Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Beginning

Six years ago when I had two little babies in diapers, my father asked me if I had looked into cloth diapering.  From what I could tell, people just did not use cloth diapers.  Then I began to see them everywhere.  Babies were wearing the super cute colorful diapers.  Instead of complicated folded pieces of cloth, these diapers looked like diapers right away.  All one needed to do was snap the diaper on and the diaper change was done.  This seemed simple enough.  I could do this.

When I asked friends of mine in town what diapers to buy, they all told me about pocket diapers.  It seems to be a good compromise between a All In One diaper that takes hours to dry and a diaper with a folded insert and cover.  I got my first stash of one sized pocket diapers and could not wait to try them out.  All the colors were pretty.  My babies were almost a size bigger in clothing with them on.  Our water bill went up slightly, but not enough to off set the cost of disposable diapers for two kids.  Overall, cloth diapering became a normal part of our life.

Then my third son started to get really bad diaper rashes around seven months old.  I thought it was the foods I gave him.  Then the diapers made of fleece and microfiber began to smell.  I looked up all the solutions on the internet.  Tried many of them.  The diapers stopped smelling as much, but they were not the diapers I once knew.  My son continued to get rashes and I gave up on cloth for awhile.

At this point I was pregnant with my fourth child and trying to get rid of diaper rash was becoming a stress I did not want to deal with anymore.  I still wanted to try cloth diapers, but I needed to try something else.

I began to think about fabric.  There were all these diapers made out of organic cotton, organic hemp, and wool covers.  Maybe if I went back to simpler fabric fibers my diaper rash problems would be solved.  I went and bough hemp diapers for my newborn and then one sized organic cotton prefolds.  I kept with the PUL cover mainly because I could not really afford wool and that would add another load of laundry just to wash the covers.

Baby number four was able to wear cloth diapers until she grew out of them.  I got one size covers and used the inserts for most of the time I cloth diapered, so they did not last past this baby. The hemp diapers were only used for about three months since I only got the smallest size.  This diaper system worked really well for us.  My only complaint is that I like the idea of getting diapers out of the dryer and being inserts, no pockets to stuff.

During my pregnancy with baby number five, I decided that I needed new diapers again and this time I wanted to make my own.  Finding PUL for sale was much easier than it used to be and making cloth diapers is fun.  My earliest attempt to make cloth diapers was when I was pregnant with baby number three and I decided to make preemie fitted diapers out of old shirts, pajama pains, and burp cloths.   I also hand stitched these diapers and knit my own inserts with left over yarn.  These diapers were still used with baby five, but they do not fit for very long at all.  Maybe a couple of weeks, so I would not recommend hand stitching diapers that will be used more.

When I set out to make baby number five diapers I had settled on making All In One diapers.  I just wanted my diaper system to be simple and All In One diapers do not require much effort at all.  I bought hemp and some PUL for my small diapers.  When my baby grew out of these I made slightly bigger ones, but to save a lot of money, my older maternity clothing made the cloth part of the diaper and I only bought PUL, Velcro, and elastic.  Then I got some fun fabrics for the next size up.  I tried cotton velour, organic cotton fleece, and flannel.  For my final size of diapers I settled on organic cotton fleece.  This is a very nice soft fabric that stays soft wash after wash.  I did find that for an All In One, these diapers leaked a little, so I added a booster and sewed in gussets.  Perfecting the fabric to use has been a trial and error process, but I have finally figured out how to make diapers I like that work the best for our family.

I have focused on the absorbency of hemp fleece and hemp jersey to make my fitted diapers.  For covers I could not let go of my favorite organic cotton fleece as a soft inside layer next to the baby's skin.  However, I also know there are times when a quick to dry cover is better.  One may also need to wipe covers clean quickly and reuse them.  I know we are happy with these diapers and I hope you will be too.