Changing a toddler’s diaper can be… challenging. If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, Crappy Pictures has a brilliant post that pretty well portrays why it can be so trying. Most parents have had at least one of those diaper changes. You know, the one where it was a little messy to begin with, but your child happens to be in the hands-in-the-poop and/or alligator death roll stage. The washing machine gets an extra workout, and your walls may be getting scrubbed down more often than usual.
SnoofyBee to the rescue!
Ok, so cynics will call this a Cone of Shame for your diapered child. But this nifty little piece of gear was designed to keep baby’s hands clean while you are handling their messy situation. It is wipeable and waterproof, and folds up to be very transportable. I am currently diapering three children, two of which are… in the stage of interference, for lack of a better term. I have used the SnoofyBee at home and in public. Here’s what you need to know about it.
Does its job: I’m happy to report that we have not had any hands-in-poop incidents while using the SnoofyBee changing pad! Considering that this is the purpose of the device, I’d say that counts as a major pro.
Well-made: It is hard to decide whether or not to buy a product when you can’t get your hands on it to ensure that it has been manufactured with quality materials. The SnoofyBee is made with a cute, gender neutral fabric, and is nice and sturdy.
Transportable: Folds up easily and compactly, making it easy to tuck into a diaper bag. You can even fold your diapering essentials into it for quick trips! (More on this in a moment.) The portion where baby’s head goes is cushioned, which means that you can even change diapers on hard surfaces and not worry about your little one being too uncomfortable.
Easy to use: Full disclosure: I did unfold this product and panic for a moment. You know that first time you completely unfolded a road map and then wondered how in the world it was so tiny and perfect before you started? SnoofyBee’s website has an instructional video about how to use the changing pad, including folding it back up to its former glory. (I am a step-by-step instructions follower and have suggested they include an insert with the product, but this is not a deal breaker! If you are reading this blog post, you have access to the internet and can figure it out.) After you have done it once or twice, it is easy as pie!
Daddy approved! Not only was my husband able to figure out how to use it without any instructions, (I guess he’s smarter than I am…) he loved it, and gave his seal of approval. He actually thought that it made the diaper change in public much easier.
Here are the things you may want to keep in mind.
It takes a little bit of getting used to for your baby. As most parents of children in the stage of interference are accustomed to doing, it is helpful to offer a toy or something to distract baby. My baby girl gets frustrated with diaper changes in general. I chock this up entirely to personality, but while using the SnoofyBee I have to ensure that I am making her feel very included and/or distracted. It could be a game of peek-a-boo, Itsy Bitsy Spider, or just a toy that she has forgotten about, but she will do an angry alligator death roll if I don’t do one or all of those things. Introducing the SnoofyBee sooner may help a little bit with this frustration, because baby will be more used to it. (She just turned 1.) None of those things are difficult to do, and are worth it to keep her feeling comfortable, as well as keeping her hands (and consequently, everything else), clean.
I was initially concerned about the machine washability of this product, because it did not come with washing instructions. I emailed SnoofyBee and got a very prompt response about it. I was initially told that while it is really made to be spot cleaned, it can be washed on delicate and air dried. I received a follow up response to clarify:
“The changing pad is made so that you won’t have to add one more thing to the laundry but it does hold up well if you wash in a washing machine on delicate and then lay it out to dry.” -Michael Perry, SnoofyBee
The SnoofyBee is easily wipeable, however if you are one of those throw-everything-into-the-washing-machine-for-good-measure types, or a big time germophobe, this may be something to keep in mind. I am not saying that it would not hold up. In my opinion, I think it would be okay as long as you really are careful to wash it gently, by itself. (It functions with a lot of hook and loop tape, so you really wouldn’t want anything else in there anyway.) Personally, I am good with a simple wipe down in between changes, unless something REALLY BAD happens. But it is good to know that it can be tossed into the washing machine if/when that happens.
Diaper clutch function
Lastly, one of the selling points of the SnoofyBee is that diapering essentials can be folded into the changing pad and transported with you, functioning as a diaper clutch. Of course, it is important to note that this functionality is somewhat limited with cloth. We all know that cloth is bulky, and lots of us have had to work at finding the diaper bag setup that really works for us, because there is just more involved! Cloth requires a few more accessories than simply a diaper and a pack of wipes, such as wet bags, snappis, and possibly even cloth wipes and solution, depending on your style. I took a couple of photos of what the SnoofyBee looks like with what I would personally feel comfortable leaving the house with for a quick 1-2 hour trip, and then compared it to what it looks like with disposables, as well as the changing pad alone.
As I said though, diaper bags are often very well thought out by cloth mamas (How to pack a diaper bag like a pro). I have a long, wide, shallow bag. The SnoofyBee fits easily into my bag, so I just opt to tuck it in and bring the whole thing. It folds up to about 13”x7”x2”, if you need specifics!
