Iʼm a little bit embarrassed to admit that I was not even planning my next pregnancy when I started obsessing over newborn cloth diaper options. We started cloth diapering our son at 2 months old, and so he went right into size smalls and one-size diapers. My usual justification for splurging on the good stuff, diaper-wise, is that weʼre going to have more children and so get (hopefully) many years of use out of each diaper. However, even with more babies to come, the fact of the matter is that they just donʼt stay tiny that long, and while theyʼre tiny they poop A LOT. So I agonized over the best way to not spend a lot of money on something that wonʼt be used for long, but of which you also need many!
After months of “casually” (read: obsessively) looking online at different makes, models and types, I finally settled on buying 1 dozen all-in-ones and 1 dozen prefolds with four covers. I thought that I would love the all-in-ones because I definitely prefer those and pocket diapers for my son. And I thought the prefolds would be a cheap way to bulk up the stash, but that I wouldnʼt really like them at all.
Way back in the day, when I first started on the cloth diaper journey with my son, I had bought a package deal of a well-known brand name that included 2 dozen prefolds and 6 covers. They were so bulky, held stink, the covers were plain white (blah!) and my son hated the wet feeling next to his skin. I eventually sold them on Craigslist and good riddance! On to cuter, trimmer, albeit more expensive diapers.
Since I had such a low opinion of prefolds from that experience, I was skeptical about how much people raved about using them on newborns. I read a lot of comments online from people who normally prefer pocket diapers, saying that for their little teenies, prefolds were just right. And since Iʼm ultimately cheap (isnʼt that a huge reason why we all cloth diaper??) I decided that for about $20/dozen at Green Mountain Diapers, I would give them a shot. All the other options were just way more expensive.
So about a month ago my sweet baby girl was born and I was stoked about getting to put her in her first little cloth dipey! She looked so cute in her colorful girlie diapers! She was 7lbs 11oz at birth and quickly went over 8lbs in the next week or so (sheʼs somewhere in that range in these pictures).
Imagine my surprise when I discovered over the course of a few days that the all-inones I envisioned myself preferring turned out to be just about worthless and leaky while the prefold/cover combo was bullet proof! I wasnʼt expecting that! I began to bypass the all-in-ones when picking out a new diaper during a change, in favor of a prefold. And for over night and outings – prefolds all the way. Are the all-in-ones trimmer and fit nicely? Sure. But she pees right through them, wetting her whole outfit and whoever is holding her. Not just a little damp around the edges…Iʼm talking flowing pee. The prefolds? She can wear them all night long (8ish hours) and not the slightest wetness outside where it should be. They even hold in the infamous breast milk poop and it rarely gets on the cover either.
The downsides to prefolds: my husband is still a little intimidated by how to put them on. I use a snappi to close them, so itʼs really easy – no pins – but heʼs just not as confidant in how to put them on correctly. Also, they are bulkier than the all-in-ones, although that has become less of a factor as sheʼs gotten bigger. But compared to how bulky my first experience with prefolds were, these arenʼt bad at all. As a matter of fact, at a baby shower recently, another cloth diapering mama raved about how trim her diaper looked. The main reason why the bulkiness isnʼt as bad as it could be is that they are specifically newborn sized prefolds (orange edge Green Mountain Diaper brand). The last downside is that it does take just a few moments longer per change because there are two steps (diaper, then cover) to put on, versus just velcro-ing up a one piece diaper. None of these downsides are really deal breakers for me, outweighed by all the positives – theyʼre cheap, they work, I donʼt have to worry about her outfit (or mine!), and the covers make them look really cute. (My favorite kind – newborn Bummis super brite!)
So Iʼm a convert. I still prefer the ease of the bumGenius and Fuzzibunz diapers that I use for my son and when my daughter gets big enough sheʼll be in those too. But for this newborn stage, I highly highly recommend prefolds because theyʼre cheap and they just plain work best. Give them a shot “next time”!
By Stephanie Gossett