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Final Preparations for Flats Challenge Week

Posted by Becca on 5/21/2011 to Baby Wearing

So, May 23 is fast approaching and I feel that I’m fully prepared mentally with all the practice I’ve had folding, using, and washing my flats, but now I need to be prepared physically as well—and not just for myself but for my caretakers.  So how have I prepared?

Buy the flats

I already have enough flats to use them exclusively during flats and hand washing week.  I had five flats to begin with, and then got 12 more from Diaper Junction giving me a total of 17 flats.  Plus, I found this old hospital receiving blanket that’s amazingly absorbent and works well as a flat diaper so that’s 18 flat diapers total.  My daughter goes through 6-8 diapers a day (plus one or two of those times she’ll have a doubled diaper on) which means 7-10 diapers a day.  From all the practicing I’ve done, and the days I’ve used only flats in preparation for this week, I think 18 flat diapers will get me by just fine unless I have a day of utter laziness where I don’t do any washing which I don’t plan on doing.  I guess if worse comes to worse I can always run to target and buy some of those flour sack towels everyone’s talking about!

Prep the flats

My flats have already been prepped in the wash, but if yours haven’t been, now would be the time to do it.  Since they are made of cotton, they’ll need to be washed about six times to reach maximum absorbency, but if you don’t want to wait that long, I started using mine after washing them and drying them once.  They’re more absorbent with time, of course, but they worked just fine in the beginning too :-D

Fold the flats

Now, I need to fold them all to make diaper changes go quickly and easily.  I have two piles of folded flats to pull from as the week goes on.  My first pile is a stack of tri-folded flats to be easily stuffed into my covers to mimic AIO diapers.  These are there for my husband, the daycare, and my sitter.  Actually, though, that stack is really for me because I’ll stuff these into covers and have them sitting and ready to go for those people who don’t want to take the time to stuff and/or fold the diapers. The other stack will be of kite folded flats, for me.  In addition, my snappi and my diaper pins are waiting within arms reach in a little basket above my changing table.

Choose the covers

We’re allowed to circulate up to five covers during flats and hand washing week and I find myself facing the difficult challenge of deciding which ones to use because I have a boatload of handknit wool covers that I love but that may not be the most practical option for other caregivers.  After much deliberation, I’m sorry to say that I will forgo the wool altogether (. As far as PUL covers go,  if I had all Thirsties covers, the choice would be easy—Thirsties all the way! But I only have three of them: two duo wraps in a size 2, one with Velcro and one with snaps, and one size medium with Velcro.  In addition to that I’m going to go with one of my handmade covers because I made it with all my favorite diaper cover features, and a Bumkins diaper cover in a size Medium because, although it doesn’t have the best fit on my little girl, it is my only other wrap diaper which means that it will go on like an AIO when a trifolded prefold or flat diaper is laid inside.  So, that’s three Thirsties covers, a Bumkins, and one of my own hand sewn covers.

Prepare the laundry routine

My laundry routine will be simple.  Once a day (or more if I feel like it) I’ll wash my flats in the bathtub.  In preparation for that, I have a babyfood jar filled with my laundry detergent sitting in the shower next to the loofah and the shampoo.  I plan on agitating the water with my hands so I really don’t need anything else in addition to that.  However, hand washing diapers this way has a tendency to REALLY dry your hands out, so I’ll have lotion nearby as well.   Downstairs, my drying rack is sitting ready and waiting for the first load of fast-drying flat diapers.  One day—oh glorious day—we’ll have a clothesline, but alas, that day has not yet arrived and so I’ll continue with my drying rack.  However, if it’s sunny and/or breezy outside during flats week, I’ll definitely drag the rack outdoors which will mean only about an hour of drying time as opposed to four or five inside.

Educate the other caregivers

The final thing I have to do in preparation for this week is to make sure that my husband and my babysitter know how to use the flat diapers.  I’ve already promised my husband that he will have the covers stuffed with tri-folded diapers and he won’t have any folding, pinning, or snappi-ing to do, and I’ve also promised *shudders* that I will dunk any and all poopy diapers he changes.  I’ve made the task ahead as easy for him as humanly possible. My husband will take the responsibility of showing our daughter’s babysitter and daycare how to use the flats since he’s the one who drops her off the one day she uses daycare and I’ve already left when our babysitter arrives the other day we use child care.  Honestly, if she were to be in daycare more than one day, I don’t know that I would be able to do the flats challenge.  And, in case the day care workers don’t put her diapers on snugly enough (they never do), I’ll pack a change of clothing.

So, that’s it.  I feel ready.  Prepared both mentally and physically.  I’m looking forward to something different for a change.  And who knows, maybe it will be good! Maybe I’ll like flat diapers so much that they will continue to rotate through with all my regular diapers.  And I really hope that all this will do some good in the long-run for low-income families who can’t afford disposables.


Becca G is a guest blogger for the Cloth Diaper Blog. Becca is a part time Spanish Teacher, a part time stay-at-home-mom, and the wife of the best husband imaginable. Becca’s absolute favorite thing to do is to spend time with her little family. She also enjoys doing anything crafty – from making jewelry, to writing, to sewing, to photography.

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