When I first started cloth diapering I tried a lot of different things. I bought a large box of econobum prefolds with some covers and snappis off of E-bay. After waiting forever to get them I put one on my daughter and…..hated it. I just couldn’t get it to fold right. And the snappi? Fail. I guess I didn’t read the package, because I had no idea you are supposed to stretch them a few times before use. The box of prefolds went into a closet, not to be seen for weeks. At the same time I was beginning my love affair with pocket diapers. The prefolds just got left all by their lonesome. At some point I traded the whole prefold/cover/snappi lot (holding back 1 econobum pre fold, just in case) for a bunch of pockets.
There, my journey with prefolds stopped until this spring. Once the baby started “helping” with the laundry, see Wordless Wednesday, stuffing pockets was becoming a pretty big pain. I would have everything stacked and ready for stuffing, only to have the baby spread my neat piles all over the living room. Clearly, I need an alternative.
So I started back into the prefold journey. This time I had a better understanding of the hole prefold system. For one thing you don’t need to know how to fold or use a snappi- just pad fold (fold the diaper into thirds) and lay on top of the cover. So I bought the Econobum trial pack (this is a great deal by the way, under 12$ for a cover and 3 prefolds.) See my button at the end of the post, or sidebar, for where to buy! This time things went much better. So I invested in a few different sizes of prefolds to see what would work. Now I have some really nice ones (think SustainableBabyish).
Some things I love about prefolds:
Economical: you can get the smallest size for around a dollar a piece. Less if you wait for a sale. Plus, you can make a variety of sizes work. If the diaper is too small to wrap around baby, just pad fold it. If it’s huge, just fold it to size and stuff the extra into the cover. May be a bit bulky, but it works in a pinch.
Super practical: these babies wash well, can be boiled if you run into the stinkies, and dry fast. Plus you can use them in a bunch of ways once baby is potty trained. They make great rags.
No Stuffing! enough said there.
Pack small: good for travel.
Breathable: Paired with a wool or fleece cover these are super breathable and great when baby is getting rashy. If the rash is really bad, but you can’t stand cleaning baby messes off the floor, then you can just leave these uncovered (change quickly! they will leak when coverless).
Open ended: Prefolds can be used in a lot of ways- so many fancy folds! Youtube it- so many good videos on all the folds. Or, just fold it into thirds and put it into a cover. Whatever works for you.
Natural fibers. These are made with cotton, bamboo or I think some come in hemp. Many come unbleached. This means no synthetics against baby’s skin. Great for sensitive skin.
Better with use. Prefolds actually get softer and more absorbent each time you wash them. So if your diaper feels stiff and does not absorb very well, give it time. It may just need a few more washes.
Huge learning curve. At least there was for me- it took me six months to figure these out. In fact, I gave up on my first attempts. It takes awhile to figure out how to put these on without getting leaks or blowouts, especially on exclusively breast fed baby poo. I still don’t trust my folding to hold up when outside of the house. I haven’t had a leak yet- but I know I will as soon as we get in the car.
Wet on skin. Unless you get a stay dry prefold, or put a fleece liner between it and baby, the wetness stays up against the baby’s skin. This seems to be a problem more for smaller baby’s then bigger ones.
The Bottom Line.
Prefolds are a great diapering solution in general. They may not be quite as simple to use, at first, as a pocket or all in one, but once you get the hang of it they are pretty awesome.
Even if you choose not to use prefolds as a full time system (I don’t) you should probably have a few around. These are good to have on hand when you are stripping your inserts and need something to stuff a pocket with. Or when you can’t do laundry for a few days and need a backup diaper. They are great to have around for when a rash develops and you want to air baby out a little.
If you want to try a few prefolds, but are nervous to, I suggest Kelly’s Closet. They have a 30 day guarantee, and sell the econobum trial pack for just under 12$
*disclaimer* affiliate of Kelly’s Closet. I did not receive any refolds free for review however- all my own honest opinion.