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Monday, December 19, 2011

Cloth Diapering From Day 1: Using Prefolds on a Newborn

When I first started cloth diapering 4 years ago, I was far too intimidated to use prefolds. I mean a diaper that has the word "fold" in it has to be complicated, right? Wrong! When my oldest son hit about 6 months, I felt like I was in the cloth diapering groove and decided to take on the challenge. I purchased a dozen prefolds and a handful of covers. Two kids later and I'm still hooked! I've found that the only thing easier than using prefolds on a baby is using prefolds on a newborn! Here is why:

  1. Newborns go through a LOT of diapers. You'd think since I'm on my 3rd child, I'd remember just how many. I'm still floored as to how often I'm standing at the changing table every day changing a diaper that I feel like I just put on him! Prefolds are incredibly inexpensive, so with all those diaper changes, you're getting a lot more bang for your buck! 
  2. Prefolds are easy to clean! In my experience, prefolds and flats are two diapers that you will rarely have stink issues with. The natural fibers don't hold onto odor like some synthetic fibers do, they sun out stains very easily, and my favorite part.. no folding or stuffing when they're dry! Just stack them up!
  3. Putting a prefold on a newborn is easy peasy. No newborn I've ever met can pull out the alligator roll and try to jump off the changing table like many toddlers do. So if you're still getting the hang of your favorite fold and getting that Snappi on, don't worry! Your newborn isn't going anywhere!
  4. We all have things we look for in a cloth diaper, but when it comes down to it the most important thing is that it contains the poop and pee, and a prefold does this wonderfully! Newborn poop can be runny and explosive, so I love to use a Snappi to contain the mess in the prefold itself. If you prefer to trifold, a snug fitting cover will contain the mess, too. No more poop up the back, out the leg, or anywhere else it manages to get :)
And now onto the part that initially intimidated me... the folding! Google "prefold folds" and you'll find a never ending list of videos and how-tos on a dozen different folds. If you can, try a bunch out and see which suits you and your baby best! I have two folds that I find to be the easiest and I use on a regular basis:
  1. Trifold: This is exactly what it sounds like... folding your prefold into thirds! Quick and easy! Then lay your prefold into your cover of choice and wrap onto your baby! This adds a ton of absorbency front to back and even your husband, grandparent or babysitter can do it! There are two small cons to this technique. It can be somewhat bulky to have so many layers, especially in the back of the diaper. Also, the newborn poop can sometimes get on the INSIDE of your diaper cover, meaning you may have to have more covers on hand.
  2. Angel Wing Fold: This is the fold I use with prefolds 95% of the time. It's quick, easy, absorbent and very trim in the back. While I use this fold on my 2 1/2 year old, it's my favorite on a newborn because it contains all the poop in the prefold and I'm able to get many uses out of my covers. Below are step-by-step pictures on how to do an angel wing fold on your baby.

 I've found my absolute favorite prefolds are the Imagine Smart Fit! They are cut more square to reduce bulk. Emmett was 7 pounds 12 ounces when he was born. We started with the Imagine Smart Fit Extra Small and they fit beautifully! They were hands down, our trimmest option. My kids like to give me a challenge, though. All 3 of them have been heavy wetters! The Imagine Smart Fit Small were considerably bulkier on him right away, but gave lots of absorbency. Here he is just when we came home from the hospital at a little over 7 pounds, first in an XS size (orange stitching), then a Small size (green stitching):

Now he is just over 10 pounds at 4 weeks old. We're still using both the Imagine Smart Fit XS and Small. I've found the XS size trifolded makes a great doubler in our small pocket diapers, too! I've also been adding one trifolded into the diaper cover when using the XS with the angel wing fold for some extra absorbency. Again, the XS on the left, Small on the right (both with a Best Bottom Diaper Cover).

Hopefully this may help some of you who were nervous about using prefolds and covers! They really are not difficult at all and there is something so simple and natural about a basic cotton prefold on a baby. Here is a quick price breakdown of what using prefolds for the first 3 months may cost:

2 dozen Imagine Smart Fit XS Prefolds: 2 x $15 = $30
2 dozen Imagine Smart Fit X Prefolds: 2 x $18 = $36
8 Diaper Covers (will vary slightly with brand): 8 x $12.25 = $98
Total: $169.75

In rough estimate, you'd spend about $270 using your typical disposable diaper in the first 3 months of diapering. You can see how much using prefolds and covers will save you, and don't forget that cloth diapers have an amazing resale value (or you can use them on your next children), saving you even MORE money!


Sweeney Family said...

This is perfect. I've learned so much for when I have my next kid. Now I want to know if you've used any other covers other than best bottom? I use that system but don't use my covers with prefolds

Sincerely Natural said...

We used the Bummis organic prefolds on our newborn with Bummis and Thirsties covers. They worked great kept in the runny poop and washed super easy. And like you said, because they don't roll, you can practice all kinds of folds!

Annie said...

Sweeney Family- I used Thirsties Duo Wraps, RaR Lil Joey NB Covers, Bummis Super Brites and Super Lites, Blueberry Coveralls... gosh, there are probably more. Any cover will work really well with prefolds!

Mrs. Z said...

did you ever have your snappi poke or rub holes in the inside of the best bottom shells? this is what I am planning on using and was just curious. Thanks!

Annie Raymond said...

Mrs. Z- I've never seen that issue with Snappis and any diaper cover :) -Annie

Leslie Carroll said...

can you use the angel fold with just a cover or must you use pins or a snappi?

Nohemi Flores said...

Hello thank you for the info with pics. Im pregnant and build my stash for my newborn. I am planning to buy some thirsties covers size one and imagine smart fit prefold size small and skip the extra small. You think is going to be ok to put the small on a newborn? Will it fit?

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