How To Use Prefold Cloth Diapers


Prefolds are a great option for cloth diapering. Check out this video where I demonstrate exactly how to use prefolds, and show you 5 different ways that you can fold them.

What are Prefolds?

Prefolds are flat, rectangular-shaped cloth diapers comprised of several layers of absorbent fabric. The three most common types of fabric used to make prefolds are cotton, bamboo, and hemp.

Need help choosing a fabric? Check out this article I wrote about cloth diaper fabrics.

A common question beginners ask is “Do prefolds need a diaper cover?”. The answer is yes, a diaper cover must be used over a prefold to make it waterproof.

Typically prefolds have three vertical sections with the middle section containing extra layers of fabric. You may see this described as a 4x8x4 ply prefold, which means there are 4 layers of fabric on the outer sections and 8 layers in the middle, which is where the most absorbency is needed.

There are, however, some prefolds that are not divided into sections. An example being Geffen Baby Prefolds, which have an even 4 layers of a hemp/cotton blend fabric across the entire rectangular panel.

How To Use Prefolds:

There are two ways to use prefolds.

#1 Pad-Fold Method

The simple and easy method is to pad-fold the prefold and lay it inside of a diaper cover and then secure the cover onto your baby. This fold is also commonly referred to as a tri-fold. To pad-fold, simply fold the diaper into a long thick strip.

Prefolds that are sewn into three sections will easily fold into thirds and fit nicely into most covers. Other prefolds may need to be folded more, depending on the width of the diaper. As long as it fits inside the narrowest section of the cover it will work great.

If the prefold is too long to fit inside of the cover, you can also fold it down at the top or bottom to achieve the right length.

  • Pros: Simple, Easy, Quick
  • Con: More prone to blow-outs. May need to purchase a larger stash of diaper covers because of the frequent blow-outs.

#2 Fasten Method

The other way to use a prefold is to fasten it onto the baby using diaper pins, or a more modern fastener such as a snappi.

  • Pros: Good poo containment. Trimmer fit.
  • Cons: Learning diaper folds. Takes longer. Have to purchase fasteners.

The snappi is a stretchy T-shaped fastener. Each of the three ends has gripping teeth that gently grab onto the fabric without damaging it. Hook the teeth onto one tab of the prefold and then stretch it across the front of the diaper and hook onto the other tab, then pull the bottom teeth down to secure.

I am a snappi fan myself. You can purchase a set of them here. They are very easy to use and you don’t have to worry about poking your baby or yourself. The Boingo is another option.

There are plenty of parents who prefer diaper pins to the newer fasteners. You may want to try each method and see what works best for you.

5 Easy Folds For Prefold Cloth Diapers (With Photos & Video)

How To Angel Wing Fold A Prefold Cloth Diaper

  1. Start by placing your baby on the flat prefold.
  2. Fold the bottom right corner of the prefold to the center of the middle panel.
  3. Next, fold the bottom left corner to the center of the middle panel.
  4. Now bring the folded portion up through the middle of the baby’s legs until it lies right below the baby’s belly button.
  5. Grab each wing of the diaper from behind the baby and bring it around to the front.
  6. Fasten the prefold with pins or a snappi.

How To Pad Fold A Prefold Cloth Diaper

  1. Start by lying the prefold flat on a surface.
  2. Fold the right panel of the prefold over the center panel.
  3. Next, fold the left panel over the center panel.
  4. Now place the “tri-folded” pad into a water-proof diaper cover.
  5. The diaper is ready to fasten onto the baby.

How To Jelly Roll Fold A Prefold Cloth Diaper

  1. Start by placing your baby on the flat prefold.
  2. Take the bottom right panel of the prefold and begin to roll it up until it reaches the center of the middle panel.
  3. Hold the right roll in position as you do the same thing with the left panel.
  4. Once, both sides of the prefold are rolled, bring the rolls up through the baby’s legs until it lies right below the baby’s belly button.
  5. Carefully spread the rolls out across the baby’s belly.
  6. Grab each wing of the diaper from behind the baby and bring it around to the front.
  7. Fasten the prefold with pins or a snappi.

How To Binkni Twist Fold A Prefold Cloth Diaper

  1. Start by placing your baby on the flat prefold.
  2. Grab the center panel of the bottom side of the prefold and twist it until it is upside down.
  3. Bring the bottom side up through the baby’s legs until it reaches just below the baby’s belly button.
  4. Grab each wing of the diaper from behind the baby and bring it around to the front.
  5. Fasten the prefold with pins or a snappi.

How To Newspaper Fold A Prefold Cloth Diaper

  1. Start by placing your baby on the flat prefold.
  2. Fold the bottom serged edge of the prefold up a few inches towards the top of the prefold.
  3. Fold the right panel of the prefold to the center panel.
  4. Next, fold the left panel of the prefold to the center panel and tuck it inside of the pocket of the right panel.
  5. Fan out the top corners of the prefold to create wings.
  6. Grab each wing and bring it around to the front of the baby.
  7. Secure each wing with pins or a snappi.

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