Okay, I’m not going to be able to hold this in. Every cloth diaper mama has her thing, and my thing is prefolds. I have been diapering babies in prefolds since I was about 8 years old and my mom let me change one of my baby sister’s diapers. They appeal to me on so many levels: nostalgia, craftiness (because you do need a little creativity to get them right), absorbency, thriftiness, easy to clean, durability….I guess I should save my excitement for the pros section.
So first of all, what’s a prefold? Prefolds are diapers. They are usually cotton, although hemp, or bamboo are options too. Be careful buying very cheap prefolds as sometimes the center portion is stuffed with polyester and is not very absorbent. A good premium prefold will come in multiple sizes so your baby can grow up with them. We used cheapies with our girls, and I wish I could go back and buy better prefolds. Now that I know what I was missing, I would never go back.
A prefold is called a prefold because all diapers used to be flat and were just one layer of cloth. That square piece of cloth was then folded and secured in place (Usually with diaper pins). Things have come a long way and even in the 70’s and 80’s prefold diapers were available. They are rectangles that have a thicker portion in the middle. Many prefold brands will advertise thickness in numbers, such as 4x8x4. This means there are 4 layers of cloth on the outsides and 8 layers in the middle.
Putting a Prefold on a baby
Most parents no longer use diaper pins. There is a nifty newish invention called a snappi that is a sort of bungee cord to hold on a diaper…only way better. The snappie forms a three way hold to hold the sides and middle on your babe for a snug fit. Allow me to demonstrate…
Place baby on diaper.
Lift baby’s bottom and fold middle portion of diaper in thirds. Let baby’s bottom rest on folded portion to secure it there.
Bring folded portion through baby’s legs.
Fold down any excess diaper in front.
Attach snappi to one corner of back of diaper.
Hold snappi snuggly and stretch it across baby’s waist to attach to other corner of back of diaper.** Important** Make sure snappi is pulled tight. If the snappi is not stretched at all, then the claws will not keep hold.
Finally, pull the snappi down in the middle and attach it to the portion of the diaper that comes between baby’s legs, near the crotch.
If your snappi is attached properly, it should be stretching in three directions.
Now it is time to put a cover on your baby. Choose whatever type of cover you like best. If a little bit of prefold is hanging out of the elastic at the waist or legs, gently tuck it in. Voila, your baby is wearing a prefold and cover.
Economical. These are the ultimate budget diaper. You pretty much cannot get a better pricetag for your diapers than prefolds. At Green Mountain Diapers, their premium prefolds go for 15-45 dollars a dozen depending on the size.
Easy to wash. I do love some of the pocket diapers out there. I do. They are great options for easy fast changes especially when you are out and about…or trying to change a squirmy 10 month old in a tiny stall in a department store bathroom. But, prefolds are so easy to care for. You can wash them in super hot water, boil them, dry them on high heat, bleach them, run over them with your car (not that I recommend this)…but it goes to my next point.
They last and last and last. Are you planning to have 6 kids? If you want to buy diapers that will last through all of them. Get yourself some nice prefolds. Get every size as you need them. And then laugh and laugh when others complain about the cost of diapering….just save that money for college.
These are so versatile that you probably need a few of these no matter what other kinds of diapers you choose. Okay, so I know that not everyone is going to use prefolds and covers exclusively. So even if you decide that you are going to diaper mainly with all-in-ones, it’s a great idea to have at least a dozen prefolds. You can use them as doublers, or inserts. There was a period in time when all of my microfiber inserts were not absorbent enough, and so I gave them all away and stuffed all of my pocket diapers with prefolds. I don’t recommend giving all your microfiber away, but prefolds are a great option for getting some extra absorbency when you need it (like at night). Don’t forget that grandmothers everywhere like to use them as burpcloths, changing pads, and cleaning rags…when you are all done diapering.
They get better with age. This is not true of many products, but definitely true of prefold diapers. As you wash your prefolds over and over they get a quilted quality to them. They become softer and quilty. I think of it as a beautiful cotton haven for my babies’ bums…okay, I’m not actually that nuts…and I don’t thin those exact thoughts, but they do feel nice.
So easy to fold. With the twins we have made our guest bed into the “changing table”. We put stacks of freshly laundered prefolds onto the bed…and that’s it. Just stack them up…or fold them in half and stack them up.