Thursday, January 20, 2011

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Call Me Old Fashioned: Why Prefolds Are Better Than You Think

I found a new favorite cloth diaper. It is very absorbent and I never have leaks. It is affordable and easy to use.

No, it's not the latest pocket or all-in-one diaper. It's not fancy. There's not even a whole lot of science behind it. In fact, it's a little bit old fashioned. What is it, you may ask? It's the prefold.

Scary, yes, I know. When I first started cloth diapering my newborn four months ago, I scoffed at prefolds. Why use those ancient things when there are so many awesome new diapers on the market? But then I found out their dirty little secret: they are cheap and effective, and not nearly as difficult as I imagined them to be.

I decided to try prefolds one day because my rapidly-growing son had hit a point where I was struggling to get his diapers to fit him properly. He changed so much day to day and I was getting frustrated. I was also getting lots of leaks. And, with so many great, convenient diapers on the market, there just had to be a reason that some parents still prefered to use prefolds and flats. What did I have to lose? If I didn't like them I wouldn't be out a ton of money, and I could always use them as rags or burp cloths. I placed an order for half a dozen prefolds, a cover, and a Snappi, then searched the internet to learn the best ways to fold them.

My package arrived a few days later. I prepped the prefolds right away, so I could try them the same day; I am impatient like that. Then, skeptically, I put one on my two month old son for the first time. It actually looked like the ones I saw online! I was pretty darn proud of myself but I knew I had won the battle, not the war... how would it hold up when my son peed? Or, worse, had an explosive poop?

Perfectly, as I soon found out. I have not had a single leak since I started using prefolds. I had a couple instances where I had some slight wicking and his onesie got a little damp--my own fault, for not being more careful when putting on the covers--but never a real leak. Over the past two months I have fine-tuned the art of putting on a prefold. Not to sound too full of myself, but gosh darn it, I am good at it. I can jelly-roll those things like nobody's business.

So yes, I love my prefolds. They are much easier than I ever could have imagined, and very versatile as well. I like that I can let my son go coverless to let his skin breathe. I like that I have the option of using a fleece liner to help him feel dry. I like that I can still have fun with them, and can find prefolds in fun prints, or embellish them myself, or even dye them if I want to. And I love that, with the help of a hemp insert, my son wake up every single morning with dry sheets and jammies.

I still love (and use) my pocket diapers, and I know my likes and needs may change as my son grows. I am already learning how to deal with a very squirmy four month old, which presents a new diapering challenge. I am so glad that modern cloth diapers have made more people (myself included) hop on the cloth diapering bandwagon... but, sometimes, it's okay to be a little old-fashioned.  

By Shanon O.
The Up North Writer Mama

39 comments:

Kimberly and Jordan said...

I happened to see this post before hopping into bed. How refreshing! Ironically, I just got done ordering the next size up in prefolds and covers for my 4 month old. We LOVE our prefolds paired with Thirsties covers. Even my husband, who said that he would not cloth diaper refers to them as the 'easy diapers'!

Kudos for posting on prefolds!

Ashley said...

I love prefolds! I started with them because we were cloth diapering for financial reasons, and I was able to cloth diaper full time for about $100.

We have a handful of other diapers, and I really like them and want to try some more styles, but our stash is still about half prefolds. (My covers are in need of some TLC and retirement, sadly.)

Rune Ariala said...

I love our prefolds and we use them exclusively at home. The two big issues we have come across when using them are: grandparents, and the wiggle-monster. For some reason, grandparents who used them exclusively to diaper THEIR children now think that prefolds are "too hard". And sometimes, my wiggly toddler won't suffer to hold still long enough to put on what amounts to two diapers. So pockets have their uses, too, and it's nice to have a diverse stash. Plus, when we run out of those fancy quadruple absorbent inserts because of crazy poops, we can always throw a prefold in there and go on with the day.

Christina said...

