5.14.2011

Flats and Handwashing Challenge

Oh man, I am all over the board with my posts lately!!  I said I wasn't taking anything new on, but this is small and interesting and great for awareness.
To read the article that sparked my interest, click here.  The challenge is from May 23-May 30 and is to cloth diaper with only flats and to handwash them.

Here is WHY I'm doing this:

Most of you know that we have been using cloth diapers since we found out we were pregnant with our 4th last summer.  With the prospect of having 3 in diapers, I was at the end of my rope with spending the money and filling the local dump.  Despite our switch and our new zeal for cloth diapering, we are not a die-hard nazi cloth family.  I have, (twice, actually!) gone back to disposables for the duration of one package to give myself a laundry break.  (For those who are new followers, we lost that baby and my daughter potty-trained a month after we started cloth...so only one in dipes now!)

Now, there are lots of people who say cloth saves money.  And I guess I never thought about it too hard.  I mean, it makes sense in the logical way, but I started with a very large stash of cute pocket diapers and have since found other things I love.  All in all, I've probably purchased and traded about $1,000 in diapers/wool.  Given we've been doing this 10 months, it's not a real significant amount of savings.  Actually, for me, it was none at all, because I used coupons to get sposies for next to free.

Despite my hippie tendencies, I can be a snob.  When we decided this was for us I scoured the internet and did DAYS worth of research, no joke.  We don't have a lot of income to throw away, so I made sure I searched out the best deals-but I had a limit to how cheap I was willing to be.  The very cheapest of the cheap way to cloth diaper a baby is to use flats (a large, square piece of fabric-typically birdseye cloth or hemp.  This is the dipe your grandma put on your momma) and a cover.  No way on earth was I going that far, and to this day I do not own one flat.  I only have one prefold (which is what your momma diapered you with.)

But then one of my very favorite diaper retailers announced a sale on flats in honor of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge and I was bored, so I clicked through to read.  I nearly broke down into tears when I read this:

Everyone around the country is feeling the pinch of the economy. The prices of food, gas, and even cotton are rising. These necessary items mean that “luxury” goods aren’t as affordable. Even worse, families can’t buy items considered necessities. But what do you do when you have a baby (or babies) in diapers and you can only afford to feed them or diaper them? Do you let them sit in a disposable “just an hour” longer? Or two? or five?! What if you run out of diapers? Would you ever scrape them out and reuse them, or attempt to dry them with a blow dryer?

PEOPLE DO THIS!?  I've been in some pretty tight spots in my life, but I promise you I've never had to consider leaving my child in a dirty diaper for hours on end because I didn't know where the next package was coming from.  Praise God for that!!  But it opened my eyes to the fact that some people have to consider how long between changes.  Some people won't change their baby's dirty diaper right away because they've only got 3 left to last until payday.  Thinking about it, I don't know anywhere that a person can get a pack of diapers to get by...formula, clothes, food, yes.  But diapers? 

And so...I am going to take this challenge.  I ordered some flats and pins and will be watching videos on how to fold them and our little man will be diapered for a grand total of 13.00 for one week.  (The flats were about 1.00 each, a cover could be had for about 6.00 used, the pins were 1.25 a pair for the kind with locking heads and the price of the detergent/water for hand-washing will be negligible)  If a person were to continue with that, the price would be driven down further and further because you don't have to re-purchase the items.  They just get used over and over again.  I've seen estimates that a person could diaper their child for 60.00 from birth to potty-learning with this method.  Talk about saving money!

I realize posting this on my blog won't really do a whole lot of good.  Most of my readers' children are already past diapers.  BUT!!  My main point in taking this challenge is to KNOW what it takes, so that if I ever have the opportunity to meet and talk to a momma who has to consider how many diapers she has left until pay day, I can honestly suggest this option as a way of bettering her child's life.  Right now I have zero experience and I can say it all day long, but it means squat, so after the 30th of May, I will have the real-life experience to share with other moms.  Who knows, maybe I'll like it so much I'll keep it up (all but the handwashing...I'm pretty sure I won't give up my washing machine!)

I'm sure talking dirty diapers is so exciting to you, so I'm going to try to update how this goes from time to time during that week.  I am nervous, but mostly excited.  Come cheer me on! :)

1 comment:

Sybil said...

Is washing them by hand because of the (theoretical) limited access to a washing machine? Or the money/water savings? I would be curious what the difference was between the cost of handwashing and machine washing.
Either way you are a much stronger mama than I. Good luck with the challenge!