Cloth Diapering/Natural Living in Des Moines – when did it start?

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!


Author: sarahtar

Hi, I am Sarah, owner of Wallypop ( and Boulevard Designs ( I homeschool, work from home, and, along with my husband, raise 3 kids, one of whom has special and medical needs. Turn ons are people who are polite, honesty, and really good root beer. Turn offs are mean people and people who make my life more difficult.

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