Cloth Diapering: Which Prefold Should I Buy?

Prefold diapers are my absolutely favorite way to diaper Emily. I love the many ways I can fold the diaper before wrapping it around her, securing it with a Snappi, and then throwing a cover over the top. I love it so much I call it “Diaper Origami.” I thought I’d share a bit of what I’ve learned about prefolds so that you can purchase the ones that are right for you and your baby.

Why Prefolds are Terrific:

  1. You get 100% cotton or hemp touching your baby’s bum instead of plastic, gel, and chemicals
  2. Since they are natural fibers, they wash easily and don’t retain odors
  3. They are really absorbent
  4. If they get stained, you can lay your washed, damp prefolds out in the sun, and the sun will bleach them for you
  5. You can fold them in many different ways to custom fit your baby. Skinny or chunky — it doesn’t matter.
  6. They are very inexpensive
  7. They have a short drying time in the dryer, which I can’t say for the All-In-Ones or even some of the soakers and doublers out there
  8. They make terrific, highly coveted household rags when the diapering years are over

All Prefolds Are Not the Same

When you’re shopping for prefolds, you should know that all prefolds are not the same! Look for diapers labelled “Diaper Service Quality,” or DSQ for short. These are wide enough and long enough to fit a baby, and they usually have four layers of fabric on the sides and eight layers in the center. The fabric is usually either Indian cotton (a gauze fabric) or Chinese cotton (a twill), and it quilts up very nicely when you prewash it. You want that thick quilting in order for the diapers to absorb everything that comes out of your baby. You can also buy hemp prefolds, but they are VERY expensive. The two brands of cotton prefolds I recommend are the OsoCozy diapers and the Green Mountain Cloth-eez® diapers. Avoid the cheap brands that Target sells, like Gerber. They aren’t Diaper Service Quality and are better used as burp cloths.

OsoCozy Better Fit Prefolds

These diapers are shorter than normal diapers. They are specifically designed for you to fold them in thirds and place them in a diaper cover of your choice. The shorter length makes it so that they fit perfectly in the diaper cover without excess fabric hanging out the front or the back. This is the easiest way to diaper and it’s extremely husband-friendly. You don’t need to wrap the diaper around your baby at all. Simply fold into thirds, place in the cover, and secure the cover on your baby. Yes, it’s really that easy. There are no diaper pins or Snappis involved. This is actually the way that Tidee Didee, our local diaper service, recommends that you fold their diapers. My husband was very skeptical at first, because he exclusively used disposable diapers on his son, but he soon realized how easy this system was and I converted him into a cloth-diapering daddy. Now, a disadvantage of this is that you are more likely to get poop blowouts when your diaper is just floating around in a cover and isn’t nicely secured with a Snappi. But if you have a great diaper cover (Thirsties are my favorites, but any diaper cover will work), the poop stays nicely contained inside the cover and all you have to do is wipe your baby off, chuck the diaper and cover into the diaper pail, and whip out the next diaper and cover combo. I never had a poop stripe up the back of Emily’s shirt, ever. OsoCozy uses Indian cotton for their prefolds, which is a very soft, buttery gauze fabric. You can prewash it 2-3 times and it’s ready to use on your baby.

Of course, now that I’ve said you don’t need to Snappi it onto your baby, I’m going to turn around and say that when your baby is a smaller size, you can easily Snappi these diapers onto your baby without any problems. They are so short that they fit perfectly without you needing to fold the prefold down in the front or the back to make it fit onto your baby. I diapered Emily this way from birth to about 14 pounds (she weighed 6 pounds 14 ounces at birth and went down to 6 pounds 4 ounces right after birth). I used the OsoCozy Better Fit newborn size prefolds (with the purple edge-stitching) and size 1 Thirsties Duo Wraps along with some hand-me-down Tiny Tush extra small covers, which were a perfect size for my petite little girl. When she got to be about 12 pounds, we couldn’t really Snappi the diaper on her anymore, but trifolding it worked until she got old enough that she needed a larger diaper to absorb all of the pee she was producing. I just bought six of the red edge-stitched Better Fits that fit 14-30 pounds (just to see the difference between them and the Cloth-eez® diapers), and they are now truly the perfect size for her. I’m using the Snappi with them with no problems. Probably by 25 pounds, I’ll just be using the trifold method. And I love how soft they are! They are noticeably softer than the Cloth-eez®.

