Saturday, July 24, 2010
Learning to Love Flat Diapers
I recently was forced to make drastic changes to our cloth diaper stash. I'll be the first to admit that I'm always up for trying new diapers, but this time, I was forced into using a diaper that I had tried time and time again with both of my girls and never found any love for. The Flat Fold Diaper.
Traditionally, flat diapers were made of cotton birdseye or cotton gauze. In fact, when I was expecting my first child, my mother gifted me with 2 dozen gauze half-flats from my own childhood. I was excited by this gift because half of the reason I wanted to use cloth diapers was because it was the "traditional" way to do things. If it worked for Mom and Grandma, why shouldn't it work for me?
Well, my firstborn turned out to be a heavy wetter. And I do mean heavy. I could not get the gauzy cotton flats to hold enough pee or create a tight enough seal to keep the pee in if I doulbed them up. So I used them for burprags. They made great burp rags.
For my second child, I was inspired to try flats again when she was tiny when I learned about the origami fold. I love origami and thought that maybe that fold would work better than what I had been trying with my older child. Also, my second baby was NOT a heavy wetter so I had better chances of loving them. In the end, I did not. Using traditional birdseye flats, the origami fold was too small for her waist and using flannel receiving blankets with the origami fold created diapers that were not only too big but too absorbant and bulky. I just couldn't find a happy medium.
Flash forward to a few months after our move into the new house. A new house means a new washer and dryer and a new water supply. All of those things, means a new washing routine. I struggled to find a washing routine that would conquer the stinkies in my daughter's diapers. It seemed like I could go only about a week before I had to do something drastic like stripping them or using bleach on them. I wasn't willing to do that many intensive washes. It was making cloth diapering much less appealing!
While searching for more hints on handling the stinkies, I came across a thread on my diapering forum extolling the virtues of flat diapers. Again, I thought, it's too bad I don't like flats because they would be easy to keep clean. One single layer of fabric would come clean for sure, no matter what my washing routine was! But I remembered hating flats. Ugh.
As I read through the thread, I noticed that a lot of mamas were using a folding pattern that hadn't been publicized when I had last tried flats. After looking at it and trying it out on the flat diapers I had at home, I realized that I just might like it enough to try flats again. So, out came the receiving blankets. Out came the flat diapers. Out came the pins.
And wouldn't you know, after only one small modification to that RoPo fold, I was loving the flat diapers on my younger daughter. Seriously, I love the act of folding them. I love the sense of tradition in using flat diapers and pins. I love the fact that laundry is a breeze. The stinkies are gone and flat diapers dry in a single cycle of the dryer, unlike other diapers which can take up to 2 hours in the dryer plus overnight hanging to dry.
The added bonus to using flannel receiving blankets as flat diapers is all the fun color that shows up in your stash! I have been picking up blankets at garage sales and resale shops all summer long and am really enjoying the different colors and prints. Since I"m buying used, a lot of my blankets are available in colors and styles that I couldn't find in the store today.
As I've added new blankets to my stash, I have come to have a great appreciatioan for the art of gender-neutral prints. There was once a great need for gender-neutral blankets as no one knew whether they'd have a baby girl or a baby boy. The prints in these older blankets are by far my favorites as they are so carefully drawn and have some truly great color schemes in them. Take a peek at some of my favorites!