Day 4 – 7th Annual Flats & Handwashing Challenge

This post is the fourth of seven, all of which document my participation in the 7th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival. For seven days I will be only using flat cloth diapers and covers. I will be handwashing them in an effort to demonstrate 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 original post.

wash routine

Today is the fourth day of the Challenge and all participants were asked to share their wash routine.

Lord, help me.

The wash routine is by far my LEAST favorite part of this whole endeavor so far. I have no idea how clean I am actually getting my diapers. So while I don’t notice any issues like soap scum or a nasty smell, I still have doubts. Are they really clean? Am I going to somehow harm my baby with my ineptness with handwashing?

No.

I just need confidence and more practice than I will get this week. I keep reminding myself that the dishes I handwash get much cleaner than if I stuck them in the dishwasher. The same will (eventually) be true of the diapers. And we haven’t had a problem yet with the diapers. Honestly, after the challenge ends, I might continue with the hand-washing  (as a pre-wash) the poopy diapers before sticking them in the washing machine.

My wash routine continues to evolve on a daily basis as I make little changes to my routine. In essence, my wash routine is the same as everyone else’s: poop off, pre-wash, main wash, rinse as needed, wring, and on the clothes rack to dry. But the little details like agitating for x number of minutes and soaking and wringing out between stages are things that I am still figuring out. For instance, I have found it far easier to agitate for two minutes during my main wash and then walk away for 20-40 minutes; afterwards, I can barely guess which flats had the poop and which did not. I like rinsing under the faucet better than in my bucket and constantly changing out the water. I also think I might prefer handwashing as opposed to using the “Breathing Mobile Washer” I purchased from Amazon.

As this is my first year participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge, I am trying to look at it as a valuable experience and with the hope that next year’s challenge will be easier – at least the washing part.

So how did the fourth day of flats all day and washing by hand go?

Solidly. I washed the diapers from last night as well as my normal two loads today…so lots of diapers! They are mostly dry now and ready for our busy weekend ahead. I think the real test will be when we are out and about most of the day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Today, however, we continued to use our kite fold and our favorite covers to great effect (no poop escaped, though we did have a close call in the morning).

Click here to see other participants’ washing routines and tips!

Day 3 – 7th Annual Flats & Handwashing Challenge

This post is the third of seven, all of which document my participation in the 7th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival. For seven days I will be only using flat cloth diapers and covers. I will be handwashing them in an effort to demonstrate 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 original post.

Today is the third day of the Challenge and all participants were asked to share our favorite fold.

When I first got my flats a few months ago, I tried out all the folds to see which worked best for us and the kite fold is the one that stuck around. I have been using the kite fold almost exclusively now because I like how trim it is, I like being able to jelly roll the sides, and I like how it is just really easy to put on.

The other fold we have been utilizing is the airplane fold.  I like all the absorbency near the front; that works well for my daughter and gives me good practice should I ever have a son!

Sadly, I am not a huge fan of the padfold. However, I am not giving up hope on that quick and easy favorite just yet. Maybe next year 🙂

The graphic below is how I do the kite fold, along with the extra step of adding a fleece liner (really, I just needed 9 pictures). This fold has caused me to fall even more in love with my Green Mountain Diaper Clotheez flats because they are keep their square shape.

IMG_9888

So how did the third day of flats all day and washing by hand go?

Baby CC is in bed now and I think our day went pretty well. Using flats is really not a challenge (maybe it will be next year when I have a wiggly toddler to wrangle) and I enjoyed learning the different folds. The one aspect of the challenge that I actually find challenge is the wash routine. I mistakenly thought, “Oh, handwashing. Just a lot of scrubbing and plunging and a tiny amount of soap. I can handle that.” Apparently not. I suck at handwashing and still have yet to find a comfortable or efficient routine. Hopefully, tomorrow’s post is not a lament about my washing routine, but at this point it might be!

Today we used 10 flats and 3 covers and 8 liners. I find myself reaching most often for my Imagine and Nicki’s Diapers covers first and then follow those with a Blueberry Capri. I am a little surprised by that since everyone only has positive things to say about Blueberry; I thought that they would be my favorite. But I love the fit of the Imagine and Nicki’s Diaper covers. Now, if I could just have the company make prints in my preferred colors and patterns…

Out of curiosity, out of all your stash (not just your stash for the Challenge), what is your favorite brand for fit?

