Wednesday, December 3, 2008

How long does it take to fold a diaper?

video

This 5-year-old does it in 24 seconds! Sure enough, there's also the matter of attaching diaper to baby... but still, it seems to me as though the whole affair could be completed within a minute - after you've had a little practice.

A couple of days ago, I mentioned that with all the baby things we've been so generously given/promised (crib, clothes, stroller, car seat...), there's hardly any baby shopping we plan to do before this little one arrives; I know there are more things we might need, but we'd rather buy them later on, when we see they really are necessities. Other people's 'must-haves' might prove to be of little use to us.

Well, Lillian pointed out that no matter how we look at it, most likely we won't be able to do without diapers/nappies. We have been thinking about cloth diapering in the past few months, and it seems that the more convenient varieties cost so much! Yes, I realize that with quality cloth diapers, that's a one time investment and we'll still save a lot of money (not to mention it will be healthier for our baby's bottom and the environment), but still, for us, it's a substantial sum to spend at once. Furthermore, from reading online discussions I gathered that there are more than a few people who spent lots of money on expensive diapers, just to remain dissatisfied with them.

So, we decided to start simple - just like our mothers used to do. Yep, with flat squares of fabric that need to be folded to fit baby. These are inexpensive, but if you happen to have some spare fabric, you can make you own. I found lots of soft, absorbent natural fabrics (such as flannel) in my mother's old stash, and currently I'm making our own diapers. We thought that if it works for us, great - if not, I can use them for other purposes (burp cloths, rags, etc). It might sound 'primitive', but it worked twenty years ago, so why would it suddenly become impossible? Also, flats have the advantage of drying quickly. Depending on our needs, we can always move up to fancier types of cloth diapers, but it would be a waste to invest in expensive ones just to discover they don't work for our baby at all.

Back when we first talked about cloth diapers here, someone provided me with a link to this useful guide to sewing your own diapers. I saved the link, but don't remember who sent it - anyway, thank you! Here's also a link to making wool diaper covers out of old sweaters. I haven't tried this one yet, but it sure looks interesting.

I realize different Moms had different experiences with cloth diapering. For some it worked, for some it didn't; some were satisfied with the simplest diapers, and some won't go for anything but a very certain brand of all-in-ones; some came to the conclusion that the money-saving factor is not that big for them, and that washing diapers is too big a mess, so they might as well use disposables. As two inexperienced expectant parents, we don't know yet how it will be for us.

We definitely think cloth diapering is worth a try, though.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that I have been reading your blog for a little while now and I really enjoy your writings. I am a christian wife/mom and I live in the U.S. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who believes in strong marriages and families. I also wish that girls and women theses days dressed more modestly and devoted more time to their families. As far as the diaper thing goes I don't know much about them since I myself used disposables. Best of luck on the soon to be arriving little one. One bit of advice: practicing breathing and relaxing methods for labor does help make the birth go easier.HJ

Anonymous said...

It's true that some of the more expensive nappies are very easy to use. But there is something very satisfying about folding one's own, too. It's not hard, as the video demonstrates. There's nothing like a line of terry squares drying on the line, and they dry much more quickly than fitted and shaped nappies too.

Anoter unexpected advantage, for me, of using flat nappies, was that I was able to fold the nappy to get an EXACT fit for baby. You can also use the same nappies more or less from birth to potty.

I used a wide variety of nappies over the years, but old fashioned flat squares were always at the heart of my "collection"!

Anonymous said...

I used cloth for my 3 sons and I was the only one I knew doing it. I LOVED the feel of holding a baby in a nice, soft, natural diaper and I think it was healthier as they were changed when they were wet instead of sitting in a disposable as it absorbed more and more! I didn't have a dryer and dried them outside letting the sun bleach them in the summer and on a rack in the winter.I also used the flat ones and used 2 for night time and when they were older. God bless you as you prepare for your little one, D.

Mrs. Amy @ Clothesline Alley said...

