When I first ventured into the world of cloth diapers over 3 years ago, I didn’t even consider prefolds.
As far as I was concerned, I was going to have enough to learn being a new mom, I didn’t need some complicated folding and pinning to learn on top of it. Plus, although my husband was all for using cloth, he wanted to go with a style that would be as easy to use as possible.
Now that we are expecting our second child in less than 3 months and have a lot more parenting experience under our belt, prefold cloth diapers don’t seem like such a big deal. And, honestly, if I would have taken a closer look at prefolds I would have realized they are really quite easy to use.
My main reason for re-visiting prefolds is that I didn’t want to use disposables on our newborn for the first few weeks like we did with Evalee. As I think back, I am not quite sure why we didn’t have our cloth system ready to go until then…it just worked out that way. But I do remember hating the disposables and being happy when our Bum Genius order arrived…but I will save that for another post.
Now although I have an ample supply of pocket style cloth diapers ready to go, that style runs a little high in the rise and will interfere with the cord healing. Thus my research into prefolds since they are ideal for a newborn.
- Chinese prefolds
- Bleached Cotton
- Unbleached Cotton
- Organic Cotton
- Hemp or Bamboo
If you are on a budget, unbleached cotton prefolds are the most economical cloth diapering system available. You will need to purchase multiple sizes as your baby grows, as well as new covers, but in the end they are still the most affordable way to go. Plus, you can simply buy as you go and spread out the cost over time rather than having to make one big purchase.
Now lets talk about folding and pinning. With the new covers out there you really don’t need to do either if you don’t want to. Simply fold the prefold in thirds, lay it inside the cover and wrap the baby just as you would in a disposable.
Some say that taking the time to fold and secure the prefold with something in addition to the cover can help to prevent leakage and blow outs. Which makes sense. There are a ton of videos out there ( I plan to do one myself once our baby comes and I have a live model to show you) demonstrating how to fold a prefold.
There is a cool little device called a snappi. I picked one of these up as well when I purchased my lot of prefolds. As you can see, it eliminates the need for pins but offers a secure fit reducing the risk of leaks and blow outs.
As with folding, there are several videos and images providing step by step instructions showing you how to use a snappi. Essentially, each end of the snappi has these little “teethy’ clips, similar to what you would use for an ace bandage but not metal or sharp. These clips with the teeth clasp onto the prefold.
You start with the left of right and finish with the clip on the crotch area. Once you get the hang of it, its really quite easy to use.
Finally there are the covers. Now in our grandma’s day the only covers were those awful plastic pants that did not breath at all and left little red marks on baby’s legs and waist. Not anymore.
Now are there are all sorts of cloth diaper covers with fun patterns and Velcro closures that are just as easy to use as the snappi. Again, the one con or draw back to using prefolds and covers are the need to purchase multiple sizes as your baby grows but you only need a handful of covers since you can reuse them multiple times a day. There are also cloth diaper covers that have snap system that will allow the cover to grow with your baby.
My initial investment into cloth diapers was just shy of $500 since we ended up going with the 24 count package of Bum Genius. I just purchased 24 newborn cotton prefolds with 4 covers for just over $100. A starter package of Bummis, a nice prefold diaper system, runs about $135 depending on the retailer.
The one drawback with the Bummis system is that the weight class starts at 8 pounds. This is not a problem for me since my babies average almost nine pounds at birth, newborns tend to be in the 6 to 7 pound range.
In the end, you will spend about the same amount of money no matter what style you go with, its just a matter of if you want to spend it all at once or spread it out over time.
If you are still unsure, check out my post Overview of Cloth Diaper Styles where I provide a brief description of the various styles.
As always, if you have any questions please leave them in the comment box below and I will get back to you right away.