Tuesday, March 24, 2009

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Back to Basics with Prefolds!

All too often we talk about how “easy” and “modern” cloth diapering has become… no more folding diapers and using pins and rubber pants. And, while I genuinely appreciate the advances in cloth diapering, I also appreciate the simplicity of prefold diapers too!


Now, I know some of you are a little intimated by prefolds… I, myself, thought there was no way in the world I would like prefolds; so much so I bought a couple dozen used prefolds so I could save my money for other diapers I liked better. However, after having experimented with them, I fell in love with their overall versatility and, believe it or not, their ease of use!


Prefold diapers, typically made from 100% cotton twill, are very absorbent, easy to clean and VERY multi-purpose! They can be fastened with either good old-fashioned diaper pins, a Snappi, or don’t fasten them at all – simply tri-fold the diaper and stuff it inside a diaper cover for a super quick and easy diaper change!

Oftentimes I recommend prefolds and covers to parents for the early weeks, especially when babies are little poo factories! Honestly, it never fails; just as soon as you put that fresh new diaper on, you hear the gurgle and the ensuing explosion! While Pocket diapers and All-in-One diapers are convenient, it is a lot of wear and tear on a diaper, especially if you’re using One-Size diapers which you intend to last for a few years! Prefolds are a perfect solution.

Prefolds are a wonderful staple in the cloth diapering world. It’s the only cloth diaper, Flat diapers aside, which can not only be used as a diaper, but as an insert for a Pocket diaper, a burp cloth, a household cleaning rag, and they do wonders for polishing furniture or even your car!

Prefolds can easily be dyed or tie-dyed for a splash of color too. Able to withstand more vigorous washes, these diapers last for years giving you the greatest value for your money!

Additionally, prefolds provide you with a plethora of diaper covering options! PUL covers such as Thirsties or One-Size Wonder Wraps diaper covers are wonderful, relatively inexpensive and long-lasting covers. Depending on how frequently you are doing diaper laundry and what prefold method you use, you can get by with as little as 4-6 covers; making prefolds the most economical cloth diapering options!

Other diaper cover options include fleece (which naturally repels and wicks away water) such as the Bummis Polar Fleece Diaper Wrap or wool (which naturally absorbs up to 30% its weight) such as the virtually bomb-proof Imse Vimse Wool Diaper cover. Fleece is the easiest to clean and can even be tossed in with your regular loads of laundry. Wool, quite surprisingly, isn’t difficult to care for at all (just takes a little while to dry). Wool is also a wonderful night solution for those of you with little super soakers!

Not interested in the “second step” of putting on a diaper cover? Then Shorties or Longies are a wonderful option to eliminate the need for pants altogether. Simply put on a pair of fleece or wool shorts or pants and voila! Instant, stay dry diaper cover and clothing solution all in one!

Crafty? Sew your own fitted or contoured shaped diapers for dollars less with prefolds

Cloth diapering on a dime can still be fun and easy with prefolds! So consider getting back to the basics today!


- By Serena

52 comments:

Lindsay Anne said...

I am a prefolds girl and really liked reading your takes on them :)

Brena said...

I love my prefolds. I've cut most of them up into contours, but I couldn't live without them! And I love how little thought you have to put into caring for them!

Upstatemomof3 said...

Very interesting post. We actually decided to use cloth diapers for the economic reasons and therefor have mostly prefolds and Thirsties covers. We love them and find them plenty easy to use. :)

Lauren said...

I have a new baby coming in May and it will be my first time cloth diapering a newborn. I think I am going to do half fitteds and half prefolds with maybe a few all-in-ones in there for when we are out and about. I can't wait to try out cloth on my new baby!!

Kristin said...

I've heard so many people say they thought they wouldn't like prefolds and then they love them-- I'm one of those people! They are so simple; you don't have to worry much at ALL about repelling, wicking, etc.; they are super easy to take care of; and they make you feel so connected to all the mothers in history who used prefolds or diapers very similar. Plus they're CHEAP! Love them!

one day in the life of me said...

I feel the same way. They are our basic diaper, very dependable. When starting CD that's all I had on my NB and it was great. I love my pockets but I prefer good ol prefolds for a NB.

Shannon said...

I started cloth diapering mainly for economic reasons, so it made sense to get prefolds and covers. I now have a few all in ones and pockets, but I really love using the prefolds best! They are so easy to use, and the covers are so cute.

Katrina said...

