May 31, 2011

If I could do it all again.... Prefolds and the newborn

'if I had to do it all again' is a phrase I think most parents say throughout their lifetime...  My 'if I had to do it all again' moment of the day, is a cloth diapering issue. 

prefold fastened with a Snappi
IF I HAD TO DO IT ALL AGAIN.... I would definitely stick with using prefolds for a newborn baby - infact probably for the first 6 months of the babies life.  Why?  Because prefolds are simple, and they aren't as bulky as some diapers can be on a newborn.  I don't think Emersyn really counted as a 'newborn' when I used my first prefold - she was about 2 months old, perhaps a tiny big younger, but as soon as I'd used them for the first time, I was HOOKED - and still am.  I think they are the most versatile diaper (along with flats, I'd imagine) out there, and they seem to grow with your baby.  I liked them as much on Emersyn when she was 2 months old - as I do now that she is almost 1 year old (again, GULP!).  They can be folded and fastened, or they can be pad-folded/trifolded, it really depends on what you prefer, and what you find works best for your baby.

'basic' fold, fastened with a Snappi
put on a cover & you're good to go!
As I stated in a previous entry, prefolds are basically the step up from flats - and as with flats they can be fastened, though today a lot of parents prefer to use a 'Snappi' - which you can see in the photo above.  It is basically a rubbery plasticy... 'thingy', in a 'T' shape, with little pointy prongs at the end of each part of the 'T'.  You simply put the prongs in one side of the diaper, then the other side, followed lastly by the 'tail' of the Snappi.  They are a lot safer than pins, and admittedly a lot easier to use as well - I find they can generally be put on one handed with a small baby, but once they're wiggling around a little more, they can be easier to put on using both hands.  Then there is the simple pad-fold/trifold, where the prefold is folded in thirds, placed inside the wrap/cover - and then all you need to do is place the baby on top of the prefold & put the wrap on as per-usual... No pins (or Snappis) needed.. no fancy folding.. nothing.  The way in which you use your prefold really depends on your baby, and your personal preference - and if you're anything like me, you'll find that different stages call for different folds...

When Emersyn was little, I really really liked the 'bikini twist' fold - it's a great way to get lots of absorption between the legs, BUT it also creates quite a trim appearance.  For my old blog I did a step by step photo blog of how to do the bikini twist (which I believe is popular amongst Mums of girls)... so here it is again!
Step 1 - put baby on top of flat prefold
Step 2 - twist the bottom half of the prefold - left corner to the right, right corner to the left - it will in essence, look like an hourglass shape
Step 3 - bring the lower half up between the babies legs
Step 4 - tuck the outer edges under the 'wings' from top part of the prefold, and fasten!  I learnt soon after this that you can also fold the part of the prefold that is around the legs under - creating a trimmer look, and also providing a little extra protection
(example with the fabric around the legs tucked under more)
As I said, I really loved the bikini twist - particularly when Emersyn was at the age where she would just lie still during a diaper change - however as she started getting older I preferred doing a basic fold (which I sadly don't have a photo example of how to do this fold), OR just using the prefold pad-folded/trifolded.  The 'jelly fold' is another fold that I really loved when Emersyn was little - and it is one that is VERY popular with Mums who are breastfeeding!  I found the following instructions for the jelly roll (aka 'side wall' fold) on the diaperco website.. it's a simple fold - as follows
step 1 - fold down as much prefold as you desire, to get the right size for your baby & place baby on the prefold
step 2 - start rolling the sides of the prefold until it is a little wider than your babies tooshy

step 3 - roll up the other side of the diaper, then bring the diaper through the babies legs
step 4 - fasten!
as you may see by now, rolling up the sides of the prefolds creates a barrier of sorts, to stop any of that runny breastfed-baby-poo getting out, or to at least make it harder anyway!

Another benefit of prefolds is that they tend to be the cheapest option (along with flats) for cloth diapering - and I believe that in the early days it is best for a baby to be in a diaper that fits comfortably, and not one that is big and bulky... and it's going to be a lot cheaper to buy a stash of newborn/infant prefolds, rather than a whole stash of xtra-small/newborn/small diapers, and then have to purchase more when your babe grows out of them.  I definitely LOVE pocket & AIO diapers for Emersyn at the age she is now, but I do keep going back to prefolds.

An added bonus of prefolds is that when they do grow out of the newborn/infant size, you can use those prefolds as boosters and inserts for your bigger diapers - so you can get a LOT of use out of them... Not to mention the fact they can be used for more than 1 baby!


  1. Great post, Emma! I love our prefolds too. More than I thought I would. When baby #2 comes along some day I will cloth diaper him or her and probably start with mostly prefolds and covers. Oh, and I also like the bikini twist, even on my 10 month old son! It does seem like it would work a lot better for a girl though.

  2. thanks Michele! I still sometimes use the bikini twist on Emersyn, but I need to kind of pin her down, LOL

  3. I'm a fan of prefolds and flats too! (your post caught my interest when I was browsing through some blogrolls). I find it liberating that it allows me to change my baby as many times as I like throughout the day... when I used to use disposables I dreaded nappy changes and frequently had thoughts like "oh no, not AGAIN!"... no more such thoughts.

    I use a newspaper fold on my baby boy... but this bikini twist would be a good one next time if I have a girl :)

  4. yes, the bikini twist is definitely one of my favourites :) I haven't heard the newspaper fold, I may need to look it up