I agree! Prefolds are FANTASTIC! When I first started cloth diapering I was convinced I would hate them because they just seemed so much more involved to me. I didn't want to deal with Snappis or pins or folding. I just wanted to stuff a pocket or hybrid diaper and be on my way. However, like you, I decided to give them a try. My son started teething and was getting runny poop from all the drool so I was changing diapers a TON every day. I was realizing my stash was running low and I needed an inexpensive alternative so I went to prefolds. I was worried how this runny poop would work with them and they did just fine!

I now find myself using them more and more and can't say enough good things about them! I decided when we have baby #2 and I need to get more diapers to increase the stash I am just going to get mostly prefolds and covers. Now I just have to teach my husband how to use them... haha.

Ginger said...

When I found out I was having twins I decided that we would mostly use prefolds. I could buy a ton of them and not spend too much. We had a few Bum Genius pocket one size when they were tiny. But they just didn't hold up to the frequent washing (we washed daily for the first year or so). I have NEVER had a leak with prefolds and covers...even when they were sick! And you can't ruin a prefold either...at least from what I have found. Our last size of prefolds last for over a year before they were in tatters and I needed to move up to the toddler size anyway. I am hoping we are close to graduating from diapers, but until that time the boys will still be in prefolds. (We don't use prefolds at night...we use bamboo fleece and wool...as it is the only thing that allows us to wake up with dry clothes and beds!)

Catherine said...

Totally agree with this post! Awesome job! I love that she said she still uses pockets- sometimes. I think we all get to be too loyal to one type of diaper, when probably one of the big reasons there are so many types of diapers is that they fit to different circumstances.

*Ross and Katy* said...

I'm glad you wrote this post because I'm scared to try the prefolds. You just might have convinced me to try some :)

Beth said...

Thanks for your wonderful post. I too like our prefolds (even after people scared me into not wanting to try them). Prefolds are my diaper of choice while at home! I'm thankful for the evolution of cloth diapers, but also like you, like the old fashioned. Thanks for the insightful post!

Amanda Mock said...

I am excited to use prefold again for my newbie. I loved them on my DD when she was little, but not so much now. They are super easy and clean so well!

Sarah Schulz said...

Great post! I make sure I have some prefolds in my stash as well and I just usually trifold or quarter fold them. They are great! I like to wrap a microfiber insert in one for overnight. Plus having lots of different kinds of diapers in my stash keeps things fresh and exciting! I'd love to see a mom using sposies say that diapers can be exciting. :)

mjb said...

I love prefolds too - they're working best for us so far and I feel the need to defend them to people who are using the "fancy" new kinds! I just changed the way I was folding them last night - trifolding instead of using the snappie, which just shows how flexible they can be.

Lynn said...

i, too, love the fact that i can let her go without a cover! not only for breathable skin reasons, but when she happens to go through that last cover before my diaper load is dry, i wont have pee all over the house! oh, and for potty training...you notice when they pee and changing them RIGHT away and they get used to being dry so when theyre not, you know! and you learn when they pee and can time the potty visits by her regular schedule. I LOVE MY PREFOLDS!!! <3 i need more, though...she outgrowing this size. :(

WendyC80 said...

I have been wanting to switch to cloth diapers since my daughter was born 4 month ago but they are more expensive than I can afford at the moment. Are there specific pre folds that work over others? Certain material that is better and what would be the most affordable way. I have a couple of covers and snappis. I had tried some old fashioned cloth when she was 2 months old and had horrible leakage through the cover, I believe because she was too tiny to be wearing what I had on her. So any suggestions would be great so I can finally quit the disposable diapering. Thanks!!

Jessica said...

It is so great to see some prefold love here! When I first started building my CD stash, even when I was thinking about building one, I told myself prefolds were totally off limits. I thought they would be way to hard and time consuming, so I bought all the most popular pockets and AIOs. Then I started reading several comments on newborn cloth diapering posts raving about how great prefolds were, so to "beef up" my baby stash, I bought some and surprise! I LOVE THEM! Kinda wish I would have built my stash mainly of prefolds with some pockets/aios for out-and-about and babysitters.. oh well :)

Jessica said...

