20 May 2018

Day 7: Flats challenge 2018, What did I learn?

 
Making Sunlight Gel

It's the last day of the flats challenge, and it looks like I wanted to keep it interesting! After being away for work (and a bit of leisure in between too) for 3 days and arriving back home. I realised my detergent wash finished. Oops! Living on a farm and a small farming community, even if I was keen to drive all the way to town to get detergent, no shop would be open. I did have a Sunlight bar at home, so my son and hubby joined in to help me make Sunlight Gel* for my last bit of hand washing. I'm very relieved I kept a bigger stash of flats for this week now, otherwise I would have run out today. After the Sunlight gel sets I have about 18 flats to wash and hang up.

So what did I learn?
Ease of use/convenience: Using just flats and covers whilst handwashing is definitely possible, but it does mean you need to plan a little better to ensure you always have clean nappies. It's definitely not just easy, you will have to want to do it and be dedicated to using only cloth in order to work around any challenges that comes up and with busy work schedules and multiple kids, even more so. I think in the end it will depend a lot on the person's motivation whether handwashing and flats would work as it can be quite a challenge.

The nappies: Flats will always be a good choice for nappies. They are trim, absorbent, quick to wash and dry quickly (even in humid areas), so definitely a bonus in any cloth stash regardless of your budget. I however did miss my variety, especially for my diaper bag when out and about (it's just easier changing baby into an AIO or AI2). I also found when I needed to change my daughter after she fell asleep (which happens sometimes), it would've been easier to just put on a one-step night nappy than having to struggle to snappy on flats and a cover without waking her.

The washing: I found the anticipation of needing to wash nappies were worse than actually doing it, once I got into hand washing it was easier and quicker than I anticipated. Would I be able to do this long term? Yes, I think so, I think once washing is part of your daily routine it will just become part of the habit, but if I'm honest, I would really miss my variety cloth stash and I would miss my washing machine for the convenience factor. It does add extra stress needing to plan when you can hand wash opposed to just being able to throw a load of nappies in the washing machine. Today was the first time I've made Sunlight Gel and it's very easy to do! Having hard water I won't be able to use it for every wash (unless I add some form of water softener to it), but I can definitely see the appeal in using it.

Overall, our week went without any major problems and I really enjoyed it! How did flats week go for you? and what did you learn?

* To learn more about Sunlight Gel have a look here
Short clip of my son enjoying the process of making gel <3 :'D


This is part of a 7-day series of blogposts for the 2018 Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge. Learn more about this initiative on the Cloth Diaper Revival page. This is my first year taking part in the challenge and blogging about my experience. However, check out Marisa's experience from previous years doing the flats challenge - Flats Challenge.

19 May 2018

Day 6: What is working for me and what not?


It's day 6 of the flats challenge and it's been quite a busy week this side! I find that the week was a lot easier than I anticipated (I was quite nervous on the timing of the challenge due to my busier work schedule this week and being away from home for half of the week)

What worked for us
- The bucket and plunger method for washing is brilliant! It's efficient, quick and mostly painless
- Probably stating the obvious, but flats! They are so versatile! Trim nappies, absorbent, quick to dry and easy to wash. You can also still bring in a bit of versatility by using different covers.
- The simplicity of my stash (believe it or not), no stuffing after washing or needing to match inserts to specific covers. It's just covers and flats and you can mix and match as you like without having the wrong parts together.
- I ended up not needing all of my stash, 16 flats will be more than enough when washing every day, but more is definitely beneficial for those days that you just can't get to the washing or for rainy days where it takes longer to dry.
- Padfolding flats for caregivers and for the nappy bag is far easier than needing to fold on the go. 

What did not work?
- Postponing washing did not work. It's quicker and more efficient if you wash every day. I tried to wash either after the kids went to bed, or just as I woke up in the morning. The times I couldn't I found that it took more effort to get the nappies clean (or I needed to run two "cycles" and only hand wash 6-8 at a time, instead of all together)
- I miss my variety stash, it is sometimes more convenient to have an AIO or AI2 for example, when my toddler is especially wriggly or when she is sleeping and I need to change her (a one-step night nappy is easier than needing to snappy a flat on and add the cover)
- Wringing out nappies are not fun :'P

 What did you find worked and did not work this week? 

This is part of a 7-day series of blogposts for the 2018 Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge. Learn more about this initiative on the Cloth Diaper Revival page. This is my first year taking part in the challenge and blogging about my experience. However, check out Marisa's experience from previous years doing the flats challenge - Flats Challenge.

18 May 2018

Flat challenge 2018: Day 5, Your favourite fabric for a flat?


It's day 5 of the flat challenge, I'm away from home but armed with my bucket and plunger so we're going strong. Bonus: flats and covers take less space in a suitcase so it's the ideal cloth to use when traveling.

I used 4 different fabric types in this challenge, and although hemp jersey has always been my go-to. I've learned I like each fabric for a different reason.

