For generations, prefolds have been the staple of both cloth diapering families and cloth diaper services. Prefolds may even be the cloth diaper that your grandmother or mother used! They were a preferred diaper because they were durable, easy to wash, easy to use, and multi-purpose.
1. They are cheap. At $4 or less per diaper (depending on size and thickness) this is easily the cheapest way to cloth diaper. You can get enough diapers to get you through your baby’s entire diapering period for less than $200.
2. They are soft. After they quilt up in the first few washes, they are soft and fluffy and comfortable. I know I would be willing to wear them around my sensitive parts if I needed to, so I feel good about my baby wearing them. Simply Prefolds are so softer!
3. It is easy to care for prefolds. Prefolds are the most forgiving diapers to wash. You can do just about anything to them and they still work great. I still recommend following the basic washing instructions and using dye free, scent free detergent, but these diapers release odors easily and seldom develop any absorbency problems. (At least I have never seen it happen.)
4. They make for fast diaper changes. Fold in thirds, drop the diaper in a cover and fasten the cover up. Done.
5. They are versatile. You can use them with virtually any type of cover, you can snappi or pin them, you can try different folds for them, you can use them to stuff pocket diapers, and you can use them with no cover at all if you choose.
6. You can use them for other stuff! I use mine as changing pads, burp rags, nose wipes, bottom wipes. I throw one in the carseat to keep the buckles from getting too hot, mop up spills on the go, let the baby chew on them (clean ones!). Those are only a few of the uses that I could think of that relate to baby care, and I’m sure you’ll find many, many more ways they come in handy.
7. They come in different sizes, but are still cheap enough to afford the different sizes. Most normal babies I have come across will only need the infant size and the premium size. Infant gets my kids up through at least 6 months old, but if you have a chubby baby you will probably get to 4 months with those. Premium gets my kids up through potty training. If your baby is really tiny, start with the Preemie (also called the Newborn) size.
8. Cotton prefold cloth diapers are absorbent. They hold a ton of baby waste, and they absorb it fast. Fast absorption means less leaks. I have read recently that some people have super-wetters and need something even more absorbent. Hemp Babies Bigger Weeds fit all of these descriptions about prefolds. The only caveat with hemp is that you can’t use Snappis and the price is higher. The hemp is a little more expensive.
9. They are easy to double. I seldom have to double a prefold cloth diaper, but sometimes it is worth it. I trifold one and lay it inside another one, then snappi that one on. My baby could wear one of those for DAYS and not wet out of it. Not that I leave them on that long. Sometimes I might double them up if I want the baby to have some cover-free time. This allows plenty of air to get to their little bum, but doesn’t leave me mopping up mess after mess.
10. They dry fast. They wash easy and dry fast, either in the dryer or on the line, these are the first diapers dry in my loads.
And I thought of a couple more benefits of prefold cloth diapers:
11. They last forever. I have diapers that have gone through 5 and 6 kids (being passed around through friends) and are still in nearly as good shape as when they started. Sure, some get retired when they get threadbare, but most are still going strong.
12. They are old-fashioned. This is just the diaper nerd in me speaking, but they are tried and true and have worked for generations. I feel a bit of a connection to my grandmothers and what they did for my parents when I use them. In this case, “retro” is just as good today as it was then.
13. Prefolds also make a great cloth diaper insert for pocket diapers like bumGenius!