Friday, January 8, 2010

I'm making diapers... on my soapbox

Isn't this the cutest little diaper you ever did see?

I've been pricing cloth diapers and boy are they expensive! I know that the up-front costs are higher than going the disposable diaper route, and that overall disposables cost more than cloth diapers, but sheesh!

Disposable diapers really aren't an option as far as I'm concerned anyways. I do have a few on hand just in case (thanks, jenn!). And it's not just the cost that I'm concerned with, but the impact they have on the environment and I get creeped out thinking about how all that plastic and chemically treated petroleum product is so close to the tenderest parts of my baby. Just not gonna happen.

So cloth diapers it is.

The cloth diapering world has come a long way since when I was a baby. Not that I remember much about my cloth diapers, but you know, I've seen them on tv. There are so many options too! You can get folded diapers, pre-folded diapers, fitted diapers, all-in-ones (AIOs), etc. It's a little dizzying to get through all that information. I did a lot of research and finally decided on fitted diapers with wool covers. This option covers all of my parameters (I'm going to use bullet points, and I'm going to use them incorrectly):
  • There are no polyester parts (I know that Polyurethane Laminate (PUL) is supposed to be BPA-free, but I still try to keep the petroleum products to a minimum in my life). I need the area around baby's bum to be able to breathe. Less chance of diaper rash that way. An all-in-one diaper would have been so much easier because it works like a disposable diaper but instead of throwing it out once it's soiled, you throw it in the wash. But that means I'd have to use some sort of PUL material in the diaper and I really didn't want that.
  • So I decided to go with a fitted diaper and thought about making them with a layer of wool for soak-control.
  • Incidentally, did you know that wool is an awesome material for this? Most people think wool and they think scratchy sweaters, but as a knitter I know that there are Lots of different kinds of wool - some can be scratchy, yes - but there are also some that are dreamy soft and some in-between. 
  • Wool is a great material to work with because it's environmentally sustainable and no sheep get harmed in the production of wool, 
  • Wool can be thrown in with the wash (yes! it's true! You CAN machine-wash wool!), 
  • it has naturally low flame-retardant properties unlike petroleum based products - I'm talking about YOU polyester!, 
  • it's self-extinguishing, 
  • it's hypoallergenic, 
  • it will keep you warm even when it gets wet, 
  • and it's a great material for things like mattress pads and diaper covers because it can absorb almost one-third of its own weight. No wonder it was the fibre of choice for celtic fisherman who knit their own sweaters. No wonder it's used in fire-fighters' and soldiers' garments.
Fitted diapers are a lot like disposable diapers but without the plastic covering. I made mine out of 100% birdseye cotton. I needed the diaper to be as easy as possible for M and grandparents and other babysitter types. So nothing with diaper pins or snappi's or any other type of fastening accessories. They fasten with velcro tabs (I just learned that the generic word for this is "hook and loop." You know, like "bandages" instead of band-aids or "cotton swabs" instead of Q-tips, etc.) which makes it easy.

So fitted diapers it is. But without the plastic cover, pee will just leak out (not to mention what happens when there's a #2 going on). That's where the wool covers come in. I originally thought to make an all-in-one diaper with a wool cover, but let's face it. I'm going to want to wash dirty diapers in hot water. And as miraculous and wonderful as wool can be, it does have a few small drawbacks (it shrinks in hot water - sometimes not a bad thing if you're a crafter, and it's not moth-repellent). So I decided to sew fitted cloth diapers and knit wool covers out of my surplus of yarn.

I sewed a test diaper last night from a pattern I bought on-line. (I'm too much of a wimp to link to the source. Because to be honest, I don't think the pattern is very good so I can't recommend it. Email me if you want to know. I'm a little annoyed at how poorly the pattern is written (so confusing!) and there's errata that hasn't been corrected (the pattern is dated from 2004). The website is confusing to navigate and after lots of searching I finally found the errata page and was annoyed again to find commenters noting the errata from back in 2007 and the pattern is still being printed without any indication of the errors.) It wasn't too hard to sew and not too time consuming either. Now that I've got one made, I'm going to make the rest assembly-line style and crank these puppies out.

And now enough of my blah, blah, blah. Here's a photo of the newborn size diaper with the Och for scale. Hee hee. Newborn stuff is so teeny!


Natalie said...

That is the cutest little diaper I have ever seen. If you give Auntie Nat some specs, I'd love to knit Leftie some covers!

jean said...

Aw shucks, really? That would be swell! Thanks auntie nat! I'm going to look up some patterns on ravelry. I'll keep ya posted.

jean said...

Okay, so I think I will most likely be knitting this pattern. I'm also considering this one. Not necessarily with the argyle motif. And this one in case I just want to do garter stitch.

Nathan said...

Nice. Very cute.

You may want to consider a supply of waterproof covers to go over this. Take an empty 20 ounce bottle. Fill it with water. Dump all the water inside the diaper. If the outside is wet, you're going to have to change sheets and clothes every morning.

Just a little something we learned early about cloth diapers. Even a little wet exposed corner will wick out into a big giant wet area of clothing and bed.

meteowrite said...

I was reading these comments in my feed reader, and couldn't immediately see who said which thing. I was going to post a comment that said "Yes! What that last commenter said! That totally happened to me, too, with the corner and the wicking!" Then I clicked over here, and I see why that last commenter and I had such similar experiences.

jean said...

jenn: How do you read comments via the feed reader? I've been trying to figure that out!