Concerning budget-friendly cloth diapering:
After today there is only one day left of the 7th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge. Being as its so close to ending, I should be able to tell you what has been working for us and what hasn’t.
But I do so reluctantly because I really think it takes longer than a week to draw any solid conclusions. For most things, anyway. For some people some things definitly do not work right from the get-go.
What’s working for me:
Flour sack towels, or FSTs. I only used 4 of these and the rest of my “flats” are blankets. I bought a pack of 5 at Walmart for just under $7. I only used 4 because one is consistently being used as the dry rack for our dishes. They are working well because Poni is only 8 weeks old and doesn’t usually hit the FST’s max absorbency. They are also nice and trim so they don’t cause problems when it’s time to put her in her car seat.
Flannel receiving blankets. In addition to FSTs I’m using blankets as flats. Some are bigger than others. The ones that work are the little ones. I would tell you how big they are but . . . All our belongings are in storage while we stay in a motel so . . . No measuring tape. Or ruler. And I’m the stereotypical girl who cannot estimate lengths or distances. But yeah, they work better than the FSTs but do add slightly more bulk.
Washing by hand and foot in the bathtub. My wash routine takes place in the bathtub in my motel room. And I wash and rinse by walking/stomping around in the tub with the diapers. It works fine (and I end the day with clean feet), the diapers get clean, and I even get to hold Poni for some of it. So in that regard, my wash routine works for me.
What’s not working for me:
Large blankets as flats. I’ve found that I can only use the large flats when we’re staying in AND I’m holding Poni for the bulk of the time in the diaper. Why? Because she is so little that when these are on her, the Ottoman of the diaper goes below her knees. It’s just so incredibly bulky. She can’t go in her carseat wearing it because I would have to set the shoulder straps to the next size up. And that is way too much of a pain in the butt to adjust it diaper-to-diaper.
No travel system. I did not use my wet/dry bag because I wanted to show cloth diapering can be done with less. And it can. However, more than once when we went out I realized I had forgotten to bring any diapers for Poni. The reason? Because I didn’t have a designated bag for bringing diapers with us. I figured dirty flats could be put in any old bag but it didn’t occur to me it would cause so much trouble to not have a bag for clean ones. I’m sure I could adjust to it over time, but in the future I would designate a special bag for clean diapers for on-the-go.
Drying inside. It is not my choice to dry the diapers inside. But given the opportunity, I would dry outside in a heartbeat. Inside just takes too long. Not enough air movement.
Using pocket diapers as covers. Although the polyester diapers indeed were good for a couple change before the liner felt damp, they took even longer to dry and had a funky smell (Hubby said it was because they took so long to dry). Drying outside would fix the problem, I am certain. However in a situation where that’s not a possibility, actual covers would be better.
When we find a home, I may consider continuing to diaper using flats. At least part time. And if I’m using flats, I may as well keep washing by hand. I think I would probably get Hubby to make me a bucket-and-plunger-style camp washer because although my system works fine, the bucket sounds overall easier, faster, and probably works better. Even if I don’t handwash I will certainly hang-dry. Flats dry so fast it’s a waste of money/energy to put them in a dryer. I would also like to invest in some hemp flats. Why not splurge a little, we’ll be saving so much by using cloth anyway!
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