Monday, May 23, 2011

What Am I Doing?? The Flats Challenge

"NOOOOOOO!!!!!" THIS IS NOT MY DIAPER!!!" Kimmy screeched as she arched her back and threw her tush up, down and around trying to keep it off the flat diaper I had laid out underneath her.

I desperately tried to console her "its ok, its just a new diaper, you love new diapers"

"NO! NOT A NEW DIAPER, I DON'T LIKE IT!!" and with that statement she promptly grabbed the flat diaper and threw it as far away from her as possible.


Sariah in her first flat diaper- I only have 1 snappi so
for the other 2 I just laid the diapers flat (trifolded like a prefold)
inside of the cover.

Unless you have been living under a rock the past few weeks in the cloth diaper/crunchy mama cyber world you have heard of The Flats Challenge.  In case you have not heard of it you can get the details on Dirty Diaper Laundry here.

The basics of the Flats Challenge is to show that anyone, regardless of economic status, can cloth diaper.  For the challenge you can only use flat diapers, up to 5 covers per baby and you must hand wash and line dry them.

When I first heard of this challenge I thought it was genius and wanted to participate.  The only snag was I didn't have any flats or any money to purchase enough flats for all 3 girls.  Thankfully a good friend, Carrie, was willing to loan me some.  She sent me 18 flat diapers.  They are just the cheap Gerber brand you can get at places such as Walmart BUT Carrie and I both agreed that the majority of people who are in need of cloth, those who must choose between food or diapers, are more than likely going to end up buying the Gerber flats.  I figure if I can make it with 3 girls using these anyone can do it with 1.

Our Flats Challenge Stash:
18 Gerber Flats, 4 receiving blankets, 4 hooded towels
7 Bummis covers, 4  Econobum Covers and 1 Best Bottom Cover.
Not pictured: 3 fleece covers for overnight and 1 snappi

The hubby thinks I am nuts.  When I told him I was participating he said I was a dork.  Then, to redeem himself a bit, he said he felt like I had enough on my plate as it is and taking on a challenge like this was only creating more work for myself.  I fully understand the extra work involved but again, if I can do it with 3 anyone can do it with 1.

What I did not take into consideration when deciding to do this challenge was how my oldest daughter would react.  She is quite the little Fluffy Fashionista these days and has very strong opinions on what diapers she wears.  She is not impressed with the flats at all.  I finally got the diaper on her but she sat there for a few minutes crying and trying to pull it off until I finally talked her into liking the pretty pink cover I used for the diaper.

I must admit I feel her pain, I am going to miss our pretty diapers too.  When we started out cloth diapering last August we had a pitifully small stash.  A few covers and about 12 perfolds that were given to us by a friend plus a few more prefolds and covers I purchased gave us 11 covers and about 20 prefolds total.  That is what we used, for all 3 girls, for 7 months.  I usually had to wash our little stash 2 times a day and even then I had to "supplement" with hooded baby towels, receiving blankets and even old t-shirts.  It wasn't the prettiest cloth diaper stash around but it served its purpose.

1/2 of our CD stash- from the stack of Bummis and Econobum covers
over to the left represents our original stash.  Those covers and prefolds
were all we had in the beginning.
From the pink fleece cover and goodmama's over to the right
are about half of the diapers we use on a regular basis now.

Eventually, through kindness of friends, some cloth diaper reviews/giveaways  and work picking up for Ted we slowly built a much nicer stash full of pocket, fitted and AIO diapers. I am now quite spoiled with my diaper stash and never touch my prefolds/covers unless its to use a prefold to stuff in a pocket or a cover over a fitted diaper.  So going backwards will take some getting used to.

Even with our little starter stash and washing twice a day I never hand washed anything.  I line dried/sunned through November but stopped that once winter hit.  So the hand washing side of this challenge should be "interesting".  My plan is to wash as I go, we shall see how long I stick to that.

The other half of our stash-by far the most loved and used half.
there are still 3 diapers missing that were dirty for both pics.
2 Blissful Booty and A Very Hungry Caterpillar from Two Hip Peas in a Pod
round out our current stash.

All 3 girls are in their first flat of the day.  I doubled up each one so they are all wearing 2.  At that rate I will go through the 18 flats rather quickly.  DDL has said we are allowed to use old receiving blankets and hooded towels as well.  I have 4 of each in reserve to use if needed.  If I wash as I go in theory I should not need them, but if that does not work out well I may have to throw a few into rotation.  Even if I do use them it shows that there is always something that you can use in place of a diaper.  It does not have to be a matter of "do we eat today or diaper our baby?".  There are alternative out there. 

Too often people who are looking to start cloth diapering see the higher end diapers that can cost $20-30 (or MORE!) for 1 and say to themselves "I can never afford that!".  I know, I WAS one of those people!  The purpose of this challenge is to show that it does not have to cost that much to start.  Start out with economical choices such as the flats and then, after awhile, you can start to slowly buy the pricier alternatives if you want.

So, wish us luck, I will keep you all updated as we go through this challenge.  The hand wash blog will be interesting I am sure!

this flat diaperin mama,


  1. good luck!! i cant bring myself to do it lol I have never even used a prefold or flat, i started with pockets and just recently bought my first fitted and cover. But i clap for you bc i cant spell apploud lol for trying this!! ill be reading every post about it!

  2. Awesome!

    I used carters flats as well and I just had to double them up. Good for you with using them on three children though! I will be following your blog with interest.

    Oh and I am doing the challenge as well but no blogging. So far so good!

  3. I am really excited to read your blog as you go along, I only have 1 in diapers now (my 3 year old just potty trained) So the fact that you are doing this with 3 has my attention! I will be reading :) <3

  4. I love that you're doing this with what can be found at WalMart! I intend to do one full day of recieving blankets/t-shirts and pins to prove a person could do it with whatever they found at WM (and the flour sack towels). I think it's important if we're to truly build confidence in encouraging mommas who can't afford things.

  5. thank you everyone, day 1 went smoothly, about to post about it now.
    Tara- that's a great idea!

  6. I am amazed and inspired by your start. I have a 20mo and one on the way. I'm wanting to try cloth again (haven't done it in 20 years!) but was intimidated by the cost as well. I have 0 budget. I do, however, have LOTS of flats, which I got to use as burp rags, etc. I also have some receiving blankets. It never occurred to me to try those! They'd be so soft against my baby's bum!

    I actually also have diaper pins, but NO covers. I was considering contacting snappi about a possible review.

  7. Momma Jorje, it wouldn't hurt to contact Snappi :)
    As for covers, watch they often have their covers on 2nd Sales. When they do you can get Econobum covers for $5 ea and they always have free shipping. That's were I got all of my Econobum covers. They are just plain white but they serve their purpose.
    If you have a little more to spend they also have Flip covers on there for $8 or $9 and they come in colors.
    If you sew you can also try making your own covers from fleece, PUL or wool.

  8. I'm a new follower, keeping up with the Flats Challenge! Please follow back if you have a chance! :)

    And Then There Were 4...

  9. thanks Jess, following you too :)


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