Friday, May 25, 2012

Flats and Handwashing Challenge: Day 5 Complete

I am required by Kim to post the following on every post (along with some other blogging rules that you need not worry about):

I am taking part in the Second Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty 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 the announcement post.  This year there are over 450 participants from all over the world!  For those of you who don't know me, I'm a desert dweller with two children, ages 2 years and 5 months, who are both taking part in the Challenge.

I should also mention that there is a link up for all the participating bloggers on Kim's blog.  Go check the other's out. 

Day 5 Recap:
The towel drying worked for most of the covers.  We've had some rash issues.  Knee (the infant) has a rash that's going away now.  I ended up pad folding a few pockets and frequently changing his diaper at night.  Now his brother (the toddler) is starting to head that direction.  So I think tomorrow I will tone down the super padding for nap and may use a few fleece liners (are they for the diaper rash cream? or do they wick moisture away?).  I have an old scarf that's fleece and since I live in the desert sacrificing it is no big deal.

The other problem is that the toddler is having some elastic rub marks.  So tonight I used the Jo fold that Kim suggested was great and doubled it with a pad folded receiving blanket.  The fold was totally easier than the origami which gives me issues.  I think it's a keeper.

Today I ran out of diapers and dug into my emergency pillow cases (you may recall from Prelim post that I mentioned them).  I hope that it's not considered cheating that I didn't rip out the seam.  I got lazy and figured that I would just fold em' back that way anyway.

I'm still hanging in there.  The facebook group has had a few people drop out.  Some due to huge diaper rash issues (ours are minor and totally manageable).  Some due to fatigue (it's really hard work.  you have to keep upbeat about it).  And others are going camping over the weekend (something about a holiday).  This is what I have to say about that.  I don't "do" camping.  I hate being sprayed in DEET and getting hot and sweaty just to enjoy the outdoors.  I'm a prima donna and proud of it!  So I will persevere (along with the rest of us non-campers) to finish out the week.  The rest of you camping folk (who choose not to continue) I give you the stink eye.

Onward and is a free posting day.  I interviewed my parents and my inlaws some questions about their cloth diapering days.  My MIL responded (I doubt my FIL has e-mail) and both my parents did (and no they're not divorced.  It's just their way.)  My questions/comments are in black.  My MIL will be in red.  My parents will be Mom in blue and Dad in green.

Me cloth diapered in a flat

My husband also cloth diapered with the infamous plastic pants on.

So you probably all know by now that I've been using flats with the boys and washing them by hand.  This is because when the economy took a tumble many low income families started leaving their children in disposables for too long or simply dumping out the poop and reusing the diapers again (I'm not sure how, but that's what the news reported).  In response, Kim Rosas, who writes the blog Dirty Diaper Laundry, wondered why they weren't aware of cloth diapering.  She decided to last year come up with the most affordable way to cloth diaper, using only flats and handwashing.  She invited people to join her thinking only maybe 30 die-hards would, but ended up with 200.  This year there is close to 500 globally.  The majority are from the US, but some are from Canada and Australia.  The idea is to raise awareness for the health of young children and to glean ideas on how to do just that.

Some people are really creative, going to GoodWill and purchasing old sheets and turning them into flats(can’t imagine them being absorbent enough unless they were flannel. Also, I think the permanent press type would make them less water absorbent) (they are flannel).  It's pretty neat to read about.  Day 6 we're supposed to be blogging about anything (Friday).  I thought that I would interview you and glean ideas about how you cloth diapered us.

1) Why did you cloth diaper us?  I know for me it was because of nasty diaper rashes.  Why was Hubby cloth diapered (he doesn't know)?
 Disposable diapers were too expensive.  On the rare occasions that I used disposables, he developed a rash.
You started with cloth diapers, but developed a rash that was later diagnosed as allergy to Similac milk.  It did save money to use cloth diapers.
Rash, cost and we got several dozen as shower gifts.
Mmm...I'm seeing a pattern here.  Cloth diapers as affordable options...and cloth diapers help with rashes.  Particularly since back in the day disposables were even more chemically laden destructive to babies' skin things then they are now.

2) How did you wash them?  I think my parents mentioned that they used a laundry service at one point.  Did you soak them in wet pails, some or all of them?  
Washed out poop in the toilet and placed the wet diaper into the wet pail. Pee diapers were placed directly into the wet pail. I washed them in the automatic at least 4 times a week. Your FIL would change poop diapers but not wash it. The diaper was in the toilet waiting for me when I got home from work. He got off 1 1/2 hours earlier than I did and picked up Hubby from Grandma's in the evening.
We didn't ever use a laundry service.  I washed all of them and hung them on the clothes line.  Sun is good for destroying bacteria.  We did soak them in diaper pails that had borax in the water.  I gave you those diaper pails and hope that you still have them as I am not sure they make them anymore.
As I remember we had diaper pails, washed in the tub, kitchen sink and machine. We dried by hanging them on a clothesline outside.
I guess good advice doesn't die over time.  Dry in sun, check. Use a wet pail system, check. Hang dry, check.  Use a toilet or sink, check.

