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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!


See what happens when you are in college for 6 years then become a SAHM? You write things like “A comparative analysis” on your blog, when you are really blogging about square pieces of cloth your kids poop on.

This is day 6 of the flats challenge and I have to say I am very much over the whole handwashing diapers thing. In fact, I have enough flats to get me through until tomorrow night so I am not washing laundry tonight. I am going to sit here, drink my mint and chamomile tea, and watch some trashy TV with my husband instead because lets face it, I.hate.handwashing.diapers.

So today was an unprompted free for all day with the blogging for the challenge and I asked my FB friends what I should talk about today. I had a few people who are really interested about the difference between cloth diapering a new-born and a toddler. I am in just the right position to tell you all about it.

Using flats with my baby is awesome. We were using a combination of newborn size AIO’s and pre-folds before the challenge but will definitely incorporate flats from now on. They are easy to fold up into the oragami fold when I take them off the drying rack and I can put them right in his diaper drawer for ease of use. They work almost as well as pre-folds absorbency wise, but are MUCH more trim, which I appreciate. The poor guy does not look nearly as comfortable with a pre-fold in his cover as he does in his flats.

We have 12 osocozy flats and 10 Gerber flats. As I mentioned in a previous post I prefer the osocozy flats much more than the Gerber for  little Mr.N. They are bigger, more even edged, tighter knit, more absorbent and overall better. For the cost of the Gerber flats, I am quite disappointed.

N goes through 8-10 diapers a day. I have to triple up the flats at night to get enough coverage to last him all night (thankfully he sleeps through the night with a few dream feeds), so I have been using a pre-fold at night to avoid leaks. Nothing worse than wondering if that is baby pee or leaked milk on your sheets at 3 am. Either way, just put a clean diaper over it and go back to sleep. Urine is sterile, didn’t you know?

Ellie is a little different. She is a toddler on the verge of potty training (she tells me when she has peed or pooped most of the time). She weighs about 28lbs and is just a big healthy girl. I have not yet found a fold I like for her, either because it doesn’t fit right, doesn’t fit around her hips, or because when I do get a fold that MIGHT fit she throws a big ole fit because I am changing her diaper, which she just told me was wet. I gave up on folding diapers with her on day 3 and just use the pad fold in the cover. It works just fine except for the one time a day that she poops. Then I curse the fact that I couldn’t use my disposable liners.

Another difference is that the actual pre-fold diapers do not fit E well at all. They are just not big enough, or thick enough to hold a toddler sized bladder of urine. I have been loving using flannel receiving blankets as flats for her. They are the perfect size, absorbency, and they are cute too. My only problem with them is that they take a little longer to wash than the flats. We are also using old T-shirts as diapers. Just get an old cotton T-shirt, cut off the sleeves, cut the shirt down both sides and voila, you have 2 flats. They are super absorbent too.

Washing E’s diapers by hand is a lot more work than the pre-folds. I would say it takes about twice the muscle to actually wash and rinse them. The flannel blankets take longer to dry also, but living in arid Colorado, longer to dry is 3 hours instead of 2 so it really isn’t THAT big of a deal.

We are just using the normal flannel blanket flats for naps, as her naps only last 1 hour. At night we use a disposable because we don’t want her waking up wet at night (because we are selfish and like our sleep), and she poops first thing in the morning, so I usually hope to catch the poop in the morning in the disposable before getting her into cloth. I always curse the mornings she decides not to poop first thing.

Other differences between babies and toddlers:

  • Babies are easier to photograph
  • Babies do not try to unfold your nicely folded diapers
  • Babies do not try to “help” you do laundry by throwing the newly hung wet diapers on the dirty ground outside.
  • EBF (exclusively breast fed) poop comes out of diapers MUCH easier than nasty toddler poo.
  • Toddlers can entertain them selves while you are doing laundry, babies want to be held constantly so you end up doing laundry by hand, with a bad back, while wearing the baby in a wrap. *This I do not recommend*

I used to always recommend people with new babies start out cloth diapering with prefolds and covers. Prefolds are just as cheap as flats, but are already thickly folded and sewn into place so all you have to do is tri fold it, put it in the liner, put it on the butt and you are done.

Now I think I will suggest flats for new-borns. They are trimmer and easier to fit on a small baby. Their hips don’t look as wide or separated as the pre-fold makes them. They are quick and easy to wash, even by hand, and dry quickly.

Before going into this challenge I was afraid of the extra work, being the lazy parent that I am, but it really is not much more work than regular diaper laundry; even with the folding. I was also afraid of the pining but with N I can just tie the pre-fold around his waist, no pins needed! I have used pins for almost two days with this challenge, then promptly lost them. They are not necessary.

I still like pre-folds, but for the older kiddos. I have hand washed pre-folds out of necessity and they are just as easy/hard to wash as the fleece blankets. They do take longer to dry but they are easier to put on the squirmy toddler. If I had a choice I would do flats for the baby and toddler during the “calm” times, and pre-folds during the wild toddler times.

What differences have you seen in your kids of different ages?


Other blogs in this series:

Day 1: Why am I Taking the Challenge and What did she say? Diaper oragami

Day 2: My Flats Swag: What I am using for the challenge

Day 3: How Do You Use Your Flats? Diaries of a new-born and a chubby toddler

Day 4: How I am doing: My thoughts on handwashing

Day 5: Handy Dandy Diapering Tips

Day 6: Flats with a Toddler v.s Newborn. A comparative analysis.

Day 7: What I Learned During the Flats Challenge




About Amanda

Amanda is a mother of two amazing toddlers. She is an herbalist, natural living guru, and real food, gluten free eating pro. She loves to help educate others on how to take control of their own health through natural living, real food, herbs, essential oils, and most of all - a positive mind set. Her other business Natural Herbal Living Magazine is all about helping people learn about how to use one herb a month on a deep and profound level.
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One Response to Day 6: Flats with a Toddler v.s Newborn. A comparative analysis.

  1. Amanda says:

    I’ve also realized how easy flats will be for newborns. I am expecting in July and just unpacked all my newborn prefolds, and I’m thinking to myself, why on earth do I have all these?? Flats would be just fine!

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