Simple cloth diapers are the best diapers in my not-so-humble opinion, but you probably already knew that, Anna. :P

The video you shared is too funny. When I tried to fold a prefold cloth diaper for the first time, I could not figure it out, which is embarrassing to admit as they are *really* easy to fold. Sean had to show me and after he did I felt awfully foolish for not being able to figure out something so simple. Ah well, live and learn!

Are you going to be using cloth wipes as well? I simply cut up some old tee shirts and sheets to be my wipes. The really cheap & thin baby blankets work well for this too. Depending on the fabric, you may need to hem them a bit, to prevent fraying. These wipes are then kept in a plastic container with a wipe solution made from some water, a couple drops of tea tree oil or lavender essential oil, and a squirt of mild baby soap. Both of the oils are antibacterial and help prevent diaper rash. Peapod has never had much of an issue with diaper rash, except when teething, and I like to give credit to the essential oils. :o)

Kacie said...

Sounds great! I really wanted to use cloth, but our lack of a free clothes washer/dryer really made me think I would be attempting too much too fast.

Maybe someday we can use cloth.

I don't know if you're planning on using the cloth squares alone, but I do know that you can pick up some great cloth covers (or make them yourself) for a relatively cheap cost. You won't need as many as you would for an all-in-one diaper situation, I believe.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Amy - yes, absolutely! I've been warned against disposables wipes causing, rather than preventing diaper rash, and I can easily believe that, with the array of chemicals in them...

For wipes, I plan to use the scraps of fabric left from making diapers, and maybe some of my husband's old t-shirts as well. My husband is a bit cautious about using essential oils for a tiny baby, so I think baby's bottom will be cleaned mostly with simple water and a bit of soap, and rinsed and aired often. My husband is convinced (and I tend to agree) that diaper rashes, apart from chemicals in disposable diapers and wipes, are often caused by simply not washing and drying the baby's bottom often and thoroughly enough. So we're opting for cleanliness and air circulation.

Mrs W said...

Anna, I have cloth diapered and used disposables, and am not closed to using cloth again. I found that the basic square terry cloth diapers were far superior to the fitted cloth diapers. By the way, you don't need diaper pins anymore for cloth diapers either, you can use an object called a "snappi" fastener. Google them I'm sure you'll find them. Much nicer than pins.

Lori said...

I'm with Mrs. Amy! :) I too prefer the simpler methods, and using old t-shirts. I had access to the fancier "pocket" type cloth diapers, but prefered the plain pre-folds (I received 24 brand-new from someone who changed her mind about diapering method), pinned, and covered with a regular vynal (sp?) or nylon pull-on cover(nylon's the best, as it dosen't crack). I tried the poly-U lined covers and found them to be more moisture resistant than moisture proof. If you accidentally let a diaper really saturate, they leak. I made my own doublers (super easy) and fleece liners (even easier, to keep baby's skin dry). I use Luvs for overnight and travel, and Sunday (day of rest, so no pre-washing poopy diapers). If you use the pre-folds, just give a twist in the crotch for extra fit and extra absorption for girls, and for boy also fold down the front before pinning for extra absorption, and to protect the healing cord stump. Best of luck. It's really not a big deal. I'm doing it with my second baby now. :)

Lori said...

Oh, yeah, and sunshine is THE best bleach! For natural fabric softener, add 1/2 to 1 cup of white venegar to the rinse cycle of the wash.

another Anna said...

I just started reading your blog and love it, btw... We use cloth and it's been great! We have some of the fancier all-in-one diapers, bought second-hand in good shape, but the bulk of our stash is regular ol' prefolds-- I invested in a number of the velcro-closure covers and they work very well and are very easy to use. I get a brand called Thirsties-- they are much nicer, and more breathable than the old vinyl pull-up style, and a trimmer fit. I'm able to just fold the diapers inside also, and not have to bother with pins or clips.
I think you will find that cloth is an awesome endeavor-- and that there can be something very satisfying about washing and folding diapers, too... some things in life are better than "convenience"!

Zimms Zoo said...

