I have cloth diapered before when my boys were little and loved it. Back then I primarily used Diaper Service Quality (DSQ) Chinese prefolds with Bummis Super Whisper Wrap and Prorap covers, but had a few All In Ones (AIOs) too. We saved all kinds of money doing it and I loved the idea that I was helping keep disposals out of landfills. I stopped cloth diapering when my daughter Tatiana was born because all my cloth diapering stash that I had purchased myself and built up was lost in our abrupt move to Florida (long story). Anyway I had the preconceived notion that since we were basically homeless (living out of a hotel) there with no vehicle or job to start out with that we wouldn't be able to cloth diaper, so unfortunately for me I abandoned the practice especially after learning that my daughter was special needs thinking at the time that it might be more than I could handle.
Now that I am more educated and have some more experience behind me I know now that I could have managed and gotten by with what the cloth diapering community call flats and a few covers. Flats are basically what your grandmother probably used as diapers. They are large squares of single-layer material; typically made from Birdseye weave cotton. These diapers can be folded in a number of ways in order to fit a baby and can be fastened with diaper pins or a Snappi.
Flats are the most economical cloth diaper out there and are actually a better decision for low-income families that are trying to scrape by in this economy and keep clean diapers on hand for their babies. A recent article about how low-income families are being forced to leave their babies in dirty disposables or trying to rewash and reuse them because they don't have the money to buy more is the reason the Dirty Diaper Laundry's Flats and Handwashing Challenge was started. Disposable diapers are not covered by any government assistance program (Food stamps nor WIC supply them) because of considering them a "luxury" not a necessity. So really, flats are a better way to go, but in general people are not educated about them.
Flats are very inexpensive. A dozen flats will cost you $12.00-$30.00 a dozen, depending on size (small/large) or if they are organic. That is about the cost of a package of disposables and the beauty of flats is that they are also washable and reusable since they are cloth. They also fit all babies (newborn through age 3) because they can be folded different ways and so in theory, a dozen will last you the entire diapering life of your baby! They are also easily handwashed and dry super fast just hung up to drip dry or on a line in the sun so there is really no need to use all those quarters at the laundry mat...and who would want to lug dirty diapers to a laundry mat anyway? Not me! A Camp Style Washer can easily be made for washing them simply too!
THE CHALLENGE & MY REASONS
To use flats and handwash them for 1 week. May 23-May 30. Yes some people may think I am crazy for wanting to take on this challenge, but I believe I can do it and it will certainly be a learning experience for me. I am also trying to take steps to push this further. I would love to be able to take what I have learned and apply it to teaching low-income families with babies how to use flats and handwash them too. I want to go out into the field and teach at women's shelters, hospitals, and other places because lets face it low-income families usually don't have the internet or access to it and probably won't be seeing this either. I was homeless once. I know what it feels like to be just scraping by and trying to keep your kids basic needs met. I believe having clean diapers for babies is a basic need (unless you learn elimination communication) and should not be overlooked as such.
I NEED MORE SPONSORS FOR THIS CHALLENGE!
I am going to be participating in the Dirty Diaper Laundry's Flats and Handwashing Challenge with my 6 month old daughter, Zari. But I need your help too. I currently have very few cloth diapering supplies and so I am rounding up as much cloth diaper covers, cloth wipes, receiving blankets, birdseye cotton (prefer unbleached and/or organic, not Gerber) flats, flannel flats, bamboo flats, hemp flats, flower sack towels, doublers, cloth diapering accessories, etc. as I can from whomever can donate them to me. Sponsors are most welcome to donate materials for this challenge to me and will be published as such on my blog for doing so. Thanks in advance and I am excited about participating!
Donation: one Super Brite diaper cover (Blueberry Polka Dot, small)
Donation: a dozen Unbleached OsoCozy Birdseye Flat Diapers 27x27 and a dozen Unbleached OsoCozy Gauze Diaper Doublers
Donation: 18 cotton flannel wipes from reclaimed flannel, 1 cotton flat terry receiving blanket (can be used as an extra large flat also), 2 bamboo flannel flats*, 6 bamboo flannel travel size wipes*, 1 bamboo hemp flat (best for doubling or other uses that don't have direct skin contact), 1 pull on diaper cover, 2 hook and loop diaper covers, 2 or 3 hemp bamboo quick dry soaker pads*, 1 wool soaker pad* (washer/dryer friendly in dedicates bag, but for best results hand wash in wool wash according to instructions and dry flat). *Denotes EcoFluff brand products. Items without an asterisk were made specially for me, are used, or were experimental designs that EcoFluff doesn't market in her store.
Donation: Custom Slot hand dyed semi-solid hand knit Ribbie One Size Wool Soaker Diaper Cover.