WAHM Cloth Diapers
My journey from old fashioned to modern WAHM cloth diapers
How I Became a Cloth Diaper WAHM
Hi, my name is Amy Sue Nogar and I'm the work at home mom (WAHM) behind Zany Zebra Designs. Believe it or not, the first time I used cloth diapers on my baby I hated them, but today's cloth diapers are easy to use and so adorable that I'm hooked!
Beginning With Old Fashioned Cloth Diapers
My first experience with cloth diapers was in 1989, with our eldest child, Andy. My mother gave me the cloth diapers she had used on my brothers and me. They were plain cotton flats and prefolds that had to be folded, pinned and covered with plastic pants. Dirty diapers were put in a diaper pail filled with water and dragged to the laundromat every week while plastic pants were washed in our bathtub. Because the diapers weren't very absorbent I had to change often and use disposables when we were away from home and at night.
Trying Department Store Cloth Diapers
I was more environmentally conscious when we had our second child, Molly, so I decided to try cloth diapers again. We found some flannel all in one diapers with velcro and an inner waterproof layer at a department store. These diapers were easier to use than the ones I used on Andy and came in adorable prints and colors. Eventually the waterproof layer broke down and the diapers began to leak, but I kept using them because I thought that leaks were normal with cloth diapers. We continued to use disposables for nighttime and trips away from home because the cloth wouldn't last all night, and I didn't trust it away from home.
I Found a Cloth Diaper System That Works
When our third child, Katie, was born a good friend who also used cloth diapers gave me a dozen contour diapers, some PUL covers and cloth wipes as a baby shower gift. These were the best cloth diapers I had tried so far. They were so easy to use and only leaked a little around the velcro when the diaper was soaked. We still had to use disposable diapers at night, but I thought I'd found the cloth diapering system for me! I was satisfied with this system and used it on our fourth child, Jonah, replacing diapers and covers as they wore out.
My Wizard of Oz Moment
When we found out we were expecting our fifth child, Zach, I wanted to buy some new diapers for our new baby but the company where I'd always gotten our contour diapers didn't carry them anymore! I turned to Ebay and found a dozen here and half dozen there but not as many as I wanted, and they were all used. As I was searching the internet I came across the most wonderful thing - modern cloth diapers. For me it was like the moment in the Wizard of Oz when everything turns from black and white to Technicolor. There were all in one diapers, fitted diapers, diapers with front snaps, diapers with side snaps, more styles of cloth diapers than I could imagine and in the cutest colors and prints! I spent a whole month feverishly learning everything I could about today's cloth diapering options. I ate, breathed and dreamed about cloth diapers - I was obsessed, and my husband thought I was crazy!
I Create my Own Pattern
After I got a handle on all the different fabrics, styles and options I had to try making them myself. Although cloth diapers save money in the long run, they do require an initial investment, and I wanted to save money by sewing my own. I started out with two yards of hemp fabric, one yard of pul, some touchtape (like velcro) and one pattern. Soon I had to try another pattern, then another, and another. Although I liked the diapers I was making from the patterns, they just didn't fit my chubby-thighed Zach right, leaving red marks across his legs. I found directions on drafting your own cloth diaper pattern online and created my own pattern, making sample diapers and tweaking the pattern until I had the fit I wanted.
Zany Zebra Designs is Born
By this time I had more diapers than Zach needed, but loved creating them so much I couldn't stop. There were so many adorable fabrics just begging me to make them into a cloth diapers. I started trading my cloth diapers for other items so I could keep creating, and got rave reviews from the mamas who received my diapers. When my husband needed to go from full time to half time work so he could student teach I thought it was the perfect time to open my own cloth diapering business. I could share my love for cloth diapers, fulfill my need to create, and help out with the family finances too. Zany Zebra Designs was born! My goal for this business is to provide helpful information and high quality products so you will love using cloth diapers as much as I do!
My Other Passions
Although I love creating cloth diapering products, I don't spend all my time sewing. I enjoy spending time with my family and puttering in my flower garden. I've been a family child care provider since 1994 and am very active in our local early childhood association. I also enjoy directing an adult handbell choir and a middle school band in weekly rehearsals. If there's extra time you can find me curled up with a book or taking a walk with my husband. And I'm learning how to knit so I can make wool pants and shorts to go over Zach and Zai's cloth diapers.
The Zany Kitties
All Zany Zebra products are created in a non-smoking home which is shared with three loving kitties. While the kitties aren't much help with sewing, they do occasionally lend their own unique natural fibers to the products. I do check each product very carefully before shipping, however sometimes a hair manages to sneak past me. Laundering before use will remove any of their loving, but misguided, additions.
My Cloth Diapered Family
Every member of my family has worn cloth diapers, from my husband and me to our newest addition, Isaiah. That's a lot of fluff over the years!
How I Stopped Being a Cloth Diaper WAHM
The story of why I stopped making cloth diapers isn't nearly as interesting. I absolutely loved sewing cloth diapers and getting to know the mamas and babies I was sewing for. But as time went on my babies grew out of diapers, the economy stumbled, and cheap mass-produced diapers flooded the market. My passion for making cloth diapers waned, and as our children grew older it became a struggle to find time to keep up with everything. My head knew it was time to move on but my heart wasn't ready, until now.
I'm still passionate about cloth diapers, but now I funnel that passion into advocacy and education. (Although I do look forward to making new fluff for future grandchildren!) As I look back at my Zany Zebra days I deeply appreciate all the mamas who took a chance on a new WAHM business, who shared photos and raved about ZZD diapers, and whose support enabled me to follow my passion. Thank you.
Copyright © 2005 Amy Nogar of Zany Zebra Designs. All Rights Reserved.