Category Archives: Cloth Diapering
After finishing up the week’s Made to Orders, I’ve made good progress on finishing up those pocket diapers I promised for earlier in the week. It’s looking like I should be able to get them done either Monday or Tuesday, and listed by the time I go to bed Tuesday, if not earlier. A lot depends on Miss Genna and how grumpy she is on Monday! I’ll be sure to post here, as well as on Facebook and Twitter, when I get them up!!
In other news, the babywearing sale is going well, and I have not yet placed my Wrapsody order (seems I forgot to!!), so if you thought you might want me to order any particular pattern for you, it’s not too late. Let me know by Monday!
It seems lately, I’ve been hearing lots of scuttlebut about how long cloth diapering has existed in Des Moines. When did it start?
It’s kind of a silly question, in a way. Cloth diapering never went away, of course!
Obviously, many years ago, families in the area used cloth. I was cloth diapered, despite widespread availability of disposables in the late 70s. Twenty years later, when my nephew was born in the mid 90s, my sister in law used a diaper service here in Des Moines.
That service closed several years later, but at least at the time he was born, there were enough families in Des Moines using cloth to warrant a service. Experience shows that, generally speaking, far more people home launder than use a service, so if there were enough families using cloth to warrant a service, there were probably a fair number of families home laundering – quite the community.
When I started diapering Wally five years ago, I was the only one I knew who used cloth. A few months later, another cloth diaperer moved to town (Sara J), and I talked a friend into giving it a try (Louisa) and the three of us discovered another CDer with an older child (Laurie) who was friends with yet another CDer with a child about the same age as her own (Tanya).
I am not under any sort of delusion that we were the only ones in town using cloth, trying to live naturally, and practicing attachment parenting. We were just the only ones we knew.
What’s different now than 13 or 14 years ago when my nephew was born? Community. I decided that the area cloth diaperers needed some sort of community, some sort of organized something, so we didn’t feel so alone, so we could turn to each other for support, so we didn’t have to continually re-invent the wheel. OK, originally, we just wanted to show off our diapers to each other, lol!
I still run into babywearers or cloth diaperers who have no idea that there are others in Des Moines, and they think they’re the only ones!
I sometimes remember to pop over to Craigslist to browse for cloth diaper listings. (I get questions all the time in my role as coordinator for our local cloth diapering group about sources for used dipes.) Today, I found a listing by a self-described “local WAHM” selling cloth diapers that look, um, exactly like Wallypop diapers. Down to the detail of stencling designs on that are, I’m not kidding, 100% exact copies of dipes I’ve made for Genna and posted on here.
And though I was at first a little mad, I’m actually kind of flattered. (Note, my being flattered doesn’t change the fact that copying another person’s product and then selling it is completely immoral and unethical.)
Since the person making/selling these diapers obviously reads my blog, let me take a moment to point out to you that as soon as you paint a design on anything, it becomes an item with surface painting, or surface coating. This gives you a MUCH more stringent set of requirements under the CPSIA. The lead paint rules are much stricter and more onerous than the total lead content rules. Unless you’re having each item tested, you are in violation of the law and could lose your house over it. It’s not worth the risk.
First, why I make them the way I do.
I give customers so many options with AIOs because I’ve found that everyone wants something slightly different. While most styles of AIO are made with hidden elastic, some (the feel-wet inners) are made with elastic binding. Elastic binding simply works best for the feel-wet inners, whereas hidden elastic tends to work better for the other styles.
I don’t topstitch AIOs. When I first started making AIOs, I found that I had more wicking problems with them when they were topstitched, and also that I preferred to have the legs roll out anyway. Now that I’ve had a second baby, I’ve tried some AIOs both ways – topstitched, as well as not topstitched – and have really not had any preference, or found any difference in performance.
My personal favorite AIO style is with a feel-wet (flannel) inner and edge-sewn soaker. That said, I am not a huge fan of AIOs. They take a long time to dry. They don’t perform as well as a two-piece system, and they’re completely inflexible. AIOs are the absolute last thing I reach for.
I don’t currently have AIOs in inventory. AIOs are not my best selling product. I mean, they sell OK, but I don’t sell through them as fast as many other products, so they tend to be lower on my priority list for restocking. I’m also currently of two minds with the AIOs. I have historically inventoried AIOs with hidden soakers, but I’m leaning towards inventorying the edge-sewn soakers when I restock. These are, however, a bit harder/more time consuming to make, and I’m not sure if that would necessitate a price change.
Third, customer response to the AIOs.
