It may seem like flats are a bit outdated compared to the Modern Cloth Nappies favoured by reusable nappy families today. However, these underrated workhorses of the MCN world have stood the test of time. Here are 10 reasons why they should not be discounted when looking to cloth your babes.
#1 Newborn to toddler – So you’ve been opening satchels of fluff mail for weeks and your dream stash is all stuffed, snapped and neatly stacked ready for your bundle of joy to arrive. But, when you get your wrinkly angel home you quickly realise that your One Size Fits Most, mostly don’t fit. Cue, the flat. Chicken legs are no match for a flat as there are a number of folds that can be adapted for tiny tots to toddler bots, and a number of materials and sizes to choose from. Flats will also continue to grow with your babe, albeit with a bit of boosting. They make a great base for both day and night nappies from birth to toilet training.
#2 Budget friendly – Deciding to use cloth can have its barriers, one of them being the initial cost. While some retailers do have pay later options (like AfterPay, Zippay or in-house laybys), sinking hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars into cloth straight up isn’t for everyone. Take comfort in knowing that flats and covers are incredibly economical and can be a financially sensible way to start out.
#3 Night nappy – If you’re not 100% sold on investing in nappies exclusively for overnight, or if you’re just trying to be budget conscious, flats are a great foundation upon which to build your own night nappy hybrid. In fact, you can probably make one with bits and bobs you already have in your stash. All you need is a flat, a booster, and a cover. Below is a flow chart where you can see ways to make this work for you. See our night nappy section for more information.
#4 Variety: the spice of life – No matter what your baby’s wetting needs may be (newborn, toddler, prince or princess), there’s guaranteed to be a fold that will work for you. Sure, all those twists, flips, rolls and folds may seem daunting to begin with, you may even need to call grandma in for some nostalgic family folding time, but instructions for different folds are readily available. You’ll be off and running with a quick Google search (start here) and a little patience! We recommend the origami or angel fold for newborns, and the jo fold for toddlers. You can place any added boosting wherever your bub needs it.
#5 Fast drying– The great thing about absorbent nappies is they’ll soak up baby’s 136 feeds before lunch. The problem with more absorbent nappies is that once they’re soaked they take a while to dry, especially in more humid climates or throughout winter. Thankfully, flats unfold into a single layer so washing and wearing can be super quick, which also means you can get away with buying fewer nappies.
#6 They will forgive you your laundry sins – Starting out with cloth and making sure your naps are as clean as a whistle every time they’re washed can be a bit of a journey. Figuring out your load size, amount of detergent, heat settings?!- prepare to get scarily intimate with your washing machine in ways you had never imagined (lint filter anyone?). At least initially, flats are pretty forgiving. You can clearly see the stains if you have any as poop can’t hide under any layers, so it’s fairly easy to tell when you’ve hit upon the right routine. Once you’ve gained confidence, flats can also be added to bulk out your wash and get a good the right loading in your wash.
#7 au Naturale – We’ve all seen the horror stories circulating about the ‘danger of disposables’ on social media. There are countless chemicals contained within the layers of many leading brands and you wouldn’t be the first to worry about putting them on bub’s tender tooshie. Flats are generally manufactured with natural fibres; think cotton and bamboo, you can even get organic flats. So, you can rest easy knowing that your little’s behind is in safe strands.
#8 Quick fix – How many times have you popped the apple of your eye into her fresh Von Waddle in the morning and prepared to go out, or fitted them into the perfect night nappy solution when…you guessed it, poop city. Babies can be fairly predictable in their toileting habits once their sleep/feed cycle has settled and it’s super frustrating knowing that your little one is due a morning release, but also that that night nappy reallllly needs to come off. Flats are great to have on hand when you are ‘between’ changes. Either in the morning, before bed, or after a feed but before leaving the house. Pop on a flat to catch the mess before using your pretties and save yourself the heartache.
#9 Travel-friendly – Many families are faced with the tough decision of what to do when the rare opportunity to get away with their babes crops up. It seems crazy to travel with reusables. If you’re lucky enough to be packing up for a family trip, or even just a weekend away- for all of the above reasons and more- flats are your friend. They’re quick drying, easy to clean and will take a seriously hot wash when you get back home. They fit easily into suitcases or bags and the covers can be reused several times, with an airing out in between, which means less to pack. See our tips on travelling with cloth here.
#10 Perfect prints – Ok, ok, sometimes the prints you really like only come in a cover. I’ll admit, one of the reasons I use flats is because it means I can have even more prints in my stash (I’m looking at you, Flufflestiltskin). Whilst flats are definitely economical, they can also give you another avenue down which to explore all the naps!
Not only do flats make great nappies, but there are also so many more uses for these humble squares. Even if you don’t end up using them on your bub up to toilet training they are still ideal for spills, as burp cloths, as a cover on change mats, boosting laundry, dusting, you name it. Heck, you could even cut a couple of holes in one and send junior out as a ghost on Halloween. Whatever you decide though, there are definitely some compelling reasons why you should embrace the flat.
– By Kat Ewards
Kat is currently on maternity leave with her adorable baby girl, and loving every minute. She and her partner are keen to do their bit for the environment and have been using cloth on bubs since she was 1 week old.