Flats & Handwashing Challenge

It has been over a month since I first read this article about the extreme and dangerous practices that some parents engage in in order to be able to diaper their children. We all know that the cost of disposable diapers over 2-3 years adds up, and this leaves some parents having to make the choice between diapers and other basic necessities like food. So what is a parent to do when they only have a few diapers left and it is days before they will be able to afford another pack? This decision is leading some parents to go to extreme measures to stretch their diapers - from simply leaving the child in a diaper too long to even cleaning and reusing a soiled diaper (though I can't even wrap my mind around how this would actually work). 

Though it would seem that cloth diapers would be the answer to this problem, but there are problems with this answer, too. First, cloth diapers can (notice I said "can") be very expensive up front. But even when you forget about the fancy diapers and only focus on the basic types, there is a learning curve. Cloth diapering isn't the norm like it was several decades ago so you can't just ask anybody how to do it or to trouble shoot if you are having problems. 

There is also the issue of daycare. Many daycares refuse to use cloth and even when they do, they only accept the more expensive diapers like pockets and all-in-ones. 

Then there is washing. Many low income families have no washer and dryer access other than laundromats, so then they have the added issue of hauling a large bag of stinky diapers to the laundromat and simply having enough diapers to last them between wash days. And for families working many hours and even several jobs, this added time can be hard to find. Especially for single mothers. 

With all these issues in mind, Dirty Diaper Laundry has decided to challenge herself and parents all over to only use flat diapers for a week, May 23-May 30. Participants must wash all diapers by hand as well as follow several other rules intended to make this challenge more realistic. Flat diapers are the most economical diapers there are and the easiest and fastest to wash and dry. They are also very versatile and can be used in many ways. 

Some may wonder why. What is the point? To me, this challenge is about awareness. It is showing that it is possible for almost every parent to cloth diaper their child in some way. It is showing that it is not nearly as hard or expensive as many think.

I also just like the challenge aspect of this and the learning experience it will be. I don't know what the future holds for me and do not know if one day I will be in a situation where I will need to know how to wash simple diapers by hand, either because I can't afford diapers any other way or because my washer is broken. 

I realize that this may be a little simpler for me since I am a stay-at-home mom, but I will have a very, um, adventurous and curious 2 year old underfoot and will be almost 9 months pregnant. So that counts for something, right? 

I excuse posting about this challenge so close to the date, but I urge as many of you as possible to participate. This is not an all-or-nothing deal. You can participate one day, seven days, or for just a few diaper changes a day. No matter what capacity you participate, even if it is reading about other's experiences, I hope that this challenge is beneficial to all.

Here are a few other posts relating to the challenge:

Flat Diaper Alternatives - What else can be used?
How to Fold a Flat Diaper - Origami fold

1 comment:

  1. I remember folding my brother's flats for my mum when I was 10 or so. And drying his little fluffy wool covers. I can't wait to give flats a try with our next little one, there is something so simple and 'old' about them, iykwim? getting back to our roots!



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