Great post. When I first started cloth diapering I never dreamed I'd actually buy and use prefolds after seeing great pockets like BG 3.0's. However, I did eventually try prefolds,and flats as well and love them.

beetleofblue said...

While I think prefolds are good for a newborn that is easy to diaper (they just lay there), pockets or AIOs are better for a wiggling toddler. Speed is key and I cannot see using pins or a snappie with a toddler.

Katie said...

I was surprise by how much I did like prefolds - I don't use them often, but they're great when I know we'll just be around the house and I want to give my pricey diapers a break!

mearat said...

This was very informative! I may be able to do this as it seems like a cheaper option. Just how do I make a cover, I can sew.

Suzy said...

I started out with prefolds and was surprised how easy they were too. I thought for sure they would be a pain. I never thought about making them into fitteds but you have giving my an easy way to make an easy diapering solution for my wiggly worm of a daughter

hosiewosie said...

I love prefolds too! Lately mine aren't as soft, and sort of scratchy. Anyone have ideas as why and what I can do to remedy it? I'm pretty sure we have hard water so it might be as simple as getting Calgon, I haven't ordered it yet. Any one else experience prefolds losing softness and getting scratchy?

Stacy said...

We decided to try cloth diapers because they are SO MUCH CHEAPER! but I was nervous about using pre-folds even though they are the most economical. This post answered questions I had about ease and how to use the covers with them. Thanks a bunch!

Montana Mama said...

I TOTALLY agree!!! I love using prefolds! And like you said, I cut mine into Fitteds! In the next day or two, I'll have instructions on my blog for how to do it! I love them!

Thanks for supporting us "prefold gals" Serena! :)

Brittany said...

I have to admit I am one who is super intimidated by prefolds! I am considering them for the first little while until my BG 3.0's will fit my baby.

Thanks for the great post about how easy they are!

Denise said...

I didn't think I would like prefolds either, it is amazing how easy they are to use & care for. I've got to try out the longie option, that sounds so cool!

Dani said...

I wish I would have felt the love of prefolds before spending WAY too much money on pockets. Right now I love fitteds and prefolds because they're so easy to use, but mostly because they're so easy to wash.

MeghanT said...

I have a few prefolds but they are one of my least favorite. But there have been days when I have stinky inserts or repelling fleece and I think how easy prefolds are to take care of and use. They just aren't as fun!

AScott said...

This makes me think I should give prefolds another shot. :)

Jess said...

I am so not a prefold girl ;) but thanks for the post :D

Serena said...

Hi HowsieWosie!

How old are the prefolds? Do you know if they are made from Chinese or Indian cotton?

Indian cotton is a bit softer than Chinese cotton. Additionally hard water can make fabrics not as soft as they traditionally are - a water softener may help.

Lastly - are you line drying the prefolds? I do know that line/sun drying makes them pretty stiff... so I usually put them out in the sun to remove stains then toss them back in the washer for the additional rinse/spin and toss them in the dryer to plump/quilt up.

I hope this helps!!!

Kristen said...

Thanks so much for giving the scoop on prefolds! I did think that they were intimidating prior to reading your post and the comments!

Kristin said...

A friend gave me some prefolds in preparation for my second child...I've started using them with my oldest and while they take a bit of practice they seem easy to use.

Tania said...

I'm so happy to have read this blog, I"m currently waiting for my prefolds order to come in. They were the most cost effective for us to invest in so I'm glad to know that you use them because you love them and I also ordered the wonderwraps. I'm just so excited to get my packages! Thanks and your baby is precious!

team krasean said...

I used prefolds with both of my sons (now 4.5 and 2.5). We loved Bummis covers and mine are pretty worn. I have a baby girl now who wears a mix of prefold and pockets. I started using pocket diapers (fuzzi bunz) because my boys needed something for overnight for heavy wetters. I got a bit hooked on the cuteness of having a girly cute diaper on my baby. And, pockets are really nice when we're on the go.

My prefolds and covers have held up for 3 kids - a HUGE savings in diapering! It's great.

Liz said...

My DD is wearing a prefold now as I am reading this post after being in sposies for almost two weeks! Even though I probably have enough pockets to diaper two LO, I do love my prefolds. DD is still in the infant size and small covers and now that she is almost 15lbs, these are super trim! I do need to buy some prefolds in the next size...

BTW, I am a little confused with the fleece pants option. Like could I use old navy fleece pants or do they have to be "special" fleece pants? And then could one use those one pair all day?