Bottom line: Is the SnoofyBee worth it?
If you are struggling with keeping your baby’s hands out of their diaper area during changes on a regular basis, I would say that this product is absolutely worth it. Yes, it is a stage, and they will eventually grow out of it, but the SnoofyBee definitely takes the hassle and frustration (not to mention the fecal matter in strange places), out of the mix!
To address one last point of concern to some people… I have seen products before that restrain children during diaper changes in one form or another (because let’s face it, this has been a problem for as long as children have been… children). I have read all kinds of comments about how disgusting it is to constrain a child this way, and that it somehow takes away dignity, or treats them like animals. Everyone has the right to an opinion, and I’m not here to bash anyone who feels this way. But it is my belief that as my child’s mother, it’s my job to offer them dignity one way or another. I can offer my child dignity while constrained in his car seat. I can offer my child respect in or out of her high chair. And considering that this product is designed for purposes of family sanitation and hygiene, I could argue that this is offering consideration to my children, because I am working to keep everyone healthy and clean. It just takes a little bit more attention on my part to make sure that my daughter feels comfortable while doing so, and that is something that is easy and worth doing.
People choose cloth diapers for a lot of different reasons. For many of us, economics has a lot to do with it. Cloth is definitely cheaper in the long run, but the $20+ price tag on many cloth diapers still hurts if you’re trying to build a full stash quickly!
I hadn’t been cloth diapering long before I thought about resurrecting my hopelessly terrible sewing skills and making my own diapers. The process seems a little daunting, but thankfully, the internet is full of great resources to help you on your journey! The possibilities are virtually endless as far as diaper styles, but here are the basic things you will need to start, and where to find them.
You could hand-sew these babies if you wanted, but trust me, a sewing machine will be your friend! You don’t need anything fancy. Any basic machine with forward, reverse, and zig-zag stitch will do the trick!
Sewing with polyurethane laminate (PUL) can really be a booger because the laminate tends to be “sticky” when fed through the machine. A non-stick foot makes it a bazillion times easier, giving you a much nicer-looking end product. Alternatively, you can also use a regular walking foot with wax paper to allow the PUL to glide more freely (while still allowing you to see what you’re doing).
PUL is the most popular material for making your own cloth diapers – it serves as the waterproof outer fabric for pocket diapers, all-in-ones, and covers. You can find PUL at Joann Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, or lots of places online (Diaper Sewing Supplies has drool-worthy prints).
For fitted diapers, the outer fabric is absorbent, not waterproof. Yes, it’s going to be hidden beneath a cover, but there’s really no reason you can’t pick something cute… or use that wicked-awesome Pink Floyd t-shirt so your baby can be completely rad.
The possibilities are endless. If you’re sewing cloth diapers on a tiny budget, just raid your own closets: towels, receiving blankets, or t-shirts will all work perfectly well. Cotton velour, hemp, and bamboo fleece are all extremely popular choices among diaper makers, and can be found online through diaper sewing material suppliers, or through co-op buys on Facebook (Five Things You Need to Know About Co-Ops).
Thread choice is crucial! All types of cotton thread will wick moisture, so make sure you get polyester. It would be a bummer if you sewed your beautiful PUL diaper with cotton thread, only to have a wet baby (and bed) in the middle of the night!
Some people claim that sewing with a ballpoint needle helps to prevent wicking. It is wise to sew with a ballpoint needle when sewing with any knit fabric, so as to protect the integrity of your fabric.
Hook & Loop and/or Snaps & Snap Pliers
Ah, the old snaps versus hook & loop debate.
- The nice thing about sewing your own diapers is that if you sewed it in, you will know how to replace it (or convert H&L to snaps) when it wears out! Beware of buying the basic H&L available at most stores; it is not made for the frequent, repetitive use and washing that diapers go through. You can purchase higher quality H&L through diaper sewing suppliers such as Wazoodle, and Diaper Sewing Supplies. Jo-Ann also carries Babyville brand diaper sewing supplies. (Look for them in their own section, as they are not usually stocked with the rest of the H&L.)
- For snaps, KAM products are the most trusted, and are very durable.
There are lots of ways to do elastic, and lots of opinions about what is best. For starting out, you can use whatever appropriately sized polybraid you find in the store. If you really want your diaper to last, you probably want to find a source for durable elastic, because they are not all created equal! Swimwear elastic is great, as it lasts through the stress of being wet a lot. Fold-over elastic (FOE) is also a popular choice, but can be tricky for beginner sewers. Not all patterns require FOE. Be sure to check yours! (Related: How to replace elastic in a GroVia cloth diaper.)
