Might I beg your indulgence for a week?
Instead of my "normal" (I use the term loosely) posts, I'm going to be following my steps through the "flats challenge," a full week of using only flat cloth diapers...and cleaning them by hand washing and line drying! Disclaimer: I cloth diaper. I enjoy it. I also use disposables whenever I'm not feeling the cloth love, whether because I'm tired, sick, or traveling. I also use flats for the most part, but I have a feeling that if I had more pockets or all-in-ones that I would be more willing to use them all the time. Besides, they're just so cute!! However, I fully understand that it is solely my opinion and not right for every family out there. I hope that this week is enjoyable for everyone and not some ultra-tree-hugger propaganda. Maybe you'll learn something, and maybe you'll leave thinking I'm even more insane than you realized. I'm totally okay with either or even both! :)
Um...I'm doing what?? Yeah, I know. Slightly insane, huh? But I have two reasons for going out on a limb and agreeing to this challenge.
The first is that cloth diapers are an awesome way to save money, but most people glance over flats. After all, they're what our grandmothers used, they aren't the easiest to use, and *gasp* you actually have to pin them! (That last part isn't necessarily true, but more on that later.) For me, though, flats were the best option. We have a very, very tight budget, and any way to save money was important. The flats I bought (imagine flats from Nicky's Diapers) were about $20 for 12, and I bought 6 covers (2 Thirsties Duo Wraps, 2 Dappis in newborn, and 2 Dappis in small). This allowed me to have a hanging wet bag, a travel wet bag, and several other goodies to try until we could afford more. When people talk about cloth diapering online, most of them have pockets, all-in-ones, and "hybrids" in mind. Maybe a few "nuts" will go for the prefolds. But. I love my flats. And any way to bring them to the forefront is awesome, in my mind.
The second reason why I'm participating is because cloth diapering is often marketed as a great way to save money on disposables. But the people who really need to save money often don't have access to a washer or dryer. Or they use the laundromat, and all those extra rinses add up! Recently, an article floated around the cloth diapering scene that said many low-income families can't afford to buy more diapers. (Apparently the government doesn't hand them out like they do formula...which in so many ways is odd.) What do they do then? They use the diapers for much longer than is healthy for the baby. And/or they dry the diapers out, clean them up somewhat, and use them again. Lots of people in my cloth diapering world were shocked. After all, couldn't they save their money and buy some cloth? Couldn't they wash their diapers by hand? Um. Who wants to do that? This, by the way, is where the challenge came from in the first place. Its purpose is to show that you really can use flats while having no more than 5 covers...and hand wash them too!
To prepare for this challenge, I actually started washing my flats and prefolds by hand a week or so ago. I wanted to make sure that I had time to play with my wash routine before I started. In case you're wondering, I am using my imagine flats, 3 Thirsties Duo Wraps (2 size ones and 1 size 2 for night), and 2 Dappi covers in the small size. I'm also using some homemade laundry detergent for my diapers. I'll be washing them in a bucket in the tub. So far, what has worked is a warm rinse, hot wash (with detergent), warm rinse, and a cold rinse. I'm just wringing them out by hand (without even a plunger to help). I had been letting them dry inside (just to get a feel for how long it would take), but as long as it's sunny outside, I plan to "line dry" them. (Actually, I just lay them over the lawn chairs.) Again, I am already familiar with using flats on my little girl, so I haven't been trying any new folds. I do like to try them at random times, just not specifically for this challenge. I am using both pins and my snappi, depending on the fold. I really like to snappi my origami folds, but it's easier to pin the jelly roll and bikini twist.
So that's it. My reasons, my routine, and even what I'm using. (I went ahead and put Abby in a flat with a prefold folded in it tonight instead of my usual disposable. I use the "sposies" at night because they keep her bum dry and she has less of a chance of getting an ammonia burn.) I know that I dropped some super-secret-language words and probably mentioned lots of things that don't make much sense. If you have any questions, feel free to email or ask in the comments! I'll try to explain as best as I can. I love talking cloth, and I'm excited to be able to share this part of my life with you guys!