In Praise of the Humble Flat

No, I am not talking about my apartment. The flat of which I speak is often the subject of scorn in its circle, frowned upon as a last-ditch effort of the destitute, and not well-publicized at that. Of course, I am referring to the flat diaper.

You won't hear much about the flat diaper. The overall vibe I get from the cloth diapering community is that the only people who use flats are either too poor to afford anything else or are embarking to a third-world country. No joke!  When I was first trying to make an informed decision about getting flats, there was little information to be found. Any list of the various diaper types I would come across would just barely mention flat diapers before elaborating on ALL the OTHER types of diapers-- as if flats aren't a real option.

Well, here is one person to tell you that not only are flats an option, but they are a great option! My current stash is a dozen prefolds and a dozen flats, but I much prefer the flats. Here are the reasons:

  • Versatility. Flats are only as hard as you want to make them. If you want to feel like an origami master, you most certainly can find all sorts of elaborate diaper folds. Or, if you're feeling lazy, just fold it in halves or thirds until you can stick it in a diaper cover. You can make it fit however you want. These make wonderful gDiaper inserts!
  • Drying time. Flats air dry beautifully! This is important to me, since I don't feel like paying $1.25 every time I want something dry around here. If I'm running low on diapers, I can count on having dry diapers about an hour after they're washed!
  • Washability. Since they're so thin, they wash beautifully; I've heard that they almost never need to be stripped. They rinse out better, too. Oftentimes, between spraying the diaper and throwing it in the wash, I'll give it an extra rinse in the sink. Guess which ones don't release a whole lot of soap residue? You guessed it-- the flats!
  • Size. Flats are the original one-size diaper. They can be folded to fit a baby from birth through potty training! My prefolds are already too small for Baby D, and if they didn't fit so well in the gDiaper, I'd have to buy more in a different size (or maybe more flats instead, ha!).
  • Price. Okay, it's true that I'm fairly penniless, so I know all about diapering on a budget. If you are looking for a way to do cloth with the least damage to your wallet, look no further! I bought one dozen for $15. So theoretically, you could start a stash for about $70 (two dozen flats and three $13 diaper covers, which is what I used for the first two months)!

And what are the cons? Well, they are absolutely NOT dad- or babysitter-friendly. But, since I do 99% of the diaper changes anyways, it doesn't really matter. Getting the folds right takes some practice, but you are sure to wow the relatives when you whip one of those out and make some origami! :-D It takes a little more time to fold, which is not fun to do with a wriggly baby (I fold them to be diaper-ready as soon as they're done drying, so I don't have to wrestle Baby D come changing time). I also think they're slightly more difficult to spray than prefolds.

So. I love flats. If I think Baby D needs to go coverless to air out for a while, I reach for a flat first-- I know a fold that puts a gazillion layers between Baby D and the floor. You would think that a flat wouldn't be very absorbent because it's so thin, but once you get a few layers going, it's just as absorbent if not more than a prefold! So that's why I love my flat diapers. As does Baby D:

Many thanks to my cute little model!


  1. Awwww, so cute! I have never used them, but I really do see the benefits of using them.....

  2. You're right. I would never consider flats, b/c of the origami bit. But they are the cheapest way to go, easy to line dry, all the things you said. You know what's even cheaper? Infant potty training -- I started my baby around 7 or 8 months. We're close to putting her in underwear, with a waterproof cover now and then when we are out.


Disqus for Downright Domesticity


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...