New? Start Here!
Welcome to Sassy Flats!
If you’re new to cloth diapers or to stretchy flat cloth diapers, this is the place to start!
Cloth diapers have been around for ages, but over the last 20 years they have definitely changed in style and options available. There are many modern day options that people love, like pockets and all-in-ones, but many prefer to go the more “old school” route and use flats. Obviously that is what we prefer to use here at Sassy Flats – with the additional of spandex (for stretch which allows a more gentle and snug fit) and more absorbent and soft fibers like bamboo, hemp and lyocell.
So, what exactly is a flat cloth diaper? It is a single layer of absorbent fabric, usually square, that you simply fold into a diaper and fasten on the baby. Not to be confused with a prefold, which is often 4-8 layers of fabric sewn into a rectangle that has fewer options for folding and customizing.
PROS of flats:
- Ease of washing and drying – since the diaper is only one layer of fabric, it cleans and rinses more effectively and quickly, reducing the need for stripping/deep cleaning, and also reducing drying time! Your flats will be dry within the same time as regular laundry, or quicker. They also can dry on the line very fast, saving you more money.
- Customizable – you can adjust the size, shape, rise, absorbency to your liking with endless fold options! No need to buy so many expensive sized diapers, just change the fold, modify it, add absorbency in the folds, and you have a great effective diaper!
- Gentle – because there are no elastics in a flat cloth diaper, you don’t need to work about irritated elastic marks on your baby’s skin. This was a major reason I switched to flats – my daughter just couldn’t handle elastics. Also many use flats without covers when at home so their baby’s skin can have some time to air out!
- Multipurpose – flats can be used for many other needs than diapers! Such as… burp cloths, towels, wash rags, blankets. They can be easily used on different size babies too, so using the same stash for more than one child in cloth diapers at one time is no problem!
- Simple beauty – of course we love natural too, but the various colors and hand dyed flats from Sassy Flats allow you to enjoy a splash of color on a daily basis while doing an otherwise ordinary necessary job, changing diapers!
CONS? If you are not wanting to fold pretty and soft squishy diapers, then perhaps flats are not for you. BUT! I have yet to meet someone who does not quickly fall in love with folding a big pile of fabric into beautiful simple soft cloth diapers. It’s relaxing and soon you will discover you look forward to folding your flats! There is a learning curve for yourself and/or your caregivers, but if you give it some time I doubt you will look back! If flats are a bit too intimidating, you can also have some preflats and snapless fitteds on hand.
- For a full time cloth diapering, you would want to have enough diapers to use between doing diaper laundry (usually every 2-4 days), plus a few extra for wash day. Depending on the age of the baby will depend on how many you need. Newborns typically use 8-12 diapers per day; infants around 6-10; toddlers around 4-8. Once you know how often you want to wash, you can figure out the stash size that works for your family.
- Try a few different flats options to find what you like best (see list suggestions below), and see how your baby handles the fabrics. We all like different textures and colors, so give them a try before investing in a full stash. Also very rarely a baby may be sensitive to a certain fiber.
- Practice folding and be willing to try new folds! You never know what you will like best until you try it, right? Some folds fit certain baby’s bodies better than others, or you may prefer the look of certain folds. You can always switch it up and use different folds depending on the need – some are more trim, some have more layers in the wetzone, some may work better at night/naps – be willing to branch out or feel free to use the same fold if you love it and it’s working for you. Keep in mind too that even a smaller flat can be modified to increase the rise or waist pretty easily (within reason of course). You can always make up your own fold too if it works for you!
- Try different fasteners – there are many options available these days, such as the Snappi, Boingos, Bandie, or pins. If you feel that using a certain fastener is not working well for you, or is irritating your baby’s skin, give another a try. It all comes down to preference and what works and fits your baby best. We all seem to prefer one over the other, but you also may prefer one when your baby is not mobile, and another when they are. If you haven’t tried pins yet, don’t be intimidated! They are often the easiest and simplest way to secure the flat. Try keeping the sharp end in a bar of soap so it easily slips through the fabric.
- Choose a cover you like - you can use any waterproof cover that works for you, or a combination. Many use PUL covers with single or double gussets. All brands vary in size and fit, so it’s best to try one out before investing in a full stash. You can reuse covers a couple times so long as they aren’t wet, just damp on the inside plastic layer. Once the cover is soiled or wet, switch to a clean one. Another option (one that I love) is using wool. Wool is especially amazing as it allows for a more natural breathable and comfortable option for baby’s skin. Many use wool pants to also double as clothing. There are many brands that do an amazing job bringing high quality gorgeous wool interlock covers and pants to us all! Try a few out, learn how to lanolize and clean wool - it’s worth the learning curve and super fun.
Having a mixed stash of flats is recommended as some prefer certain fabrics for naps/nighttime and some for daytime. But the stash options are endless!
See the Tips & Tricks page for troubleshooting help and fold pictorials.
See the Absorbency Results page for more info on absorbency!