After delivery, many traditional homes avoid using new clothing for the newborn. This is a tradition deep rooted in our culture and is followed to mitigate possible allergies from dust or from contact with chemicals which the baby may develop from synthetic cloth. The same holds true for diapers.
Disposable diapers are essentially made of plastic and contain chlorine, poly-acrylate and other chemicals which are known to be hazardous. Hence, some prefer home-made diapers.
Home-made diapers also come in handy as a backup option. At times when people are travelling and have run out of normal diapers, cloth diapers can be made out of simple fabric available in the house like clean old clothes, comfortable linen, and even old cotton t-shirts.
In the hot and humid weather in India, using home-made diapers instead of synthetic diapers with adhesive is a far more comfortable option. Advent of diaper showers have made it easy to wash off dirt from the diapers, making home-made diapers easy to clean and disgust-free. Instances of diaper rashes and skin inflammation are also reported to be much lesser in the case of home-made diapers.
At a psychological level, experts also say that kids who are given home-made diapers can be potty-trained faster and better, probably because they are aware of the wetness associated with frequent wetting of the diapers.
Dr Bhaskar Shenoy, General Paediatrician, Manipal Hospital, Bengaluru, says: “Home-made diapers are better. The child will get a signal the moment it is wet, and the mother will get up and clean it. In commercial diapers, the urine or faeces gets absorbed and stays in contact with the baby’s skin for the whole night. The chances of diaper rashes are very less with home-made ones. I advise people to use home-made diapers only. Only when they go out, should they use disposable diapers.”
It is also economical to use home-made cloth diapers in the initial days. Due to higher tendencies of babies to urinate and excrete randomly, using home-made diapers would help parents save some costs.
Home-made diapers come in different varieties.
Fitted diapers for instance, are made up of super absorbent fabric and are secured with snaps or velcro. They have elastic around the leg openings to prevent leaks.
Contour diapers are also made of absorbent fabric; they do not need to be folded but rather need to be pinned before the diaper cover is put over them.
Pre-folded diapers are rectangular in shape with several layers of fabric in the middle and are secured together with the help of fasteners and pins.
Flat diapers on the other hand is a large rectangular piece of fabric that are only a single layer thick and have to be folded several times to make them thick and absorbent.