- Oct 18, 2009
- 2 comments
If I were to say the word “flat,” what would be your first thought? Flat tire, flat bread, or that the Earth was once thought to be flat? Would a flat diaper EVER cross your mind? I bet it wouldn’t. It sure didn’t cross mine a few weeks ago. But with all the talk lately about them, we thought it would be a grand topic for our most recent Real Diaper Circle meeting. It was a wonderful turnout for the San Diego Real Diaper Circle (SDRDC)! We had quite a few Mamas show up (13) and we were outnumbered by our little ones (17), though a few of the children were old enough to learn the folds alongside their moms and practice on their dolls!
“So, what is a flat diaper?” you say. To keep it simple, it is a large single layer piece of absorbent fabric used to diaper a baby. “It’s a prefold, then, right?” Not really, but close. A prefold is several layers already sewn together, with the thickest most absorbent area right in the middle. It is sort of limiting on where one can place those absorbent layers on a baby. A flat, on the other hand, leaves the door wide open for different folds, so one may fold that absorbency layer wherever it is needed most (for example, a side sleeping baby may need it over to one side a bit.)
Flat diapers are becoming more popular lately for a number of reasons. The benefits of using flat diapers (besides not wasting money on disposables and keeping them out of landfills) are that they are inexpensive, easy to wash, ideal to travel with, and can serve purposes outside of cloth diapering. Since they are so easy to wash, traveling could never be easier with cloth diapers. No more wondering where you are going to find a Laundromat since they can easily be hand washed and will dry overnight. They fold ultra thin, so storage space isn’t a concern in your luggage either. Some other purposes that flats can be used for are swaddle blankets, dusting rags, and even to strain yogurt (I overheard a Mom mention she had done that!) Possibilities are endless with flats!
Several of our Circle members use flat diapers regularly, so they led the demonstrations. There are many different kinds of folds someone can use with flat diapers. In my opinion, the Origami, AKA Chinese Fold, would be the most efficient, however, the fold is quite intimidating to learn in the beginning; but well worth it! Some other folds include the Jo Fold and V Fold, both of which are very simple. The Newborn Fold is the easiest to do and can be folded one less time for a larger baby. Diagrams of these folds can be found here, at Little Lions. (Note: Little Lions and the SDRDC provided a flat diaper and pair of pins to all attendees of the meeting, which made it easy to do hands-on practice with people who knew what they were doing.)
There are a few different fabrics that can and are used for flats, just like with other diaper styles. Some types of fabrics used are bamboo, hemp, flannel, gauze and of course, birdseye cotton! My personal fave is a hemp/cotton combo or bamboo/cotton combo for that extra absorbency they can provide.
Absorbency can be added, as with almost any diaper, by placing either another flat, prefold or insert inside the folded diaper. (However, please do take care to NOT place microfiber directly against your baby’s skin, as it will dry your baby’s bum out!)
“Okay, how do you fasten said flat diapers?” Well, that’s easy! Just like most other diapers that require fastening. Pins, Snappi’s or just a snug fitting cover (probably with Velcro for the best fit.) I did discover that a flat could even be TIED to fasten it! I found that out by using my trusty diaper model, Curly the Bear - my 2-year-old isn’t very cooperative trying on diapers for Mommy anymore.
So, bottom line from me, flats are going to be giving prefolds, along with every other style of diaper out there, a run for their money! Flats are becoming increasingly popular now, so you can probably find them at any one of your favorite retailers. Now…I’m off to place that order for my store.
Rachel Dove, Owner, Sweet Baby Bottoms, San Diego Real Diaper Circle