Yes! I love my prefolds! I have AI2's, but was unhappy with the absorbancy. Tried GMD Clotheez prefolds, and wow! They weren't kidding about it being a work horse. Prefolds are my naptime/nighttime diaper, and great for when my LO gets a diaper rash. I put on 2 with pins and let him crawl around the house so he gets fresh air flow on his little bum.

Erin said...

I love my prefolds too! I think it's the snappi that makes it so easy now. Pins can be hard with squiggly ones but you can snap that bad boy on in two seconds with a snappi.

Elizabeth said...

I only have prefolds and covers because they were the cheapest option when I decided to give cloth a try. (It's my 3rd baby...he was 7 months when I decided to take the plunge!) Since our budget is small and we don't know if we'll have any more, prefolds and covers made the most sense. I LOVE them! I almost NEVER have leaks! You can get some really cute covers, too. My favorites are Zookies covers (so far, anyway). I just wish I had some Snappis. At this point I just lay the prefold in the cover, like an insert. They work great that way, too!

Anna said...

I <3 my prefolds. Combined with a cover they hold anything (my baby can comfortably wear the same sleeper for 2 days instead of changing them twice a day). The only drawback is other people don't necessarily know how to use them, and it takes time to learn. But over all they are fantastic!

Peyton said...

I love, love, love prefolds. When I first started CDing I swore I'd never use prefolds, but now we use them more often than not. I also stuff all my pockets with them and it has really cut down on microfiber stink. They are actually pretty trim when you fasten them with a Snappi, and you can just layer for night time (I trifold a smaller one inside of a toddler size PF and then snappi that on). I really wish I hadn't spent so much on other diapers and not been afraid to just learn how to use prefolds. Now, I do like to have a pocket or AIO for leaving the house for errands, etc. but I could still change my little one in the back of the car in PF if I had to :) I will CD from birth when I am blessed with the next one--with PFs!

Amber Liddle said...

It's funny because I thought getting AIOs would be better for nighttime, traveling, etc, but I have grown to love my prefolds with the right covers! So cheap and easy.

dannyscotland said...

I love my prefolds. They're my no-fail never-leak option and I use them all the time. They're a little bulky so when I go out somewhere I use pockets on her, but at home, we are always using the prefolds. Love them!

Maria said...

I could have written this myself!!

wendyroo said...

We used exclusively prefolds and covers for my son's first 19 months. By then he was only wearing a diaper while he slept, and even a premium prefold folded with an infant prefold and an extra insert was not offering enough absorption. Now we use a Bumgenius pocket triple stuffed with hemp and microfiber.

Ashley said...

If we had to rebuild our stash from scratch I would have mostly prefolds over what I have now. My hubby even likes them better! They never leak and are so absorbent. And despite looking scary they are the easiest of them all I think! A good cotton or hemp prefold and a blueberry cover are my favorites!

kt said...

I am still scared of the prefolds in my drawer. Guess it's time to saddle up and give it a try.

Mama Bennie said...

I LOVE my prefolds...I ditched them for a while because I didn't think that I did love them, but I came back. I started out with prefolds. I just use the trifold though, nothing fancy. I fan the back of the trifold for the poopies. Now that my oldest is potty trained though, things are a lot easier with diaper around our house. That mean no more changing 2 kids at the same time :).

Lian said...

I used flats and pre-folds for my daughter as my introduction into cloth nappying. I loved it and felt so proud of myself, but then she started rolling and it was very frustrating for us as she would inevitably kick the folds out and I'd have to re-do and try again... Now I use them to stuff my pocket nappies and it's awesome!!! I love cloth nappying. Why is it so creepily addictive?

Janine said...

