Not all comebacks are worth drawing attention to. Like the briefly mentioned comeback of the early 90’s heartthrob band New Kids On The Block…newsworthy? Not-so-much! But the return of the cloth diaper is huge! Have you ever wondered why the cloth diaper faded to uncool status? Of course it was due to the disposable diaper but who invented it?
In 1946, Marion Donavon designed a waterproof diaper cover from a shower curtain. This WAHM certainly deserves kudos for ingenuity although her creativity and sewing skills could have made a gorgeous Goodmama I’m sure ;) She later improved upon her prototype with the final product being made from nylon parachute cloth. Disposable diapers didn’t really make it to mass market until 1961 when the idea was bought and used to develop Pampers. From there cloth diapers became less and less used and harder to find, not to mention their ugliness and poor functionality.
Cloth diapers started to see a rise in popularity from the 90’s and on, however 2008 is projected to be the year that their popularity hits mainstream. Here are 6 reasons why cloth diapers are coming back huge in 2008.
1. Internet. The Internet is responsible for the ease at which anyone can discover, learn, buy, sell, and use cloth diapers. Google cloth diapers and the return is overwhelming. There are forums, auction sites, online boutiques, carts, suppliers, tutorials all at a finger’s touch. The Internet provides a doorway to information and products that once was available only to those who manufactured and sold them. And online forums like Diaperswappers.com make cloth diapering completely manageable and connect other cloth diapering moms together from around the world.
2. Style. What once was an industry limited to birdseye flats, pins and rubber pants has soared to whatever your sewing hands and creative mind can envision. The fabrics available range from gorgeous to flat out luscious! Designer fabrics that were once only used to make comforters and drapes are now being used to make a multitude of diaper styles. Instead of flats and pins (which are still very popular) you can choose a fitted diaper that requires a cover or forgo the cover and opt for pockets or all-in-ones. If you choose to use flats or prefolds you are not stuck with pins as your only fastener, because he snappi is an excellent alternative.
3. Availability. In almost every major city you can find a brick and mortar store that sells a variety of cloth diapers. The health food store Whole Foods has also chosen to make BumGenius and gDiapers readily available to their customers. People who might not have even considered cloth diapers are exposed to it while grocery shopping. And if you are like me, a “look at everything in the store” shopper, this is a great way to introduce cloth diapers to the public. Of course you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home to buy cloth diapers. Hyena cart, WAHM store sites, and online boutiques offer new diapers and forums like Diaperswappers have for sale or trade areas to buy used diapers at a great price.
4. Increased Environmental concerns. Environmental concerns seem to be the buzz cause today. Everyone who wants to be someone takes a stance on an environmental issue. Whether you believe the issues are as imminent as some say or not, they have opened the door to cloth diaper popularity. Disposable diapers sit by the millions of tons in landfills rotting and s-l-o-w-l-y decaying. This is an obvious reason to turn away from modern convenience and choose cloth diapers. The major environmental benefit to cloth diapering is the lifespan. Cloth diapers can be passed down from one child to the next and potentially be used for decades. (my parents passed down some cloth diapers they used on me that I in turn have used on my children).
5. Greater interest in Healthy choices. When it comes to diapers the major health issue is the proximity of harmful chemicals to the sensitive parts of a baby. One look at the gel crystals sticking to my son three years ago and I was convinced something wasn’t right! Cloth diapers offer a solution to the highly absorbent chemicals found in disposable diapers. The market offers you the ability to personalize the materials to your specific liking. If you prefer all organic that is also an option. Other natural fiber choices include: hemp, bamboo, and cotton.
6. Ease of use. For those of you who are completely pin/snappi challenged (my husband!) we have lots of options! If you prefer a cloth diaper that is most similar to a disposable then aplix is the way to go. Aplix is velcro. The other fastener is snaps (front or side snap). The level of ease also comes into play when discussing prep time. An all-in-one requires no prep. It comes out of the dryer ready to wear. Pockets need to be stuffed and fitteds require a cover to be waterproof.
This months issue of Mothering magazine featured the cloth diaper comeback on the cover. Newspapers and news channels are running feature stories with more frequency. This exposure will also propel many WAHM’s to household familiarity status and will lead to our world becoming a healthier, cleaner place.