Prefold diapers are the good old-fashioned kind your mother or grandmother may have used, but today they are fastened differently, work with a variety of high-tech diaper covers that make them much more convenient, and still remain the cheapest diapering option out there. In fact, after trying nearly every type of diaper available, I still consider my prefolds and diaper covers the best-performing and most convenient diaper in my stash.
How Much Do Prefolds Cost?
Why would you want to consider prefold diapers when there are so many options out there that are all sewn together and come in cute prints? That’s easy. Most pocket diapers cost nearly $20 apiece, while prefold diapers cost $1.50 to $2 apiece–and that’s for the best Diaper Service Quality (DSQ) prefold money can buy.
A Caveat: Gerber prefolds are NOT recommended by anyone but Gerber, because unlike DSQ high-quality prefolds Gerber prefolds are stuffed with cheap polyester that doesn’t absorb moisture. To find good prefolds you will love, check out a good diaper shop such as 29 Diapers’ advertisers on the sidebar (Madison Organics, Sweet Bottoms Baby, and The Stork Wearhouse).
The savings add up even more than that, though. Because you can throw a wet prefold in the diaper pail and reuse the cover several times until it is soiled, you need one diaper cover for every 3 prefolds, which means a $12-15 cover plus 3 $1.50 prefolds gives you three diaper changes for less than the cost of 1 pocket diaper. Pretty significant savings. And with most fitted diapers costing up to $25 apiece on top of the cost of diaper covers, prefolds are the clear winner for mamas on a tight budget.
How Prefold Diapers Work
Diaper Service Quality prefolds are the most absorbent diaper on the market, bar none. And the cool thing about today’s wrap-style diaper covers that fit snugly up against baby’s prefold is that they can do the job of a diaper pin or Snappi, holding a prefold in place with no fastener. Snappis are great for when prefolds are bulky on a tiny baby, but when baby starts to get bigger, you can keep using an infant-size prefold long beyond when the prefold is too small to fasten at the hips. In fact, our baby girl is now almost 2 years old and we still prefer infant prefolds for a trim fit under a wrap-style diaper cover. They are still our go-to option for night-time, even.
Prefolds can be folded in a variety of ways, but our favorite is to place the prefold flat under baby girl’s bum inside the cover and then fold the front in thirds as we pull it up in front of her. I have a few pictures on folding prefolds on the sidebar if you would like to learn more.
And Now It Gets Complicated
So far I have been talking about basic cotton Diaper Service Quality prefolds, but as the myriad of diapering options expands, so does the number of styles of prefolds. This week I will be testing not only a cotton DSQ prefold (and laying to rest the myth of Indian vs. Chinese cotton being softer or more durable) but also a hemp jersey knit Thirsties prefold, an Econobum cotton prefold, and an organic cotton Flip prefold, all sewn together differently, all differently sized. So… so much for prefolds being the simplest option on the market, lol. Here we go! This week we will have giveaways for 4 different kinds of prefolds and matching covers, plus I’ll answer common questions such as how to choose the right size prefold, what the different colors of stitching on prefolds represents, and more. You never knew there was so much to know about the basic workhorse diaper, but it’s well worth looking into it! If you choose prefolds for your baby, you can diaper her from birth to potty training for about $200, saving $2300 over the average cost of disposables and several hundred over the cost of any other cloth diapering system.