I usually just trifold but now that I finally found my snappi, I think I will give it a try! Also, since my DD seems to get yeast rashes, are prefolds a good thing or bad? I'm a little confused on that too.

Thanks for the great post, Serena!

Serena said...

Hi Liz!

If you're using fleece longies they do need to be made from super thick fleece, ideally polar fleece or something comparable. You would need to change them out in order to allow them to air out/dry between changes...

Regular fleece pants can be used for overnight protection over a pocket diaper but this particular fabric weight isn't designed to be used as a diaper cover.

If your little one is having a problem with yeast rashes you can use prefolds - or any other cloth diaper... HOWEVER, it is very important to disinfect the diapers to make sure the yeast is being killed off so when you put the clean diaper back on your little one the bacteria isn't infecting your little one again... It's important to use a liner with any medicated cream you are using to clear up the diaper rash and it's also important to wash the wipes and liners (if using cloth liners) separately from your diapers in order to ensure the residues from the cream aren't being deposited onto the diaper which can lead to buildup issues.

Usually a little vinegar in the rinse (1/4 cup for pocket diapers and up to 1/2 cup for prefolds or inserts) should suffice. As an added precaution you will want to put the diapers out in the sun to dry - the sun will kill any residual bacteria that the vinegar didn't happen to kill off.

Hope this helps!
-Serena

KayStarGoesRawr said...

I used only prefolds and Thirsties covers when my son was a newborn...he was only 6 lbs so even the XS covers were big on him. I really loved getting to fold and snappi diapers onto him-it was kind of fun. (: I wasn't sure I would stick with cloth diapering so I did not want to invest too much money into it. I only used those for a month though because he became a fatty so quickly.

I am a pocket fanatic but it was nice to start out with covers and prefolds.

The fleece shorties and longies would make prefolds even easier to use...I may try that.

Dani said...

I sometimes use prefolds or flats as inserts in my Fuzzi Bunz diapers - they don't have the stink issues that microfiber can have.

Dani said...

hosiewosie - try vinegar in the rinse cycle, or add an extra rinse, both work for us.

Trisha said...

After only using cloth diapers for a few weeks and trying a few of each type, I am loving my prefolds. It was intresting to read what you think about them.

Crystal said...

Prefolds scare me. We tried a couple with my 18-month-old and I didn't like how complicated they were or the fit (well, lack thereof!). I am thinking about using them for this next baby, though--maybe I just had the wrong size? And needed to learn how to fold them differently? I guess we'll see!

Nikki said...

I started out with prefolds and covers and then got into pockets (Fuzzi Bunz). I"ve recently fallen in love with fitteds, especially under my hand-knitted longies: so comfy and cute! SOOOO, were can I find instructions on how to make prefolds into fitteds? I have 2 dozen prefolds that pretty much just hang out in the closet and it would be great to use them. I have basic sewing skills..... :-)

Also, I don't know if this is the place to ask, but we just found out that we're expecting again in November!!!! Since I didn't start cloth diapering until my son was 14 months old, I'm wondering: What do you recommend for a newborn stash? I'd like to start building one gradually!

Liz said...

Do you know if kelly's will stock indian prefolds in the future? I need to "size up" and I really like the indian over chinese...

Thanks Serena for the vinegar tip, I actually washed ALL of my dipes, etc this weekend (three seperate loads), did the vinegar rinse and hung them out in the sun (which I usually do). LO has only had the rash twice, once with antibiotics, the other maybe I never got it all out in the first place. BUT the vinegar tip was HUGE! Thanks!

BTW, have you used Northern Essence Better Butter? Im thinking maybe I should switch to that as it has GSE?

Amanda said...

I have some Gerber prefolds that were given to me to use as burp cloths but I actually use them on my DD w/ pins & a bunchy white Gerber pull over cover when I'm stripping all of the other diapers.....they don't seem big enough or very absorbent at all....but, I heard Gerber is not a good brand for Cloth Diapering.

Tri-folding it & using a diaper cover sounds even easier than pockets (because you don't have to stuff). Thanks to your post, I may try some higher quality pre-folds & wraps w/ the next baby.

Amanda G.

Anonymous said...

Prefold fan here! Bummis Super Whisper fan too. Love this combo with a snappi. Can't beat the price either and no stripping! :)

Hosie Wosie, I second the vinegar thing. Try a little splash in your rinse cycle or put some in your softener receptacle. Should soften dipes if you tumble dry.

Matt, Sara and Kinsley :) said...