OsoCozy Prefolds (Standard Size)

When Emily outgrew her newborn prefolds, I was ready to buy the next size up. Now, I didn’t actually know that there was a difference between the Better Fit and the Standard Size prefolds (I thought they were all Better Fits), so I bought the Standard Size, which go from 15 – 30 pounds. Holy mackerel, those suckers are LONG!!!! I quickly learned the difference. This was ok with me, because I was excited to start practicing my Diaper Origami on Emily. There is extra fabric. A lot of extra fabric. These are perfect for a boy baby, because you can fold the front down into the “newspaper fold” and have a lot of absorbency right where little boys need it. I found that the size 1 Thirsties Duo Wrap covers were stretched a little tightly around all that fabric, so I switched to some hand-me-down Thirsties size small wraps and my Imse Vimse wool covers. I generally fold the back of the prefold down (to nicely contain the poop) and do some kind of newspaper fold combined with an angel-wing fold, or I do a jelly roll fold. It’s fun, and I love not just folding the diaper into thirds, but I don’t need that much fabric. These really aren’t my favorite prefolds. Don’t buy them if you don’t have to. Learn from my mistake and buy a shorter diaper.

Green Mountain Cloth-eez® Prefolds

These prefolds are great! I bought a dozen red-edged organic ones last week when I was preparing to teach my Cloth Diapering 101 class to show the difference amongst the prefolds. These are made from Chinese cotton (a twill fabric instead of gauze), so the threads are heavier and longer-lasting than the Indian cotton in the OsoCozy prefolds. Because of the natural plant oils in the twill, you need to prewash these diapers 5-7 times before they’re ready to use on your baby. Twill has a reputation for being very durable, so these diapers will probably last you through several children (if you have that many). You can use these diapers like the Better Fit diapers and trifold them into a diaper cover OR you can do Diaper Origami and secure them with a Snappi. The shorter length is AWESOME! I like these so much that I’m going to sell off my OsoCozy standard size prefolds and just go with these and my new OsoCozy Better Fits. Emily doesn’t actually need a diaper as long as the Standard Size prefolds. The Cloth-eez® are literally about an inch and a half longer than the OsoCozy Better Fit diapers, so there really isn’t much difference between the two. I thought there would be a lot more contrast between the two of them, but I was wrong. I prefer to use a Snappi, so the Cloth-eez® will probably end up being my favorites when Emily gets bigger.

So, to sum it all up, if you just want to trifold your diaper and place it in a cover, order the OsoCozy Better Fit diapers or the Cloth-eez® diapers in the correct size. If you’re really into Diaper Origami and you have a heavy-wetting little boy, buy the OsoCozy Standard Size prefolds, fold them with the newspaper fold, and secure them with a Snappi. If you want the flexibility of using a Snappi or trifolding your diaper, buy the Cloth-eez® diapers. Have fun!

A few notes:

Cheers!

Disposable Diapers and Male Infertility

This was an interesting article in the BBC News from September 25, 2000, about how disposable diapers increase the scrotal temperature in boy babies by 1 degree, which can possibly lead to infertility and testicular cancer later on. And the sperm counts of European men had dropped 25% over the previous 25 years, which parallels the increased use of disposable diapers. Scary!

Nappy ‘Link to Infertility’

Cloth Diapering — All Microfiber is Not the Same

A microsuede liner in a pocket diaper

A microsuede liner in a pocket diaper

One of the great things about modern, high-tech diapers is microfiber technology. They absorb urine really well and they help babies feel dry. Now, personally, I prefer to diaper Emily in cotton (and hemp too!), but microfiber is very useful with nighttime diapering and with naps. There are three kinds of microfiber that are used in diapering, and I’ll explain the difference amongst them.