AIOs receive the most varied feedback of any of our products. I think this is true of most brands of AIOs, and likely stems from the fact that, with an AIO in particular, fit is so important. A bit loose, a bit tight, not absorbent enough – it will cause leaking.
Those who like the AIOs, seem to really really love them. And then some people really really don’t like them. (Or, more accurately, they want to like them, but they just simply do not work for their kid.) Yes, it’s hard to tell in advance which camp you’ll fall into. However, I can almost guarantee you that if you buy 2 dozen of them, you’ll be one of those for whom they don’t work.
Fourth, washing and drying. I get this question a lot: aren’t all in ones hard to get clean?
I can see why you might think so. However, after receiving back one of my original AIOs after it saw use by several families and for several years, I cut it open to check it out, and it was completely clean. They need to be washed thoroughly, and dried thoroughly, but they get just as clean as anything else.
I moved Genna completely up to Mediums yesterday. She’s over 15 lbs now, and while the smalls still fit her, and the mediums look large on her little body, she was starting to get plumber butt and the smalls clearly were not absorbent enough. I just wanted to hang on to those smalls… but I should have switched several weeks ago.
Last night was her first night in her new Mediums. I had her in a flannel basic fitted with a fleece wrap cover (alabaster). She is not a deep sleeper like her brother was, not yet anyway, and wakes up during nighttime changes, so I only change her if she’s already awake. Not stirring…actually awake. So I don’t change her overnight very often. Last night was no exception. This morning when we awoke, I took off her diaper, pleased to note that there was absolutely no hint of dampness on the outside of her jams.
As I walked the diaper into the other room to throw it in the pail, I noticed it was so wet, it was actually literally dripping. It was COMPLETELY soaked. Soaked more than I have ever seen a diaper soaked. How she peed that much i one night, I’m not entirely sure, though she did seem to nurse a lot more often last night than usual.
But yet the cover was completely dry, and her jams were dry.
THAT, my friends, is impressive.
I mean, I like my stuff. I wouldn’t sell it if it didn’t work. Everything I have worked great for Wally, who was a Super Pee-er. And I’m always happy when people email with reports of the fleece covers being completely awesome. But it’s something else to experience this for myself after so many years of not having anyone in diapers. It was like a reminder, “Oh, yeah, THAT’s why I like this stuff so much!”
Why don’t you offer one-size diapers?
This question has been asked a lot recently, as one particular well-known brand of one-size diapers has gained popularity.
The answer is: They are not a product I believe in.
My personal experience, and based on conversations with cloth diaper users for the past five years, is that sized diapers are a much better option for most families. One-size diapers tend to be hard to fit on newborns, and often aren’t big enough for bigger/older kids. They tend to be completely worn out after use by one kid.
That’s not to say that they’re not a good choice for some families – they are. If you’re only going to diaper one child, and you’re OK with the possibility of having to supplement with sized diapers on either side (newborn and older), one-size diapers might very well be an excellent choice.
But I have a hard time selling items that I don’t personally believe in. I tend to talk people out of them, lol, and that’s not a good sales technique. (And I think it’s dishonest.)
Is there a chance I’ll offer one-size diapers in the future? It’s not likely, but if I decide to devote time to making a one-size pattern, I’ll be sure to post here when I need testers!!
OK, here are some tips for you:
MicroFLEECE – soft, thin, fuzzy polyester. Used as a stay-dry layer inside diapers.
MicroFIBER – sort of rough, thin, bumpy polyester. Used as absorbent layer inside diapers. Not to touch baby’s skin.
I know it’s confusing, but they are RADICALLY different materials.
I’m almost certain I’ve blogged about this before, but I cannot find it, so here’s another post for you!
Does PUL contain Phthalates? I would say that it probably does, but I’ve not run any chemical tests. However, though I will tell people that it probably does, I sat down to look it up again today and was surprised to find that the answer is not so cut and dried, at least to those of us Chemistry-phobes. The coating is a polyurethane. Read the link and decide for yourself…
I do know many, many people who choose not to use PUL – or any polyesters – in their diapering out of a desire to avoid any potentially harmful chemicals.
That said, many parents feel that the risk to their child is minimal, and that it’s hard to beat the thin waterproofness that PUL provides.
I will note that some brands of diaper (and baby) products are made with vinyl – vinyl DOES DEFINITELY contain phthalates (in the form of BPA among others) as well as lead. So, um, maybe avoiding products with vinyl would be a good idea!
Here is a link to a slightly biased article at Diaper Pin on this subject.
What about lead?
PUL – at least the stuff I use – does not contain lead in excess of current laws. (CPSIA)