Prefolds are my favorite! Serena how do you like the new WonderWraps?. I wasn't a huge fan of the first version, but now I see that they are improved.

A Psych Mommy said...

I love our prefolds! They are so versatile and once you get the hang of it, are pretty easy to use!

Serena said...

Nikki: Here's a great pictorial from Diaper Swappers on making fitteds from prefolds:
http://www.diaperswappers.com/forum/...d.php?t=328621
http://www.diaperswappers.com/forum/showthread.php?p=2943718

Generally if you do a Google search you'll find a wide variety of resources!!! Just type in: making fitteds from prefolds

Also, for a newborn I recommend at least 2-3 dozen prefolds (depending on how often you plan to do laundry - and honestly you can't go wrong with too many prefolds - especially how inexpensive they are). I prefer the Thirsties XS covers for the newborn stage - for some reason the Bummis I tried wicked really bad, but in all fairness they were used and it could have been they weren't properly cared for.

I'd also recommend a either a few BG AIO in XS, Soft Bums or Rocky Mountain diapers for a newborn... these are great for trips outside.

Serena said...

Sara: I really like the Wonder Wraps One Size!

I haven't tried the previous version but this is one amply sized cover!!! The kiwi color is GORGEOUS and is virtually identical to the Ribbit green color of the BG's (truly a lovely green color). They do have a tendency to leave red marks around the thighs because the elastic is so thin and stretchy - but we haven't had a leak so I'm not too worried about (sometimes the red marks are usually from compression too).

Blueberry is coming out with a OS cover too - AND it's going to be available with SNAPS! I'm very excited to test the one with snaps - and I typically really like BB products so I'll keep you posted!

the momma said...

I'm wicked excited to use prefolds on our newborn within the next week or so... whenever she decides to come out! Even though she's our 3rd daughter, she'll be the first to have a fluffy bum from birth to potty... feeling a little anxious about the newborn CDing, but excited to see how it goes! And those diaper wraps are just so darn cute... who wouldn't be excited?

JoMama said...

Your son is really adorable. We love prefolds - cheap and super easy to care for!

Sara in Seattle said...

I loved prefolds when my baby was little, but now that she is 8 months old and the diapers are bigger I have trouble getting a trim fit. Any tips?

Serena said...

Liz: We don't have any "right now" plans for stocking Indian prefolds... we're looking, we just want to make sure we find some that are of great quality! We hope to potentially have something lined up around Summer time!

I haven't had a chance to try the Northern Essence Better Butt(er) cream but I just ordered some to test out... we've been fighting a yeast rash for a couple weeks (primarily due to thrush - but thankfully my little guy didn't have the mouth infection - only down in his netherlands - LOL)... Hoping to have a post about this soon - so hang in there!

Serena said...

Sara in Seattle: Getting a trim fit with prefolds isn't impossible - however if you're using a premium sized prefold (for 15-30 pounds) on a baby in the smaller weight range then yes, you're looking at a bit of bulk.

There are some "sized" prefolds (we don't carry these in our shops - as this is a more specialized market) but those would cut out the excess bulk. The downside, however, is babies generally outgrow them rather quickly... so the sized prefolds I purchased secondhand/used - while they fit "just right" and reduced the bulk - my little guy outgrew them very very fast.

Are you folding the excess up front or in the back? I've also seen the diapers put on backwards but this is quite tricky to do with a wiggly worm.

Senior Family said...

great post :) i like pf sometimes too ;) but really love my pockets hehe

CalebNKylesMommy said...

I'm waiting on my PFs to get here :D Cant wait!

simplestorm said...

I'm going to try some of these-- I thought BG diapers might be easier to deal with, but after having them and reading about prefolds, I'm not so sure. Seems like every diaper has its place!

Kristen said...

Thank you so much for posting this! My husband and I have been looking at Thirsties covers. Right now we are using the One-Size BG's.

dirtydiaperlaundry.com said...

I am going back to prefolds, except I am using OBV ones and embellished ones. I began with prefolds and thirsties covers but my son, a newborn at the time, kept getting a very red bum. I suspected his skin wasn't reacting well to the redness. If I switched to a sposie it was no longer red. So, we stopped using them for a while and started up with BG 3.0 once they fit. I tied fleece liners but they didn't seem to help. I do love prefolds now, they are great when we practice ECing at home.

The Chapman's said...

I would love to know how you sew yours to fit! Can you give me more info? Thanks!!!!
Amelia