Turtle's Progress

Monday, February 11, 2008

Cloth Diapering circa 1978

Okay ladies, I know you are all excited about the prospect of using cloth diapers for your babies and I commend all of you for that! But remember, for your grandmothers cloth diapers were the only choice and oftentimes the diapers they used were made of the cloth from cast off clothing, and if your mothers used cloth diapers, most of them were probably doing it out of economic necessity as disposables were pretty expensive as I remember.

I personally feel that disposable diapers are an item whose time has come and GONE! (and I'm so glad you ladies are helping them to get on their way!) When my first child was born in 1978 disposable diapers were just beginning to come into the mainstream and were fast becoming the preferred way of diapering used by most of my friends. I kept some in the house to use for outings but quickly discovered that Meghan would break out with diaper rash if I used them so stuck strictly to cloth. Those of us back then who used cloth diapers were looked at as a little strange for not wanting to use such a modern convenience. I'm sure some folks look at you all that way now. But if others only knew how truly simple it is once you have a system down I think more parents would be willing to try it.

Our choices back then were flat-fold or pre-fold. I used flat fold. Basically a rectangular piece of diaper quality guaze that you folded to fit the size of your baby. (What many of you used as burp cloths) My mom recommended these as this is what she used and I remembered diapering my younger brother and sister using these. Both the flat-fold and pre-fold were used with diaper pins and rubber pants. The covers that are used now basically takes the place of pins and rubber pants as the velcro can be pulled tight enough to keep the diaper in place. The rubber pants of the past were made of plastic with elastic legs and waistband.

The diapers I used lasted through two babies, as well as the overlap time (about 15 months) when they were both in diapers at the same time. Because they were a flat piece of cloth instead of having the folds sewn in they were much easier to wash and dry. I used a diaper pail half full of water mixed with "Borax" in which the diapers would soak until ready to wash. When it was full I dumped the entire pail contents into the washer, spun out the "Borax" water, and washed. During the first year I used a dryer and because they were a single ply piece of cloth they dried very quickly. The last two years I did not have a dryer and in the winter sometimes had to use the radiators in each room of the house to hang the diapers. (Since the radiators were only allowed to be on about four hours a night I had to make sure on diaper washing day that they were all on the radiators by the time they were to be turned on). In the summer they hung on the line outside.

When they came out of the dryer or off the radiator or line I then folded them to fit the current size of my babies. When they were both in diapers I had two stacks of different sizes folded and ready for use. With newborns one diaper was enough, but as they grew I usually folded two diapers together for each diaper change.

During a diaper change sometimes I used "diaper liners". These were small blue disposable inserts that would catch the poop and make it easier to clean the diaper after a bowel movement. These were not disposable at that time and eventually I just quit using them and rinsed the diaper directly into the toilet if necessary. I've noticed on-line that you can now get biodegradable flushable inserts to use inside cloth diapers.

For "wipes" I just used washcloths. Before getting ready to change my baby I would let the water run warm, wet a washcloth with the warm water and then use it during the diaper change. After use it went into the diaper pail with the diaper.

As I read the systems you have all created for yourselves, I have to admire you for going against the mainstream and doing what you feel is best for your babies, your pocketbook, your families and the environment. Thanks for all of your blogs -- it's a joy to see what you are all doing with your children and babies and be carried back to that joyous time in my own life....


At 9:14 AM, Blogger erin said...

Thanks for encouraging all of us mom. I love you so much!!!

At 9:15 AM, Blogger Megan said...

You are so cool for putting what it was like when we were babies. My mom used an actual diaper service. Thanks for encouraging us. It really helps when we realize we really don't know what we are doing!

At 11:22 AM, Blogger Shelley said...

What a fun read! My mom thought I was crazy to use cloth diapers with our little guy. She only dreamed of using disposables at that time! I think she is now on board with me, but I do still get those looks of horror when I tell people we use cloth!

At 9:10 AM, Blogger Joyce said...

I did start using cloth diapers, when our Paul was first born. Because of my back problems, I had to revert to disposable.
Great tool of learning...sharing your ideas of cloth diapers.
Love you lots..
Glad to see you are blogging.

At 12:32 PM, Blogger Jerri said...

It's great when you comment, Terry. Your love story always gives me hope for the future. Merry Christmas to you and all you love.



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