I love flat diapers. Don’t get me wrong. I also love the modern cloth diapers we have today, but there is a special place in my heart for flat cloth diapers. Flats were the only diapers I was wrapped in as a baby. Beyond that flats, as it turns out, have their place in modern society too.
Flats are economical. Anyone can afford a flat cloth diaper with a handful of diaper covers. A single modern pocket cloth diaper can cost upwards of 20 USD or more depending on how fancy the materials are. For that much money, one can easily purchase a dozen flat diapers.
Flats can be made from anything. One need not be great at sewing to create their own flat diaper. Flats are a single layer of absorbent material. That material could be hemp, bamboo, birds eye cotton, terry cloth, flannel, and jersey knit. You can use old t-shirts, old flannel sheets, dish towels, flannel receiving blankets, or flour sack towels to create your own set of diapers.
Flats are easier to wash. Because flats are a single layer, they clean far easier than an all-in-one diaper, which has multiple layers. Parents don’t have to worry if the material is getting clean enough to be reused as long as the water is hot. There’s also less need for stripping flats because they are thoroughly cleaned each time.
Flats are easy to dry. My prefolds are still damp after a cycle in the dryer. This isn’t the case with flats. They also dry faster when line dried which makes them great for taking on camping trips.
You can make flats work over the course of child’s growth. I have two sizes of prefolds. Because flats are a single layer, they can be folded to fit any sized child easily.
Speaking of folds, there are numerous ways to fold a flat. There’s the traditional triangle fold, but also the origami fold, kite fold, diaper bag fold, and the simple pad fold. These different folds make it easy to use a flat with any child, boy or girl, exclusively breastfed baby or toddler, chunky or skinny. Again, I can’t say the same for my prefolds. I use an origami fold with exclusively breastfed 5 month old. For my toddler, I pad fold a flat and put it in a cover. He wiggles too much for me to use any of the other folds.
Flats have a modern twist too. My in-laws and my parents diapered us in vinyl covers using safety pins. You can still use pins (although I’d skip the vinyl), but you can also use snappis or boingos instead. Any diaper cover will work with flats, but you can also pad fold a flat and use it in a pocket diaper too.
Flats may be old-fashioned, but they are very versatile. When deciding to cloth diaper a baby, consider flats. You never know how well they may end up working for you.
Article by Laura Weirich
Laura Weirich has been married for four years and has two sons. She's been breastfeeding for nearly two years and currently tandem nurses her toddler and infant. A big proponent of breastfeeding, she's been educating her friends and family about the benefits of breastfeeding and helping other women along the way. When she's not nursing, she chases a toddler all day, washes cloth diapers, tries to catch a few zs and reads up on the latest research about children.
Laura has written 33 awesome articles for Natural Family Today.
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