E-Mail 'Getting Started with Cloth Diapers - Part 1, by ADC' To A Friend

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14 Comments

  1. ADC!
    This was a fun article with lots of useful information and a delightful sense of humor too. Looking forward to Part 2!

    I would add a couple thoughts to the conversation…

    First! Zinc oxide cream, a healing ointment, should be in everyone’s preps. Cloth diapers are also great as part of the stash whether or not babies are anticipated or there are young children in the group!

    Second! A little bit more serious, but a note related to diapering generally and cloth diapers vs. disposables as these subjects are relevant to the more serious subject of early childhood neurological development.

    The brain of a baby is growing and changing rapidly (in utero and in early life after birth). We think a lot about how best to stimulate that development in good and wholesome ways with audio-visuals, but we don’t always consider touch sensation as fully as we should.

    A critical part of this is how babies experience physical contact, and of course, this includes skin contact with diapers and the messes deposited within those diapers. For older children and adults, this sort of mess might be experienced as a terribly undesirable nuisance and an embarrassment — one to be avoided at nearly all cost. For a baby, skin contact with a diaper mess may be experienced in much different and distressing ways simply by virtue of the early formation of the brain.

    Babies cannot tell us directly, but there is a whole lot of evidence available from other sources including people who struggle with sensory defensiveness disorders. In these cases, the brain is atypically formed for some reason (too great a topic for this response), and the person experiences touch sensation very differently from those of us without the same developmental neurological concern.

    It’s not a big leap from an understanding the consequences of atypical development to understanding what might also be experienced in infancy related to the early and rapid development development of the human brain.

    What is the take home? Keep your babies diaper zones clean and dry and comfortable. The implications are, in all seriousness, more significant than generally imagined. It’s not that people haven’t survived for many thousands of years without disposables — an argument that would be silly, even ridiculous. This is about giving the tiny new person entrusted to you every developmental support and advantage available. The consequences for those early choices we make as parents last a lifetime.

  2. Memories… I had 4 babies in 7 years and used cloth diapers. I was able to have a diaper service in the very beginning with baby #1 because my mother gave that as a gift. Back then, you got 100 diapers delivered every week and the dirties picked up. I was never able to get my diapers as clean and bright as the laundry service did.

    As I could afford it, I bought my own cloth diapers until I had enough. I recall trying to wash diapers in the tub when my washing machine conked out. Which is what you’d have to do without electricity. It can be done (rubber gloves necessary). I would hang the diapers on a laundry line in the garden because the sun would not only dry them, but disinfect them again.

    One note: front loading washing machines, “energy efficient” washing machines, washing machines that limit water usage, are all horrible for washing diapers. I heard on Wranglerstar’s YouTube channel, that they sought out the Speed Queen brand of washers, which doesn’t limit the amount of water, and are built to last. If I have to buy machines again, I will definitely seek that brand out. In the states like California, they limit water, and they charge a fortune for water, so I can see why moms/dads would use disposables. I have this vision that all the pipes in California will become gummed up and stopped up due to the lack of water rushing through them. LOL.

  3. ahhh the ole flush n drag
    Good article:
    Something that was actually discussed during the lockdown as diapers and wipes were in serious shortage for the Grands.

  4. That’s why we love SB so much, you just never know what the surprise article of the day is going to be!

    I watched The Rock last night with Nicholas Cage and when his girlfriend tells him she’s pregnant in the opening scene, my mind flashed back to that scene in The Family Man where he’s changing the diaper. It must have been a premonition about today’s feature. 🙂 That scene where the baby boy is on his back and the urine geyser erupts was real pee, the baby timed it just right, Cage kept a straight face, and it made the final cut.

    ADC, great article. Cloth diapers have come a long way since I was changing them a few decades ago and this is going to be another steep learning curve for modern parents when the SHTF. Like you said, people should try this out in their prepping to get a better idea of how to prepare.

    A few thoughts and warnings. The proteins in urine break down into urea and after a while urea breaks down into ammonia. This is one of the causes of diaper rash, but it takes a while for ammonia to form so the quicker you can change a messy diaper, the less chance of diaper rash.

    Second, urea breaks down to form ammonia in a diaper bucket. Most people know not to mix bleach and ammonia when cleaning but in a basic top-loading washing machine where bleach is added by hand, it can also mix with the ammonia and form a very toxic gas called chloramine. My wife had a very bad reaction to it once and then changed when she added the beach.

    Have you ever wondered in photos why all the younger kids in Africa and South East Asia are always wearing a shirt but no bottoms? They don’t use diapers but when they touch the baby in the front and back excrement exit points it stimulates the baby to cut loose. That could be a huge convenience in a TEOTWAWKI situation and something worth researching. I’ve seen it in South East Asia but didn’t speak any of the languages to be able to ask questions. I don’t know if the baby grunts or gives some indication it needs to go or if its just touched every so often. But I’m sure even American babies could be trained to the technique.

    1. Those were the days. I remember laying in the back of the station wagon with the dog and the tailgate window open. If I was a kid nowadays, I’d be in a booster seat until seventh grade. I was a short skinny kid.

      1. Yes, they were. The 60s & early 70s had their issues, but compared to today??
        Most of the mom & pops generation back then were war vets that had lived thru the great depression, and they knew what to do to get by……on a shoestring, if necessary.

  5. I guess I get to be the one to mention that if you sew your own diapers from flannel receiving blankets from the thrift store, your start up cost is virtually zero.

  6. I used cloth diapers for many years until our 5th child. I then decided I needed to simplify and use disposables as I was already doing a lot if laundry. For 5 years I did my laundry at a laundry mat as we hauled water. I pre rinsed the diapers in a 5 gallon bucket before going to the laundry mat. I lined the diapers with bounty paper towels that had been cut in half. This took care of the poop issue. I found that soaking the unwashed diapers with some vinegar in the water helped reduce the smell. After we moved to a home with running water and a washing machine I would spin out the diapers then run them through the rinse cycle. I then washed them in hot water. Usually I dried them in the dryer but if it was sunny I sometimes hung them out to dry in the sun and disinfect them. I’m sure the prefolded diapers are handy but actually the large rectangular diapers could be folded to fit the shape of your childs bottom and could be adjusted as they grew. Also they dried much quicker. I would say that the plastic covers are the most important item to have and then the diaper pins. You can always make diapers out of any absorbent material. I did this while working in an orphanage in Mexico.

  7. We used cloth diapers for all 4 of our boys. We only used disposables for traveling. We used Bummies for both diapers and water proof covers. I would recommend a diaper service for those just testing the waters. They provide the diapers, covers, bin and pickup/delivery. This gives you an idea if you are up for the flushing, fitting and use of the diapers with very little invested. Once you decide you are up for it you can purchase the needed supplies and transition from the service. Looking back we wouldn’t have done it any other way. By the way we had one of the first HE front loafers and it had a “sanitize” cycle that took the water temp up to 180 degrees. The diapers never came out bright white but the were pretty close. Our oldest is now expecting their first baby (our first grand baby). We’ve already signed them up for 6 months of diaper service.

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