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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Even I can't Believe it...Diaper Quest part 1

     Well, I've either gone off the deep end, or I'm finally getting the hang of domestic life.  As I finished yet another "cloth diaper" that I sewed all by myself last night, I just couldn't help but think...what is this I am doing here??? 
     I am no Martha Stewart.  My family would never say I am a great cook, or housecleaner, or any good at pretty much anything to do with being a homemaker.  But, the two things that I can do that, at the very least don't bother me, are 1. changing diapers (my own kids...sometimes the gag reflex happens for others) and 2. doing laundry.  Seems like a logical combo for trying out cloth diapering on this baby.  I have never used them with any of the other kids, so I may not be successful, but I'll give it a whirl.
    Of course I have extensively researched the types and costs of various cloth diapering methods and I have picked the brains of moms I know who have used them.  The upfront cost is somewhat prohibitive, but if you bought a few things at a time while you were pregnant, you could be ready to go when baby comes.  I, however, was not willing to pay the price ($20 plus) per diaper for something mass produced in China and sold @ Babies R Us. There are websites with handmade diapers from Work At Home Moms available, too, but the price can be high there as well.   The idea of using "used" cloth diapers just didn't appeal to my current senses...when...if I made my own it wouldn't cost much at all.  Next question: Can I sew? Not very well...even with a machine.  Next question: Does it really matter?  No...this is a diaper we are talking about here...even the beautiful, fancy, cute, modern, designer fabric ones get pooped on anyway.
     The easiest diaper to make is a "prefold".  This is what people use for burp cloths these days. It is just a square, or rectangle rather, with a thickness down the middle.  I used old receiving blankets to make a bunch of these.  Cut the blanket into four pieces, then fold two of the pieces in half lengthwise, overlap them in the middle so there are equal "thirds" of material ( a 2 layer third, a 4 layer third in the middle, and a 2 layer third) then sew the edges of the thick part down, then sew all the way around the outside edge.  One blanket makes 2 prefold diapers if you cut it into 4 pieces.   Minimal cost here, mostly time.  This diaper has to be used with a waterproof cover and it has to be pinned on, or use a snappi.  A snappi is a neat little plastic thingy that grips the diaper strategically to hold it in place.  (Quicker than pins for sure)
     Another diaper that I have made is called an "All-In-One".  This is a fitted diaper that has a layer of waterproof material (PUL) inside, as well as absorbant material. I used microfiber cloths for that.  I traced a stretched out disposable diaper to make the pattern for this one.  I'll spare the lengthy details on exactly how to make one of these (there are online tutorials), it is kind of tricky figuring out the whole right side/ wrong side of the material, and which side your stitches will be on when you turn it right side out.  Uggghhh...the first one I made with a really cute kitty cat printed flannel ended up with the print to the inside, so I had to put some random material on it to make it not look "wrong".  That one has royal blue leopard print on the outside and it has been dubbed "the stupidest diaper ever" because Kyler caught my frustration with it on the video camera.  Thank goodness I try to limit cursing when children are around.  I have been successful with subsequent All in Ones, so I feel good about that.
     I have attempted to make a couple of waterproof covers out of a material called PUL.  They turned out stupid, too.  So, I bought some Gerber waterproof pants ... hardly a splurge @ $3.99 per pack of 2.
I did make a drawstring "wet bag" out of the PUL material to put the soiled diapers in...then you just wash  everything, bag and all when it is full.
     All in all, I think I have spent maybe $35 on material that I have actually used, the waterproof pants, elastic, thread, snaps, velcro.  I don't have a large amount of finished products, but considering how many diapers babies go through in a day...if I just replace a few disposables per day with cloth, I will eventually recover my cost and then surely save money over time.  Oh, and space in the landfill, too.