Sunday, July 24, 2011

How to fold a real diaper.....

By far, the very nicest thing my mother-in-law Carol ever did for me was make 4 dozen diapers for Becca and then later for Laura (aka Grace). Now, that may not sound nice but it was REALLY nice and I loved it.

Back then (in the early 80's) we lived in Utah, which by all accounts could have been called the land of babies because there are so many people having so many babies. Back then, especially in Utah, lots of people sewed; so sewing one's diapers was a pretty normal thing. It wasn't however something I had ever heard of having grown up in the land of eternal sunshine and waste (otherwise known as Los Angeles in the 70's). When I babysat, I seldom changed real diapers. The moms of my charges were quick to jump on the plastic diaper bandwagon. I had no idea about the joys of real diapers--real diapers, as in cloth diapers, as in the softest, most luscious flannel diapers you ever imagined.

When Carol showed up with her beautiful, white, soft, flannel creations, I was enamored. I loved the idea of putting my soon to be born baby (aka baby Becca) in such precious softness. By this time I was more familiar with regular cloth bird's eye gauze diapers, but they were scratchy and I didn't really like them. Ok, I admit to being very picky about fabric softness.

The homemade flannel diapers seemed like a cadillac version of diapers, by far. I later learned there was a mercedes version too (aka diaper service diapers, which are soft too--but not nearly as soft as flannel--but they magically wash themselves!) Unfortunately, just like a mercedes, they are expensive to have and keep up with. Carol's flannel diapers offered the additional bonus of being cheap to use.

The only problem with these old fashioned flannel diapers is the folding. If you don't know how to do it, you could be sunk, which leads me to why I am writing this very long winded explanation of diapers and diaper folding.

Jeremy and Bethany are having their first baby really soon. The baby (aka little peanut) is going to wear cloth diapers that are going to be washed at home.

I wanted to make them a present of some diapers (I wish I could have made as many as my mother-in-law but some are probably better than none--diaper flannel is now an exotic commodity, no longer available by the bolt!). The only problem is I am not there to show them how to fold them. My solution (well, actually Steve's solution) a lesson in pictures via the blog.
So here we go and sorry up front about losing the formatting...I couldn't figure out how to fix it.

Lay the diaper flat on the floor. No need to get too picky about the flat...this way is good enough.

Fold an edge (I always did the right side) over towards the other far you fold determines how big the diaper will be so the same diapers that fit a newborn can be expanded to fit a big ole' toddler who you wish wasn't wearing diapers anymore.

Fold the second side over to match the first. You have to make a third fold so the second side doesn't fall off the opposite edge. See close up below...

The sides should be relatively symetrical, but don't go getting all anal about it because it will be dirty in no time and you will be soon folding it again. Close enough works for horseshoes AND diapers.

Fold the tail up. Now here is the part you can be tricky about. If you are folding for a boy, figure out how to put more of the tail so it protects the front. If you are folding for a girl, get that extra tail folded more in the middle. That way you will catch more pee where you need it. I didn't figure that one out for awhile. My mother-in-law only had boys so I folded it the boy way for a long time. Don't expect that mattered, but it was nice to know when I figured it out later.

Last step, fold the top down and smooth it out a bit. When you are putting these on a teeny tiny baby, you can fold in the leg area to fit a bit snugger. The snugger the fit, the less the leakage of things you don't want to leak.

You put them on the baby by pinning the back right over the front right and pinning. Then do the back left over the front left. Pin snugly and cover in a plastic pants or other waterproof wraps. Sometimes the wraps have their own ways of folding diapers so you will have to figure that one out on your own. (Ok, that part was super obvious but just in case, I said it.)

Last hints....
  • use double diapers at night. This may seem way too bulky when the baby is a newborn, but it works and often lets you sleep a little more because the extra diaper absorbs more before needing to be changed. We used to not change our babies at night and it worked out just great. Quick nursing and back to sleep.
  • if it is tricky to get the pin through the fabric, run the point of the pin in your hair. The natural grease in your hair makes the pin slip right through.
  • don't be cheap about pins. Good pins are worth the price. It is worth replacing them when they get dull as you are much less likely to poke the baby if your pin is sharp and slips through the fabric.
  • put your hand behind where you are pinning, that way you poke your hand instead of the baby. You will learn not to do that really fast. If you do poke yourself, make sure to wash it so it doesn't get infected.
  • if you want to make your own diapers, google diaper flannel and buy the thickest, softest flannel you can find. It takes about 10 yards a dozen, so prepare for the invasion of fabric should you ever choose to make them. They are simple as pie to make--cut or tear a square sized block--it usually comes 27" wide. Hem the two non-selvaged edges and you are set.
  • Never, ever throw an old diaper away, these make THE best rags you will ever have in your life.

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