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Click here to read about other participants’ favorite folds!

Day 2 – 7th Annual Flats & Handwashing Challenge

This post is the second of seven, all of which document my participation in the 7th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival. For seven days I will be only using flat cloth diapers and covers. I will be handwashing them in an effort to demonstrate 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 original post.

Today is the second day of the Challenge and all participants were asked, “What’s in your stash/What materials did you use? How much did they cost?”

My entire flats stash consists of

FLATS (29 total)

  • 12 Clotheez GMD flats (size small/one size) –  $12.95/pack of six
  • 6 Imagine Bamboo flats – $29.95
  • 4 IKEA “Himmelsk” flats –  $4.99/pkg of 2
  • 3 Geffen Baby Hemp Jersey flats – $8.50/ea
  • 1 Sweet Iris Designs flat – $13.75
  • 3 Stashify flats – no longer being made; I bought mine off a B/S/T group for $25

COVERS (11 total)

  • 2 Imagine covers – $10.95/ea
  • 2 Nicki’s Diapers covers – $11.95/ea (print)
  • 4 Blueberry Capri – $19.95/ea
  • 1 Blueberry Coverall  – $18.95
  • 2 Rumparooz Cover – $14.00/ea

ACCESSORIES

  • 6 Imagine fleece liners – $6.95
  • 6 Malden Mills fleece liners -$1.65/ea
  • 3 Snappis – $9.99/pkg of 3
  • 1 bucket – $3.97
  • 1 “Breathing Mobile Washer” – $20.95
  • Many Planet Wise Wet Bags – between $16.50 – $21.00

*All prices are current retail prices. I did get a lot of this on sales such as Black Friday, Earth Day sales, Mother’s Day, etc.

HOWEVER…

I will not be using my entire flats stash. My stash is this large because I use the washing machine every 2-3 days (and because I went a little overboard on the “wants as opposed to the “needs”). Washing by hand twice a day means that I can get by with a lot less. So I will be using my stash, but a more reasonable sized stash for this challenge looks like 12 flats, 6 covers, 1 snappi, 10-12 fleece liners, my bucket and “plunger,” and just one wet bag.

FLATS: My favorite flats so far are the Clotheez GMD because they are so square and simple. I also really like the Imagine bamboo flats and I use a few during the day or one at night. I really thought I would like the “luxury” flats more than I do. I wonder if I will prefer them when my daughter is a bit older and the bulk is not as significant.

COVERS: I find myself most often reaching for my Imagine and Nicki’s Diapers covers during the day and my Blueberry Coverall or Capris at night.

ACCESSORIES: I wish snappis were sold individually or in sets of two because I only use the one. Though I suppose having an extra snappi or two for back-up isn’t a bad idea. I like both types of fleece liners; I tend to use the Imagine liners during the day and the Malden Mills liners at night. I think the Imagine liners are easier to hand wash! And while I love my wet bags, I am not using them all since I don’t want to hand wash them. I will just use one when we leave the house.

So how did the second day of flats all day and washing by hand go?

The second day is done – hallelujah! All the poop was contained today so we only went through 2 covers and the same number of flats (7 or 8 – I haven’t done the last bucket of laundry). I am rather impressed with the GMD flats; I put CC in a flat with a fleece liner for her nap and she ended up sleeping almost three hours (highly unusual!). When she woke up, there were no leaks, although the flat was completely saturated. I used the kite fold mostly, but this afternoon – after the nap – I just pad-folded an IKEA flat. Holy diaper! My poor baby could barely move her legs because there was so much fabric between them! I don’t know that I will be on Team Padfold until she is much bigger. However, as much as I like flats, I really miss using all my other diapers in my stash. One of my Mother’s Day fluff mail packages arrived today and it will take a lot of self control to wait to put the diaper on her. This challenge is going as well as I expected, but I didn’t expect to miss the rest of my stash quite so much!

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Click here to read about other bloggers’ experiences on Day 2 of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge!

