Friday, February 14, 2014

How to Use Prefold Diapers

Happy Valentines day ladies and gentlemen!  Today, let's get back to the basics in our love of cloth diapering.  Prefold diapers are a little bit old school, but they're making a comeback.  Prefolds are cool again, and there's good reason for that.  They're versatile, natural, and super absorbent.  What more can you ask for?

The one thing that might make you think twice about diapering with prefolds is that they can seem a little intimidating.  There's definitely a bit more of a learning curve than there is with an all in one or a pocket diaper, but once you get the hang of them, they're really not too hard.  They're also fairly inexpensive, so they're a great way to round out your stash.  Really there's no reason not to try!

So let's dive right in.  Start out with a prefold that will fit your babe.  There are sizes ranging from preemie to toddler, so you get the size and level of absorption that you need for each age range.  (Just a little hint- Infant sized prefolds are just about perfect for tri-folding and stuffing in your pocket diapers!)  The first thing you will want to do is prep your prefolds.  They're made of natural fibers so they will contain natural oils that need to be washed out to get to maximum absorbency.  You'll want to wash and dry your diapers five to six times before you use them.  Go through your entire normal washing routine.  Use detergent with each wash, then dry.  Your diapers will continue to become more and more absorbent with each wash over the months and years, but five or six washes will be good enough to get you started.

There are several types of folds you can use with you prefolds.  Lets talk about the easiest first- your basic tri-fold.  This is ridiculously easy, but it's not the best for newborns or runny poop.  All you do is fold your prefold into thirds and lay it inside of your diaper cover.  It will give you the same kind of absorbency as a pocket diaper- everything in the center.  That being said, it is likely that the waterproof PUL of your diaper cover will touch your babies skin.  PUL is soft, but on a hot day it could end up feeling a bit sticky, so that's just something you will want to keep in mind if you use a basic tri-fold.  You can also add some extra absorbency to the front or the back of a basic fold by simply folding the top or bottom over on itself.

Another fold that is still super simple, but will be a bit better for containing newborn poop is the fan fold.  You simply fold the prefold as you would in the simple fold, then fan out the top and bottom (or just the top or just the bottom) of the diaper and either lay it inside of the cover without a fastener, or you can secure the fan around your baby's waist with a snappi or other fastener.  This is another really easy fold to do, but it will contain everything a bit better.

The last fold I want to tell you about is the Bikini twist.  This fold is also great for more intense poop.  It is a little more complicated to just talk you through, so make sure you take a look at the diagram from Bummis so you can really get it.  Lay your open and unfolded diaper down on top of the cover.  Put your baby down on top of them, then grab the left corner with your right hand, and the right corner with your left hand.  At this point your arms will be crossed in an "X" over your baby.  Gently uncross your arms while continuing to hold onto the prefold.  As you uncross them, you will twist the diaper between your baby's legs.  Once you've got it nice and twisted (feel free to work out any bunchiness), fold down the front if you have to, then fasten it around your baby's waist and close the cover.  Your baby's first bikini!

Not too hard, right?  Then one day when your babies are all potty trained and out of diapers, you can still use those prefolds.  They make great cleaning rags!  So, are you ready to dive right in and join the prefold party?  Check out all of the different options right here, and enjoy your new skill!

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