Microfiber terry

Microfiber terry is the kind of cloth most of us are now drying our windows with when we wash them(unless we’re using our recycled prefold diapers, LOL!). This fabric is soft and very absorbent. It can absorb eight times its weight in liquid in just two seconds, yet it dries quickly. It’s a favorite for nighttime diapering. It shows up in most of the inserts for pocket diapers. Microfiber terry should never be placed against baby’s skin because it pulls moisture from the skin, leaving baby feeling chapped and dry. Not so good! When I’m stuffing Emily’s night diapers, the microfiber immediately makes my hands feel dry. I hate touching it, really. It should always go inside the pocket of a pocket diaper or be sewn into the inside layer of a diaper. For babies who are super soakers at night, this fabric will keep the sheets dry!

Microfleece (or Polar Fleece)

This is the perfect fabric for wicking moisture away from baby’s skin and keeping their bum dry. Microfleece is soft, fluffy, and feels great against the skin. Think about a fleece jacket and how nice and fuzzy that feels. This is used on FuzziBunz Elite pocket diapers as the stay-dry layer. Microfleece doesn’t develop stink issues, and poop doesn’t stick to it. Gotta love that!!! The single-layer diaper liners that you can buy from BumGenius and BabyKicks are made from microfleece. Malden Mills reportedly makes the most coveted of all of the fleece fabrics used in diapering. I was gifted a hand-me-down Stacinator diaper cover, which isn’t even made anymore, but comes from the Malden Mills fleece. It’s a little big on Emily right now, but I think it will fit in the summer. Microfleece (and microsuede, for that matter) helps baby feel dry, and is great for babies who wake up whenever they feel wet.

Microsuede

Microsuede, on the other hand, is another stay-dry, moisture-wicking fabric that’s kind of like chamois cloth. It’s not so cuddly soft, and can stink like crazy if your diapers have detergent build-up or you’ve been using creams or ointments on your baby’s bum. Microsuede reminds me of going to the gym in a polypropylene workout shirt and having to hand-wash the stink out of the armpits of the shirt. BumGenius 4.0 uses microsuede in their pocket diapers, and Emily can certainly smell like a barnyard in the morning! But even with the stink, the microsuede keeps her dry and she doesn’t develop diaper rash. I’m contemplating stripping my BumGenius 4.0 diapers, sun-bleaching them, selling them, and converting over to the FuzziBunz Elite diapers just for the microfleece instead of the microsuede.

There you are! Happy diapering!

Cloth Diapering 101 — What You Need to Know

There are so many cloth diapering options now, the choices can be a little overwhelming for new moms. I’ve spent hours reading blog entries and online diaper store how-to’s, as well as watching YouTube videos. And then, of course, I have the real-life experience of diapering my daughter. You don’t need to be as meticulous as I’ve been on cloth diaper research. I’ve prepared a resources sheet for you with most of what you need to know.

How many diapers?

If you’re doing laundry every other day, you will need:

  • For a newborn: 24 diapers & 6-8 covers
  • For an older baby: 24-36 diapers & 6-8 covers
  • 3 nighttime diapers (either 3 pocket diapers with microfiber inserts and hemp doublers, or three fitted diapers with diaper covers)

You can have any combo of diapers you want: prefolds with covers, pocket diapers like BumGenius 4.0 or Fuzzibunz Elite, or hybrids like the GroVia hybrid. If you go with prefolds, get Diaper Service Quality (DSQ), such as OsoCozy brand, Cloth-Eez from Green Mountain Diapers, Imagine Organics, Dandelion Diapers, Blueberry, and Kawaii. The OsoCozy Better Fit diaper is shorter and designed to be folded into thirds and placed into a cover without using a Snappi. The OsoCozy prefolds that DON’T say Better Fit are longer and designed to be folded on baby and secured with a Snappi or diaper pins. The Green Mountain Diapers Cloth-Eez prefolds can either be used as a trifold inside a cover or Snappied onto a baby — it’s your choice. Use any kind of cover you’d like with your prefold. I like the Thirsties brand, but Blueberry Coveralls , Blueberry Capris, or Bummis Whisper Wraps work great too. You can also use wool covers, which are my personal favorite. More on wool later.
The more diapers you have, the longer they will last.
Change the diaper as soon as it is soiled or wet (at least every 2 hours).

