Saturday, June 12, 2010

How to Use Prefold Diapers

I see lot's of questions online about how to use prefold diapers. I hope this little play by play of the ways I personally find them easiest to use will help dispel someone's apprehensions of taking this economical route to cloth diapering. I recruited a rather cute bunny for the cause. We'll call him "Fluffy" ;).

Sometimes I simply tri-fold the diaper and lay it in the cover. I primarily do this when I'm using prefolds while out and about.

1. Lay cover out, fold diaper into thirds, and lay in cover. You can also tuck one end under the tab as in the second picture:

2. My daughter has sensitive skin, so I lay a stay-dry liner on top. It does not absorb, but wicks the moisture away from the skin. Most pocket diapers are lined with fleece for this very reason.

*****MONEY SAVING TIP*****You do not have to pay a lot of money for stay-dry liners! I ordered a yard of micro-fleece and cut it into rectangles. No sewing is involved!

3. If I'm changing my baby right then, I just slip it under her and close it up just like a disposable! If I'm going to be out, I'll do that with a few of them and close them up as in the picture below and put them in the diaper bag. This way when I'm out shopping or visiting and have a less than ideal situation for changing, I can put it on just like a disposable! If you want to do this all the time, you can just prep as many as you have covers ahead of time so that they're easy to just grab and put on.

****MONEY SAVING TIP**** If you're really on a budget, consider this. Before I had any pockets, this is how I figured out to diaper my baby on the road very conveniently. It doesn't take any longer than stuffing a pocket diaper! Essentially, it is all the elements of a pocket diaper, just not sewn together. In my opinion, the best covers for using prefolds this way are Thirsties, Thirsties Duos (what you see pictured), and Bummis.

The above method seems to be what is considered the easiest way to use prefolds, but most of the time I use what is known as the "angel wing fold," using a Snappi fastener to hold it together.
Believe it or not, in my home where I have a system down, I find this the easiest. Here's a play by play:

1. I lay baby on the changing table and grab a prefold out of the drawer and lay it flat under her.
2. With baby on the diaper, I "trifold" the bottom part with my right hand while holding her legs with my left hand. Her body keeps the top flared out.
3. Since I use stay-dry liners, I then hold baby's legs down to hold the diaper in place as a reach for a liner and then lift her up slightly to place it on the diaper. (I keep prefolds, liners, and covers in the top right drawer so that they are easy to grab.)
4. Next I lay baby's legs down, which continues to hold the diaper in place so that I can bring it up through her legs.
5. Continuing to hold diaper as shown with my left hand, I grab those little "wings" or "tabs" that you see on the side there with my right hand and slip them under my left thumb and forefinger that are already holding the diaper.6. With my right hand that is still free, I grab the snappi and put it on. To put on the Snappi, you put the claws on one side into the fabric and since it is rubbery, you just take the other side and pull it over and put the claws into the opposite wing of the diaper. Then you pull the bottom claw down and put it into the fabric.
7. Now your hands are free to grab a cover and put it on!(I used a Gen-Y cover in this picture because I've recently found that I LOVE these for using over a "snappied" prefold! The side snaps are great and I love the fabric!)

That is it! I hope this is helpful and assuages some one's fears of using prefold diapers!


  1. Hi! Thanks so much for linking up for our blog hop yesterday! I am your newest following and I would love if you would return the follow! :)


    I miss cding...I just dont have the time or patience for it now :(

  2. I love that you used a bunny!! Beautiful! I am a new follower!! =)

  3. My 2-year old is potty training now, so it's not currently relevant. However, I've been thinking long and hard about cloth diapering "the next one" (whenever that may be), and I'm more worried about the cost of running the washing machine a lot more often. Electricity and water are expensive here. Also, I work outside the home - so I don't know how I'd handle the extra workload. I don't see my husband getting actively involved. ALSO, I imagine the day care provider will not want to deal with cloth - so I'll have to purchase some disposables anyway... so.... I'm not sure if it would be worthwhile financially. Of course, the environmental concerns are still relevant. What do you think?

  4. Hi Debbie! I totally understand! Maybe if hang drying was feasible for you it could save you. I'm not sure. Here the water isn't bad. I have thought that if I didn't do it "all the way" I wouldn't save much since I'd be paying for the extra water and electricity (though next month we're purchasing a clothes line), buying disposables too you might end up just spending more, but I do have a lot of friends who just use cloth at home. This might help:, though it's based on average water and electric prices here. If you know the difference maybe you could figure it in! I would ask the daycare provider though..I was surprised to find that many here are willing to do cloth. If you provide wet bags for them to just stick the dirty in. In that case fitted diapers might be better since they're less intimidating. They're all cloth but snap or velcro on like a disposable and you put a cover over it. More expensive than prefolds but less expensive than pocket diapers! Good luck with your decision!

  5. Amy, thanks for taking the time to respond! I'm going to check out that calculator. We hang dry all of our clothing, so that wouldn't be new.

  6. Hi, I just found your blog and am bookmarking it to keep up with your posts. I couldn't pick a single post to comment on so I chose this one. LOL

    I think cloth diapers are both economical and more comfortable for baby. I wrote an article mentioning that here:

    Nice post(s)! I hope to drop by often.

  7. Love prefolds and covers! They quickly became a favourite with my last newborn. Thanks for the idea of pre-stuffing covers for on-the-go. I've tended to use pocket diapers out of the house for convenience, but they can be bulkier & also uses up my night-time stash.

  8. What a great post! I followed u over here from The Pin. :D (Thirdtimemomma) Anyway, great post. I do the same with my flats. IMO flats/prefolds are MUCH easier than pockets when you consider the special washing routines to baby your pockets into surviving your diaper years.
    I have several covers that I keep loaded with flats for the day.. It makes diaper changing easy for any caretaker or hubby! The only trouble I had was teachign DH to fold down the back part of the PF after unfolding the diaper.. LOL>.

  9. Loved your post, but I have a few questions. I've been CDing our kiddos for a few years now using BGpocket diapers and over the years I've learned the ins and outs of it all. But! The waterpoof part of the pocket diapers is what wears out and I'm looking to switch over to prefolds for our next kiddo.

    I'm seeing a lot of "How to" pages on prefolds, but still poking around as to the rest - mainly the "whys" behind the opinions and then questions on supply. Ex - I watched a tutorial that claimed you could use one liner/cover for more than one diaper change. How many snappis should we look into and also, why did you prefer the Gen-Y cover for the snappi'd diaper verses the Thirsties? -Thanks, Sister!

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  11. Hello, My husband and I are expecting our first child in June and I have been considering a mix of one size pockets and prefolds. To start with it seems that pockets won't be a great fit on a new baby (unless we want to invest in newborn nappies that won't last long), whilst prefolds could work well. We considered using only prefolds, but with the cost per nappy here and having to buy graduated sizes as the baby gets older we thought one size pockets might be better to rely on. Keeping that in mind, I wondered, is it necessary to use the infant prefolds (7-15 lbs) on newborns to say 3 months, or could one cheat a bit and use the next size up (15-30lbs) by folding down the front or back in order to get longer use out of the nappies and save money? Would this just result in a lot of bulk and more leaks? Thanks so much!


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