T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Challenge...

We’re taking the Flats Challenge and Handwashing Challenge.

This sounds like we’re running some sort of marathon or climbing a tall mountain but really that is not the case. You all know how passionate the T Rex Family is about cloth diapers. We love them for so many reasons. But, first, a little back story.

Anyone take a look at gas prices lately? In the past month we’ve started paying nearly a dollar more per gallon. We only fill the vehicles ever 2-4 weeks, but we have still felt the pinch of rising fuel prices. Have you ever thought what else might be affected by raising oil prices?

Disposable diapers are made of petroleum – about 30% by some estimates. The Wall Street Journal recently published that Kimberly-Clark the maker of Huggies will be increasing prices 3-7%.

Where does this leave families already struggling to provide food for their families? Another article I recently read tells of such families leaving their babies in their diapers longer than necessary or even trying to reuse soiled disposable diapers.

So, why would these families not just use cloth diapers? Well, there is an initial start up cost and laundering tasks. Low income families often don’t own a washing machine so how would they wash the diapers?

In our home we use “modern” cloth diapers like BumGenius and Fuzzibunz (to name a few). This means, they are almost just like a disposable except they are made of cotton and polyester which can be washed and reused. In fact, Jennifer Labit, the inventor of BumGenius, was in the exact economic situation I described above. She turned her situation into a hugely successful enterprise. These modern ones are also significantly more expensive than the old school flat diapers.

Additionally, we have a diaper sprayer so no dunking or swishing in the toilet. Just spray off into the toilet. Add this to modern cloth diapers and there is a reason it has been so easy for us. More expensive than flat diapers but still less than the total cost of disposables over the diapering years of a single child.

Flat cloth diapers are “old school”. These are the birds eye cotton single layer diapers my mother used, but they can also include other single layer cotton fabrics like flannel or old t-shirt jersey material. In fact, I was telling my mom about this challenge and asking her if she’d be fine changing the baby during the week of this challenge. She smiled and said, “Now these are cloth diapers. I can help you.”

Kim, at Dirty Diaper Laundry, one of my favorite cloth diaper blogs, came up with the Flats Challenge. You can ready more here if you’d like. Here are the rules:

·  You MUST use Flats.
·  You MUST handwash them.  How is up to you.  (bathtub, sink, large wash tub, portable non electronic washing machine, or camp style washer (bucket and plunger- think churning butter)
·  You MUST air dry them.  (indoors or outdoors, makes no difference)
·  You MUST limit your number of covers in rotation to 5 or less.
·  You can use any detergent you want.  (Keep in mind that you still want cloth safe detergents)
·  You can still use your nighttime diapers but I ask that you try to make flats work.  Maybe try a prefold wrapped in a flat.
·  You can use disposable liners.
·  You CAN’T use a diaper sprayer.  I thought long and hard about this one, but at an average cost of 40.00 this is one diaper accessory that is out of range for many families.  Dunk, swish, flush, or scrape!
·  You MUST start the morning of May 23 and end the evening of May 30.

Bebe Sister wearing the fleece diaper cover I made for the challenge.
I am not certain how this will go and worst case scenario I can go back to my regular diapering habits. However, I really do want to see how difficult or easy it is to do the super cost efficient form of diapering. Next week I will tell you what supplies I will be using. Then after the challenge begins I will post updates with how we are doing.

Have you ever undertaken a challenge where you were not really sure how it was going to end?


Crunchy Beach Mama said...

I will NOT be doing this challenge as it does NOT appeal to me AT ALL!! lol :)

Can't wait to hear all the mamas stories!

Caitlin said...

Haha! I would say that motherhood is a challenge that I have undertaken that I am not sure how it is going to end!

I am VERY impressed that you are taking on this challenge! It sounds very hard to me, but I am a LAZY cloth diaperer who loves my BG and diaper sprayer! :) Good luck and I am excited to see how it turns out!

Charis's Mum said...

Glad to see you joining the challenge!! I received my flats in the mail about a week ago and prepped half of them last night. Looking forward to reading how you're doing with it!!

Kim said...

I had no idea that disposable diapers were made from petroleum! Good for you my friend for being so committed to something so great!

JKMommy said...

haha read Crunchy Beach Mama's comment and I agree the thought of doing this is NOT appealing. But I AM doing it b/c I want to see what it's like if I were in that situation, and I want to know first hand if it's really feasible given the time and the type of diapers involved. It certainly would be nobody's FIRST choice when cloth diapering, I imagine, but I want to have the experience! :)

septembermom said...

Way to go, super mama!! You are ready for this challenge, I can tell. Good luck!!