Flats & Handwash Challenge: Day 5 - Tricks of the Trade!
I am taking part in theSecond Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted byDirty Diaper Laundry. For 7 days I will be using only flat cloth diapers and handwashing them in an effort to prove that cloth diapering can be affordable and accessible to all. You can learn more about the rules and why this challenge was started by visiting theannouncement post. This year there are over 450 participants from all over the world!
Today is Day 5 of the Flats and Handwash Challenge and I'd like to share a few tips I have learned during this week.
First off, getting a good fit is key! When you are fastening the flat diaper, make sure to have your baby's legs parallel to the floor instead of "frogged up", and pull the side of the diaper out and up before pulling to the front to fasten in order to get a tight fit around the leg. You could also fold in the back about 1/2" to an inch in order to keep things a bit more contained, if you know what I mean.
Second is absorbency. You can manipulate a flat to have most of the layers anywhere you please! Whether you need more absorbency in the front, the middle, all around, or only through the center, you can customize it to your baby. You can also use two flats for overnights or leaving the house for extra protection. There are also different materials used in flats to achieve more absorbency besides your regular birdseye bottom such as hemp and bamboo.
Third is a good cover. You need a cover that will suit your baby. A good fit and the right materials will make all the difference in success or failure. If you have a cover that is gaping at the legs or cutting off the circulation, you'll likely have an uncomfortable baby and leaks. Likewise, what it's made out of can have an impact for babies with particularly sensitive skin, such as my MissE. She does not do well in non-breathable or slightly-breathable materials such as PUL and TPU. She does best is very breathable materials like fleece and wool.
Fourth is the detergent amount. You will be rinsing forever if you use too much detergent! On that same note, it goes without saying that your diapers will not get clean enough if you don't use enough detergent. It's a fickle subject.
Fifth is to not underestimate the power of the sun. The sun has amazing bleaching abilities! It can take a stained flat that looks dirty and shabby to a bright flat that looks good as new in less than an hour! It also helps to sanitize and disinfect naturally, plus makes things smell good.
Sixth is to not get caught up in the hype. I had over two dozen flats ready to go for this challenge, plus two dozen bamboo flats just in case. I could have easily done this challenge with one dozen flats as that is all I have used so far.We go through 8-9 flats a day and then I have three left to use while the others are being washed and drying. By the time I run out the others are dry and ready to go! I have also not used more than three covers per day and if you read my post about supplies, I have quite an arsenal of covers.
Seventh is to take the time to practice. Flats have the steepest learning curve to any of the cloth diaper options available today, but they are definitely worth it! All it takes is a little practice and you'll be folding and fastening like a pro in no time.
Eight is to fully prep. Flats should be washed at least 3-5 times before use in order to strip them of their natural oils so that they'll absorb. They reach maximum absorbency after 10 washes. In an effort to save time and water, you can cut some of the washes by boiling your flats. I posted about how to do this before the challenge with the GMD flats that I've used during this challenge.
(Edited to Add: Ninth is to not use bleach without gloves! I started putting a tsp of bleach in my wash water before scrubbing with the wash board and my hands are torn up!)
Just for fun, here's a few pictures of MissE enjoying her first marshmallow around the campfire today!
If you'd like to see what tips others have to give, click on any link below!