Other useful accessories ( Amazon.com is your friend):

  • 40-50 cloth wipes (just toss them in the wet bag and wash with your diapers) — use water as your wipe solution
  • 1 GroVia Magic Stick, GroVia Z Stick, or Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm — a cloth-diaper safe way of treating and preventing diaper rash
  • 2 hanging wet bags (KangaCare) or diaper pail liners (PlanetWise)
  • 2 smaller wet bags for your diaper bag (Bummis, PlanetWise, GroVia)
  • 4-6 doublers for naps and nighttime (the OsoCozy Better Fit infant prefolds work great as doublers, and I also love the BabyKicks Joey Bunz hemp doublers)
  • 3 Snappis if you’re using prefolds
  • BumGenius Diaper Sprayer for the toilet (use only when your baby is no longer exclusively breastfed)
  • Spray Pal  — a cloth diaper sprayer splatter shield. I found mine on Amazon.
  • Dry diaper pail with a lid (optional) — a standard kitchen garbage can works great
  • Drying rack for outside (optional); Here’s a great one I found on Amazon.
  • Washable Chux Pads! — If you’re co-sleeping or nursing your newborn baby in bed at night, do yourself a huge favor and buy washable chux pads to put under the baby. I use the Champion size medium with a flannel receiving blanket on top. Who wants to change pee-soaked sheets in the middle of the night? No one.

How Do I Fold Prefold Diapers?

  1. Here’s My Favorite YouTube Prefold Diapering Tutorial.
  2. Here’s My Other Favorite YouTube Prefold Diapering Tutorial.

How to Clean Your Diapers:

Prewash all new natural fiber diapers to remove plant oils and to make your diapers quilted and absorbant (not necessary for covers or microfiber, though you should wash microfiber once before using it):

  1. Hot wash with 1/2 amount of detergent, tumble dry
  2. Do this 5-7 times

Washing Instructions for Hard Water (85% of households have hard water):

  1. How can you tell if you have hard water? You can buy a hard water test kit and see for yourself.
  2. Shake the poop into the toilet
  3. Cold, warm, or hot short prewash with a small amount of soap
  4. Hot, heavy duty, long wash with enough detergent for a soiled load; 1 capful Calgon or another kind of water softener like Arm & Hammer washing soda or White King; no extra rinse

Washing Instructions for Soft Water:

  1. Shake the poop out into the toilet and use a diaper sprayer to dislodge any large bits (do nothing with the breastfed poop – those diapers can go straight into the washer)
  2. Cold, warm, or hot short prewash without soap — this gets rids of the pee and poop so the main cycle actually gets your diapers clean
  3. Hot, heavy duty, long wash with detergent enough detergent for a soiled load, and extra rinse

Drying Instructions:

  • Dry natural fiber diapers in the dryer
  • Hang dry all covers — drying them too much in the dryer removes their waterproofing
  • It’s useful to pick non-white covers so you don’t accidentally toss them in the dryer with your “white” prefolds
  • To remove stains, you can sun bleach diapers and covers by hanging dry outside for a few hours

Notes on Washing Diapers:

  • Fill your washer 1/2 to 2/3 full. You can tell how full your washer is by looking in right when you’ve placed the diapers inside. If you don’t have enough diapers to fill the machine at least 1/2 full, consider waiting another day or add dirty towels to your load to get to 1/2 full. You need to have enough diapers in there to rub against each other for agitation to get clean.
  • Any kind of washing machine is just fine
  • Any kind of detergent is fine, but don’t use any that has fabric softener in it (like Tide with Downey)
  • Don’t use Dreft or Ivory Snow

About Stinky Diapers:

  • Microfiber is more absorbent than natural fibers, but it has a tendency to stink and develop repellency issues. It’s easier to clean microfiber if you have a top-loading washer, because microfiber likes to be immersed in water to get clean.
  • If a diaper stinks when you take it out of the washer, it’s not clean and you need to use more soap.
  • If it smells clean when it comes out of the washer but stinks immediately when the baby pees on it, it has ammonia build-up. You need to tweak your wash routine. Consider stripping your diapers with bleach to remove the ammonia. Consider joining The Cloth Diaper Asylum on Facebook. They are very knowledgeable and will help you troubleshoot your wash routine.

