2nd Annual Flats & Hand-washing Challenge, hosted by Kim at Dirty Diaper Laundry. I knew the experience and knowledge I’d gained from participating this year was exactly what this woman was needing.
The least expensive and easiest to clean diapers are flats. I’m assuming the workers in the orphanage would very likely need to be hand-washing them. Flats need diaper pins and covers, (you can also just pad fold flats and go without any kind of fastener), but it’s really not that hard. Flats are one layer of fabric, usually about 28" square. They fit all sizes of babies because you fold it to fit how you want. They also line dry super quick. These are the kind of diapers my mother-in-law used for all 6 of her children. I actually have about 3 dozen flats I use regularly.
I replaced all the microfiber inserts in my pocket diapers with WalMart flour sack towels. They cost about $1/each and are actually really absorbent once they've been prepped. I don't like using them as regular flats, though, but I have & they work well enough.
Osocozy brand flats are really inexpensive and work well, but people seem to like Swaddlebees brand or Green Mountain Diaper flats the best. Flannel receiving blankets actually work really well, too. A lot of people also like the Ikea Vandring burp cloth as a flat (better than flour sack towels, but maybe not as well as some other "real" flats). I personally LOVE the GMD flats, but I’m really wanting some Swaddlebees flats to try out, too.
Prefolds are another good economical option, but you need to buy sizes. I don’t like “better fit” because you can’t fasten them on bigger babies. They’re better for stuffing pockets or just laying in a cover. That’s fine, but when you can fasten the diaper, there’s less chance for leaks or poop getting on the cover. In a situation where you’re limited on funds and supplies, this can be an important point. They're also made up of more layers, so they're not as easy to thoroughly clean like flats, and definitely take longer to dry. Snappis are really popular right now as a great alternative to pins, but they stretch out and need replaced. And, as weird as it may seem, I actually prefer diaper pins (like the Dritz brand). I feel like I can get a more secure fit with them, and then I have the option of going cover-less.
When I do use a cover (which is most of the time) my favorite is the Thirsties Duo Wrap. The Duo Wrap is made with PUL, so it’s waterproof, and they have a double gusset to really help hold the mess in. Some really inexpensive covers that have gotten good reviews: Diaper Rite (around $9) and Kawaii (about $7). Fleece covers would also be a good option.
In the end, she’s decided to try buying flats while in Uganda to donate to the orphanage. I think it’s a great idea since she’ll be helping to stimulate their economy and likely supporting a WAHM in the area there. The two girls she’ll be bringing home are older and won’t need diapers, but I hope after all this she’ll continue to advocate for cloth diapers.
A Cloth Life. One day, she hopes things settle down enough that daily showers will no longer be considered a luxury for her, but she still loves the chaos that comes with having kids.