Cloth Diaper Flats

No, I haven’t gone off the deep end and I know I have no one in diapers, but I still retain an interest in cloth diapers. I wanted to do it for years but with working full-time I had to take into account the preference of my husband. Finances were also a concern because there’s a good-sized outlay at the beginning. I didn’t have any friends who were cloth diapering so I didn’t have any mentors in that direction (or I might have started earlier). I finally got a start with my last baby, Pickles. We had so much baby stuff already that we just asked for diapers. I researched and researched and settled on all-in-ones because that seemed easiest for Father to handle. He didn’t have to put anything together; it was just like a disposable. We got Kushies AIOs. They were cute, and easy to use, but the drying time was outrageous and it was hard to get them clean. I began to wish I had settled on diapers and separate covers. I had a few covers and prefolds handed down by my sister who had not been able to use them successfully on her son. I had problems keeping the prefolds’ ends all tucked inside the cover. The moisture would keep wicking out onto the clothes. (One thing I did like was the Snappi fastener. Very handy and effective.)


Prefold with Snappi fastener

Since that time I have seen many more things about cloth diapers I wish I had known. Oh well, hindsight and all that. There are so many options. I like the idea of the fleece covers that Michelle of Our Little Monkeys made. I also like the tabbed prefolds she made.

Fleece cover by Michelle

I saw an article the other day on using flats. Now, that has always been rather intimidating, but I gave it a hearing. I have to say I’m half-sold already! It does address the problem that I always had with cloth diapers: price. In the long run it saves you money to use cloth diapers over disposables (and my frugal mind likes that), but the initial outlay is so high! When one diaper costs $12 then you start to lose your enthusiasm. The people who could really take advantage of the overall low cost of cloth, i.e. low income, can’t afford to even get started. It’s kind of ridiculous.

It really hurt to read in the article about some poor families reusing disposable diapers because of cost. The author had had a similar reaction and started a Flats and Handwashing Challenge on her cloth diapering blog (that focuses on laundry). She had people sign up to use only flats and handwash them for 7 days. Eventually 400 people signed up. They used various handwashing methods and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

I started looking into it, and having actually done some cloth diapering (primarily with AIOs), those large, flat, thin Birdseye diapers look pretty good – especially from a laundry point of view. I looked at a site called Green Mountain Diapers* and their flats are $25/doz for small and $27/doz for large. Yes! They come in different sizes! Somewhere on the site I read that the Gerber flats you can buy in stores tend not to be the normal, full, flat size so they don’t work properly. Then, people just write them off. I also happened to notice that they sell fitted diapers out of prefold material! Now those were a little more expensive, $4.95 to $7.95 depending on size and whether or not you wanted snaps. The regular prefolds were $15/doz to $39/doz ranging from preemie to XL. This sounds idiotic, but I had no idea prefolds came in different sizes! That’s probably the reason for my failure with the prefolds I used before.



Fitted Prefolds

*This site also sells AIOs, AITs, covers of various kinds, organic, etc. It’s a great site with tutorials on folding and hints on which covers work best with which diapers.

10 thoughts on “Cloth Diaper Flats

  1. This all boggles my mind. My child (age 39) wore cloth diapers; disposable ones were an expensive luxury. They were oblong and there was a different way to fold them for boys than for girls. I never liked the birdseye ones, ours were a sort of cotton gauze. Also disliked the pre-folded ones because they took so long to dry. Covers were plastic and tended to encourage diaper rash. The diaper pail/laundry thing was a pain for apartment dwellers, but it was just what you did. (So, what do people who use disposables do for dust rags? We had a bazillion uses for old diapers.)


  2. huh, I've never heard of flats before! I'm an avid cloth diaperer (er, I mean, I was one) and my bf here has her own diaper business. I should see what she thinks of these.

    I dry pail my diapers (after shaking/swishing out poopy ones) and wash them every 3rd day. Less soap and lots of water is the key! I add vinegar to the rinse cycle to deodorise them.


  3. I've used a huge number of different kinds of diapers, from pockets to prefolds to those prefitteds you posted a photo of and more. I use all kinds of covers too, including both wool and PUL. Three different people gave me their diaper stashes when I was pregnant with James. After trying them all out, my favorites for little babies are prefolds with PUL covers (I love wool covers once they are a little bigger, but Miriam seems to soil hers EVERY SINGLE TIME and I do nothing but handwash wool if I use those covers) and Fuzzi Bunz for toddlers. I love those prefitteds, but I only have mediums, and so neither kid fits them right now 🙂

    I do use a disposable on James (22 months) at night now. Out of all those diapers and cover combination, there weren't any that would keep him all the way dry at night, so I just use one per day and it works out great. I'm in apartment with coin-op shared laundry, but I've done the math several times and it's still worth it to use cloth even with all those quarters!


  4. Thanks to all of you for your input! From childhood I remember the prefolds, pins and plastic pants and that may have turned me off to those. I still don't like the plastic pants, but the covers I have are the Bummies Super Whisper Wrap. I like those a lot, but I never checked the size. I think the size of the prefolds and the size of the wraps didn't match and that was part of my problem. In theory, I like the prefolds, I just don't like constantly having to change clothes (sometimes mine!). [This is funny because I'm talking about it like it's in the present…]


  5. i have cloth diapered all three of my children, and we use flats pretty consistently. i have different cloth diapers i like for different reasons, but there are always flats! they are especially great under wool pants or a wool cover. and they make great wash rags & dust cloths when you are done using them as diapers.


  6. I've never heard of flats, but we used prefolds and I just used plastic pants. Now, were I to have another, I'd use the covers like Michelle does 🙂


  7. I switched to using only flats and pins for my last two babies. I love them. they are easy. they dry super fast. they are easy to clean. After using every diaper cover out there, i also switched to nylon (not plastic) pull-on water-proof pants which i also love for the same reasons plus they cost $2 each and they last for a long time, like to the next baby!!

    Anyway, i love my flats, pins, and nylon pull-on pants ;o)


  8. I agree about the dust cloths! The no-lint advantage!

    I really like the idea of the fleece ones – just hard to wrap my brain around the fact that they don't just wet straight through! It's something I'd want to try though.

    Deb, where did you find the nylon pull-on covers?


  9. Nylon (not vinyl)pull-on Diaper pants

    We use these they are $3.99 for a 2pack. They do run big. We have never had one fall apart yet. At $2 a piece, you could hardly go wrong.

    We also use the vinyl training pants for potty training. They are $1.25 each. Seriously. We have been using them for over 6 months with no issuses. These however can not go in the dryer – they will melt.


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