May 31, 2011

Flats Challenge: Day 8, a day late

#FlatsChallengeI ended up throwing in the towel half way into day 8. However, I made it the whole 7 days, and I felt fine conceding. I decided to put little boy back into pockets because he had a stealth-poo and took a long nap, and when he woke up, his little bits were pretty angry. I tossed my flats in and covers in the washer and I feel pretty darn proud of myself. When I was folding laundry tonight I was able to get a better grip on how many flats, wipes and covers I ended up using.

  • 5 covers, 4 Thirsties v2, size small, $6.50 from Diaper Swappers, and 1 Fab Fitted, print, $13.25. Total $39.25
  • 16 Target Flour Sack Towels, $1 each, 3 birdseye Flats, $1.80 each, 2 preemie prefolds, .80 each. Total $23
  • 1 snappi $4, 15 wipes $3 (repurposed, torn blankets, and baby washcloths). Homer camp style Wash Bucket, $7. Total $14

So for $76.25, I was able to cloth diaper my baby, with the right supplies, for life!

The good: Flats were surprisingly easy! Folding was not as complicated or time consuming as I assumed. We had 3 leaks in 8 days, so they are very absorbent. I had no problem changing a diaper at 6am while half asleep with a wiggly baby. Being a geographically single mom with 4 other kids did not complicate it. My flats are SO forgiving, they are still beautiful white, soft, and smell like cotton. One of my covers got a little stained, but nothing that will effect wear. I love how trim they are, and how small they will fold into my suitcase when we travel. Line drying was so simple, and even on an overcast cool slightly breezy day, clothesline flats and covers dried much faster than inside hung diapers. Overnight is the perfect amount of time for indoor drying.

The bad: I will not lie, hand washing was hard. It was time consuming, tiring, and I really missed my washer and dryer at the end. In a real life situation I would probably have a larger quantity of diapers, and covers on hand. I would probably also try to borrow a washer a few times a week. I also would use a better plunger, my wood handled plunger ended up flaking paint onto my diapers. I also was not impressed on how much water it took to get my diapers clean.

The ugly: My hands are pretty calloused, my shoulders hurt the first part of the week, and my nerves were shot at the end by trying to wash quickly while the baby was napping, or folding flats off the line one handed with baby in arms. Liam was less than patient at times, and there were washes where I would get the baby calmed, run, agitate two minutes, comfort a baby again, plunge some more.

What I would do/do different: Like I said, I better handle for a plunger was necessary. My adjustable shower head that can adjust to a single jet was a lifesaver. A wet pail where it could not pose a drowning risk was so helpful. Hangers and clothespins to hang diapers from worked out so well. Line drying even when chilly and overcast pays off. A sense of humor was mandatory, as well as a healthy dose of determination. Splashing was almost guaranteed, wearing pajamas that I was going to change out of with pants rolled up worked well. I may have looked for a faster drying cover, I look forward to an Econobum coming in the mail, I hear they dry well. NEVER underestimate the power of the sun, instant whitener and stain lifter!

The best thing about this challenge was my confidence in myself, the amazing sense of community I gained, and the information gathered that I could not help but tell everyone about! In the forums, I repeatedly told people to try flats and come look at my blog. In Target, I stopped a young couple who were cloth diapering their baby and struggling with the start up cost and gave them a primer on flat use. And to my mom, who was probably ready for me to shut up already on cloth diapers in general.

What I am going to do next: Because I know I have all these new flats that I enjoy using, I am going to start de-stashing. I already got rid of quite a few older diapers. Next going will be newborn diapers split between 2 families, and then all my girly diapers to a friend north of me. After that? Who knows. Maybe I will find a family to sponsor with a primer guide as well as a half dozen flats and a cover?

Thank you Kim, at Dirty Diaper Laundry for taking us with you on what you described as Diaper Boot Camp. I feel like a much stronger warrior now, and I will continue to fight for the cause; for healthy bottoms, healthy budgets, and a healthy planet!

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