wool yarn, and lastly, I would purchase wool sweaters at a thrift store, felt them in the washer and dryer, and then cut them up and make soakers out of them.  They were great!

The reason I am writing about this, is I think that some young mothers think that the expensive all-in-one diapers are the only alternative.  Simply Not True!  And if you find yourself in a situation where you can afford next to nothing, you can cut up and use old t-shirts, or anything that is soft and absorbent.  Baby won't care one whit!

I had older women to show me how to fold cloth diapers.  Now, we have YouTube!  :D

Best wishes to all of you mothers of babies.  I hope these thoughts will help at least one.

  This post is linked to:

Friday Baby Shower #6

17 comments:

  1. I am re-acquiring a cloth diaper stash for this baby [#5]. I was browsing some of the cloth diaper site and just about wet my pants when I saw how expensive some of the diapers are. Yes, they are cute and cuddly looking but $20/diaper.

    We use prefolds with a snappi [that cool stretchy contraption instead of pins] with polylaminate covers [better than plastic, a bit more breathable]for my third baby. We used disposables with the first two [yuk!] I sewed fitteds for baby number three because she was so tiny around the waste. Newborn prefolds were to small and the next size up was huge. She couldn't even move with them on. Baby #4 used the same ones but we partially ECed and he was fully potty learned by himself at 18 months.

    For baby five we will use wool covers [both crocheted and from thrifted sweaters], prefolds, and a friend has offered to give me some all-in-ones.

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    1. How exciting! I'm so glad for you Megan.

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  2. I loved my cloth diapers! I think that disposables are a terrible waste.

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    1. Fortunately, more and more mommas are choosing cloth.

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  3. I think people, especially new moms, are often overwhelmed by cloth diapers and how much work they think is involved. Also companies are trying to sell these diapers and there are misconceptions about how long they will last, how similar/dissimilar they are to disposables, how they are supposedly better than plain cotton bc they'll 'keep your baby dry', absorb more, etc. I applaud any mother willing to try any cloth diapers in the society we live where convenience is such a priority and mother's are told and taught to trust the 'professionals' before themselves. Okay, now I'm on my soapbox, again...

    When it comes down to it, I think we should just listen a little more to our grandmother's :) Sometimes...;)

    My favorite diapers are wool with flats. Though I do believe there is a place for the occasional all in one fitted or cotton fitted (which can actually be purchased or made for very cheaply) The problem sometimes is, not everybody is as open to using cloth as the parent(s) may be. That's when I think those things are useful, and it's a good compromise when those other people are babysitting.

    I just finished post number 1 on diapers on my blog. I just have to attach a picture and I'll publish it. I very much agree with this though! Thanks! Oh and in the meantime (before cloth diaper post 2 on my blog) the absolute cheapest cloth diapers I've found are old receiving blankets. Ask around, and people will usually give them to you for free. No cost, no-sew, almost always the right size...they're perfect! And cute :) until, of course, you cover them up.

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    1. Valuable insights, Helen. Thank you. You're point about "other people" is particularly well taken. Which reminds me of the first time, as a girl, babysitting a real baby. I had never diapered. In fact, I'm not sure I had even seen a diaper since I had worn them myself. I remember how hard/nearly impossible it seemed to pin that thing on the poor baby! It got on, but not too securely. lol I will go look at your blog now. :)

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    2. Oops! It's not there yet. :)

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  4. What a perfect post! I cloth diapered all five of mine, after women had no other option and before it became "cool" again. We were dirt poor college students and I wanted to stay home. I fell in love with cloth and continued to use them even when we didn't have to. I used pins and plastic pants and it was really cheap. I have seen those fitted diapers and wondered how many women are unable to afford those, so they use disposable instead. I think we make things a little to complicated, but then again my kids tell me I was born a century too late. Love your blog!

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    1. Thank you! Yes, diapering that is very cheap. Generally, you only have to buy the diapers once and for the price of 4 dozen, you might be lucky to buy two singles of the fancy ones! :)

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  5. I don't have any babies, but I grew up as the oldest in a large family and all of us wore cloth diapers with plastic pants and diaper pins. I have been stunned to see the frenzy over these "designer" cloth diapers (not to mention the prices!) During a spirited FB discussion among young moms on the best cloth diaper system (yes, that's what they called them!), I put in my two cents about the old school way, saying they fit infants to toddlers and were infinitely cheaper. I was completely ignored and the discussion continued. It's too bad they never sought advice from the older women in their lives. Thank you for being another voice! :)

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    1. Thank you for the encouragement! That is funny about the FB conversation. I do remember what it's like to be overly zealous about things. I tended that way when I was a lot younger. Experience has mellowed me. :)

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  6. What brilliant advice - I was a terry towel baby and have just been interrogating my mum about them who is cheering you on and saying spot on!

    Thanks so much for linking up at the Friday Baby Shower Alice xxx

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  7. I never thought about sewing my own prefolds I always buy my diapers second hand or from coops but am not against prefolds. In fact I know there the best at night for heavy wetters. I know of a way to get birdseye cotton fabric by the yard for 2.50 so I might invest in some of that and try to make my own prefolds :)and I have a ton of old t-shirts too so I might try that as well. :) Thanks for the tip!

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  8. Mom, Before I read your post, I was on the same page. As a first time mom, I'm glad to know my frugal, intuit was not far off. - B. Breidenbaugh

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    1. How lovely to hear from you on my blog! I'm glad we agree. :)

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