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Diaper History Timeline

Track the evolution of the cloth diaper...

For more detailed information about the history of diapers, visit The History of Diapers


When Image What Was Happening In the Diapering World
Ancient Times Parents of babies who lived during these times had to be creative and use what was available. They may have used Milkweed leaf wraps, animal skins, and other natural resources. Babies were “wrapped in swaddling bands” in many European societies. These "swaddling bands" were strips of linen or wool wrapped tightly around each limb and then crosswise around the body (see picture).


What was all the rage:

Seal Skin, rabbit skin, milkweed leaves, swaddling bands.

1800s A square or rectangle of linen, cotton flannel, or stockinet was folded into a rectangular shape and held in place with safety pins.

What was all the rage:

Linen and cotton

Early 1900s Cloth diapers were generally the only option available. During World War II, diaper services began being widely utilized.

What was all the rage:

Cotton flats from a diaper service, delivered clean and fresh to your door.

Mid 1900s The first disposable absorbent pad used as a diaper was made from unbleached creped cellulose tissue (held in rubber pants) in 1942.   Cloth was still used of course, and in 1946, a woman named Marion Donovan, invented the "Boater", a waterproof covering for cloth diapers.   Her first model of the disposable diaper was a conventional cloth diaper inserted into shower curtain plastic. Also, in 1950, the Safe-T Di-Dee diaper was invented. The diaper was preformed and was the first pinless, snap-on diaper. 

What was all the rage:

Trying out the new option in diapering: the disposable.

1960s - 1980s The disposable diaper evolved quickly.   Instead of tissue, a pulp mill was introduced.   Using cellulose fibers instead of paper improved the performance of the diaper. In the 1980s, Nikki brand cloth diaper covers and Curity brand flat diapers were used by some. 

What was all the rage:

Disposable diapers.

1991-1995 Recent years have brought many "improvements" to disposable diapers. However, in the early 90's, cloth diaper users remerged with environmental issues concerning the use of disposables. Cloth diapers started making a big comeback. The company, Motherease, opened and started selling cloth diapers throughout Canada and the United States.

What was all the rage:

Disposable diapers were the norm but cloth diapers were starting to make a comeback.


1997   Catherine McDiarmid started BornToLove.com, a Canadian site which is recognized for its extensive articles on cloth diapers. It is still a great resource to this day.

What was all the rage:

Simple fitteds and prefolds.

1999 & 2000 In 1999, Poochiesâ„¢, HoneyBoyâ„¢, and Cuddlebunsâ„¢ were developed and became quite popular. HoneyBoyâ„¢ diapers were so popular, in fact, that they could sell at auction for over $200.00 per diaper. Kissaluvs also started an online business to sell fitted and contour diapers. These years also saw a tremendous amount of growth in the amount of moms beginning to sew their own diapers.

What was all the rage: Honeyboys, Cuddlebuns, SOS, Manyducks

2000-2003 The year 2000 saw the opening of Fuzzi Bunz, Stacinator, and The Diaper Pin. Somewhere during this time, the term hyena was coined to define moms who stalk the more coveted cloth diaper types. The year 2002 saw the opening of Happy Heinys, another popular pocket diaper. In 2003, the first WAHM congos, "Wahm Boutique" and  "Tuesday Bear," blazed a trail. Wool soakers became the latest trend, DryBees pocket diapers opened, and the cloth diapering business community suffered some turmoil as larger diaper companies felt threatened by all the smaller ones opening up.


What was all the rage:

 Fuzzi Bunz, Staccinator, Heavenly Heiny's, Luke's Drawers, Sugar Peas, Fuzbombs, El bees, Cloud 9, Kool Sheep Soakers

2004 & 2005 In 2004, Karen Fegelman opened Hyena Cart. There was also an explosion of growth in the cloth diapering community. Many new cloth diaper sewing and retail businesses were started. The presence of WAHM congos also saw a tremendous amount of growth. Wool longies gained great popularity.


Designer diapers were the rage and some more sought after brands were sold at auction for $200-300.00. Online forums exploded with cloth diapering communities.

Diaper sewing was a hot pastime and many online resources and diaper fabric stores were opened.

What was all the rage:

Fluffymail, Little Caboose, El bees, Kiwi Pie, Very Baby, Fuzzi Bunz, hand knit wool longies.

2006 In 2006, a revolutionary new cloth diaper was introduced to the public...the bumGenius diaper by Cotton Babies. With their stretchy tabs and adaptability as a one size pocket diaper, these were a sure fire hit. Another popular diaper was the Berry Plush diaper from JamTots. This diaper met the demand for the much sought after minkee fabric. Form fitting Swaddlebees became a favorite among pocket diaper users. 2006 seemed to be the year of the pocket diaper! A flushable diaper called a gDiaper was introduced in the US.


Wool longies and soakers did not go out of style for 2006. They are still in demand.

What was all the rage:

El bees, Luxe, bumGenius, Berry Plush, Superstars, wool longies

2007   In 2007, the popularity of the relatively new gDiaper was growing bigger. Although these flushable diapers were still scorned by skeptical cloth diaper users, it gradually won the heart of many parents. The popularity of Dream-Eze cloth diapers also made them a hot seller. Fuzzi Bunz revamped its pocket diaper causing a skurry amongst its followers to scoop up the deals on the old style and later to try out the new design.


Wool longies and soakers have not gone out of style for 2007 either. They are still in demand.

What was all the rage:

Dream-Eze, Luxe, bumGenius, Berry Plush, Superstars, wool longies

2008   In 2008, the news of the gDiaper was still spreading, however, less than stellar reports began to emerge from wastewater treatment facilities in Canada. More information about the claims of these "flushable" diapers is sure to emerge in 2009. Fuzzi Bunz met with manufacturing woes in its efforts to release the eagerly awaited new design. bumGenius set Target in its sights as the nationally known mass merchandising chain stocked its shelves with the latest bG release. Happy Heiny's also continued to gain popularity with its one-size pocket diaper.


Wool longies and soakers are still a hot commodity and cuter than ever.

What was all the rage:

Good Mamas, Snap EZ, bumGenius, Monkey Doodlez, wool longies