I am pregnant with number 6. We have always used disposables mainly because I didn't know anyone doing it and so just followed the norm.
When we found out about #6 I started looking into cloth even though I still don't know anyone doing it. My mom and I have made our own pre-folds out of old t-shirts and flannel. We have made fleece covers out of leftover scraps. Also the thread was free because my grandma gave me everything she had. We have made all the sheets, diaper bag, diaper pail covers, and a nifty little bag to go in the diaper bag for the dirty diapers. My 10yo has helped a lot too and hemmed the wipes and helped with sewing the pre-folds. She also sewed almost the entire diaper bag by herself. We have enjoyed working together and learning new things. Oh and the elastic (for the covers) I bought at a garage sale about 2 years ago and was getting ready to toss it. So it was basically free too.

I am due around the middle of January and will be looking to see when you have yours and how it goes for you in the cloth diaper endevour.

Anonymous said...

I highly recommend cloth diapers, Anna. Honestly, you will save SO MUCH money. And once you find a rhythm for rinsing them, washing & drying them....it all comes together & you hardly think about it anymore. I was given a package of cloth diapers when I was expecting my first baby, & then I found some more really nice (though used) ones at a rummage sale. I think, over the course of diapering 3 babies, I ended up buying 2 more packages of twelve. Not a bad deal!

Brenda

Bethany said...

Hi, Anna!
My mom used cloth diapers for my sister and I (although she later switched to disposables for my other siblings) and she used the plain square types too. I remember watching her clean them and remember helping her fold them too and think the whole process worked great for us. This post makes me want to ask her all the particulars of how she did it so I can be better informed when I have a child someday. Also, my aunt made her own wipes out of paper towels, with a solution very similar to the one mentioned for cloth wipes. She loved them because they were allready in a roll and sectioned pieces, and she could easily place some in a plastic baggie "to-go." Just another idea, I don't know if you've heard of it before or not.
Bethany

Bethany Hudson said...

We switched to cloth diapering with Sophia when she was 11 months old because her skin reacted badly to disposables--and they were so much cheaper! The diapers (we use Chinese prefolds and Bummis wraps) have already paid for themselves in 6 months and even my husband finds them so much more convenient because we don't have to worry about diaper rash anymore and he never has to take the diaper pail down from our third floor condo to the trash! :)

Good luck with making your own. I have heard many moms say that the only time the homemade flannels don't work is overnight once the baby is a bit older, so you may want to invest in a few Chinese prefolds (we put on 2 at a time at night) later on. Just a thought. They are pretty inexpensive--usually less than $1 per diaper.

~Bethany

Brandy said...

Hello! Long time reader, but don't believe I've commented before (I may have though lol).

We just recently started cloth diapering with our baby (she's 2 months old now -- we never used cloth with our oldest, who's 5yrs old now). It's A LOT easier than most people make it out to be. We decided against those fancy kinds and instead went for simple: flats.

What we really liked about them is you don't have to buy a different sizes ... one size fits all babies with flats!

We also chose a diaper cover that can be adjusted to fit baby as they grow, so we don't have to buy different sizes.

I'd suggest Green Mountain Diapers to you, as their flats are a very good price ... but I'm not sure if they ship outside of the U.S.

Anyway. Blessings to you and yours! I'm sure you'll LOVE cloth as much as we do!

Dirtdartwife said...

I switched to cloth on our third child. It was for health and financial reasons but I fell in love with it! I actually love doing the diaper laundry- there is something cathartic about folding fresh diapers.

I can't do prefolds because I can never get them on right no matter how much I try, so I stick to the fitteds. And I use disposables for long trips and night time. What a help using cloth has been to us. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, we used cloth diapers with 7 babies. I have made my own out of flannel too. I found as they got older they weren't always as absorbent as some of the cotton. I have used prefolds and unfolded. I kind of gravitated to prefolds at the end. I was given the velcro diaper covers and never really liked them. I just went for the pins, although they really hurt when you stick your finger with them! I also made wipes from scraps of flannel, old pajamas etc. I tried the soap solution, but in time found warm water was best. When traveling, I just put the flannel in a ziploc bag with water,until damp, and they were ready when needed. I have used some disposables over the years, but have also gone everywhere with cloth as well. It is not really so hard and our mothers and grand mothers did it without thinking. The money we saved was great, but I know it was best for our babies skin. Carolyn

lady jane said...

