Prefolds: The Easiest Cloth Diapers
I don’t know what it is about having a second child, but cloth diaper laundry that never bothered me with my first is always hanging around in the basket waiting to be folded and put away until the last minute with my second. I was good about the diapers until I went back to work part time. Now, even though I still have the entire afternoon at home with my kids, I just can’t seem to get diaper laundry under control this time around. It’s not like anything has changed since I diapered my daughter (other than the obvious addition of her brother). I worked part time when she was a baby as well. It’s not like I have two kids in diapers at the same time so unfortunately that’s not an excuse either. Somehow, just having two children instead of one, even spaced nearly four years apart, has carved away at my “free” time in such a way that diapers don’t often get folded, stuffed, and sorted in a timely fashion. Of course, other things have gone to the wayside with two kids as well.
Things like regularly dusting the shelves, remembering to wash windows more than a couple times a year, and changing the sheets on a weekly basis have also gotten pushed back to a frequency that is frustrating. But back to the diapers. This post is about the diapers.
Why we now choose prefoldsNormally we just use pockets stuffed with flats a majority of the time and we supplement this with fitteds or prefolds only occasionally. But then Baby Bear had a suspicious looking rash and I was afraid it might be yeast, so to be on the safe side I started using his cotton prefolds as much as I could until the rash cleared because, according to a study done by the Real Diaper Association, yeast doesn’t stay on cotton after it’s been washed. During that week or so where Bear was in prefolds, my diaper laundry was miraculously finished and in the baskets on his changing table in record time. That’s when the light bulb went off and I discovered that prefolds are definitely the easiest cloth diaper. Yes, they are easier than pockets. They are even easier than all in ones. At least in my opinion. All this time, since my fouryear old daughter was born, I’d been stalwartly using my pockets and AIOs because they are the easiest. This opinion was based on my comparing them to disposables, and only keeping in mind time spent at the changing table. But though these diapers are great, are they really the easiest? I don’t really think so anymore. They can be finicky about how they are washed and dried (especially if you have an HE washer), they spend more time being washed and dried then prefolds (or flats), and then the pockets have to be stuffed. Prefolds? Not difficult at all. Granted, there is an extra step or two at the actual changing table, but during the rest of their life cycle they are amazingly low maintenance. They’re super inexpensive, they get softer and more absorbent with every wash, they don’t need as many rinses as microfiber because they’re made of cotton, you can throw them in the dryer without worrying about taking the life out of PUL or elastics, and they don’t need to be folded. I lay mine flat right out of the wash and then toss them in their basket and they’re ready to be used. You can pin them, snappi them, boingo them, or just lay them inside the cover. They’re soft, all natural, absorbent, and often organic. They actually get better with age and use, and yes, they don’t reinfect your baby with yeast rashes either! Besides, they’re the cheapest cloth diaper option, hands down.
I’ll admit, my diaper changes now take a couple of seconds longer, and sometimes prefolds are more challenging to fasten to a wiggly baby, but I’m saving more time to play with both my precious kiddos in the meantime because I’ve eliminated that 15 to 25 minutes it takes to stuff and sort my stash of pockets 2 to 4 times a week. We still keep the pockets (all 30+ of them) and use them regularly for daycare, church, night time, a hurried diaper change, or just because they’re darn adorable; but now I’m giving my pockets and AIOs a longer life by using them less and I don’t have to stuff all 30 pockets at a time at diaper folding time. Besides, I need less prefolds than pocket diapers because I don’t have to line dry anything other than a cover or two once a day. I can cloth diaper my 7 month old almost fulltime on only 12 prefolds that way. Pockets take a full 24 hours to be ready from washing to air drying. Prefolds can take as little as a couple of hours to be ready to wear again, depending upon how quickly you wash and machine dry them. And the best part? You know that stink that can linger on microfiber inserts with time and use? It’s nonexistent with prefolds. Yep. Absolutely not even a factor.
All cloth diapers are easy in their own right, and different kinds of diapers are easier for different families for a variety of reasons. But for me and my family right now, I’m loving the extra time I’ve gained with both my kiddos by sticking to the cheaper, simpler, old fashioned diaper and saving the pockets for a pinch. And I think my little guy’s bum is enjoying the luxurious cotton as well. It’s funny because with my daughter, I despised prefolds most of the time. They sat abandoned in the lowest basket on her changing table where they were only ever used in a pinch while I grabbed from my evergrowing stash of pocket diapers. Now the prefolds are the first ones I grab! So go ahead, stick with the fancy pocket diapers, AIOs, and fitteds, and I’ll stick with my oldfashioned prefolds and pins because after four years, I finally discovered just how awesome they really are!