Flatfold diaper: the old is new again

A flat fold diaper

Recently I have noticed an increase in the number of parents who are a fan of flatfold diapers, or Flats for short.  The ancestor of the prefold, a flat diaper is just a large square of absorbent fabric, usually woven cotton.   Way-back-when, frontier mamas used to use old flour sacks as diapers, folded in much the same way as today’s flatfolds.  In fact, that is where the name “pre-folds” came from, in that they have been “pre-folded” to have extra absorbency down the middle and multiple layers of fabric. 

There are many benefits to using flat diapers, like:

  • Cost – most flat diapers range from $1 – 3 per diaper.  (www.babiesbottomsandmore.com carries Imse Vimse organic flat diapers in a 4-pack for $8.50-10.50 depending on size) http://www.babiesbottomsandmore.com/imse-vimse-organic-flat-diapers.html
  • Extreme versatility – a single flat diaper can be folded different ways to fit a 6-lb newborn or a 35-lb toddler.  For extra absorbency or to use as a diaper doubler in other diapers, just fold the flat diaper into a small rectangle and lay inside another flat diaper.  I have used flat diapers as pocket inserts, burp cloths, and when they get worn out, cleaning rags.
  • Energy savings – Flat diapers are really the only type of cloth diaper that can easily be hand-washed, and the single layer of fabric dries very quickly.  I have a friend who swears that in this Texas heat, by the time she finishes hanging up the last one on her clothes line she can go back to the beginning and start taking them down right away, they’re already dry!

There are also reasons some parents choose not to use flat diapers:

  • They do require quite a bit of folding, which while not difficult, is more work than other kinds of diapers and can be intimidating for other caregivers like babysitters or day care.
  • They will need some kind of diaper fastener, either pins or a Snappi
  • You will need to use a cover with these diapers; they are not self-contained like an all-in-one.

Personally, I enjoy the oragami-like folding of flats and I marvel that it is possible to make a diaper out of a simple piece of cloth.  Curious?  Come by our store and ask to play around with one of our sample flatfold diapers.  We’ll show you how to fold it and let you decide for yourself whether you may want to try flats!

This way of folding is called the "oragami fold"

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