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New to cloth diapering? Find out all you need to know in this guide: Cloth Diapering? Naturally! Cloth Diaper Basics.

Flat diapers, commonly called Flats, are the “old-fashioned” cloth diaper. These are the diapers that were used by an older generation. Flat diapers are large squares of single-layer material; typically made from Birdseye weave cotton. Flat diapers can be folded a number of ways in order to fit any size baby, then pinned with either diaper pins, or for more ease, a snappi or boingo. With so many great modern cloth diaper alternatives, we sometimes forget how great the original diaper can be!

One of the main reasons I personally use flat diapers is because we do not currently have a washing machine. While I do have access to one, it is a shared machine and it does not get the diapers clean enough to put on my babies. Since these diapers are only one large piece of material, they are very easy to wash by hand and then throw up on a line to dry.

What I love most about flats is that they are so economical! Anyone on a tight budget can afford to diaper if they go this route. Most retail stores that sell conventional disposable diapers will typically carry flat diapers as well. While they may not be as great as the more fancy brands you can find online, I personally have the cheap, store-bought flats and they work just fine for us. Although I can’t deny that I do prefer using my Oso Cozy brand flats over the Gerber brand, the Gerber brand work fine. It’s just thinner and more gauzy then the Oso Cozy brand. Another great alternative to buying an actual package of flat diapers is to buy a pack of flour sack towels! These are found with the dish towels at the local Wal-mart or Target. These are typically $3.99 for a pack of 4, that’s $1 per diaper! I use these as well, and they work great!

The down side to using flat diapers is that there are quite a few parts that go along with them. As I have mentioned already, you do need to secure them with a pin, snappi, or boingo. Snappis and Boingos are “pinless” diaper fasteners. They are great alternatives to diaper pins, because it takes the risk out of poking your little one. Flats also require some sort of cover to increase the amount that can be absorbed by the diaper and to keep your baby’s clothes from getting wet. You can find the original nylon plastic covers at places that sell flat diapers, and these work just fine. There are also many different types of covers you can find online as well, such as Thirsties duo wrap or flip diaper covers. However, if you are on a tight budget you can also make your own covers from fleece! Believe it or not, fleece is waterproof! You can upcycle a fleece blanket that is just sitting around the house or pick up a yard of fleece from the fabric store and make your own covers. I personally used “Katrina’s Sew Quick Soaker Pattern” to make covers for my girls, and it works really well.

At this point you might ask how does one piece of fabric absorb the large amounts of liquid that come out of a small child?  The answer is, they have to be folded a specific way. I learned how to fold my diapers by looking up YouTube videos and practicing that way. A few folds that I like are the pad fold, which is really just folding the diaper until it’s a rectangle and laying it right inside the diaper cover, and I also like the “kite” fold, and the “diaper bag” fold. There are so many different types of folds, and really only trial and error will tell what works for you and your baby.

What I ultimately love about these diapers is that they are trim, especially comparing other diapers on newborns to a newborn in a flat diaper. They are also wonderful because I have two in diapers, so it is not difficult at all to fold my diapers into different folds so that they can fit either my little newborn, or my chunky toddler. While there are many different types of cloth diapers on the market today, the original flat diaper is what best suits my family and our needs.

About Kristan:

Kristan is a stay-at-home mom to two little girls, Emma and Clara. She lives in Fort Worth, Texas, where her husband is attending school. She enjoys spending time with her family, sewing, scrapbooking, and baking.

Thinking of using cloth diapers? Read about other the pros and cons of all the types:

Cloth Diapers? Naturally! Cloth Diaper Basics

All About Pocket Diapers

All About AIO/AI2 Diapers

All About Fitted Cloth Diapers

All About Prefold Diapers