The Amazingly Versatile PrefoldI didn't have many prefolds when my daughter was a young baby and those I did have a didn't like to use as diapers unless we were out of everything else, but Baby Bear has a good variety of them in different sizes and fibers. This family largely prefers the use of pocket diapers so we don't actually have enough prefolds to use them full time (well we would, had I not fitted most of my stash with snaps--I loved them when diapering Bunny when she was older, I hate them now that we have Baby Bear), but we really, REALLY depend on prefolds even when Baby Bear is in a pocket diaper. You've heard it before, I'm sure, but prefolds have SO MANY DIFFERENT USES! Now that I have a baby who's a spit-up machine, I appreciate that more than normal.
So how do we use our prefolds?Diapers Of course we use them as diapers either tucked into a cover, or folded and fastened to his little bum with a Snappi or Boingos. Sometimes, old school is just best because prefolds are amazingly awesome diapers.
Pocket inserts Prefolds of all different sizes can be great substitutes for your typical microfiber insert in a pocket diaper. I've actually taken to switching all of my microfiber inserts for either prefolds or flats and they're much more absorbent (in my opinion) than the microfiber, and they don't get stinky. Also, according to a recent study by The Real Diaper Association, yeast doesn't stay on cotton prefolds after the wash so they're safer in that sense as well.
Doublers The newborn and infant prefolds are great for doubling up at night time. They're small and not super bulky and can be positioned to the front for boys or the middle/back for girls within the pocket of your diaper.
Spit Rags/Burp Cloths Baby Bear spits up a lot. He has reflux, so he can't help it. We know that for the 30 minutes after he eats, it is not safe to hold him without a burp cloth so we always have a prefold on hand. Actually, there are usually 3-5 of them positioned in strategic places around the house for easy access in a pinch. This is not done on purpose. This happens by accident because we're always leaving them around when we move from one room to another and then frantically searching for the old one and just grabbing a new one instead.
Blankets I'm not ashamed to say that when Bear has fallen asleep and I happen to have a largish prefold on hand from burping him, I place it over his torso to keep away any drafts. I wouldn't use them as blankets on purpose, but in the car seat or when he's fallen asleep in my arms or on the couch and don't have a blanket, they do the trick! Also, I wouldn't use them when I'm not with the baby because they're pretty thick and could cause suffocation if they end up near his nose and mouth.
Nursing Cover If I were the type of person who covered while nursing, prefolds would make a sufficient cover--especially a large one. It would at least be good for covering up that crescent moon of skin that's often exposed between Baby Bear's mouth and the bottom of my shirt. Personally, though, I refuse to cover my child's face for either my comfort or that of those around me.
Teether Baby Bear chose this use, not me. Somehow, he got the prefold into his hand and once it was there, he began frantically stuffing it in his mouth and chewing on it. So now I'll put the prefold near his hand on purpose so that he can chew on it while I run to the bathroom or do dishes. He seems to like having the fabric in his mouth.
Playmat A large prefold can be placed on the floor for an infant's playtime--either on their back or their tummy. This is great when you're out of the house like in church or waiting through your daughter's dance class or your son's soccer practice. It's actually serving two purposes in this case: spit rag and play mat. Once the infant is rolling over or moving around regularly I can't imagine this would actually work because they aren't large enough.
Changing Pad I don't put a changing pad cover on my changing table because I like being able to wipe the surface clean. However, sometimes it's nice to have something absorbent and/or soft underneath my baby, so I'll stick a large prefold under him. This was great when I changed my daughter because when a little girl pees in the open air, it pools under her. If you've forgotten your changing pad in your diaper bag when you're out and about, a prefold would be good for travel changes as well.
Pee tent Changing a little boy always presents the possibility of being sprayed. A small prefold stuck over his wee boy parts while transitioning from one diaper to the other, or while wiping or applying rash cream is a great way to prevent your walls, curtains, clothes, etc from getting sprayed with urine.
Towel Your four year old spilled her juice all over the floor while you were nursing? No problem, throw her the prefold. I have definitely used my son's prefold spit-rags to clean up messes the rest of us make. They're more absorbent than towels, so why not?
Rags Prefolds get softer and more absorbent the older they get. Eventually they'll get a bit tattered and too worn to use as diapers. That's when they go into the rag bin and can be used in general clean up around the house.
My daughter didn't spit up much so I never used prefolds with her other than occasionally as diapers and changing pads. With Baby Bear, though, since it follows him around everywhere, we have found ourselves using it for so many things and I wonder how I ever survived my daughter's infant-hood without it! In fact, I am seriously thinking about buying a complete stash of them just because they're so useful and multi-purposeful even though I already have full stashes of pockets, fitteds, and flat diapers.
Do you use prefolds in your house? What other uses have you found for them other than diapers?