This is something new that I'm going to try out. Every Friday (ummm maybe every other Friday) I'm going to pick one (probably diaper related) product that I really really like and write about it. I'm hoping that this will keep me focused and give me something to write about each week.
For my first post, I'm going to talk about prefolds. Not Gerber prefolds, but nice, high quality cotton ones. These are the backbone of my stash, and if I had to choose only one type of diaper to have, it would be prefolds. I'm actually going to have to break this up over a few entries, because I have a lot to say.
The main benefits of prefolds are:
- Low cost. They're the cheapest cloth diaper option, aside from flats. They typically cost somewhere around $2/diaper, compared to all in one styles that can cost over $20 each. That's why prefolds are the most commonly recommended diaper for the newborn stage. Newborns go through a ton of diapers every day, so you really want to have as many on hand as possible (generally 36 diapers, if you are planning on washing every other day) and prefolds are a perfect, inexpensive way to do that.
- Versatility. They can be used in diaper form in a variety of ways- folded and snappi-d/pinned/boingo-ed, trifolded in a cover, or used as a pocket insert instead of microfiber.
- Longevity. Prefolds can be used and stored for decades and still work perfectly. You don't have to worry about elastic or PUL degrading like with a fitted or pocket diaper, since they're just cotton. When you're done using them as diapers, you can use them around the house for cleaning rags or crafts. Buying prefolds will give you the most bang for your buck, especially compared to disposable diapers.
But, of course, there are a few downsides:
- Learning curve. If you aren't trifolding and putting the diaper in a cover, then you will need to learn how to fold the prefold onto your baby and how to fasten it to keep it on. I recommend practicing on a doll before your baby. Youtube is full of how-to videos, so definitely look there for some guidance. In the same vein, people who watch your baby might not want to "hassle" with prefolds. This is easily remedied by having a small stash of pockets or all in one diapers for them to use.
- Prepping. Any diaper that is made with natural fibers (cotton, hemp, bamboo) needs to be prepped before you can use it. That's because there are plant oils coating the fabric, and until you get all of those oils off, your diapers won't be absorbent. To reach full absorbency, it usually takes 4 or 5 full wash/dry cycles, with hot water. This is time consuming and uses a lot of resources. You can also boil them in a big pot on the stove, but that is still time consuming but at least it saves you some hot water. If you want to, you could just wash/dry them one time and then start using them. The only thing is they won't be quite as absorbent right off the bat, but as long as you keep that in mind and change your baby more frequently they will get more absorbent with each use. Honestly, the best way to get prefolds is to find them used and take advantage of someone else doing the work for you.
The next time that I talk about prefolds, I'll discuss different cover types and different ways to fold and fasten them. Like I said, prefolds are very versatile and can be used a ton of different ways, so that gives me way too much content for a single post.