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Early Cloth History

Let’s go way way back and start from the beginning of cloth diapers. What’s the earliest diaper noted in history? Read on to find out!

If you’re just tuning in- Throughout the next few weeks we will be building a timeline of how cloth/disposable diapers evolved. 

There really isn’t a lot of information available on how people diapered before the 1800s..But I’ve been able to find a few gems to start this series before we dive more into the evolution of our modern cloth diaper. Many sources have information that wrapping and swaddling babies was used as a solution to pee/poo. It’s actually pretty disgusting to say the least so I’ll try to spare you some of the details. Here’s our first mention of diapering.

         –  “clean, soft woollen cloth which will not shrink, bruise, irritate or compress unevenly” to wrap the baby immediately after birth and the first bath; the baby was gradually unwrapped after forty to sixty days (Graham 2013: 223-224). 

Of course this led to many serious health issues. This solution called “swaddling” was around for a while in many cultures. Some mothers did change their babies often, but other families couldn’t afford more than 1 swaddle. They would have to leave their babies in these swaddles for long periods of time. Babies were potty trained as soon as they could sit up which helped combat this major health issue. There’s even this little piece from Colonial America that mentions swaddling 

  • it has been said that “most babies spent much of their first few months wrapped tightly in wet and soiled swaddling bands!” 

This was a bit of a sadder week for cloth history but it soon changes. I promise! And eventually we were able to perfect the modern cloth diaper. Can you believe how much has changed?

Tune in next week for more cloth history!

Grace @makelaundrynotlandfill

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