Day 1 – 7th Annual Flats & Handwashing Challenge

This post is the first of seven, all of which document my participation in the 7th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival. For seven days I will be only using flat cloth diapers and covers. I will be handwashing them in an effort to demonstrate 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 original post.

Today is the first day of the Challenge and all participants were asked, “Why are you taking the Flats and Handwashing Challenge?”

I’m taking the Challenge for several reasons, listed below in no particular order.

I am participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge because…

…This is something I am doing for myself. So many of my decisions or choices as a mom are based on the excellent choices my own mother made. However, my mom did not cloth diaper and would probably never do this Challenge. This is something I am interested in and something that I am exploring by myself. In other words, this is one area that I cannot call up my mom and ask her “How do I do this? What do I do next?”

…This is good practice before our long visit to family out-of-state. We will be flying to the other side of the country around the holidays and I don’t think I want to use disposables for the entirety of our trip. However, I am also not sure how my in-laws will feel about me washing cloth diapers in their washing machine. Therefore, this is good practice and an excellent back-up for our trip should I not be permitted to wash our cloth diaper laundry in my in-laws’ washing machine.

…I am curious how well I can do this. I am a perfectionist and CLEAN diapers are a bit of an obsession. My wash routine is really important to me – understandably so, I should think. I think handwashing is a bit of a lost skill, kind of like making a delicious loaf of bread from scratch or mowing the lawn with a push mower. These aren’t necessarily the quickest, easiest, or most efficient ways to accomplish the task at hand, but that doesn’t mean basic skills should be discounted either.

…I would like to live abroad again. I loved living abroad in Europe and Asia during my 20s. I would love to go back overseas, this time with my husband and our daughter. I know that we want more children and more children mean more butts to diaper. Living life in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language can be stressful. I would like to have a diapering system that easy adapts to any situation. I would also like a diapering system that will not cost an arm and a leg to replace if don’t read the washing instructions correctly or don’t have access to my detergent of choice. Lastly, flats seems like they could easily be obtained anywhere in the world and covers aren’t too hard to make, find, or ship.

…This appeals to my love of history and answers a tiny part of the question, “How would I fare if I lived in the year ___ ?” As briefly mentioned above, I think that cloth diapering with flats and handwashing the diapers is a bit of a lost skill. Our ancestors did it and as recently as our grandparents’ or parents’ generation too!

So how did the first day of flats all day and washing by hand really go?

Today was okay. On a scale of 1-10 (1 being “I’m quitting now!” and 10 being “Can I do this every day of my life?!”), I would put my experiences at a 6.5. I think my daughter, CC, knew that I would be handwashing and so she saved up all the poop for the first few diapers today. Thankfully, her poop is still mostly EBF poop…but still. The poop was slightly demoralizing so early in the day, but it really wasn’t that bad. We did lose two covers though.  All together, we went through 9 flats (8 diaper changes with the nighttime diaper from last night getting a booster Geffen Baby hemp jersey flat), 8 fleece liners, and 4 covers. We used pretty much exactly what I expected.

Washing, on the other hand, was difficult. I spent a lot of time before the challenge began researching which flats I wanted and which covers would go well on my chunky-thighed daughter. I looked a different wash routines, summarized them in my mind, and then moved on. I should have spent more time actually figuring out what I was going to do once I dumped the dirty flats and covers in the bucket though. Because we had so many poopy diapers, I thought I was doing well swooshing and agitating for 5 minutes in hot water three times. But when I expected to be done, some of the flats were still poopy! What did I do wrong? And so began my afternoon of scrubbing with my gloves, washing just the extremely poopy diapers, changing the water levels, adding more detergent, etc. I realize now that I should have let them soak between my washes for longer than 30 seconds. I ended up using WAY too much detergent because the remainder of my afternoon was spent rinsing the darn diapers over and over again. They look great now and they are dry six hours later. But tomorrow, I am totally using much less detergent and I will be letting the diapers soak for a bit between my washes.

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Click here to read about why other people are taking this challenge!

Preparing for the 7th Annual Flats & Handwashing Challenge

Flats Challenge

The Flats & Handwashing Challenge begins on Monday! Cloth Diaper Revival is hosting it this year, taking over for Dirty Diaper Laundry. This will be my first time participating and I could not be more excited!

