I'm participating in this years Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry and today is the last day! Today's topic is: What did I learn/ How did it go? Do I think others could do this and how could they make it work?
What Did I Learn?
Even though I had previously taken the Flats and Handwashing Challenge with Michael, I still learned some things this time around with Riley. I was worried that doing the handwashing with having Michael wanting to "help" wash dirty diapers. Since I decided to wash by hand in the tub, rather than using a camper style washer or some other contained washer, I didn't want to worry about Michael getting poop on his hands or getting in with the soapy, dirty water. But, I found that even washing with Michael in the bathroom with me and Riley in the bouncer next to the tub, I was able to wash and rinse out the diapers with no problems! Michael had a blast talking to me about the diapers and what I was doing. While he did want to help out, I just explained that since they were dirty diapers, I was going to do the washing and he could help me hang them on the clothes line. Riley did great and was happy as a lark to bounce in his bouncer, chewing on a teether and having mama and Michael talking.
I also learned two new folds - the Jo Fold and the Diaperbag Fold. I really like the Diaperbag fold and have been finding myself "prefolding" my flats into a Diaperbag fold to use later. I already had a love for covers, but I have truly found a love for flats. I like the folding, I think that it is fun and actually, fairly relaxing. For me, there is a sense of accomplishment after I use one of the folds and then secure it on Riley.
I also found that flats can work overnight. Now, I did have 2 nights with leaks. One night was because I didn't get the cover snug enough around Riley's leg and the other night...I'm not sure. Overall though, 2 leaks isn't bad.
How Did It Go?
I did it! Seven days without using a washing machine or a dryer on my diapers! I feel really good about doing it. It was a nice change of pace to not have to use my washer and dryer for loads of laundry. It was lovely to hang my diapers outside in the fresh air and sunshine. It felt good to re-learn some of the flat folds - like I was helping to preserve part of the history of diapers.
I really like using flats and covers - it is such a simple, no fuss diapering system. There is also great flexibility on sizing and absorbancy. All-in-all, it went better than I thought it would. Mainly, I was worried about the poop and traveling with flats. It turns out, I didn't need to worry so much. With the poop, I quickly became very thankful for my diaper sprayer! It was so nice to be able to spray the poop right into the toilet. I think that exclusively breastfeeding helped, since it is water soluble. So, while the poop wasn't fun (is it ever?) it was manageable and much easier to deal with than I thought.
Traveling with flats was actually just as easy as traveling with my regular rotation of diapers. I took a wetbag and put a few flats in it, some wipes, a spare cover and an extra wetbag for dirty diapers and I was ready to go! We were out for a whole day at a zoo and I din't have any trouble changing Riley in the bathrooms! Totally doable!
The only issue that I really had was with the handwashing. The first two days I did great - I washed a load every time I had 3-4 dirty flats and it was easy peasy. Then, I got busy (and a little "blah") about handwashing and things piled up. I really wasn't looking forward to washing a days worth of diapers at once! So, keeping up on the handwashing got a little overwhelming. I am definitely looking forward to using my washing machine again, because, it is so easy to put my diapers in, set it to wash and then walk away to forget about it. No swishing, scrubbing, swishing, dunking or wringing out.
Do I think others could do this and how could they make it work?
I definitely think that others could do this! Using flats and handwashing could work for a family and I don't think that it needs to be as overwhelming as you may think. I completely understand that not everyone wants to do this. But there are plenty of reasons to learn how to use flats and handwash. You could use flats and handwash diapers and clothes when you go camping, if there was a power outage, you don't have a washer or dryer or you can't afford disposables.
Flat diapers are an inexpensive way to diaper your baby. Handwashing isn't always easy or convenient, but it is easy to do. All you need is a bucket or tub, water and detergent. Line drying is completely doable and you don't even need a full clothes line. I used a portable clothesline and it was super easy to take it in and out of the house to put my diapers outside in the sun. The clothes line folded flat and tucks away next to our fride and is out of the way when not in use. You don't need anything fancy or expensive to diaper a baby!
Would I want to handwash my diapers every day? No. I am thankful that I don't have to. But, if push came to shove and we couldn't afford diapers, especially the re-occurring cost of disposables, I would handwash diapers every single day rather than worry about my baby not having a clean diaper. I hope that challenges like this can help to open peoples eyes to the struggles that some face, as well as the re-usable options that cloth diapers provide. I absolutely love re-using Michaels cloth diapers with Riley. It is such a savings to not have to go out and buy diapers every week!