Whenever my Nana sees me change my kids’ diapers, she always tells me the same story. She tells me how disposable diapers came out right when she needed to travel across the country by train with my dad. She was so grateful for the innovation and how much easier it made travelling with a baby. I like to remind her that I actually use cloth diapers with my kids, and I love to show her how cute they are and how easy they are to use. I don’t blame Nana for being excited about disposables: the cloth diapers and plastic pants she used on my dad were not exactly the pinnacle of convenience. And back then, the idea that we would get to a point in our society where single-use, disposable items are the norm rather than a luxury likely never occurred to her.
Sixty years later, here I am using the most old-school of cloth diaper styles—the flat diaper. A flat diaper is exactly what generations and generations of babies had pinned to their bums: a large piece of square cloth, folded into a triangular sort of loincloth and secured around their waists using pins. Lilly & Frank Dream Flats are made with an organic bamboo terry blend with a hint of spandex, which makes for a supremely soft but also stretchy diaper that can be folded and secured perfectly around baby.
These days, people don’t use pins to secure flat diapers. They use Snappis! These flexible plastic doo-hickies have little “teeth” that grip the diaper fabric to hold it in place. There are a huge variety of ways to fold a flat diaper, so finding the fold you love is a matter of trial and error. A flat diaper allows you to create your own fitted diaper from a square of fabric—it’s not as convenient but it’s definitely economical.
Now, I would be flat out lying if I said I love using flat diapers with Snappis. In fact, I used our Lilly & Frank Dream Flat this way a grand total of once, just to prove I could do it. I greatly prefer using flat diapers the same way I use prefolds: simply by folding them and placing them inside a diaper cover.
I fold my Lilly & Frank Dream Flat in half twice, then I fold it up like a burrito!
I place this burrito inside my favourite diaper cover (Thirsties, if you’re wondering) and place a hemp booster on top. This combo is a total success overnight! The Dream Flat is nowhere near saturated in the morning even though my daughter still nurses and drinks water throughout the night.
The awesome thing about using flat diapers is that they are incredibly easy to launder. I always rinse and wring out overnight diapers in cold water before placing them in our wet bag. Because a flat diaper unfolds into a single layer of fabric, it’s very easy to get all the excess urine out—much easier than with a fitted diaper, which has many layers all sewn together. As you can imagine, it also dries very quickly.
For Little Miss Cub, who is just over 2 years old and weighs about 25 lb, we are using the large Dream Flat, which measures 27″ x 27″. Lilly & Frank recommend this size for anywhere from 5 months to 3 years old.
One large Dream Flat retails for CAN$18.95. That’s about $4 more than what you would pay for a Flip Overnight Organic Cotton Insert, which is what I often recommend for overnight diapering. However, I would highly recommend spending those few extra dollars for Dream Flats instead. They are softer, stretchier, more versatile and more absorbent. Also, they make wonderful blankets!