We used the simple style cloth diapers and were very happily satisfied, Anna. :o)

Gombojav Tribe said...

We've always cloth diapered. We've used simple methods where we folded them and now we use the more fancy variety (because a friends had a cloth diapering business that she sold and I got her surplus!). There is no one right way to cloth diaper, but there are lots of little tricks that make it more convienent.

Speaking of.....

I should blog about cloth diapering soon.....

Otter Mom said...

I used disposable diapers when my daughter was a baby, but in retrospect I wish I'd used cloth ones. She has always had allergies and there were just a couple of brands that did not set her skin allergies off.
My niece lives in a cold part of the US, she makes the diaper covers out of wool sweaters she gets at thrift stores. She has a fashionable baby for very little money. It's a great way to reuse something.

Sarah said...

we uses plain old fashioned terry towelling squares with our first till he was about 18months.. switched to disposables because he was wetting SO much at night, in the middle of winter, that we was waking up blue and shivering - the wet nappies (diapers) got too cold too quick no matter how often we changed him, or how thick they were, or how we heated his room. we tried everything, and only switching to disposables let the poor thing sleep. this one (due mid-feb) is going to be cloth too.. unless the same thing happens.

nappy-rash can occasionally be caused by their food too.. mine couldnt eat apricots until this year because they caused much pain and redness and spots.. and very gross nappies. even though they didnt seem to give him stomach ache or anything. if nappy-rash happens despite lots of airing and clean water and lack of chemicals, check the food.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anna T

You are making a very sensible decision. I found that my child never got a diaper rash and I think it was due to two factors: we constantly checked the state of a diaper, never trusting to the clock or the baby "alarm system" to alert us and we kept a (constantly washed) aluminum bowl and filled it with warm water whenever a change was needed. Baby got a little sponge bath (very light on soap), soft drying and anointing with a cod liver oil diaper cream (desenex in the US). Never had a diaper rash. But he did smell a bit like a fishie (smile).

One other note: you might want to keep a very small amount of disposables for "just in case" emergencies. They happen, without warning (for ex. inthe car or at grandma's...you will be surprised at the stuff new parents forget to pack) and sometimes you just need one. Raising a child is a constant adventure. Enjoy! CB

Mrs. Anna T said...

Thanks for all the encouragement and valuable advice, ladies!

Anonymous said...

Why would you need wipes when not travelling? I washed baby's bum every single time I changed him or her, with warm water and gentle soap.
If there's a real mess down there, there's always toilet paper. But nothing beats water and soap afterwards.
Tammy

Mrs. Anna T said...

Tammy, I'm all for washing baby's bottom every time after changing, too. I only plan to use wipes when away from home or if I'm in a real hurry. I just don't trust the safety of chemicals in disposable wipes, particularly those that smell nicely. Maybe there are some non-allergenic ones, though.

Zoe said...

I was a cloth diapered baby, at least until the washing machine died. And yes, these two facts were related.
Plus, any that you don't use are great for cleaning!

Christine G said...

My mom cloth diapered all of us (4 kids) and I've cded all of my six children. I thought I would chime in that the expensive cloth diapers are NOT a one time investment. The larger size (the ones the child spends most of his/her diapered life in) will wear out in regular use usually on one child, but will not make it to diaper two children fully. I used to use 'expensive' ones -- and even made my own, which were very cool. However, with this baby I made the switch to prefolds and I love them. I don't believe they will wear out as early, either, because they have no elastic and no snaps/velcro.

Anyway, great post, mama. :)

Lori said...

Anna, I know you haven't made any decision yet, at least according to this posting, but I would encourage you to start out with disposables the first several weeks to few months, unless a diaper service is an option. I did that with both my CD boys. There is enough to worry about at first without stressing about diapering or extra laundry, and a woman's body needs gentlness and rest after having a baby: a bucket of wet diapers is heavy! I know some moms do it from the start, but I see no need to. Wishing you health and peace.

Anonymous said...

