Thursday, May 26, 2011

Flats Challenge Part 2: Days 1-3 Learning what works

This week we are featuring guest blogger Kendra on her journey to cloth diaper using flats.

”#FlatsChallenge”    My daughter is exclusively breastfeeding. My usual changing process is to rinse and wring in the sink, stick in meshbag hanging in the shower, and then take it down each night to sit in the washer. I haven't changed that for the Flats Challenge.

  Monday was my "emergency" day. I used two small flats, three receiving blankets, and one old tshirt. The flats and receiving blankets I folded in the pad fold. It was simple, easy, and familiar to how I fold my prefolds. I did go through three covers as my daughter is a "power-pooper" and I was tinkering with how wide each fold should be. The receiving blankets were my favorite, thick, soft, and surprisingly absorbent since they have been machine dried with fabric softener sheets their whole lives. The tshirt worked just as well as a flat, definitely a good choice in an emergency. Overnight, she slept in one pad fold inside a pocket cover. She is light wetter at night and doesn't poop until after waking. Full disclosure, we practice Elimination Communication, so after I remove her diaper, I place her over the toilet. So, we catch a pee or two day, and usually one poop.
Tuesday I used all flats. I started in the morning with the so far, so good pad fold. In the afternoon, I used the origami fold and pinned it. I changed her while we were out doing errands. The diaper was very wet and the cover was too damp for me to be comfortable using again. I went back to the pad fold, I like that all the layers are in the wet zone, no cloth goes around the legs. I used a Econobum cover for the first time and it lasted me the rest of the day Tuesday and through the morning Wednesday. I like that it holds the flat so close to her.
Origami Fold
  I washed Monday and Tuesdays laundry Tuesday night. Ugh, now I know why this a challenge. I used half my kitchen sink. I did a cold water soak for about 5 minutes with just hand agitation. Drained the cold, filled the sink with the hottest my faucet gets water and about half the detergent I use when I machine wash. I used rubber gloves because of the heat of the water. I rubbed the diapers against each other and with a kitchen wash rag with a "scrubby side". I wanted to do one wash without any special tools. I was surprised how easily the poop does wash out. Then I drained the water, filled the sink again with cold water and sloshed it all around for about ten minutes. Drained the water then ran cold water through each individual item, the receiving blankets held the most bubbles. I feel like I rinsed forever! I did this entire process twice once with all my "diapers" and once with the covers and wipes. Then I wrung out each item (eight flats, three receiving blankets, one tshirt, three covers, and about 15 wipes) as much as I could. I had the benefit of following on Twitter hashtag #flatschallenge and reading what worked for others who handwashed earlier. I laid each item in a towel rolled it up to press out as much water as I could. I hung up everything inside my shower, using the rail, a clothes drying rack and hangers. I ran the bathroom vent fan all night. Wednesday morning about eight hours later, the flats,wipes, and covers were dry, the tshirt and receiving blankets slightly damp still. I learned you can use a hot (no steam) iron to help dry and sanitize the still damp items. I didn't do this, but it's good to know. I rubbed my dry flats together to soften them a bit, but they didn't feel as rough as I thought they would. Everything looked and smelled clean, I just wonder if they are as clean as the machine gets them.
  So far, I like the flats pad folded. I think receiving blankets are the new luxury flat. And I hate handwashing, I feel like it takes so long and I'm using too much water to rinse. I'm going to try a couple more folds Thursday. My daughter's skin hasn't reacted to the handwashed flats, I was worried about that, too.

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