Flats for Newbies

 Flat Cloth Diaper

Looking for an inexpensive way to diaper your baby? Flat cloth diapers may be the way to go. These old fashioned diapers are the same ones used by our grandparents and great-grandparents before the invention of disposables and modern cloth diapers. Flats are large, single layer squares of typically Birdseye weave cotton or sheer muslin fabric.

They are the ultimate one size diaper, fitting baby from birth to potty training. The same flat that can be folded small enough to fit a tiny newborn can fit an older child as well. Flats are very absorbent. They can even be used overnight for some babies! There are many ways to fold flats to fit your baby and customize the absorbency, but the three main folds are the Origami fold, the Jo fold, and the Pad fold.


 Flats Folding


Once folded to fit your baby, they can be secured with either pins or a Snappi. The Snappi is a modern invention that simplifies securing the diaper on your baby without having to worry about pricking your baby or yourself with pins! It is very simple to use. Just hook a tab on one side of the diaper, pull the other tab across to the other side, then pull down and hook the lower tab! Just be sure you have enough fabric between your baby and the tines. It truly makes using flats cloth diapers so much easier.


 Origami Fold


If you feel intimidated by learning the folds that wrap around your baby, the Pad Fold is by far the simplest. All you do is fold it down in half, then fold it over making a smaller square, and then fold it in thirds. It is then simply laid into a waterproof cover.   


Prefold in Flip Cover 


Since flats are made of natural fibers, they don’t hold onto stink or have as much trouble with buildup as synthetic fabrics sometimes do. You can take a break from microfiber inserts and stuff your pockets with flats! Being that they are a single layer of fabric, they are so easy to wash and dry quickly. Many people use these diapers when they don’t have access to a washer or dryer because they are so easy to launder. You also don’t have to worry about using a “cloth diaper safe” detergent with flats. Any detergent that’s gentle enough for your baby should be good enough for these diapers! They hold up very well and can be bleached as needed.


Flats not only make great diapers, the also can be useful in other ways. You can use a flat for a light blanket, burp cloth, or light weight nursing cover. When your baby’s diapering days are over, they can be repurposed as great dish towels.


If you are looking for an inexpensive, easy to care for cloth diapering solution that will take you baby from birth to potty training, flat cloth diapers may be right up your alley.



  • Inexpensive
  • Versatile
  • Easy to wash
  • Multi-purpose
  • Less prone to build up and stink
  • Natural fibers
  • Can be folded to customize absorbency



  • Have to be folded to fit baby
  • Require a waterproof cover