3) Did you use covers?  Do you remember the brand names?
 We only had plastic pants then. Either plain plastic or cute outfits that had plastic liners.
 They didn't have covers in your day.  We had to use plastic pants.
 Rubber pants were employed. I think they were Gerber but I’m guessing.
Personally I think covers and plastic pants are synonymous terms (they are at least on prescription yeast infection drugs).  Although the materials used today are not vinyl, they essentially serve the same purpose.  What do you, dear readers, think?  Same or different.

4) I know that you guys only had pins.  Did anyone get stuck?
 Yes, especially when he was older and wouldn’t lay still. I stuck myself a couple of times and I think Hubby got stuck once when he wouldn’t lie still. After that he was much better about not fighting the diaper change because all I had to say was “do you want to get stuck with the pin again?” He was smart enough to learn.
All they had in your day was pins.  I don't think I ever stuck anyone, as I was very careful.
Careful as one tried a stick did occur.  98% of sticks were in the parents.
Sticking, oh not so cool.  Yes, I know this well.  See yesterdayBut I gotta ask.  Mom didn't stick me, but Dad did?  Humm....very interesting....

5) How did you fold the diapers?  Could you describe it for me?
The cloth Birdseye diapers I had were semi-prefolded with extra padding in the middle third. I folded them as follows:
  • Laid flat on table
  • One long end folded  so the end was  in the middle of the diaper. Repeated second end. Decreased the amount of fold as he grew.
  • One short end brought up to middle. The length of the fold was adjusted as he grew.
  • For boys, the extra padding per the third bullet is placed in front, for girls the extra padding would go in the back.
 It's been so long.  I know I ended up with them looking like triangles.  So must have been in half then into triangles.
We folded the cloth in rectangles.  How many folds was based on the size of the child.
So far none of the bloggers/facebook people have mentioned using the traditional triangle fold.  I'm wondering if it's because a) unaware, b) old-fasioned/out of style, c) not as effective as the other folds.  I'm going to let Kim figure that one out. Also will add that I think my MIL is talking about what's commonly called a prefold.  

6) How well did using folds work for you?  Did they normally contain all the "stuff" or did you get frequent leaks?
Worked extremely well except for the constant laundry. When he was newborn they were checked/changed almost every hour. As he got older, the time in between decreased.
I though the triangles worked good.  I don't remember a lot of leaks.
 The folds worked well or maybe the rubber pants did. The rubber pants were way to hot though.  
See.  No leaks on clothes.  All the more reason to cloth diaper.

7) Any funny stories to share?
See number 2. Here was a grown man who wouldn’t touch baby poop in toilet water (there were no other messes in the water!). Sometimes when I had a rotten day at work, it wasn’t so funny.
Can't think of any.
With all the “store bought” clothes I remember you guys running around with just the cloth diapers best.
In case anyone cares, my husband will rinse out a poopy diaper.  He does, however, have standards.  After we moved, for a while, we didn't have our sprayer hooked up.  He refused to use the sink so one of the first things he did was insist upon the sprayer being set up. 

8) What impresses you the most about cloth diapering today?
 Seems to be a lot more work
 I like that they now have covers instead of plastic pants.  That you can make the covers.  The PUL fabric.
 The outer covering with the snaps.  Seems to make cloth diapering much easier and no pins are involved.
Yes, I the PUL fabric "breathes" better.  And snaps. are. awesome.  Disposables don't have them so all toddler can easily remove them.  I've heard of people duct taping their child into them.  Again, snaps. are. awesome.

And so there you have it.  Straight from the experts!

Awww!...a cloth diapered baby and his formally cloth diapered daddy


  1. So neat hearing your parents and in-laws experiences! My mom didn't cloth diaper me, but my mother-in-law cloth diapered her three children. She was very surprised that you aren't supposed to bleach your diapers frequently, as she used bleach with every wash, and then rinsed with vinegar. ~Melissa

  2. Awesome! I'm so glad you did this! I know my mom used cloth on my sister, but not on my brother or myself. (Sis was born in 72, vs me in 85 and little bro in 92, so I think the difference had a lot to do with the time period) I don't think my MIL used cloth, but she does seem familiar with it-I'll have to ask!

  3. I would say that all "plastic pants" are covers, but not all covers are plastic pants . . . in other words, plastic pants are a type of cover. I find it funny that in that last pic you have a box of sposies :)


I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!