If you had told me 3 years ago that I'd be making my own cloth diapers, I would have thought you were crazy. CA-RAY-ZY! It was around that time (3 years ago) that I first heard of someone my age using cloth diapers for their babies. It seemed so...outdated. All I'd ever heard about cloth diapers were how crazy difficult they were to clean. Dunking them in toilets. Dangerous safety pins. Leaks. Covers. What a mess. Our mothers were so very, very happy when disposables hit the shelves.
While it did seem quite frugal on my friend's part, I honestly thought she was totally bonkers when she told me she was cloth diapering. I thought I'd never even consider it. Since then I've actually had a number of friends switch over, and I've discovered that there are TONS of cloth options. All-in-ones (no covers necessary), pocket diapers, Chinese or Indian Pre-folds with snappis, etc., etc., etc. and that diapers and the like have come a long way in ease, absorbancy, containability, and cleanability. (The pre-folds with snappis are the closest to what our parents used, and I still haven't quite gotten to the point where I can imagine using them exclusively...though I have 2-3 friends who do and love it.)
The first diaper that caught my fancy was the Bum-genius A.I.O. At $18 a diaper it would be a large initial investment, but it would even out or come up less expensive in the end. I never actually tried them because it seemed impractical to buy just one, but what if it was a bad fit for Dean or what if I totally hated cloth diapering? Plus, Matt's not supportive of the idea and swears he'll never change a cloth diaper. I believe him. He can barely handle changing a disposable and nearly gags every time.
I was going to do a cloth trial, but I chickened out of that too since a lot of the trials only give you all your money back in online store credit when you send the trial diapers back. I mean, what if I didn't like it at all??? But once Dean hit size 4, I started thinking about cloth a lot again. The diapers were getting more expensive, and he goes through about 5-8 diapers a day still! (He poops a lot! Today I'd already changed 5 poopy diapers by his nap at 12:30! Not all days are that extreme, but some definitely are.) I'm spending over $40/mo. in diapers right now, and that number's just going to go up and up with 2 kids in diapers!!
A couple months ago a friend of mine posted a tutorial (on her private blog) on how to make your own pocket diaper, using Rita's Rump Pocket pattern. Her daughter has had bad reactions to disposables and has had great success with her own homemade diapers. I kind of balked at the idea at first, but then I started warming up to it. After all, it could be pretty economical and I could at least see how I handled the cleaning part of diapering. Plus I could make as few or as many as I wanted and could go as recycled (using old sheets and towels) or as new as I wanted (cute fabrics, etc).
Rita's pattern calls to use safety pins, but two of my friends had successfully used aplix-velcro with the RRP diaper. Safety pins are a hands down NO for Dean. Most of the time it is torturous trying to change his diaper with him wiggling, fighting, twisting, and running away. So I ordered some 2-in. aplix online and it got here this week.
I finished sewing my very first cloth diaper today. It took me about 3 hours all together, but that's because I'm a little slow learning a new pattern (I'm still a novice seamstress, teaching myself everything as I go), I made some dumb mistakes that I had to correct, and I was learning new elastic skills. I imagine the time it takes to sew them will drop dramatically if I make more. I haven't yet tried it out on Dean. I did put it on over his disposable just to see if it came up high enough, and it did. We'll see if I can get up enough courage to try it out in the next couple of days. If it doesn't work or fit as well as I like, I am still open to trying commercially made cloth diapers. I made the inside out of a tight-weave cotton and the outside out of flannel. There's an opening in the front (or back, depending how you make it) to stuff a liner (pre-fold, microfiber rags, terry cloth, hemp liners) inside to absorb the pee. These do technically need a diaper cover, but my friend only uses covers when she leaves the house. I can make some out of fleece which I'll probably do this week.
I'm going to first try a microfiber rag as a liner since we have some of those lying around. Anyway, once I get up the courage to try it out, I'll let you know how it goes...