The stores are full of so-called 'must have' products for every aspect of feeding, diapering, cleaning, and caring for your baby. Crafty moms know that sometimes it's more economical to do-it-yourself (DIY), and make your own stuff at home. If you're just starting to dabble in the DIY world, learn from these examples in the Circle of Moms communities for the easiest and cheapest products that you can make.
1. Baby Food
By far one of the most popular DIY projects in recent years is homemade baby food. There are many benefits to making your own baby food: it's a simple process, it's easy to store, and it's inexpensive. Since you can make your own fresh and healthy baby food by using local food sources and not adding sugar, it’s also a baby product you can make better version of than big companies. Rachel J. says she likes to make a wide range of foods and flavors for her son, “because I don't want him to be picky but I do want him to be healthy."
When it comes to the mechanics, you can use either a blender or food processor if you already have one at home, or a specially made food-processing machine such as the Baby Bullet. Pattie F. found that her expensive food processor was, "a pain to drag out at each meal,” so she switched to an inexpensive hand blender for daily use.
If you're too busy to slave over the blender every day, take a page from Stephanie B.: "I froze mine in ice cube trays, and then put them in freezer bags – such a time saver!"
Making baby food is something you can easily do with just a few minutes once per week. (For even more recipes and storage tips, see Four Simple Money-Saving Tips For Healthy, DIY Baby Food.)
2. Cloth Diapers
If you've already made the decision to use cloth diapers, it’s worth considering making them yourself. There are several great web sites with free patterns for sewing diapers, and moms in our communities recommend using micro-fleece, hemp, cotton, or wool. Beth B. even suggests making diapers from recycled materials including t-shirts or flannel, and wool wraps from felted wool sweaters.
Sierra W. shares sewing tips and a list of materials to get you started: "I got some cheap fleece and used two layers of that for the outer part (yes it's waterproof) and a lot of suede cloth that I got for $4 at Wal-Mart for wicking the inner layer. You can find microfiber towels in most stores in the automotive sections (it's the same material that is used for the inserts for [brands] like Fuzzibuns, Bum Genius and the like) for the insides. Then I used regular 1/4" elastic from Joann’s, but other people like using Joann’s swimsuit elastic too."
The DIY doesn't end with diapers; you can actually make your own wipes, too. One of the easiest methods for making re-usable cloth wipes is to keep a stack of baby washcloths at the diaper table and a spray bottle filled with Vanessa V.'s mixture: "2 Tbsp. baby oil, 2 Tbsp. baby wash, 1 1/2 cups of cold boiled water."
As an alternative to washcloths, Amrit K found an old flannel sheet and "cut it into little squares and hemmed the edges." Spraying the homemade mixture on cloth wipes works just as well as disposables, without the cost or the waste.
If the thought of washing "number two" wipes is a little too much for you, Martha L. has a plan for her next baby to use both: "I am going to do homemade wipes for pee and use the disposable ones for poo! That’s my plan. It will cut down dramatically on how much we buy and waste. "
Moms who prefer to use olny disposable wipes have still found ways to make them at home. Joanna D.'s recipe, below, uses a roll of paper towels soaked in homemade solution. She came up with the idea and perfected her method because she "got sick of spending so much on wipes."
Things You’ll Need:
1 roll of paper towel
3 quart plastic container with lid
1 tablespoon baby soap
1 tablespoon mineral oil (baby oil)
1 knife (or alternate cutting tool)
1 measuring cup
1 butter knife
1 pair of pliers
Step 1: First, you will need to cut the paper towel roll in half, width-wise. It might help to leave the plastic on the roll, depending on what tool you use to cut. I use a large, sharp kitchen knife, but I have heard of others using a band or table saw. These might give you smoother edges.
Step 2: Next, remove the cardboard center. I use a butter knife to loosen the paper towel from the edge of the cardboard and press the roll in on itself. Then I grab the roll with pliers and work it out. You may use whatever tools and methods work best for you.
Step 3: Now you are ready to place the half roll of paper towel into your plastic container. Prepare the baby wipe solution by filling your measuring cup 3/4 full of water. Add 1 tablespoon of baby soap and 1 tablespoon of mineral oil. Stir the contents.
Step 4: Pour the solution over the paper towel roll. Place the lid on the container. Now wait for the paper towel to absorb the liquid.
Step 5: When that dreaded time has arrived, remove the lid and pull a wipe from the inner portion of the roll. It should easily tear off and another will readily be available for those really messy changings.
4. Gentle Laundry Soap
Baby's sensitive skin requires gentle detergent, but that doesn't mean you have to buy it in the store. Many moms make their own laundry soap with just a few simple ingredients. Amy V. shares a recipe she learned from television's Duggar family and that has just three ingredients: "Fels-Naptha Laundry Soap, Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda and Borax Laundry Booster. You can add your own scents (I love lavender essential oil), and it's super inexpensive to make. We all have pretty sensitive skin and it doesn't bother us at all. Plus, it works beautifully!"
Lisa S. uses the same recipe and found that it works well for both top and front loader washing machines, and costs about $2 to make 10 gallons!
5. Baby Slings
You can enjoy the ease of strapping baby to your body without the astronomical price of slings and wraps by making your own. One member suggests sleepingbaby.net for a free ring sling pattern, and Em K. highly recommends the DIY forum at thebabywearer.com. She also suggests using sturdy fabrics like cotton or flannel. "You'll want to use a heavier-weight fabric, like what skirts and pants are made of, not quilting fabric," she says.
For those who lack the sewing skills and equipment, Lindsey R. has a pattern that’s super easy to make. "The moby wrap is a no-sew pattern, just five yards of fabric. I actually bought five yards of two types of fabric and made lots of things — really simple and as expensive as just buying one!"
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.