5.19.2019

Flats and Handwashing Challenge Survivor | #flatschallenge Day 7



The last day of the 2019 Flats and Handwashing Challenge is here! If you're new to the Challenge, please read more about what's going on this week as families all over the world will be diapering their babies with flat diapers and handwashing for a whole week. Today's topic is to share about your experience. What did you learn? How did it go? Do you think this is a feasible option for families experiencing diaper need? Did you find a new love for flats or handwashing? 

I'm happy to report that this year was much more successful for me! If you're interested in reading about what a disaster was for me last year, check out this post. Spoiler alert, I switched to disposable!

So do I think that using a small flats stash is doable? Of course. I've proved it to myself the three out of four years I completed the Challenge. But do I think it works for everyone? Not likely. I mean you do what you have to do to get by, but I can see how that would be very hard in some cases. 

And handwashing? Again, totally doable. But it would be just one more thing on your plate on top of everything else. Some people may not be able to keep up with it. 

Thank you all for following along with my journey this week! I hope that those of you that participated for the first time were successful and learned something new that can be useful to someone else. And if this was your second or 9th time participating, I hope you are still learning new things year after year! Be sure to share how your week went in the comments! If you completed the Challenge, feel free to grab this graphic and share!


Flats and Handwashing Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival


Stay tuned for the Flats and Handwashing Survey that will be sent out to everyone that signed up. Results will be posted on this blog this summer.

Be sure to check out the #flatschallenge hashtag on social media to see what others are saying. 


5.18.2019

Flats Challenge Update | #flatschallenge Day 6



Only two more days to go in the 2019 Flats and Handwashing Challenge! If you're new to the Challenge, please read more about what's going on this week as families all over the world will be diapering their babies with flat diapers and handwashing for a whole week. Today's topic is to share what's working for you and what's not working. If this is your first Challenge, you may be surprised by how easy (or maybe hard!) this is. Maybe you've had to change things up half way through the Challenge. Share your expectations vs. your reality!

Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival


This is my fourth year doing the Flats and Handwashing Challenge. The first year I had no issues and really thought this was totally doable for everyone. The second year I even debated doing it because "I've done it. I know I can do it." But last year really changed my thinking behind the whole process.

Last year I had a lot on my plate. I had a newborn, 2 kids under 2, I was adjusting to being a mom of three, recovering from a traumatic birth experience, and a week away from moving into a new home. It was a lot to take on without adding the challenge into the mix. Last year was a total flop for me.

BUT! I won't call it a total failure. Because honestly, it was a wonderful learning experience! I learned that maybe it isn't as easy as it has seemed in the past. In fact, this has been my entire experience with parenting in general. The more kids I have, the more I learn that maybe things aren't so simple.

This year is a lot easier. I still have my hands full with three kids. I regularly feel like the old woman who lived in a shoe! But recently my middle child potty trained and now I'm down to one in diapers. Plus, he goes to preschool two mornings a week which opens up some free time for me. The weather also isn't working against me quite as much this year either. Fingers crossed nothing goes wrong the last two days!

Want to see how it's going for everyone else? Check out the #flatschallenge discussion on social media!

5.17.2019

Diaper Need and How you can help | #flatschallenge Day 5


It's Day 5 of the 2019 Flats and Handwashing Challenge! If you're new to the Challenge, please read more about what's going on this week as families all over the world will be diapering their babies with flat diapers and handwashing for a whole week. Today's topic is open for participants to choose whatever they'd like to discuss. I'll be focusing on diaper need and how you can help (or get help!). Many other participants are focusing on topics related to handwashing or flat diapers. So be sure to check out the #flatschallenge hashtag on social media today. 

The Flats and Handwashing Challenge was started 9 years ago by Kim Rosas of Dirty Diaper Laundry as a way to show that flat cloth diapers and hand washing are real solutions for families that struggle with diaper need. Many families are unable to provide diapers for their baby due to financial constraints. 

One in three families struggle to provide diapers for their babies. Often times these families may not change a diaper as often as needed or may try to reuse a dirty diaper. It's hard enough to be a parent. I can't imagine having the added stress of not being able to provide the necessary basics for a child. This is a real problem and there are ways you can help!

There are diaper banks all over the country. Many provide disposable diapers to families in need. And while this is a very helpful solution, it is short term. Disposable diapers must be thrown away and the need is still very much a problem. With cloth diapers, a family can receive a one time donation that solves the problem of diaper need in their home. 