Stripping Protocol:

  • We strip diapers to remove ammonia stink, yeast, bacteria, or residue from ointments or soap. We also strip any used diapers we’ve just purchased or obtained.
  • Make sure your diapers are CLEAN before you strip them
  • Use COLD water for the stripping protocol, and don’t use detergent
  • Amount of bleach to add:
    • If you have an old fashioned top loader, add 1/3 c. to a small load, 1/2 c. to a medium load, or 3/4 c. to a large load
    • If you have an HE top loader, add 1/4 c. to a small load, 1/3 c. to a medium load, or 1/2 c. to a large load
    • If you have an HE front loader, use either your bathtub, sink or a bucket to soak the diapers in. Add the bleach to the water and mix it well BEFORE you add the diapers.
      • Use 1/4 cup for a 1/4 tub full of water
      • Use 1/2 cup for a 1/2 tub of water
      • Use 3/4 cup for a tub that’s near full.
      • For a smaller vessel, 1 TBSP per gallon of water
  • Let the diapers soak in the bleach/water solution for at least 30 minutes
  • If the diapers are in the washing machine, you can turn off the washer to let the diapers soak, and then turn the washer back on to let the machine finish its cleaning cycle.
  • If the diapers are in something other than the washer, wring them out and transfer them to the washer. Let them run through a cold wash without soap.
  • You can run the diapers through another wash in hot water, detergent and an extra rinse to get rid of the bleach smell
  • Anything except animal fibers like wool and silk can be bleached.
  • See The Cloth Diaper Asylum for more information on the proper way to strip diapers

Here’s a Great Article About Diaper Rash from eBay.

Nighttime Diapering Notes:

  • You need to create a diaper combo that can stay on your baby for up to 12 hours without leaking or causing discomfort to baby
  • BumGenius 4.0 and Fuzzibunz Elite One Size are two great pocket diaper brands to use for nighttime.
    • Stuff your pocket diapers with the toddler microfleece doubler that comes with the pocket diaper and a doubler layered behind it (Joey Bunz by Baby Kicks is the one I use, but you can also use a newborn prefold diaper folded in thirds or half and placed behind the microfiber insert).
  • You can also use a prefold with one or two doublers added and a microfleece insert over the top to keep baby feeling dry all night
  • If you have a super duper wetter, use a fitted diaper like SootheBaby with a wool, fleece, or Thirsties cover
  • Make sure the diaper fits well around the legs and the waist. That makes most diapers bulletproof for 12 hours

On Wool:
Wool is easy to use. It’s breathable, antibacterial, natural, absorbs 30 times its weight in moisture, and doesn’t retain odor.
My favorite wool diaper cover brand names are: Imse Vimse, Babee Greens, Disana, Woolly Bottoms, and Sloomb (Babee Greens is my absolute favorite!). You can also go to Etsy and look up upcycled wool covers for adorable custom covers.
Wool is great for diapering at night as well as during the day.
It only needs to be washed about once a month in wool shampoo (Imse Vimse or Eucalan) or when it’s dirty.
Lanolinizing it keeps it waterproof. For instructions on how to lanolinize and wash wool, Green Mountain Diapers has great instructions.
Here’s a great blog article on diapering with wool.

Places to buy new diapers:

Great places to buy previously owned diapers:

•  Sweet Pea Children’s Boutique (Cotati, CA)
•  Diaper Swappers
•  Craigslist
•  Ebay

P.S. (I’m not receiving any kickbacks or bonuses for recommending any of these products or companies. I just happen to like them and want to pass on my experience to you. Cheers!)

 

Cloth Diapering: How Many Diapers to Buy

How many diapers?

How many diapers?

How many cloth diapers do you need? That’s a good question. We’re 8 months into cloth diapering, and I have some pearls of wisdom to share my personal experience as well as from all the other blogs and YouTube videos and webpages I’ve stumbled across.