Even though the challenge actually begins next week, I have already begun my preparations. Normally I am a procrastinator, so I am chalking up this abnormal behavior to my enthusiasm for cloth diapers, the sense of community as we all participate, and my fear of failing miserably. I am such a perfectionist.

So, how have I been preparing?

By purchasing supplies

True to character means that I should be frantically taking advantage of #flatchallenge specific sales and wondering if I will have enough time to prep. Instead and surprisingly, I began buying items back in March with the hopes that the challenge would continue another year. I also took advantage of Earth Day sales to help bulk up my stash. Y’all, this cloth diapering world is such a rabbit hole.

By reading all the blog posts I could find about the previous challenges…

While nursing my baby, I would google “#flatschallenge” and just start reading. It has been fascinating to learn about people’s past experiences with the challenge. I found a few useful tips for the wash routine. I enjoyed comparing previous participants’ stashes and what worked for them; many of those posts helped me narrow down my own stash purchases. Reading participants’ reasons for participating each year and their reflections at the end of the challenge was also eye-opening. There are a variety of reasons – most we can all identify with – but there were also one or two that stood out in my opinion.  I cannot wait to share more on that in a subsequent post.

By practicing different folds and overnight options on my baby daughter…

The Flats and Handwashing Challenge is actually the inspiration behind my decision to ditch using disposables overnight. In many of the blog posts by previous participants, the overwhelming consensus was that flats were an adequate-to-excellent solution for overnight cloth diapering. As a newly-minted cloth diapering mama, I have been nervous about my wash routine; therefore, I reasoned that flats wash up really well and would be an excellent choice for my 7 month old daughter. After all my purchases arrived, I prepped them, and began using them both during the day and at night. We are also using one Sustainablebabyish OBF which I purchased second-hand. I like both, but I am thankful to have a bit more confidence going into the Flats and Handwashing Challenge with a few weeks worth of overnight flats under my belt.

What about you? Have you been preparing at all or are you a veteran #flatschallenge participant? If so, what is one piece of advice you wouldn’t mind sharing?

P.S. Click the link below to see a list of all the other blogs also participating in this year’s Challenge.

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What’s in my diaper bag?

What's Inside-

There are three things I will not leave behind when I exit my front door with my car keys in hand: my cell phone, my baby in her car seat, and the diaper bag.

Right now my daughter is seven months old and this is a normal “pack” for a four hour outing. Our outings (usually to a bible study or a visit to a friend’s/family member’s house) always have the potential of lasting a bit longer than anticipated, so I try to take that into account when I pack. I am a first time mom – however, I do try hard not to over-stuff the diaper bag!

My diaper bag is a Boxy Backpack from Petunia Picklebottom. When I was pregnant and trying to decide which baby items were necessary, which would be nice if we could find room in the budget, and which were complete luxuries, I put the diaper bag in the complete luxury category. I had a little Vera Bradley diaper bag which was a hand-me-down and thankfully black. Before my baby shower, my sister-in-law inquired about the lack of a diaper bag on my baby registry and then asked me to choose my favorite design from Petunia Picklebottom. When this diaper bag arrived, I fell in love with it! I love the fold-out changing pad, the simplicity of the interior pockets, the magnetic closures with the option to firmly snap the flap down, the different ways to carry the bag, and the easy-to-wipe-down exterior finish. This has been the perfect diaper bag for us so far.

Inside the two pockets above the fold-out changing pad, I keep wipes, two or three disposable diapers, and diaper rash cream (hidden behind the sposies). Inside the main interior pocket, I lay the extra outfit, the swaddle blanket, the burpy bibs, and all the plastic bags on the bottom. (The extra plastic bags are an emergency wet bag and/or trash container for the wipes if there is no trash can nearby.) On top of those items, I put my wallet at one end for easy access, the wet/dry bag, and the gDiapers. Usually I only go into my diaper bag for a diaper change and I like to be able to see how many clean diapers we have left.

In the exterior pockets along the side of the diaper bag, I stick my sunglasses in one pocket and little toys in the other.

And that’s it!

Honest opinions please – is this too much? Is there something that your baby needed as he/she got older that I might want to add in soon?