Because a flat diaper is a large square of fabric, it needs to be folded into the shape of a diaper. There are several ways to fold a flat to form a diaper that can be wrapped around your baby, and then snappied or pinned on. You can also take a flat and fold it so it lays into a diaper cover. Flat fold diapers are not water proof diapers and do require a cover.
Flats are great for any age baby! You fold them as big or as small as you need. I would recommend a doubler for older or heavy wetting babies. Another flat, preemie prefolds, or hemp doublers are great to add extra absorbency to your flats.
Flats do come in different sizes. Some brands such as Osocozy make a smaller flat diaper that is great for newborns and smaller babies. I think these would work well for most babies, but if you have an older toddler a larger sized flat would work better for length.
What Makes Flats Fun?
I know your thinking, diapering fun? Well I think so, and so do many moms that use cloth. With flat diapers you get to learn fun folds such as the Origami Fold or the Kite Fold. You can also dye your flats taking them from bland to brilliant with bright colors. I have some tye dye flats I purchased from Vivid Tribe and I love using them!
Another thing I love about flat diapers is you can find some printed flats. In other countries like Europe and Sweden they use flats that are printed. They are very cute and make using flats even more fun. They are a bit hard to find, but if you search around you may find some.
Different Types of Flats
You can also find flat fold diapers made of different materials other than birdseye cotton. Birdseye flats are the most common and the least expensive though. Other more expensive flats are made with Muslin, hemp bamboo or cotton flannel. These are a little more absorbent than the traditional flats, but will cost $7 and up per flat and are hard to find.
The latest find in the world of flats are flour sack towels. They are carried at places such as Wal-Mart and Target in the kitchen section. You can get a pack of 5 for less than $5! Sounds weird, I know, but these make great flat diapers and are just as good as (and some say better than) any flat you can buy at a cloth diaper store! Not to mention you can pick them up yourself locally and save on shipping. The ultimate in frugal diapering!
These flats are definitely economical, but it can be fun to mix up your stash with some soft and stretchy bamboo velour flats or some printed muslin flats from Imse Vimse.
I think flat fold diapers are really a great addition to any stash. Not only are they great diapers, but they also have many other uses as well. Flats can be used to stuff a pocket diaper, or as a doubler with another flat or prefold. They can also be used as burp rags or for cleaning around the house. You can even use a flat as a light blanket for your baby in the summer, or you can cut a flat up and use it as a liner to protect your fitteds from stains. I think flat fold diapers are the most versatile and fun diaper!