Day 7: What did I learn/How did it go?
Here's what I've learned so far, in no particular order.
- I was surprised to know that I had PLENTY of flat diapers for daily hand washing: 28 diapers, 6 covers, and 3 pockets! I'm going to make a bundle of flats, covers, soap, and a camp washer for emergencies and when we go camping. It's one less thing I'll have to gather for those occasions and it's so low-stress knowing I can totally do this with 2 covers and 8 or so flats.
- Flats are way more absorbent than they look. Just because it's only one layer of fabric doesn't mean you only have that one layer between baby's bottom and the world. Depending on the fold you could have 8-12 layers of fabric just in one flat. Then you can add a pad-folded flat as a doubler and that's even more!
- Washing by hand took a lot less work and time than I thought it would, but experimenting with the right amount of soap and soaking times was a little frustrating.
- You can't trust the weather! I had expected to line dry everything all week long, with few exceptions. But I had to learn to roll with the punches and let things dry overnight hanging from curtain rods, hangers, and chairs since it stormed half the week.
- If you over stuff a pocket diaper, it's much more likely to leak.
- There are DOZENS of ways to fold a flat and each is good in it's own way. There is no one RIGHT way to fold it and very few wrong ways. So long as all the cloth is stuffed into the cover (or you're a really observant parent) it's probably a fine way to do flats.
- I actually like flats. More than some of my other diapers.
- Once you've used flat diapers for a week, you start evaluating all the cloth in your house for diaper potential. I look at my towels, dish cloths, and clothing differently now. During this challenge, I added two blankets and a t-shirt to my stash. This has put my husband on alert!
- My daughter is a diaper escape artist. Snappis were not a barrier to her curiosity. Covers were, however.
- When hand washing, a "wet bucket" was almost indispensable. You probably could get away without using it if you washed as soon as a "dirty" happened, but if you've got diaper laundry, you probably also have children who need watched and sometimes it's just not convenient to wash right then. Especially not for as long as is needed without soaking. So I change my stance on the dry vs wet bucket controversy from "absolutely not" to a "yes with cautions." I put my laundry right into the wash bucket which stays in the bath tub, except when people are bathing. While it's possible someone could still get in there and cause mischief or drown, I also keep the lid on the bucket that is nearly adult-proof and that helps me feel safer about it. I still don't let kids play in the bathroom, and I'm in there washing diapers at least twice a day, so I know it's not always full of water. I'm cautious about it. When I go back to using my washing machine and dryer I will stop using a "wet bucket."
- When hand washing in a camp washer, less really is more. Wipes, 2-4 diapers, and a cover wash just fine. Don't even try to do 5+ diapers because you'll be rinsing FOREVER. They don't get as clean in your usual cycle, so you'll end up washing them again. And again. It's way better to plan on washing twice a day. That way it takes 10 minutes from first rinse to hanging up. And it's a good excuse to visit the sunshine. ;)
- If I didn't have a washing machine, I could totally wash my diapers every day in my camp washer. But I'd rather spend all day at the laundrymat than try to hand wash and dry the mountains of clothes these kids wear!
- Every time I turn on the water to wash diapers, my littlest daughter chases me down asking for a "tubby." Every time I go outside to hang up or take down diapers, my bigger girls chase me down and want to play outside. Maybe we need to play outside more often. (That was several things I learned, but they're a bit connected, you know.)