If you’re doing diaper laundry every other day:

  • For a newborn: 24 diapers & 6 covers. Prefold diapers are the best! They are a really good, inexpensive place to start cloth diapering with a newborn. You just fold them in thirds and place them in a diaper cover. Don’t waste your money on cheap Gerber prefolds. Get Diaper Service Quality (DSQ), either OsoCosy brand Better Fit diapers or Green Mountain Diapers Cloth-eez brand. Remember that the more diapers you have, the longer they will last for your child. The fewer you have, the more quickly they will lose their fluffiness and start breaking down (the snaps, the velcro, the elastic, the stitching, the waterproofing, etc.). Change the diaper as soon as it is soiled or wet (at least every 2 hours). You’ll be changing diapers about 12 times a day at first for a newborn, so 24 diapers is a good stash. BumRite Diapers has a “Get Started in Cloth” package that is absolutely perfect and affordable for newborns (in my opinion). Thirsties Duo Wrap covers are my favorites.
  • For a older baby: 18 diapers & 4 covers. You’ll go through about 8 diapers changes a day and you’ll have fewer poop blow-outs when your baby adds solid foods to their diet, so you don’t need as many diapers or covers. Once your baby is around 11 pounds, the pocket diapers and fitted diapers will also fit them better. We have 12 GroVia hybrid covers with 24 cotton snap-in soakers as well as 12 OsoCozy prefolds and Thirsties Duo Wrap covers. I know, I know, that’s more than 18 diapers total. I have extra diapers for a few reasons. The first is that I have an extra stash of GroVia Hybrids at work for my childcare provider to use. I also have extra diapers in my diaper bag and in my husband’s diaper bag in our respective cars. The third reason is that my husband loves the GroVia Hybrids and I love the prefolds and covers, so we alternate between the two styles. Sometimes you just need extra diapers.
  • Get 3 nighttime diapers for your baby (either 3 pocket diapers with microfiber inserts and hemp doublers, or three fitted diapers with diaper covers). This way, you have 2 nights of diapers plus an extra diaper in case your baby poops in the middle of the night and you need to change the diaper. I have 7 nighttime diapers (because I’m a cloth diaper nerd), but 3 is really just fine. I have four BumGenius 4.0 diapers as well as two hand-me-down pocket diapers from CC Bums and 1 fitted diaper from SootheBaby. The CC Bums diapers are my absolute favorites. I stuff them with a microfiber insert plus a Joey Bunz doubler and put a Thirsties Duo Wrap size 2 over the top, and it’s a leakproof combo that doesn’t stink. The BumGenius 4.0 diapers are for my husband, and he does pretty well with them, though I dream about replacing them with Fuzzibunz Elite pocket diapers. I stuff them with the toddler microfiber insert that comes with the diaper and a Joey Bunz hemp doubler.

Other useful accessories that I love:

  • 24-36 GroVia cloth wipes (wet them with plain, old-fashioned water to wipe your baby’s bum and then just toss them in the wet bag and wash with your diapers)
  • 1 GroVia Magic Stick (it’s cloth diaper safe and is amazing for diaper rash)
  • 2 Snappis (used in place of diaper pins, and so each to use, even your partner can do it)
  • 2 hanging wet bags (KangaCare) or diaper pail liners (PlanetWise)
  • 1 smaller wet bag for your diaper bag (Bummis, PlanetWise, or GroVia)
  • 4 doublers for naps and nighttime (the OsoCozy Better Fit infant prefolds work great, and I also love the BabyKicks Joey Bunz hemp doublers)
  • BumGenius Diaper Sprayer for the toilet
  • Diaper pail with a lid(optional)

We live in a small house, so we literally didn’t have room for a diaper pail or a billion diapering accessories. The KangaCare wet bag hangs from the bedroom doorknob within easy reach of the dresser we use as a changing table, and I love it! It fits about 14 diapers, which is the perfect size for 1 load of diaper laundry. It’s also made from a material that is eventually compostable, which I thought was pretty responsible of them. I have one hanging to dry while I’m using the other one for the day’s diapers.

I bought most of my stash from BumRite Diapers, and filled in the blanks with stuff from Amazon.com. Now that Emily is 16 pounds, she’s going to the next size up, and I just ordered a dozen Cloth-eez organic prefolds (red border), 1 medium Imse Vimse wool cover, and 1 Babee Greens medium merino wool cover for her (I love wool covers!) from Green Mountain Diapers. The Thirsties Duo Wrap size 1 covers are going to be retired soon, but the GroVia Hybrids have fit her since she was 8 pounds, and should fit her through potty training! You can also buy used diapers from diaperswappers, craigslist, and eBay.