I only started cloth diapering full time when my boys were 3 and 2 and still going strong. I am still kicking myself for not just doing it sooner - I had one 5-pack of each size to use sometimes to make the disposables last longer. The older one uses them for naps and overnight and cloth training pants during the day. He does pretty well for going to the potty but still has an accident or two most days, so I put the nylon pull-on diaper covers over the training pants. That way he can still pull them off and on himself, feels wet and gross enough to want changed in case of accidents, but his clothes and the chair or carpet stay dry. If it does leak his pants are just a bit damp instead of soaked and dripping.

About the bleach for stains - they don't need to be pristine white in order to work. Get some non-chlorine oxygen bleach and soak the stained ones once a year or when they start to bug you. Otherwise, so what? They're diapers, no one sees the inside anyway.

Homemakers Cottage said...

With 2 little ones currently in cloth diapers, my philosphy is Keep Things As Simple As Possible.

I've used prefolds, fitted diapers, and all in ones. They all worked wonderful but my favorites by far are the all in ones. For me, the initial investment has definitely been worth it since I've already put 2 in diapers with my original set and will save my stash for a future baby (or two). :o)

That being said, I don't buy the snazzy $20+ diapers that are so cute I'd hate to cover them up with clothing! Diapers ARE underwear, so I keep with a simple but very good quality brand and style that is easy to wash, dry, and put on.

Like you, I wasn't sure exactly what I would like at first, so I started out simple. I added to my diaper stash as time went on and eventually went completely with fitted diapers and all in ones.

The money you will save using cloth diapers is definitely worth the time and effort in washing and drying them!!

Oh, and my favorite cloth diaper brand is Mother-ease. :o)

~Kristy @ Homemaker's Cottage

Viv said...

I happen to a 2 very nice "fancy nappies" (pocket nappies that you just put your folded flannel into) here that need a new home. I made them for my son who very quickly moved onto a bigger size. I would love the send them to you so you can try them as well as your traditional flats. :-) Leave a message on my blog if you would like them.

Elizabeth said...

My mother used square cloth (terry-toweling, to be specific) diapers for all her children - the sames ones, which lasted for years! One of my "chores" for as long as I had a sibling in diapers was to fold the diapers every day, when there was a pile of clean ones washed and dried. Honestly, square cloth diapers are SO practical and efficient - and cheap!

Lillian the Ponderer said...

Anna, it really is easy to fold a nappy (with practice) and it doesn't take long. I worked in a nursery that used cloth diapers and it took one worker half an hour per day (at most) to hang the washed ones, and fold the dry ones for about 20 children - that is a lot of nappies, - pre folding them before storing, really does help when you are in a hurry or have several children clammering for attention (or probably when you are sleep-deprived in the early days). In use they genuinely take no more time than disposables (I worked in several nurseries that used those too) as you just flush the paper liner (these are very cheap and come on a roll and are stronger but thinner than kitchen paper for example, but they save a lot of unpleasant work in all but the worst cases), and dump the used nappy in a bucket to be washed when you have a machine load of liners and outers. Seriously I think we are so spoiled these days, how much work do people think it is to put something in a machine, hang it out to dry and fold it? Our grandmothers/great-grandmothers washed them by hand - now THAT was work!
You and your husband are right that the best thing is to keep things as simple and natural as possible and you are unlikely to get bad rashes and things.
Of course theory (or practice on other people's children) is all very well but you (or I) will not know till we have our own unique babies in front of us, with their own patterns and body shapes etc.
I am glad you can improvise from your mother's closet and with trial and error you will find out what works best for you and your child(ren).

Shannon said...

I came to your blog through some links. I think I'll visit again, I enjoy reading your blog. Neat that I would read about cloth diapers too. I am cloth diapering my 4th baby.

The flatfolds are a great way to go, and most people who cloth diaper for a long time go back to them quite often no matter how much they spend on other diapers. Pocket diapers are my favorite and you can use your flat ones inside them too. flatfolds and bummis or flatfolds and wool is a great combination. having a couple fuzzibunz or your own handmade ones are also good to have easy and on hand.