Jake's Diapers has a great way you can help right now with the Great CoverUp Diaper Drive!





The Great CoverUp Diaper Drive is being organized by the Eastern Wisconsin Diaper Bank, which is a program of Jake’s Diapers, in conjunction with dozens of businesses and organizations in Brown and Winnebago counties.

Why a diaper drive? The need for a reliable, low cost or free diaper supply is very real for thousands of local families living in poverty or who are considered ALICE (Asset‐limited, income constrained, employed). According to the National Diaper Bank, one in three U.S. moms report suffering from diaper need. Diapers can cost $70 to $80 per month; babies need 6‐10 diapers per day.


Diaper need impacts the physical, mental and economic well‐being of children and parents. Most child care centers require parents to provide a day's supply of disposable diapers. If parents don’t have access to an adequate diaper supply, it impacts a child’s health and well‐being as well as a parent’s ability to work or go to school. No federal safety net programs (WIC, food stamps, etc.) cover the cost of diapers. Imagine needing diapers for your child, but not being able to afford them. What would you do? With a focus on families during the time between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, it’s a perfect opportunity to help those in need of diapers.




If you'd like to help in your area, I encourage you to seek out a local diaper bank (or start one yourself!). There are many Share the Love locations throughout the US and GroVia Gives provides diapers on a national level as well.




5.16.2019

Handwashing flat diapers | #flatschallenge Day 4



It's Day 4 of the 2019 Flats and Handwashing Challenge! If you're new to the Challenge, please read more about what's going on this week as families all over the world will be diapering their babies with flat diapers and handwashing for a whole week. Today's topic is to share your wash routine. The easy part of the Challenge (to me) is actually using flat diapers. But washing them with no machine is the harder part. Participants are not allowed to use their electric washer and dryer and instead must handwash their diapers. 

To me, the hardest part about handwashing is talking yourself into doing it at the end of a long day. It's best to handwash daily because the more diapers you have to wash, the more of a chore it is! Some days washing at naptime is easier for me than at bedtime. I can usually muster up some energy in the middle of the day. But once they are asleep, I'm exhausted too! 

There are many ways to hand wash and if you follow the #flatschallenge hashtag on social media you will see what other parents are doing. Here's my preferred method.  


Diaper Storage
I'm storing my diapers in a diaper pail with no liner or wet bag. It's just easiest to be able to rinse out my pail at the end of the day with the diaper sprayer and not have one more thing to wash. As far as the actual pail goes, it's just a small kitchen trash can from Walmart. Nothing fancy here!

Handwashing

I'm choosing to handwash my cloth diapers once or twice a day. I like the idea of washing once, but if I can make it happen to do it twice it feels like less of a burden than washing them all at once. 

I'm using my sink to physically handwash my diapers. In the past I've used the bath tub, but the sink is easier on my back. 

One key feature for me is being able to use my diaper sprayer. Many people are taking the Challenge without using one, but for me it really helps. I'm able to spray out all diapers before throwing them in the pail which helps cut down on some of the hand rinsing and helps me to get them clean. 


Flats and Handwashing Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival


Step 1 - Rinse
I run warm/hot water (warm enough to get them rinsed well, but not so hot that my hands can't stand the heat). Each flat is individually unfolded and rinsed/wrung out under the faucet. 

Step 2 - Wash
I fill my sink with the warm/hot water and add a splash of detergent. I have found that I don't need a ton of detergent to get 5-6 diapers clean in a small sink full of water. In fact, using too much detergent can be such a handful when handwashing because it takes so many rinses to get the soap out. I'm using my regular laundry detergent. 

I put half a dozen flats (less if that's all I have dirty at the moment), my covers (2-3) and any cloth wipes I have used in the sink. Using both hands I massage and squeeze the pile of laundry quite a few times. Then I work individually on each item, squeezing, scrubbing together, working the water in and out of the item. Once I have done this with each item, I squeeze out all of the water and drain the sink.

Step 3 - Rinse
I turn my faucet on with warm/hot water and individually rinse out each item, wringing and squeezing out any soapy water that's left. 

Step 4 - Wringing
Individually, I squeeze and wring out as much of the water as I can by hand. This can take a little muscle and is a great workout!

Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival
Picture from last year's challenge. I really miss that clothesline!

