When I read the announcement for the Second Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge, I decided that I’d sign up again this year. I successfully completed the challenge last year, and have been using those same flat diapers to meet our cloth diapering needs ever since. So why wouldn’t I complete the challenge again?
Turns out, we’ll be doing most of our washing at a family member’s home, as I’m watching three (older) children besides my own two this week. We’ll also be away from home for most of Saturday for a wedding. I briefly considered not doing the flats challenge, but then I realized that completing the challenge during what will likely be the busiest week of the year is the point. If I can pull off hand washing diapers this week, I can make it work any week.
For anyone not already familiar with the Flats and Handwashing Challenge, I think that it is important to understand that the challenge was created in response to this article, which notes that some low-income families have resorted to leaving their babies in disposable diapers for an extended period of time, or even re-using them, in order to help make ends meet. The result? Their babies suffer from rashes, infections, and other discomforts that could be avoided.
Modern cloth diapers, while being very convenient and ultimately cost-saving, can have a hefty start-up cost and be difficult to wash. Such diapers simply aren’t the right solution for many low income families, some of whom do not own a washer or dryer. Flat cloth diapers, the kind of diaper that our grandmothers used, are a good solution to this problem. Flat diapers are very inexpensive, only about $1 or so per diaper; even flour sack towels, old receiving blankets, etc. can be used as flat cloth diapers. Add a few inexpensive modern diaper covers, and a family could cloth diaper their baby for less than $50 from birth to potty training! Sure, a little more work is involved in using flats, but our children are worth it.
You can read what other bloggers are writing about their flats challenge experience at Dirty Diaper Laundry.