The "OR Flat" Experiment: Infant

In preparation for the Flats and Handwashing Challenge I was experimenting with materials I have on hand to see what works.  Which brought me to these...

100% cotton blue sterile hospital towels.

These towels are packed in bags, once the bags are open the towels are no longer sterile. Sometimes one towel is used for a surgical procedure then the rest of the bag is thrown away.  The hospital can't reuse them because blue = sterile and I am sure we would all prefer not having mistakes made in that department. 

But do they need to be sent to the landfill?

I have been using these as unpaper towels for years, they clean up anything, are super duper absorbent and they wash up beautifully.  My inner hippy is very pleased. 

Now the real question, can they be used to diaper a child?

OR towels are small compared to most flats, which is both a blessing and a curse.  Measuring in at 14" x 21" after shrinking, they are comparable to a gerber flat in size.  I love a good origami fold, but that isn't going to fly with these, my first application was with a simple angel wing fold and a snappi.

Don't mind Dominic's horrified expression he just felt exposed without his cover.

I covered him up with a simple PUL cover and set him free to roam.

See all happy now :D

I wrapped his little sensitive bum in towels all day, one towel, angel fold, snappi, cover.  I added a second towel pad folded inside for absorbency for naptime. I changed him every 2 hours, his skin was dry with no signs of irritation, the towels were wet but not completely saturated, the cover was clean and dry.  Now, how about #2... well if you have an exclusively breastfed baby, you know their poop is special, like a watery, mustard explosion.  Dominic likes to do the majority of his business at 3am, because he secretly likes torturing me.  I have not done overnight with the towels alone, I LOVE my mattress, so within the guidelines of the challenge I stuffed my favorite poopsplosion containing pocket with a single pad folded towel.  At 3am the poop was gusset to gusset, all the moisture was soaked up by the towel, no leaks.  I put him back in the two towel/cover combo for the rest of the night and he woke up happy.  

Overall the results for diapering are positive, for a low income family this is a great alternative to flats, the smaller size makes hand washing and line drying easier, and the fact that they can be acquired for free makes them a great choice.

I will attempt to do the entire challenge using only these towels, I am working on getting a couple dozen more to share with a few other challenge mamas. I will see how many I can get 'new' and send them out free for shipping Monday (5/14) so they can be washed and ready for the challenge. 

Send me an email if you are interested! outnumberedmommy@gmail.com

Today I will be attempting 24hrs in towels on my 2 year old.  I'll keep you updated!

Here is a quick preview of what I am attempting on Jacob...


  1. how do you get a hold of the OR towels? do you just ask the hospital? or do you work there? do they freely give them over to you? or do you pay for them? i would love some of these!