Welcome to fabulous flats week. My goal this week is to introduce my cloth diaper ‘viewers’ to ‘flats’ aka your (great) grandma’s cloth diapers. They are still in use today, even by modern moms. Moms like me, who use ‘modern’ cloth diapers, like these:
Yes, these diapers come in modern colors, patterns, and materials–with superb fit and absorbency. No pins required. So, why do I favor using flats?
A flat diaper is just what it sounds like. A large squar-ish piece of usually cotton cloth. It can be folded into a simple pad and stuffed inside a pocket diaper (my fave) or used ‘old school’ in dozens of different folds for boys, girls, newborns, and toddlers and secured with a number of modern fasteners before adding a waterproof covering of your choice. It truly is the original one-size multi-purpose diaper.
2. Washability and Dry Time
If there’s one complaint about the ‘new’ materials that diapers are made of, it’s that they absorb almost too well. You’ve heard of microfiber, right? Great for squeegeeing water off of cars, floors, and more. Now imagine pee, trapped deep into those fibers. They work really well, unfortunately, modern washing machines are being made more and more water saving. HE front loaders are notorious for leaving diapers… let’s just say not so fresh. So what’s a mom to do? Trade microfiber for cotton flats– they are one layer, so they wash clean more easily than more modern, multi-layer fabrics. If there’s a second complaint about cloth diapers (there aren’t many!) it’s that the most modern all in one diapers take forever to dry. Flats obviously dry quickly in the sunshine or dryer.
Hello! Can you say money saver? So many moms say they switch to cloth diapers to save money. Why not buy one of the cheapest (good quality) diapers at the outset and get the ultimate bang for your buck? A traditional modern pocket diaper might cost anywhere from $17-25, but an original flat is around $1-2 at a cloth diaper store. For the price of one ‘fancy’ diaper, you can get a dozen flats. You’ll still need covers, of course, but at that kind of savings, you can take your pick from many different patterns and styles, and still come up with a tiny price tag.
4. Easier than disposables
I’ll admit, folding flats is actually kind of therapeutic. Pretty sure no one’s thought that about a ‘sposie before. I’ve been in the cloth diapering world for nearly 5 years now and I used to go crazy trying to match all the diapers to their original inserts. Working steadily, fending off children, and dropping things repeatedly, I still folded a whole load of flats, stuffed them inside pockets and put them in a basket nicely lined up in under 8 minutes. Add in 5 minutes for ‘washer/dryer’ time where I dump the diapers in and then switch them over, and I’m still under the 15 minutes it would take me just to GET to the store, not to mention the time it would take to load up the kids, wander around the store, and get back home.
As I fold diapers, put one on my toddler, or add the diapers to the wash, I can’t help but feel connected to the generations of women before me who did the same thing. Fold, fasten, cover. Wash, dry, repeat. Wonder when the little one will potty train. Remember how the older sibling wore these diapers, too. See that child reading, and think, wow, was it really that long ago?
Yes, my new love is flat cloth diapers. I can’t imagine diapering without them now. If I had to start all over, I’d buy flats and inexpensive or awesomely fabulous patterns in pockets and covers of my own choosing. I’d be deliberate instead of unsure. I’d think of all the diapering days gone by, and those likely to come. I’d save a ton of money on diapers, water, and a ton of time and hassle by staying at home and washing diapers while eating bon bons (or reading books to my kids, whatever). I’d smile. Try a flat, you might smile, too!