Step 5 - Drying

Line drying outside is my absolute favorite way to dry flat cloth diapers. It's fast and diapers look so pretty on a line! Plus the sun is awesome for getting out any stains that may be left behind. In the past I have used a retractable clothesline (affiliate link) in my backyard for outside drying. But we moved into a new house and our clothesline was left behind. So this year I'm relying on my drying rack from Ikea. It's large and folds up so nicely. Definitely a great investment! 



If I can dry them outside, I individually snap the water out of each flat. You'd be surprised how much water is left in them even after wringing them out by hand. After snapping, I hang them to dry. If I need to dry them inside, wrapping them in a towel and squeezing the excess water out helps a ton! 

On a bright, sunny day, my flats can be dry in less than an hour! If I wait until later in the day when the sun is going down and there's more shade they take a few more hours. Inside drying takes longer, but they are always dry by the morning. 

Overall, the whole process takes 45 minutes or so for one load. It's totally doable and a great option for anyone that doesn't have access to a washing machine. It's work and it is one more thing on my to-do list. I definitely think it's doable, but I can see how it could be a burden (both time wise and emotionally/mentally) for someone that is overwhelmed by everything already on their plate.

This is just one way to handwash your diapers! Some families are using a camp style washer, a wash board, and more! Check out the #flatschallenge hashtag on social media to see what's working for other families.


5.15.2019

Favorite folds for flat diapers | #flatschallenge Day 3



Welcome to Day 3 of the 2019 Flats and Handwashing Challenge! If you're new to the Challenge, please read more about what's going on this week as families all over the world will be diapering their babies with flat diapers and handwashing for a whole week. Today's topic is to share your favorite flat fold! What folds are working for you in the Challenge?

Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival


One of my favorite things about flat diapers is how versatile they are. There are tons of folds out there you can try to make them work for your baby and we all know every baby is different! And while I love fancy folds, I'm not going to lie, this year I'm all about simplicity!

The pic above is my daughter during last year's Challenge. I was going to share a new pic but with a one year old that doesn't want to sit still, this was the best I can do! Plus, I love seeing her tiny newborn pic!

The pad fold is my saving grace this year. I love that I can just have a cover with a pad folded flat ready to go at each change. Text instructions for the pad fold can be found here.

Flat Diapers Cloth Diaper Revival

If I'm feeling fancy or she is distracted during a diaper change, I will use the Happy Anteater fold which is my go to "fancy" fold. Text instructions can be found here. 



How are you using your flats? What's your favorite fold? If you need some ideas, you can find more flat cloth diaper folds here. Be sure to check out the #flatschallenge hashtag on social media to find what others are saying!


5.14.2019

What's in your flats stash? | #flatschallenge Day 2



Welcome to Day 2 of the 2019 Flats and Handwashing Challenge! If you're new to the Challenge, please read more about what's going on this week as families all over the world will be diapering their babies with flat diapers and handwashing for a whole week. Today's topic is "What's in your flats stash and how much did it cost?" Participants were able to use commercially purchased flat diapers or flour sack towels, homemade flats, basically any material that is made with a single layer of fabric. In addition to flats, they can use diaper covers, diaper closures (Snappis, pins, etc), and a doubler if necessary. 

For the Challenge, I'm using the same flats that I have from my first born. I've added many new diapers over the years, but flats isn't something I've purchased since my son who is almost 8! I'm also excited to add two Geffen Baby flats this year that were passed on to me from a friend.




6 Blueberry flats $16 (discontinued) 

These are the old printed Blueberry flats and my absolute favorite! These are now discontinued which is a bummer because I love them so much!

2 Geffen Baby flats $25

These flats are made jersey hemp, fleece and cotton so they are quite a bit more absorbent than cotton flats. This is my plan for nighttime diapering.

4 Various PUL Diaper Covers $68

 I have a lot of covers in my regular cloth diapers stash. I don't anticipate that I'll need to use them all for the Challenge, especially since I can get multiple uses out of each one. I think I could definitely get away with 2-3 covers for the whole Challenge. My favorite brands for covers are Bambino Mio, Thirsties, Rumparooz and Blueberry

For handwashing, I use my sink or bathtub and detergent. So I'm not adding in the cost of any materials for that. I do use cloth wipes but I also haven't calculated that here. 

Actual cost of my stash $109 if purchased new

This total is a little misleading since I've been using the same flats for three babies. If I would to divide this cost out by all three of my kids it would only be about $36 per child! 

Check out what others are using in their stash searching for #flatschallenge on social media. 

