1. Cost. Hands down the most economical way to cloth diaper. You can purchase quality prefolds for anywhere between $1.50 and $3.00, give or take, depending on the size and material. Plus you can size up, fold them accordingly, and extend their use to a larger age range. Compared to $20+ for many AIOs and pockets, well, there's no comparison.
2. Versatility. If you do a search for ways to fold a prefold, you may be overwhelmed with the many variations that exist. Newspaper, trifold, angel wings, bikini twist, the list goes on. There are folds for every size, age, and shape of baby. Prefolds can be made from cotton, bamboo, or hemp to further tailor to your absorbency needs. They can even be used in conjunction with a doubler. Totally customizable.
3. Ease of Care. Prefolds can really take a licking and keep on ticking. After they have been prepped (which admittedly is kind of a pain in the butt), they can be washed alone or with other laundry. There is no worry about voiding a warranty if you dry on high heat. There's no concern about whether an insert needs to be removed before washing or laundry tabs needs to be used to prevent a diaper chain or damage to other diapers. They typically don't hold stink like microfiber can.
4. The Snappi. One of the greatest inventions of all time. This is not a post about why Snappis are amazing, but they are, and they make using prefolds a breeze. The perfect companion to the prefold; not essential, but definitely helpful. It makes using prefolds just as simple as snaps or velcro. Diaper pins also work well, and with certain folds, such as the trifold, the cover keeps the prefold in place. What could be easier?
5. Covers. Have you seen all the adorable prints out there for covers? Combined with the fact that they are often much cheaper than AIOs or pockets, and they can be used for more than one diaper change (usually several), they make prefolds even more economical and adorable. Plus covers clean up easily and quickly. Maybe you're thinking, but Kelly, I don't want that extra step in there, because most of the time, you do have to use a cover. But is it anymore trouble than, say, stuffing in a pocket or snapping in a soaker?
I'm not going to say I don't own any AIOs, pockets, or AI2s because I do, but I always seem to grab for the prefolds first. And there's just something about doing a bikini twist that sets my heart aflutter. Maybe it's because they were my first introduction to the awesomeness that is cloth diapering, or maybe it's because prefolds are amazing.
Kelly is a stay at home mom of a 3 year old and 1 year old, and when she is not running around like a chicken with its head cut off, she enjoys knitting, relaxing in the hot-tub, and shopping...for cloth diapers.