What Is A Prefold Style Cloth Diaper?
A prefold is a cloth diaper style that features cotton or another natural fabric like bamboo or hemp sewn as a rectangle with more layers in the middle (wet zone). While it might seem like an 'old fashioned' cloth diaper to you, it's actually an improvement over a plain flat cloth diaper which was just one single layer large piece of fabric that needed extensive folding to use. Most prefolds feature 4 layers of fabric on each side and 8 in the middle.
Prefolds require a bit of folding before use. Angle Wing or Pad Folding is easiest and they can be secured in place if you wish with pins or my personal favorite, a Snappi. A good fitting waterproof diaper cover is required on top.
Prefolds come in a variety of sizes depending on the weight of your baby and you size up as baby grows. They are an inexpensive way to cloth diaper with natural fabrics and are very durable, getting softer with use and easily lasting to diaper several babies in a row. Prefolds are exceptionally easy to wash and dry and are completely natural and biodegradable. They can even be used for impromptu change pads, burp cloths or lint-free cleaning rags.
When it's time to change baby, just remove the diaper cover, take out the soiled prefold and replace with a fresh prefold in the same cover. Diaper covers can be re-used until damp or soiled. Generally speaking you need about 3 prefolds for every 1 cover.
PROS of Prefold Cloth Diapers
- Natural fabrics (cotton, bamboo, hemp or blends of those available)
- Lots of different ways to fold them to get a perfect fit on your baby
- Easy to wash
- Fast to dry
- Less total laundry and less to pack in a diaper bag as you only need 1 cover for every 3 prefolds
- Easy to increase or customize absorbency by adding a booster in with the prefold or by sizing up to the larger size
- Durable and long lasting for multiple children
- Relatively easy to hand wash and hang dry
- Breathable for babies with sensitive skin or for diapering in hot climates
CONS of Prefold Cloth Diapers
- Two piece system, requires some folding and adding a diaper cover on top
- Multiple sizes required as baby grows (usually a newborn, infant, baby and toddler size)
- Bit of a learning curve while you figure out how you best like to fold them for your baby so may be intimidating at first for new users or those reluctant to try cloth
- Can be bulkier than other diaper styles
- Prepping is required (ie. several pre-washes) to remove the natural oils and fluff up the fabric before they can be used on baby.
Prefold cloth diapers are readily available from several different brands and are a wonderful and economical choice for diapering your baby.
Prefold diapers we stock here at Cloth Diaper Kids: