Monday, May 3, 2010

The Secret Life of Prefolds.

For the cloth diaper newbie, prefolds are probably what many people imagine when the word cloth diaper is spoken.

Prefolds are generally a rectangle of cotton fabric pre-folded lengthwise so that there is a thicker strip of fabric in the middle. Many CDers do use prefolds, owning either Chinese prefolds (normally bleached, supposedly more durable) or Indian prefolds (generally unbleached, more soft, and possibly more absorbent). We own and happily use both varieties, and I will say the prefold stereotypes mentioned above do hold true in our house.

Generally, my husband and I use prefolds folded in thirds, positioned in a diaper cover. This is a nice, easy option for at home. As long as your baby has not made a disturbing mess on both the diaper and cover, you can easily pull out the dirty diaper and replace it with a clean one. That means you can reuse the cover. If your baby got the cover insides a little wet, you can let the cover air dry while using a different one on your baby. I have used this method out of the house, too, and I have no real problem with it as long as I have a considerable changing area for Gabe (i.e. this is not easy in the back of a car with a squirmy munchkin).

Larger, diaper-service quality (DSQ) prefolds cost around $2.00 each, and covers range in price from $8-$17. My favorite covers are both just about $13. You can imagine how inexpensive diapering is with the cover/prefold system.

And as I said, generally, my husband and I just fold the prefold in thirds and position it inside the cover, but every once in awhile, we do the twist.

The Bikini Twist
Gabe Style
(And meet Gabe's Owl. He has no name. I figured I would wait for Gabe to name him.)

Your baby goes on top of the prefold so that the diaper will cover his bottom when wrapped around him.

Twist the prefold so that what is facing toward you faces the ground.

Pull the bottom up to your baby's belly.

Fold some fabric down to make a double layer for absorbency (The amount of fabric folded will depend on the size of your baby and the size of your prefold. Gabe is 20 pounds, and we can make a nice double layer in a premium.)

Snappi time! (Snappis are stretchy little monsters with inward facing teeth at each point. They grab the fabric and hold your fold in place in one-two-three-- without risking any injury to your baby with ye olde pins).

The fold created a little gusset to help hold the mess inside the diaper.

After folding, just add a cover!

Happy Prefold-ing!

For a stack of awesomely helpful prefold tutorials, head to the Eco-Friendly Family Blog here.


  1. wow I like the way u explain. Will definetly try. Thanx for sharing!

  2. Just stopping by from SITS! I think the amount of disposable diapers you are keeping out of the landfills is amazing! I hadn't heard about the bikini twist until now - thanks for the post!

  3. You share such great information here! I wish I knew you when my son was an infant. :)

  4. i'm going to start trying prefolds soon... neat way to prefold!