The Cloth Diaper: Its History and Dramatic Comeback
The cloth diaper is back, and Kanga Care makes the best one size cloth diapers on the market today. Just when and how did it all begin?
The History of the Diaper
For much of history, infant sanitary needs were handled by putting absorbent material (moss, rags) into a sort of sling under the baby; the absorbent material was periodically replaced. The word “diaper” originally referred to the fabric – a type of linen – and not to its use on babies. The first known mention of a diaper was in William Shakespeare's “The Taming of the Shrew.” (Fun fact! William Shakespeare's sister, Joan, is the 11th great grandmother of Kanga Care's owner, Julie Ekstrom, making The Bard her VERY Great-Grand Uncle!)
Unfortunately, in Elizabethan times the diaper was only changed every few days. Yuck! In the early 1800s, a cloth diaper was a square or rectangle of linen, cotton flannel, or stockinet that was folded into a rectangular shape, and knotted around the baby’s bottom. These were often hung to dry, if they were only wet, but seldom washed. When the safety pin was invented in 1849, those were then used by those that could afford the pins to hold the rectangular diaper in place. In 1887, modern cloth diapers were invented and began to be mass produced as squares of linen or flannel folded into a triangle and held in place with a safety pin. Around this time, mothers also started boiling dirty diapers to sanitize them before reuse. Wool soakers, tight wool pants or shorts were used as diaper covers and worn over diapers to keep clothing dry until 1946, when the plastic diaper cover was invented. Disposable diapers first appeared on the market in the early 1960s.
The Cloth Diaper Comes Full Circle
By now, many parents and pediatricians have figured out that disposable diapers were not all they were cracked up to be, and have returned to the use of a diaper made of cloth, but not the old-fashioned kind. In 2006 Rumparooz were born: an award-winning one size cloth diaper that is fully adjustable, so they can be used for all children from newborn to 35+ lbs. They were so popular that Kanga Care is now a successful company making not only diapers, but also many accessories such as diaper covers, liners, wet bags, changing pads, training pants and even doll diapers so your older child can “help” or that favorite teddy bear can "match"!
Is One Diaper Really Any Better Than Another?
At Kanga Care we certainly think so. Rumparooz are adjustable in two places, at the waist and in the rise, which means they can be custom fitted to your newborn, truly at birth, and readjusted as your baby grows, even serving as a cover for training pants or swimming. The patented double inner gussets keep blowouts in the diaper, and you can add as many soakers in the pocket as needed for maximum absorbency options.