Friday, October 9, 2009

A Love/Hate Relationship with Prefolds

Prefolds are all about necessity for me. I chose to start cloth diapering about a month ago for several reasons, one of them being cost savings. When I looked at the potential savings over time, especially when reusing cloth diapers for future children, the choice seemed obvious. The up-front cost of initially buying 18 to 24 diapers to have on hand for an older baby was a bit daunting, however.

Before making my initial cloth purchases, I created a list of my “dream diaper stash” with the associated costs, and then a companion “for now diaper stash” that fit within my current budget. My dream diaper stash did not include prefolds. My second list included six. I use a combination of Bumgenius 3.0's, KCK Ones, Bamboozle fitted diapers, and prefolds. While I plan to purchase additional pockets and AIOs in the future, I had to settle for depending on some prefolds for now.

Truthfully, prefolds are a lifesaver if you’re starting out with cloth on a limited budget, as they are the most economical cloth diaper available. I own three one-size diaper covers, one Thirsties Duo Wrap and two Wonderwraps. I rotate in my prefolds during diaper changes throughout the day, primarily when I know we’ll be staying in. Prefolds are durable, getting softer each time you wash them, and they certainly do their job. Learning to fold them, and finding the right fit for your baby, can involve a bit of a learning curve at first, but I eventually got a routine down. In fact, I own two snappis, but generally don’t even bother to use them anymore.

I’ve read several blog posts from experienced moms who’ve learned to love prefolds, who consider them to be “tried and true,” and who turn to them again and again. I want to be one of these moms, I honestly do, but I’m not. I can’t get over the bulk of prefolds or the extra hassle involved in folding, placing on baby, then getting a cover on. My little guy is nearly 10 months and placing a prefold on him today involved a mini wrestling match. Whenever I use prefolds, I indulge a little fantasy about the day they’ll be used as last-choice on laundry day or even as cleaning rags.

This being said, I’m grateful for the option to use prefolds. When we potty trained our daughter, many experienced parents recommended we fully ditch the diapers, skip pull-ups, and simply commit to underwear. I approached cloth diapering with the same philosophy and my baby only wears disposables during our Friday babysitting-trade nights with friends. This would have been impossible without prefolds.

Days when I look at my prefolds with a bit of disdain, I remind myself how much I love cloth diapering. I love to pull them out of the dryer, fresh and white. I love how we no longer have to recycle enormous value-sized disposables boxes, make last-minute runs to the store for diapers, or deal with the cost and trash associated with disposables. I love placing a soft, clean diaper on my baby with its adorable, colorful shell. Mostly, I love feeling like I’ve made a choice that is good for my baby and the environment, all the while saving money – and I’ve got prefolds to thank for that!

Contributed by Mindy F.


Attila & Tamara said...

I am just starting out with CDing and I have been thinking about this a lot, whether to just go for the expensive, but convenient, pockets and AIOs or if I could actually come to love, or at least endure, the use of prefolds with covers. Hmmm... the jury is still out!

Tamara said...

I'm in the same boat as you. I have 3 smartipants, which I LOVE, but the rest of my stash is prefolds and covers. I got an awesome deal on the prefolds at a thrift store ($5 for a HUGE bag, over 30 of 'em) and most were in excellent condition. So, it really was a no-brainer for me. So, what do you do for nap time and nite-nite? I'm still using disposables because I'm afraid of leaks.

hosiewosie said...

I say get prefolds- they fit better on newborns, can be used longer when folding down extra fabric, and if you really hate them sew them into fitteds later (don't get me wrong, I am a newby to sewing, but it looks easy enough- I'm about to try it)! Oh and the wiggly baby is mostly a phase...

Mindy said...

Hi Tamara! I use prefolds or Bum Genius at naptime and usually have no problems, but my son only sleeps 1 to 2 hours for a nap. For night-time, Ive used Bum Genius 3.0s with the newborn insert and baby always wakes up dry. I tried a prefold with a newborn insert against the diaper cover last night and that worked okay too. I felt like it was pushing things a bit, though. I have a wool insert that I finally have ready and I'm going to try that tonight as a doubler. I have read a ton about Drybees as a great night solution, but have yet to try them. It will be great for me when I have a newborn again and can give a whole new perspective on diapering a tiny baby. :0)


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