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Purchase the "Do It Yourself" Cloth Diapering Handbook: The most complete and comprehensive introduction to cloth diapering today! Endorsed by Natural Family Online.

You Made What Into a Diaper?

By Tricia Ballad
Make Cloth Wipes Too!

Let's face it, you can spend a lot on cloth diapers. They're more economical in the long run, but the initial investment can be a real obstacle for some families. Here are a few tips on getting started without breaking the bank.

Happy Heinys Cloth Pocket Diapers - Stacinator Cloth Diaper Covers - Pocket Diapers
Looking for Diapers & Accessories?
Diapers, covers, wet bags, PUL tote bags, inserts, novelty items, wipes & more! At the Balter Catalogue Company.

Simple flannel prefolds
Flannel receiving blankets make great prefolds. Cut one in quarters, then cut another into eight strips. Cut each strip in half, for a total of 16. Sew one or two strips into the center third of each flat diaper for extra absorbency. Of course, you can also avoid the sewing all together and just use them as flat diapers! Experiment with other fabrics you already have. Old T-shirts and flannels work great too -- nice, worn ones are so soft against the baby's skin!

Wool covers
There are many patterns available online for making wool covers from old sweaters. Check out the local thrift store for some great finds. Just be sure you start with 100% wool, then be prepared to disregard everything you ever learned about how to launder. Here's a good, simple pattern for "butt sweater" wool covers.

Fleece covers
If you know your way around a sewing machine, it's not difficult at all to whip up a few fleece covers. Here is a site full of good cloth diaper patterns. Use the pattern for making fitted diapers -- just use fleece instead of flannel or some other fabric. Keep an eye out for fleece throw blankets, which are often less expensive than buying the same yardage in the fabric stores. Old sweatshirts are great, too.

Diaper swap groups and fabric co-ops
There are several groups devoted to selling and trading gently used diapers. Be sure to investigate them carefully before giving out any information like your real name, address or phone number. As long as you're careful, diaper swaps can be a great way to build up a stash without spending a lot of money. Fabric co-ops generally order large quantities of fabrics to get a wholesale discount, then divide the fabric up among members. There are co-ops devoted just to diaper fabrics: fleece, wool, hemp and so on.

eBay can be another great way to buy diapers inexpensively, but be sure to check out the online stores first. Often, bidding on eBay can exceed the retail price of the diaper.

© Tricia Ballad

Tricia Ballad was a web developer by profession and a writer and natural family planning advocate by passion. She left her job in September, 2004 to stay home with her children. Her goal is to "negotiate the divide between mainstream suburbia and the strikingly counter-cultural, seeking a balance between the two extremes." Tricia lives with her husband and their growing family in the Chicago area. She is co-owner of the Balter Catalogue Company and runs for families and small business.

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