A bit more about each type of flat I used:

Hemp Jersey: I really like hemp jersey flats, which is evident in the stash I have for this challenge, they have an excellent absorbency vs trimness ratio. The stretchiness of the fabric always ensures I get a good fit. With our hard water they can get quite scratchy so I give them a good rub and shake after drying to soften them up.

Terry toweling: There is just something about the fluffy old school terry flats, they really look so cute! They're very easy to use since snappies grab well onto the fabric, absorbent and affordable. They are a bit more bulky than other fabric options though, but don't let that scare you, they might be old school, but they're very effective.

Flannel (Receiving blankets): One of the easiest fabric types to get! Nice and trim. Some might struggle to get a snappy to grab onto the fabric (Have a nail file close by, rubbing the fabric a bit will make the snappy grab better) or get Boingo's, they have sharper teeth to grab onto the fabric.

Cotton Fleece: These are one of the most absorbent fabric types (although more bulky), so for me it's a nice option for my light to medium wetter at night, I'm boosting them with a newborn hemp jersey flat as a night solution.

What fabric are you using in this challenge?

For more on fabrics have a look here.

This is part of a 7-day series of blogposts for the 2018 Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge. Learn more about this initiative on the Cloth Diaper Revival page. This is my first year taking part in the challenge and blogging about my experience. However, check out Marisa's experience from previous years doing the flats challenge - Flats Challenge.

17 May 2018

Flat challenge 2018: Day 4, My washing routine



It's day 4 of the flats challenge and things are still going well, it's far less of an effort than I expected it to be. I do try and plan my schedule a bit better to fit in my nappy duties, but overall it's been smooth sailing.

One of the many reasons we use cloth nappies is due to my children getting a very bad burn/rash from disposables, so I always make cloth work, even on holiday. That means I'm not new to hand washing cloth nappies. I've done it a few times when we don't have access to a washing machine on a trip, but it's the first time I'm using the bucket and plunger method and what a game changer it is! I don't know why I never made more of an effort to take my bucket and plunger with, it is so much easier washing this way! Quick, painless and efficient. I'll definitely take along my plunger with our next trip.

I wash about 6-10 flats at a time (It is much easier though if you stick to only 6-8 flats, I find once it gets more I struggle to get good agitation)

Step 1: Rinse - I include my covers, flats, cloth wipes and fleece liners in this step, add some warm water and plunge about 50 times (the rinse water can then be kept as grey water to flush toilets)

Step 2: Washing - I take out the covers (and hand wash separately as it's gentler) and then add new warm water to the bucket, add detergent (I used my normal Ariel auto detergent as I did not have time to get handwashing detergent). I use about half the recommended dose for a 7kg washing machine as my bucket has far less water (roughly 10litres opposed to my washing machine's 36litres) and far less laundry. Plunge about 100 times. Empty the water (Store as grey water)

Step 3: Final rinse: Add new warm water and plunge about 50 times again to get the detergent out. I sometimes have to do this twice (if I add too much detergent in the washing step)

Surprisingly this is a quick process, it takes me about 15minutes to wash. It's definitely easier washing every day opposed to washing a big batch (Which takes longer too)

The "hardest" part for me is being sure that the nappies are clean enough, I keep doing the smell test and then plunging a few times more just in case :D . It still feels incredulous to me that everything gets cleaned properly so quickly. Wringing out the nappies are the least fun part though, I wouldn't mind a hack for that!

How is the flats challenge going for you? What washing challenges have you faced?

This is part of a 7-day series of blogposts for the 2018 Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge. Learn more about this initiative on the Cloth Diaper Revival page. This is my first year taking part in the challenge and blogging about my experience. However, check out Marisa's experience from previous years doing the flats challenge - Flats Challenge.


16 May 2018

Flat challenge 2018: Day 3, my favourite flat fold


It's day 3 of the flats challenge and we've settled into our routine of using flats. I've brushed off my rusty snappy'ing skills and I'm getting the flats on quicker again (Yay! As all parents know, with a busy toddler you only have a small window to get a nappy on ;D). It's made me realise how long ago I've used my flats, for some reason I've settled into a habit of only taking them out when we're on holiday, but I'm reminded this week why I love flats. We've been having cold rainy weather, but my flats still dry quickly and on time, especially the flannel flats, flats are easy to wash and they give a really trim fit OTB*!

That brings me to my favourite flat fold. I enjoy trying different folds but my go-to flat fold is the origami fold (or rather the happy anteater variation on origami fold). It gives such a nice trim and even fit. You also get 8 layers of absorbency in the wetzone and it's easy to boost with a padfolded flat for nights.

How is the flat challenge going for you? What is your favourite flat fold?

* On The Bum

This is part of a 7-day series of blogposts for the 2018 Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge. Learn more about this initiative on the Cloth Diaper Revival page. This is my first year taking part in the challenge and blogging about my experience. However, check out Marisa's experience from previous years doing the flats challenge - Flats Challenge.