Flat cloth diapers. The basic of all basics. They’re a favorite for many moms and dads who cloth diaper their babies, and have been around for a very, very long time.
What is a Flat Cloth Diaper?
A flat cloth diaper is a square or rectangle of absorbent fabric, such as cotton birdseye, that can be folded and pinned onto your baby.
Flat cloth diapers are the most basic of all cloth diapers and fairly cheap. If you’re looking to save money on cloth diapering. flats with covers are going to be the cheapest route.
Advantages of Flats
Quick Drying. Flats are fantastic for a lot of reasons, but mostly because they dry so quickly. This saves money on running your dryer, and wear and tear on the diaper itself.
Cheap. Flats are cheap. You can get fancy flats from online stores, or you can use flour sack towels, or IKEA burp cloths (also known as “IKEA flats”), or even a receiving blanket works in a pinch.
Customizable. The fit is always perfect with a flat, because you’re always customizing the fit for your baby, each time you put it on. They also take dyes really nicely, so you can have a whole set of really funky tie-dyed flats!
Disadvantages of Flats
Time Consuming. Every diaper change requires some amount of origami. You can get pretty quick at this (I can do a kite fold SO FAST!), but they’re still more work than just removing and replacing an all-in-one.
Learning Curve. There’s a steeper learning curve for flat diapers. You have to learn at least one fold, and you have to figure out how to fasten them.
More Changes. Flats don’t hold as much liquid, generally speaking, as some other types of diapers, so you’ll likely need to change your baby more often.
Using Flat Cloth Diapers
You can use flats in the expected way, with some diaper origami and diaper pins. Snappis and Boingos are available as alternatives to diaper pins and can make the process a bit easier.
Once the flat is on your baby, put a cover over it (or not, but you need one to keep from getting baby’s clothes, and possibly your carpet, wet). Fleece, wool, and PUL covers are all acceptable.
Alternatively, you can pad-fold your flat cloth diaper by just folding it into a rectangle, and use it to lay into an all-in-two diaper or stuff your pocket cloth diapers with them.
Flats are also great around the house or as burp cloths, and once baby grows out of diapers, you can use them as spill rags, cleaning cloths, dusting cloths, and the list goes on!
Most of the flat cloth diapers in my stash are pad-folded and used as inserts or doublers in our pocket diapers, but I did enjoy some diaper origami in Fox’s infancy. I intend to try and use more flats with the next baby, I just never found much love for the thin birdseye cotton flats, and couldn’t find more burp cloths at IKEA.
Do you use and like flats? Have you ever done the flats handwashing challenge? Let me know in the comments!