5.13.2019

Why are you taking the Flats and Handwashing Challenge | #flatschallenge Day 1




Welcome to Day 1 of the 2019 Flats and Handwashing Challenge! If you're new to the Challenge, please read more about what's going on this week as families all over the world will be diapering their babies with flat diapers and handwashing for a whole week. Today's topic is "Why?"Why would anyone choose to use old school flat diapers when things like all-in-ones and pockets are available? Why would we subject ourselves to handwashing our diapers when we have perfectly good electric washing machines that can do that job for us?

Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival


This year over 100 families have committed to the Challenge. Each family is facing different situations. We have single parents, parents who work outside of the home, parents diapering multiple children at once. And we even have families that are already using flat diapers full time. Some of them even handwash their diapers regularly!

The Flats and Handwashing Challenge was started 8 years ago by Kim Rosas of Dirty Diaper Laundry as a way to raise awareness about diaper need. Did you know that 1 in 3 families struggles to afford diapers for their baby? Often they must choose between diapers or other necessities. And while cloth diapers are reusable and a great solution for these families, the start up cost of modern cloth diapering can be a hindrance to these families as well.

But a small stack of flat diapers are inexpensive and can even be DIYed for free using old t-shirts or other materials. Access to a washing machine may not be easily available for these families, but handwashing flat diapers is quick and easy. Flat diapers dry quickly due to their single layer, allowing for a smaller stash needed.

I'm thankful for you all joining me to help raise awareness about diaper need and to show that we can make this work! You can take this knowledge that you will gain this week and help someone in need one day.

If you're not taking part in the Challenge and just following along, I urge you, if you are able to help families in need. I encourage you to find a diaper charity in your area! National charities include Jake's Diapers and Share the Love. No parent should have to worry about wrapping her baby in clean diaperes each day. Can you help?

If you are participating in the Challenge, be sure to share your thoughts on your social channels using the #flatschallenge hashtag. 

5.06.2019

Get ready for the Flats + Handwashing Challenge!


We're just a few days away from the 2019 Flats and Handwashing Challenge! Have you signed up? It's not too late to join in if you haven't! Sign up here!

Flats and Handwashing Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival


The Challenge starts on Monday morning and will go through Sunday night (May 13-19). This event is to raise awareness about diaper need, as 1 in 3 families struggle to provide diapers for their baby. By taking the Challenge you are showing that flat diapers and handwashing are real alternatives for families struggling with diaper need. Your first hand experience will give you the knowledge and expertise to possibly help a struggling family.

For seven days you will be diapering your baby with just flat diapers and handwashing them to get them clean. No modern cloth diapers, no washer and dryer. Just simple, affordable cloth diapering! To learn more about the history of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge and the reasons behind it, see the announcement post.

If you're just now joining in, welcome! If you don't have the supplies you need to take part in the Challenge, it's not too late to get then. While many online retailers are having specials and sales on flats and covers, purchasing what you need at your local big box retailer is an option as well. You can find flour sack towels in the kitchen section at both Target, Walmart and Sam's Club. Ikea also has a seleciton of burp clothes that work great as flat diapers. Or you can DIY your flats out of old t-shirts, receiving blankets, etc. Honestly, looking through your old drawers and cabinets may provide everything you need without spending money!

For handwashing, there are various ways to go about cleaning your diapers. I prefer to actually wash my diapers by hand in the bathtub or sink, but you can DIY a camp style washer for just a few dollars. Watch the video below for more details. For tips on handwashing, see Dirty Diaper Laundry's tips here. It's a great list!


For those of you joining in that have done the challenge in the past, just a reminder that I have taken away the sign up for "bloggers". You can read more about it on the sign post and find details about what to do if you are an influencer here.

Daily Discussion Topics

Monday - Why are you taking the Flats and Handwashing Challenge?

Tuesday - What's in your stash/materials used? How much did it cost?

Wednesday - Share your favorite flat fold.

Thursday - Share your wash routine.

Friday - Open topic

Saturday - What's working for me. What's not!

Sunday - What did I learn? How did it go?

Discussion can take place on your private or public social media accounts, in any parenting or cloth diapering groups or message boards, and also in the official Facebook group or the challenge (found here). Be sure to tag your posts #flatschallenge so that it is easy for others to find your post or related posts. You can also always link back to me for details on the challenge.

Instagram @jamcclamroch

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to leave a comment or to find me on one of the social channels listed above. Looking forward to seeing what you all do this year!
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