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How to Use Prefold Cloth Diapers: Folding Guide and More

written by: Lindsay Evans•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 7/6/2010

Prefold cloth diapers are an effective, eco-friendly and affordable diapering choice. Here's what you need to know about using prefolds, including several different folding options to help you find a great fit for your baby.

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    Prefold Diapers - Simple, Effective, Affordable

    Tsnappi baby oday's parents have an overwhelming range of choices when it comes to choosing a cloth diapering system for their baby. Keep in mind that although fancy high-tech diapers can be convenient and cute, basic prefold diapers (when paired with a good fitting modern diaper cover) work great.

    Prefold diapers are the least expensive diaper you can buy and are very easy to use and wash. The price per diaper depends on its size and fabric the diaper is made from. Basic cotton prefolds can cost as little as $2.00 each. Organic cotton and hemp prefolds are more expensive. Prices start at about $6.00 per diaper.

    You need to use a separate waterproof cover over prefold diapers. Soft, breathable diaper covers made from polyurethane laminate (PUL) are most popular, such as those from Bummis and Thristies. These covers cost about $11.00 each. You can also find diaper covers made from polyester fleece or natural wool, or get crafty and upcycle wool sweaters into diaper covers.

    If you choose to use prefold diapers exclusively, you will need to buy a few dozen diapers and about 5 diaper covers. You may need to buy diapers and covers in larger sizes as your baby grows. Adjustable, one size covers and other one size diaper options are discussed here.

    You do not need to use diaper pins to hold a prefold diaper in place. You can use a fastener called a Snappi (pictured above) to secure the diaper if you wish, or simply let the diaper cover hold the diaper snug to your baby.

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    Common Ways to Fold a Diaper

    prefold The Tri-fold. The simplest way to fold a prefold diaper is to fold the diaper in thirds, with the right and left sides of the diaper folded into the middle. The tri-folded diaper then gets tucked into a wrap-style diaper cover. The diaper-and-cover combo can then be secured to the baby using the snaps or Velcro fasteners on the cover.

    The Angel Wing. Begin this fold by laying the diaper out flat on the changing table. Lay your baby on the diaper with the back of the diaper at waist height. Now fold the front of the diaper in thirds, leaving the back flat. Pull the folded front of the diaper up between baby's legs for a snug fit. Wrap the back corners around baby's waist to meet the front of the diaper. Use a Snappi fastener to hold the diaper in place.

    The Bikini Twist. Again start by laying your baby on a flat prefold diaper with the back of the diaper at waist height. Twist the diaper between the legs 180 degrees. Bring the front of the diaper snug up over baby, with the twist snugly between the legs. Now you can secure the cloth diaper, using a Snappi works great for the bikini twist as well.

    For additional information, turn to these tutorials loaded with helpful photographs illustrating each step of the folds described above:

    Diaper Folding 101 from Little Pea Pods

    Comfy Bummy Diapers Folding Guide

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    photos courtesty flickr.com creative commons license:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/malisonian/2671942901/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/paneamoreecreativita/3178968991/