What’s a prefold cloth diaper? It’s a rectangular piece of fabric originally intended for diapers but you may recognize it as a burp cloth since that’s the most common use for it these days. In fact, a lot of burp cloths are actually manufactured to look just like flat or prefold cloth diapers. If you’ve ever seen the old fashioned diaper with a diaper pin, you’ve seen either a flat or prefold cloth diaper. These days people generally avoid diaper pins to fasten flat or prefold cloth diapers. It’s more common to see a snappi or, as you’d see on my baby, no fastener at all. We use our prefold cloth diapers exactly the same way one might use an AI2. That is to say, we lay the diaper inside of the diaper cover, lay the baby on top of the set, and then use the snaps (or, sometimes, velcro) on the side of the cover to close it. The cover isn’t going anywhere therefore the diaper isn’t going anywhere either.
Flats, Fitteds, and Prefold Cloth Diapers
You may have heard of flats and fitteds and wondered the difference between them and prefold cloth diapers. Prefold cloth diapers have been stitched to show you where to fold them. Just follow the lines and fold the left side and right side into the middle so you have a nice, neat rectangle. There are lots of ways you can lay the prefold cloth diaper inside the diaper cover but you only need to worry about the complicated folds if a simple position doesn’t meet your needs. There truly are no rules when it comes to folding your diapers. Honestly just fold it or spread it out in a way that it catches all of you baby’s business. You may want to flare out the back when you have a newborn with runny poo. You may want to fold extra layers into the front if you consistently notice that the front of the cover is wet when you change your baby. It’s all about trial and error. If your baby is a super soaker overnight you may need extra absorbency. We usually lay two prefold cloth diapers in for overnights but a combination of a prefold and an insert works really well too, if you happen to have some inserts in your stash.
Folding Prefold Cloth Diapers
You can fold a flat any of the same ways you can fold a prefold cloth diaper, a flat just doesn’t have the guide lines sewn in. A fitted, on the other hand, is nothing like a prefold cloth diaper. A fitted is contoured to confirm to a baby’s body. It actually looks a lot like an all-in-one diaper except a fitted is not waterproof. With fitteds especially, some people choose to use wool shorts or pants instead of a cover. This is a perfectly acceptable option but since we’re in the Florida heat I just haven’t had it in me to try them.
Affordable Prefold Cloth Diapers
There are a great deal of options when it comes to buying prefold cloth diapers. You can choose organic or conventional cotton, bamboo, or even hemp! With that many options, it’s easy to find something to fit your price range. Since you’ll be laying the absorbent fabric inside the cover, during diaper changes you simply replace the absorbent part. If the cover is damp, or even if it’s a little dirty, you could easily just wipe it off and use it over again. Because of this you can buy far fewer covers than the number of AIOs, AI2s, AI3s, or pockets you would need for a complete stash.
And speaking of covers, head on over to the final page in this series to learn the four most important questions you want to ask when choosing your cloth diaper covers or whichever diapering system you choose.