cloth diapers 101, part 1 - "pre-folds"

cloth diapers 101, part 1.... "pre-folds"

Our son has worn cloth diapers since he was born. For us, it has been a great decision. The numerous choices of styles, fabrics, and types available these days can be overwhelming for someone looking into cloth diapers for the first time. I thought we could begin a discussion today about one of the options.

When our son was an infant, we chose to use organic pre-folds with Thirsties brand Duo wrap covers. A "pre-fold" is the type of cloth diaper that was commonly used in this country in the 60's and 70's before the mainstreaming of disposable diapers. Pre-folds are the type of diapers that when laid flat are a rectangular shape split into thirds lengthwise with the middle third being the most padded. The main disadvantage to pre-fold diapers compared to some other options is that you need to learn how to fold them. You can learn one or many different ways of folding, and then you can fasten the diaper with a "snappy", or a plastic diaper fastener that holds it together. You can also use "old-fashioned" diaper pins if you prefer, but most people now find the snappy a much simpler fastening device. It has small plastic teeth that grab onto the fabric in three different places to hold the diaper in place. Then you cover the whole thing with a diaper cover, which is made from a thin waterproof fabric that stays closed with velcro or snaps. The covers come in a variety of colors of fabrics and patterns. We chose the Thirsties Duo because it is a size adjustable cover that comes in two main sizes which can range from newborn to toddler with the use of adjusting snaps. None of this is difficult by any means, but can be intimidating to some. As far as we see it, the advantages to the pre-folds are the ease of cleaning and potential future second use of cloth for cleaning rags etc.

We have a front loading washing machine, but you can wash diapers in a top loader as well. Please be aware that washing instructions do vary depending on your type of machine and the type of diaper you choose. We keep a lidded diaper pail in the bathroom right next to our toilet, and deposit all dirty/wet diapers in the pail. We wash diapers every 3 days or so. Before babies begin eating solid foods, all diapers dirty and wet can go straight into the machine. After beginning solid food, dirty diapers must be rinsed of solid matter before washing in the machine. We installed a simple sprayer device on our toilet that makes it relatively quick to rinse diapers off into the toilet, and then drop them into the pail. The pail does not make the bathroom smell, though there are some options for odor control if that is an issue. We use "Country Save" powder detergent to wash our diapers, with occasional help from a little "BioKleen Bac-out".

We used a small size of organic pre-folds at first, and then our son grew into a larger size. As he grew out of those we changed to using "flat" diapers which I will explain next time…

In the mean time, if you are considering cloth diapers, I highly recommend our local cloth diaper/baby store "Soft and Cozy Baby" on The Avenue in Hampden for all your cloth diapering/eco-friendly parenting needs. Their web site: