Flats Challenge, Day Three

Dirty Diaper Laundry's Second Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge is now on day three of seven!  I'm using only flat diapers and washing them all by hand, along with nearly 500 other participants.  Why, you ask?  Because I can!  And, more importantly, to prove that you can too, and so can other parents who think they can't afford or wash cloth diapers.  Dirty Diaper Laundry and Kelly's Closet are each going to donate $1 to a cloth diaper charity for every participant (up to 200) who successfully makes it through the whole week.

This week gave me an opportunity to try a new fold.  Back when Sunshine was a newborn, I just used the "jelly roll" (aka origami) fold.  It was easy to fold the diapers in quarters, store them by the changing table, and complete the fold just before slapping it on her bottom.

The jelly roll fold looked really complicated to me.  All the diagrams made about as much sense as Sanskrit when I stared at them.  But once I actually started folding along with the pictures and videos, it only took me two or three attempts before I felt I was on top of the learning curve.

I'd rather planned on just sticking with the fold I knew for this week.  But in preparation for the Challenge, a local baby boutique invited interested participants for a flat diaper info session.  And thus I was introduced to the diaper bag fold.

The diaper bag fold has two main advantages.  The biggest one is that it creates a pad with about twelve layers of material right in the front wetness zone.  In contrast, the jelly roll fold has only eight layers in the pad, unless you roll the pad over more than twice.  This makes it excellent for heavy front wetters, like boys or tummy-sleepers.  (Yes, back is best... up until the child is old enough to flip herself over and pick her own sleeping position.)  The other plus is that it isn't floppy like the jelly roll fold, and tucks pretty neatly into a wetbag.  A minor advantage is that it works equally well with flats that are slightly rectangular, whereas the jelly roll fold gets a bit sloppy.  I think it's a bit neater to wear as well - it's got fewer dangly ends.

Flats in a hobo-style diaper bag.  On the right are wipes.
On the left, from back to front, are two diaper bag folded flats,
one PUL cover (green), one waterproof cloth trainer (cream)
and spare outfits for both children.

The disadvantages are that it's a pain to assemble in the middle of a diaper change, so it takes more time upfront to fold them fully as you take in your laundry; you can't just slap two folds together and call it done.  (I think the overall folding time is pretty equal; it's just a matter of when you want to spend the time to do it.)  And since all the layers land in the front, that means the back is pretty thinly padded.  So in retrospect, it probably wouldn't have been a good choice for Sunshine as an infant, because she's always flood the back of her diaper while back-sleeping.

By the way, for those who have actually been following this, Sunshine was back in a jelly roll fold in the hemp last night.  We got her up right away, and there was only a little drip of wetness on the bed - not even worth changing.  This says to me that the real problem is her soaker - the pattern called for much wider leg cuffs than I usually do, and it's gapping significantly.  I'm betting she wet again after waking and standing up yesterday and it just ran out.  So we're trying the diaper bag fold again in the hemp tonight.  If it works, I'll call the hemp sufficient and both folds acceptable... and then add a second bargain flat as a pad as a precaution until I can get the cuffs fixed.

The diaper bag fold.  See how trim it is?
Even if I'm actually using a ratty undershirt
instead of an actual square flat.

I'm curious what other bloggers are doing with their diapers.  Aren't you?  Check the links below:


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