This is the second post on prefolds I've read today! I heart them as well. We actually use them tucked inside of pocket diapers sometimes (making the pocket dipe a cover) and it's a great way to get to know your baby's pattern and change them frequently. Plus it's so cool to me that they're old-fashioned! Makes me feel like a sexy housewife.

The Monkey said...

Thank you for posting this! After diapering #1 in expensive pocket diapers, and having leaks *all the time*, I've already decided that future children will be diapered in prefolds and flats. They're great!!

Darcy said...

Any tips for folding? I've looked at "instructions" online but when I try it on my lil one it just seems super bulky and awkward.

Christina S. said...

Amen! I could have very easily have been the original poster! I, too, started my cloth diaper experience with pockets. I was diapering two children at the time. They did not hold up through to potty training. Elastic shot and microfiber stink issues caused me to look into other options. Prefolds were the answer! LOVE them. Now, with baby #3, I started with prefolds. I bought a few of the BG 4.0 with snaps just for the pure ease (for others!). BUT I love how I can put a prefold on my 6.5 month old and not have a leak over night (12+ hours!). :) Recently I've been tempted to get some FLATS!

Boise Wiebers said...

I'm a prefold user too. Thanks for the post. I haven't seen much written about prefolds in the CD community.

BJ said...

We are expecting our first baby in March and plan on cloth diapering -- I was dead set against prefolds but then after reading this post and others I have now ordered some to try out and I am really excited to use these!!

cassie beard said...

I LOVE our prefolds! When we switched our Daughter at 7months to CDing, we went with all pockets and AIOs, but have since sold off almost all of them and only use prefolds and covers durring the day! I have yet to have a leak in the 3 months of using prefolds. We don't pin or snappi them, just trifold them in the cover. Glad to hear others use the "old fashoned" prefolds and love them as much as we do :)

Emily Dulin said...

I have some prefolds that I have never used because they look so intimidating. Once I get some Snappies I will give them a try.

meason98 said...

I started out with prefolds & covers because I was switching to cloth for environmental AND cost savings. They are our workhorse! I use pockets for overnights and for out and about but prefolds with Thirsties covers are by far our main stash! And I was able to sell my size small Thirsties covers for 1/2 of what I paid for them, and will do the same with the prefolds. So not only were they inexpensive to start, I'm getting probably 30% of my money back once I sell them all as we outgrow them!
Oh - and prefolds make the BEST dust/cleaning rags around the house when the kids are done with them ;-) My mom and aunt already have requests in for a few as I'm done with them!

Little Red Rooster said...

I love reading about other fellow prefold lovers! My original stash started with prefolds and covers for economic reasons, and then I got a few pockets here and there, because they were easier for my boyfriend to figure out, and made him much more willing to do cloth. And I'll admit it, I like many of my pockets, but I always find myself reaching for my prefolds and covers, no matter how cute the pockets are, because they're so much easier! They wash more easily, and I've never had a problem with stinks or stains, like I have with my inserts. Plus I don't have to stuff them, and I've never once had a leak, and we've had some pretty impressive volcanic activity going on that wasn't held in by other pockets or disposables. They're awesome!

Rachael said...

I love, love, LOVE my prefolds as well! I bought all the fancy AIOs and pockets for my first cloth diapered son, thinking that I would NEVER want to use prefolds because they were too old fashioned and difficult. Of course, I had all the usual laundry and leaking issues. I didn't give prefolds a shot until baby #2, and now we use prefolds and covers at least 75% of the time. The other 25% are AIOs bought mostly for other's benefit. My husband (the one who I thought would never handle anything but velcro) ALWAYS picks a prefold over anything else. Even though cost is not a factor for us, I truly believe that prefolds are the best all around cloth diapering option.

seahorse said...

I thought prefolds would be something that I would regret buying. Still I bought them anyways when the econobum was bogo. I am really happy I did since they are a great diaper and not a pain really at all!