First of all, what is a flat diaper? It’s basically a big square or rectangle of cloth that you fold and then wrap or pin around your baby. It’s your great-grandmother’s cloth diaper. After 4 years of cloth diapering, I thought it was high time that I went back to the basics and gave flats a test drive. But what kind to buy? Well, I wanted them to be soft and economical. Although the flour sack towels that you can pick up at Walmart or Target do work as flats, I know that they aren’t quite as soft or quite as absorbent as “real” flats, and that they have a seam at the edges that can create annoying bulk when folded up. And while receiving blankets can also be used like flats, they are typically made of flannel, which is not as absorbent as cotton.
And muslin flats, although very soft, are just too expensive for me, averaging $5.00 to $8.00 each.
For this post, I’m using small cotton flat diapers (birdsye). These diapers have a thin edge seam, which means that after you fold them up, there’s not a lot of bulk due to the hemming. The unbleached organic fabric is softer than bleached cotton or flour sack towels.
Before prepping they measured about 27×29; afterwards they shrank to 24×26.
My first experience with flats has been great! I can see why mothers say flats are so easy to wash and dry and get stains out of. There’s just one layer of fabric. I would estimate that drying time for a flat as compared to my Chinese prefolds and Flip organics is 50% less. This is my guess because it always takes a full cycle to completely dry my prefolds, but the flats are done about halfway through. That’s a huge difference and a hefty savings in energy.
Here is a comparison between a Flip organic cotton insert (trifold) and a pad folded flat:
Are they hard to fold? Is it really time-consuming? Honestly, no. I had this impression that flats were complicated and required expert folding techniques. Nothing could be further from the truth when you start with something super easy like the pad fold. Here’s what it looks like. For a modified newborn flat diaper fold click here):
This takes about 10 seconds. No big deal. And then you can lay in a cover or use pins/Snappi/Boingo to secure.
I truly love these flats! We have used them both day and night and the absorbency level is impressive. Because they aren’t too bulky, it’s easy to pair them with other inserts, to stuff them in a pocket or even to double up!
* How to Win a 6-Pack of Eco Dia Flats *
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