It may come as quite a shock to many cloth diapering lovers out there to find out that prefolds are one of my absolute favorite types of cloth diapers ever. And the reason they are so close to my heart is that they are extremely versatile and also dependable.
That is why they have been around for such a long time.
Another benefit of using prefolds is how affordable they can be. For literally $2 or less you can buy a prefold cloth diaper. That’s a steal. And the price gets even better when you consider that you can use prefolds on babies you have later down the road.
Most prefolds are also made of completely natural fibers which is great for babies with very sensitive skin. And the natural fibers are much better for promoting airflow.
(THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS HOWEVER, I WILL NEVER RECOMMEND ANYTHING THAT I DO NOT BELIEVE IN OR USE MYSELF. YOU CAN READ MORE ABOUT MY DISCLOSURE POLICY HERE)
What is a Prefold?
Now that I have told you most of the reasons that I am in love with prefolds, I am sure you will want to know exactly what they are.
“A Prefold cloth diaper is a “flat” cloth diaper that is “pre-folded” and sewn together with several layers in the middle and a couple of layers on the sides.”
“Flat cloth diaper is a large flat single layer piece of fabric that can be folded and used to diaper your baby.”
Back in the old school cloth diapering days, everyone used “flats” to diaper their babies. And the prefold is the next step up from flats since they require much less folding to fit your baby.
Prefolds come in many different fabrics including cotton, bamboo, hemp, and many different combinations as well. They are also extremely absorbent and in my experience much more dependable. Although, you will definitely want to also invest in some covers or wraps to make the diaper completely waterproof since the prefolds alone are not.
Let’s Get Ready to FOLD!
Folding cloth diapers is usually the part about prefolds that scares people away, but honestly, the folds are not complicated at all. In fact, they only take a couple of steps and then you have a bulletproof cloth diapering system for your baby.
The Angel Wing Fold I believe is the most popular fold of them all. It is simple and straightforward. As demonstrated in the pictures above you lay the prefold down with the seems going vertically or up and down. Then gently fold one side of the prefold into the middle where it is the thickest and fan out the back or you can fold both sides in first and then fan out the back like wings.
After you have it all set up place it under your baby and pull the middle up and secure it. In my demonstration, I am using what is called a “snappi“ which is the modern replacement for diaper pins. There is also another version of cloth diaper fastener called “Boingos”.
Once your cloth diaper is fastened around your baby, you will want to add a cloth diaper cover or wrap or your choice.
The Newspaper fold is kinda like the Angelwing fold but with the front folded down. So after folding the front edge of the prefold down, you would fold it into thirds just as you would with the angel wing fold. You can also tuck the edge of the folded part into the other side to help keep everything together.
After you have everything set up and your baby in place, pull up the front and wrap the wings around your baby and secure it with either a snappi, boingos, or diaper pins. And don’t forget to add your waterproof diaper cover or wrap. This fold is a very good choice if your prefold is a little longer than you need for your baby or if you are cloth diapering a boy since boys tend to wet more in the front.
The Jelly Roll fold is one of the best folds to use with a newborn. By rolling the sides in on the prefold you are able to create a gusset-like feature. This is great for holding in all of that newborn poop. Especially when you are exclusively breastfeeding your baby.
Once you have your prefold in place you want to roll the edges inwards toward the center while leaving the back of the prefold flat for the wings. I’ve found that it is much easier to do when your baby is already laying on top of the prefold. Then you can roll it right around their thighs. Pull the front up between the legs and fasten the wings to the front with your snappi. And lastly, add your waterproof cover.
The Bikini Twist fold is a great fold for babies that are crawling. The trim center allows for more room between the thighs. With this fold, you simply lay your prefold flat, grab the bottom edges, and “twist.”
Pull the front up and secure the wings to the front of your prefold. Finally, always add your waterproof diaper cover at the end.
As you can see I did fold mine down since the baby I was working with was a bit small. That step is not necessary unless you find that you need to fold it down.
The Pad fold is by far the easiest fold there is. It has also been called the “trifold” which is pretty self-explanatory. All you would do is fold the outside panels of the prefold inwards along the seams. Then lay the tri-folded prefold inside a waterproof cover or wrap. (I prefer the ones with the front and back flap to hold it in place, however it isn’t a necessity).
Once the prefold is tucked into the waterproof cover, you simply secure the cover onto your baby. The best part about this fold is not having to use a snappi or any other type of fastener. It is held by the diaper cover.
I want to give a huge thank you to my adorable models for demonstrating how the prefold cloth diaper works. Owen wasn’t willing to sit still and model them on him, Big Sister’s doll who was an awesome sport.
Are you ready to try prefold cloth diapers? They are one of the most economical types of cloth diapers out there. And with all of the different ways to fold prefolds, they are a great choice to use for any baby. Tell me what you think about prefolds in the comments and if you found this post useful, please share it!
Do you use prefold cloth diapers? Do you love them? Or do you have another favorite cloth diaper system? Tell me in the comments. I would love to hear from you!
Prefolds look interesting! I haven’t tried them but they seem like they could be easier to wash and versatile to use for many cover styles. Thanks for the folding tips!
Hi Katie! Yes, prefolds are amazing. I actually love them as well as flats the best because of how well they hold up and they wash so easily. I hope one day you will give them a try.
Love this post! I didn’t even know there where pin-less diaper fasteners. Great info on various diaper folds.
Yes! You can still use pins if you like but most cloth diapering moms use a snappi or boingos because they are so much easier.