I’ll tell you in one word why I started cloth diapering my (now 9 year old) daughter.
We were broke. We were so broke we couldn’t afford to order diaper wraps or even the good prefolds online because that required a) money and b) a debit or credit card, which we didn’t have. I went to Walmart and bought 2 dozen Gerber prefolds, pins, and pull-up vinyl pants.
To say it was discouraging was putting it mildly, especially when I had to scrub the diapers by hand in our bathroom sink because we couldn’t afford the laundromat.
I was thrilled when I found a flea market that carried Gerber brand velcro covers – I scrimped and bought 4. After a while, word got around and I was gifted a few AIOs and pockets, and I couldn’t believe how much easier it was to use them. I tried my hand at sewing a few out of old clothes, a la FernandFaerie.com , but the wool soaker pants did not go well for us.
When my son was born, I became a single mother and had to go back to work full time. I cringe thinking of those days, trudging out the door with a fussy 3 year old and a newborn, taking them to daycare so I could earn a little money. I don’t remember many nights when I slept more than 4 hours!
I asked about cloth at the daycare, but I was told I would need either a full stash of AIOs or disposables. I nearly wept when I figured out that to buy AIOs for Catie (who was STILL potty training then) and Daniel, it would cost me about $800! I was still too broke for anything but a box of sposies every other week.
There went a good chunk of my hard-earned money every payday – I used the envelope system, and one envelope was labeled “Gas and Diapers”.
Fast forward to today. Daniel is 5, and still wets the bed more nights than not. (I hope he doesn’t kill me for writing this when he’s 12!) I was still using pull-ups at night, because even though I’ve met and married a wonderful man, I couldn’t justify spending $18 on one pair of nighttime trainers.
I wandered through Joann’s only to get the shock of my life – they now carry PUL fabric! I bought a yard, then realized I needed elastic. Fortunately, here we have a Fabric Outlet store that carries nearly anything a discriminating sewer could ask for at dirt cheap prices – I scored a 50 yd roll of fold over elastic for $2! I ran home and sewed a few pocket trainers, and they worked well.
Something began to weigh on my mind –
I knew there were other mothers out there who couldn’t afford cloth diapers (at least, not the kind a day care would use).
I looked around online and found a terrific one-size AIO pattern – the Little One Size by Little Comet Tails, gulped, ordered it and a pair of snap pliers and snaps from KAMsnaps, and set to work.
I started sewing piles of AIOs for the Morning Star pregnancy center, and I hope to get help in sewing 200. My cost per diaper is only $2.40 each, and I’m seeking help from our local church in buying the materials – my pace is 2 diapers a day average, but on a crazy day I’ll sew 4!
The volunteers at Morning Star are excited, especially because the people they help always ask for diapers, and they can only give out – are you ready for this? 12 disposables per family. They have to make those donations stretch, but 12??? That’s one day of the stomach bug!
But the numbers really tell the story. If I can get my 200 diapers sewn (at a cost of $500) and into the hands of 10 families, it will save EACH family over $960 a year on disposables! Over $70 a month for the people who need it most! Add that up – 10 families each saving $960 a year is a total of $9,600 in savings from a $500 investment. That’s $9,600 that the pregnancy center DOESN’T have to raise, that the community doesn’t have to donate, and that’s only in the first year!
These diapers, like all diapers, will wear out, but their life span should be about 3 years. In 3 years those 200 diapers that cost $500 to make will save the families $28,800!
Can you imagine, for a struggling mom, what a godsend these diapers will be? Imagine Morning Star pregnancy center, whose yearly fund raising project includes handing out baby bottles to be filled with change, being able to make their dollars go that much farther because they don’t need to get as many disposables with that money.
I’m networking locally, trying to find other sewing moms. If I can get people to commit to just sewing one diaper a day to give away, it will help those moms and babies so much faster than I can!
If anyone you know is interested in joining this effort, please pass on my email address – kelly.a.egan AT gmail DOT com. Kelly has had a huge response!! Please visit the Facebook page she has set up to better organize the effort: A Diaper A Day To Give Away
Thank you, and God bless!