Here is where it gets crazy! There are TONS of places to find patterns! Some are free, some are not. It can get a little overwhelming when you begin searching for the perfect diaper pattern. Just like researching cloth diapering for the first time, it may cause a desire to crawl into a hole and hide. I recommend either buying a reputable pattern with really great photo instructions, (Rocket Bottoms patterns have WONDERFUL instructions and pattern support), or finding a free pattern and lurking on YouTube for an afternoon. There are people who break it down and make you feel like you can do it! (And you absolutely can!)
Don’t be discouraged if your first 1-2, (or 4-5) diapers are wonky. There is a learning curve, and most of those flaws are cosmetic – the diaper will still work just fine. They don’t have to be blue ribbon worthy in the county fair! (Wait, what? Who still enters things in the county fair??) My kids are diapered in a stash that is sewn entirely by me. When I started out sewing as a preteen, my sister banned me from using her machine, because I was terrible. (As in, I was hazardous to her Bernina’s health). So if I can do it, YOU can do it!
I even ended up with a brand new sewing machine after it was all said and done, which is, in the words of my husband, was “the best investment we’ve ever made.” (Yep… He’s a keeper!)
For more resources on how to sew your own diapers, here are some places to start:
Ahhh, the old hook and loop versus snap debate. While hook and loop cloth diaper closures are quick and easy to use, they do wear out more quickly. Recently I was given a cute Thirsties cover with good laminate and elastic, but the hook and loop was barely sticky and had become brittle and curly on the ends.
I don’t have a working sewing machine right now so I had to figure out a way to perform a quick and easy refresh on this diaper cover. Instead of struggling along with some not-so-good hand stitching to replace the hook and loop closures, I decided to convert the hook and loop to snaps. With a few supplies it’s an easy project for any beginner.
Step 1: Gather Supplies
For this project, I used only a handful of inexpensive supplies.
- Snap press & awl
- Fabric measuring tape or ruler
- Needle & thread (or sewing machine if you have one)
- Fabric marker
- Seam ripper
- Snaps (I used size 20)
Step 2: Remove Worn Out Hook and Loop
The first step in your project to convert the hook and loop to snaps is to use your seam ripper to pull out the stitches of the existing hook and loop. On my diaper, the binding on the edges was actually sewn over the hook and loop, so I needed to pull up the binding over the “loop strip” on both ends before I could fully get the strip off.
Tip: Be very careful when seam ripping. You don’t want to poke extra holes in PUL. It is not a very forgiving fabric in the sense that it doesn’t close up on its own and is very easy to rip or tear with a seam ripper.
Step 3: Determine Snap Placement
Next you want to mark where you are going to put your new snaps. I already had another cover with snaps so I decided to use that as a makeshift template. If you don’t have one you could always measure the top edge of your diaper and put as many or as few snaps as you want in that space, spaced evenly.
I chose to measure my existing diaper. I knew I wanted to do a single row of snaps so I would need two on each wing. So I measured my diaper with the snaps already on from the edge to the middle of the first snap. The first was about 5/8″ in from the edge and the second snap was about 2 1/2″ in. I then made the corresponding marks on the wings of my cover.
For the row across the diaper my existing snap diaper had 10 but was also about a half inch larger. I decided to make mine using 9. After measuring I found that they snaps started about 1″ from the edge of the diaper and went on a downward swoop. The snaps closest to the edges were 1 1/2″ from the top while the center ones were 2″ from the top. I kind of eyeballed the rest because the best part of this project is that it doesn’t have to be perfect. You know you’re in the right area long as you stay within the area where the hook & loop previously was.
Tip: The male snaps are called “studs” and these go on the wings of the diaper; the female snaps are referred to as “sockets” and go across the diaper. Every stud and socket needs a cap. For additional information on how snaps work, visit the “Snaps 101” page of the KAM website.
Step 4: Press Snaps into Place
After you have everything marked, use your awl and press to put the snaps on. The studs are placed on the wings and the sockets are placed across the waist.
I started by placing the studs on the wings. The process is:
- Carefully make a hole using the awl.
- Pull out the awl.
- Insert the cap on one side and the stud on the other side.
- Use your press to secure it.
Once all the studs are placed on the wings, do the same thing across the front of diaper with sockets rather than studs.
Tip: Always double and triple check that your studs are facing inwards and your sockets are facing outwards. Can you tell I’ve made that mistake before?
Step 5: Finishing Touches
The last step is to sew closed any binding(s) you had to open to get your hook & loop off. I used a needle and thread to close the space by hand, but you can use a sewing machine.
Tip: Avoid using pins because they will add unnecessary holes to the PUL.
I like to put any new or altered covers into the dryer on high for 10 to 15 minutes. This may help to close any holes made during the sewing process and prevent leaks which could occur where holes were made.