The Evolution of the Baby Diaper

From safety-pinned cotton squares to diapers lined with a waterproof shower curtain, the evolution of the baby diaper is fairly extensive. Did you know some of the first diapers were made of cotton? Like menstrual products, the demand for transparency and natural fibers is finding its way back into the consumer sphere.

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Diaper cover circa 19th century
Source: Two Threads Back

 

In the late 1800s, infants wore makeshift diapers made of a rectangle sheet of cotton or flannel which was held in place with safety pins. People have always preferred cotton, even back in the day!

 

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Baby with traditional pinned cloth diaper circa 1950s Source: Getty Images

 

Fun Fact: By WWII, the increase of working mothers brought the need for diaper services. This service delivered cotton diapers on an as-needed basis.

In 1946, the first ‘waterproof’ disposable diaper was created by inventor and mother, Marion Donovan, called the “Boater”; the first model was a conventional cloth diaper inserted into shower curtain plastic. After a few revisions, plastic snaps were added to the Boater to replace unsafe safety pins.

 

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Inventor Marion Donovan with a Baby in a Boater diaper.
Source dirtydiaperlaundry.com

 

And in 1950, the pre-folded diaper called the Keystone Safe-T Di-Dee Diaper was invented, which was also pin-less. Through the 1960s and beyond, the diaper evolved into the product that we know today. For the sake of cheaper mass production, these diapers started being made with (and still contain) synthetic chemicals like polyurethane, polyethylene, and polypropylene.

 

In 2018, the push for natural fibers is back. With the emergence of the new line of Pure Protection Diapers by Pampers, consumers can feel safe knowing their baby is protected. Pampers Pure Protection diapers contain zero chlorine bleaching, fragrance, parabens, and synthetic latex. The soft outer cover is made with premium cotton and other plant-based fibers. We always encourage consumers to look for the Seal of Cotton on their disposables, which the Pure line proudly displays on the front of their packaging.

 

Because cotton is super absorbent and 100% biodegradable, it is imperative to keep this in mind while choosing a diaper. When it comes to your baby’s comfort and safety, look for Purified Cotton.

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P. Cotton

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Purified Cotton™ is 100% pharmaceutical grade purity—nothing more, no surprises, no chemicals, toxins, or contaminants. It’s the highest grade of cotton available to the world, best for contact with sensitive human skin, and the only grade that can truthfully be called pure.