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My diaper stash drives my husband crazy.

I find it amusing that for the past three years I’ve been teaching people how to use cloth diapers and he’s been forgetting how to use them. But it’s not so much that he’s been forgetting how as that I have far too many different types of diapers for any one person to be able to use–unless, of course, that person is obsessed with them like I am. But I can understand his frustration. He never knows, when he goes to change a diaper, what kind of fresh diaper he’s going to find. And even if he thinks he knows how to put it on, chances are that I’ve discovered a better way than the way he learned when Anastasia was little and will sit by biting my tongue in my effort to not correct him.

This is because I like to experiment with diapers.

But isn’t that true of anything you enjoy?

People who love to knit will always want to try new patterns, new types of yarn, and new techniques. People who love to write will want to challenge themselves with new genres or types of clients. People who love backpacking are always looking for new trails. If you deeply love something, you don’t want to stick with one thing that works–you’re always looking for something better. Because no matter how great something is, you always think you can improve it.

Or is that just me?

In any case, despite the fact that I avoid using diapers and consider myself committed to being “diaper free,” I deeply love my cloth diapers. It might even be because I avoid using them–after all, if diapers are nothing more than a medium for catching poo, then it’s hard to love them too much. But if they’re really a fashion statement that functions as occasional back-up for keeping clothes dry, then, well, you can love them even more.

And so, partly because I’m always looking for a better diapering system, and partly because diapering needs change as your baby grows, I find it impossible to commit to one type of diaper. My husband would really like for me to do this. He would like to get rid of everything but one type of diaper–preferably an all-in-one with velcro, so he doesn’t have to think so much about how to put it on–and just use that. And part of me would actually be okay with that. In fact, yesterday I was seriously considering it. I think I could handle getting rid of everything but my EC trainers and my Fuzzi Bunz one-size pockets. Well, and a couple of additional nighttime options, maybe. But anyway. I was actually considering this.

And then yesterday evening I fell in love with flats.

I have never liked flat diapers much. As with prefolds, which I never liked much either when Anastasia was a baby, I suspect this is because I never had any good ones. When Anastasia was a baby, I was too overwhelmed by the possibilities to actually order prefolds or flats online, so I bought what I could get at Target–the ugly un-absorbent Gerber prefolds and flats–and I only used them because I couldn’t justify the expense of buying an entire stash of Fuzzi Bunz pockets. So when all my trainers or pockets were dirty, I used flats.

Now my husband is actually begging me to buy an entire stash of Fuzzi Bunz pockets, which would be amazing to have, but am I buying them? No. Instead, what do I want? These:

In case that cute picture leaves you in doubt, let me clarify. Flat diapers are exactly what you think: they’re a flat piece of cotton, about 27″ by 27″. They’re the diapers our great-grandparents used. Usually they’re either white or an unbleached off-white, but Swaddlebees (one of my favorite diaper companies) offers them in prints. How cute is that?

Of course, if you want a waterproof system, you have to use a cover over them, so nobody would see the prints unless you were changing the diaper. But with EC, a cover is always optional. Besides, I could pair them with homemade wool longies like these:

–making a truly adorable outfit.

But back to my current sudden love of flats. I don’t have any nice flat diapers right now–just the cheap Gerber ones. But I was using them anyway, mostly because they’re so trim and kind of fun to fold. The Gerber flats will hold one pee, barely, and a second pee will cause a leak. Which is fine when you’re changing after every pee anyway, but it can be a pain when you’re out of the house and your baby is sleeping and you don’t want to disturb him even though you know he woke up just enough to pee. But yesteday, just for the heck of it, I thought I’d try a receiving blanket as a flat.

I’ve been trying to figure out good uses for receiving blankets. I hardly have any, mostly because I thought they were kind of useless and begged people not to give me any. They’re too small for swaddling, and although they’re decent for using as burp clothes or wiping up spills, prefolds work much better for both, so I never really used receiving blankets at all. But yesterday it occurred to me that they’re just the right size for a flat diaper, and probably more absorbent than my cheap Gerber ones.

So I put a receiving blanket on Teddy as a diaper, and that is when I fell in love with flats. Because I saw how wonderful they could be. It was trim and fit well, but it was really absorbent. I changed after one pee, but it definitely could have held more. I can even imagine these babies lasting overnight, especially with an extra insert as a doubler.

In fact, I’m not sure that receiving blankets aren’t better than actual (high-quality) flat diapers would be. Which means I need to do a comparison test. And hey, when I can a full days’ worth of diapers for under $30 (and I need something anyway since Teddy is about to outgrow his prefolds and isn’t big enough yet for most of my pockets and trainers), how can I resist?

And the bonus is that if I get enough high-quality flats, I can convert all my old Gerber ones to paper towel replacements. And maybe then my mother will stop bugging me to buy paper towels.

But I may need to get a few more one-size pockets for Daddy’s use as well, at least enough to last till Teddy is big enough for the medium ones I already have. Something tells me that Daddy isn’t going to be too keen on learning the flat diaper origami fold.