Monday, August 12, 2013

History Lesson

I have a love of old people. For those of you who don't know me, I'm actually a social worker and have always worked in the field of aging. I've had a variety of jobs/internships as a social worker, but my most recent was working at a local nursing facility here in Lancaster County, PA. I recently stepped down from my position there (in order to be blogging to you fine folks). When I think about the older generations and "the good old days" I am filled with nostalgia  - oh what it would be like to live more simply, slowly, and dependently of one another. But wait, is my utopian thinking REALLY understanding what the day to day looked like for these people? Especially when it comes to diapering?

I thought we'd take a walk down memory lane and learn about the history of diapers. Perhaps we'll all gain some appreciation for modern conveniences (and materials).

Ancient Times:  Parents used materials such as seal skin, rabbit skin, and milkweed leaves which were swaddled tightly with linen or wool around the baby's entire body.

1800s:  What we today know of as "flats" were folded in a rectangular shape and held together with safety pins. No washing machines were around at this time might I add, which means LOTS and LOTS of hand washing.

Early 1900s:  Diaper services hit the scene during WWII, still using the traditional "flats."

Mid 1900s:  First disposable absorbent pad used as a diaper was made out of unbleached creped cellulose tissue (held in rubber pants) in 1942.

1960s - 1980s:  Instead of tissue, a pulp mill was introduced. Using cellulose fibers instead of paper improved the performance of the diaper.

Early 1990s:  Improvements continued with the disposable diaper. Cloth diapers start to make a comeback.

Late 1990s and Early 2000s:  Improvements made with cloth diapers, making them easier and more convenient than ever. Types other than flats and prefolds hit the market.

There you have it! I love when older generations stop by my store and make comments such as,"I wish they would of had these when I had kids in diapers" or "Boy, it doesn't get much easier than this." It reminds me just how easy we do have it and how thankful I am for certain modern day conveniences.

* Information taken from The Diaper Jungle