Flats are cheap. Flats are readily available. But are they realistic to use outside the house? Definitely! The important thing to remember is to keep it simple and be prepared.
When we go out, I pad fold our flats into GroVia shells. Most of the time, this works great. It can be a challenge with Jaxon, though, since he's very squirmy and can take the diaper apart with one hand in about 2 seconds. If I know I will have to do a quick diaper change in the car or might have to change his diaper somewhere that's cramped, I will stuff a pocket diaper. It really just makes things easier. My Mabu Baby covers have also made changes easier, since a pad folded flat fits nicely into the diaper pad holder and keeps the pad fold from sliding around while I struggle to keep Jaxon still. When handwashing, a simple wet bag, like those from GroVia, work best.
Yesterday was our anniversary. We weren't able to do anything last night, so Jason wants to take me out tonight. Alone. Without Jaxon. He asked his parents to keep Jaxon for a few hours while we go have a quiet dinner. We've never left Jaxon anywhere before! I have only left Jaxon a couple of times with Jason. This will definitely be a test for me!
Since we've never left him, no one has ever changed Jaxon's diaper except for Jason or me. When I realized that my mother-in-law's introduction to changing cloth diapers would be with flats, I decided I'd stuff pockets instead. Here I've been bragging about modern cloth diapers and how easy they are for all these months and then I show up with flats & covers for her to use? It hardly seemed fair. I have a Softbums Omni shell in Aplix that I used at the doctor on Thursday. It washed up nicely afterwards and was dry by morning. I also stuffed an Applecheeks the other day for nighttime use and so I'll use it again. I will probably send a BumGenius stuffed with a flat as well, and some pad folds inside GroVia's just in case. I haven't had any issues with my pockets repelling, so this is a realistic option for using flats on a daily basis, even when handwashing is necessary.
I didn't post on any tips yesterday and most of the ones I had were covered by other bloggers anyway. I haven't seen this one yet, though, so I'll mention it now. I have found that blue Dawn (many people use this for stripping diapers) works well to clear up stink (I had one cover that was stinky) and helps with staining (it got all of the staining out of one of the pocket diapers I used the other day). I've never used blue Dawn for stripping since I've heard conflicting things about it with front loaders. However, it really did work nicely for this purpose and I've been using it for the past 2 days now.
On a side note...my husband was outside processing chickens (that's the nice way of saying he was killing them so they can be eaten) while I was hanging my handwashed flats out. I felt all pioneer like for about 15 minutes. Then I came back in to the air conditioning and felt much, much better. I don't mind using flats, but I'm so glad that handwashing isn't part of my daily life.