Prefolded diapers were totally revolutionary at one point. Instead of having a large flat diaper to fold over and over again, prefolds were sewn so you only had to make a couple of folds to get the diaper on your baby! This ease, combined with prefolds’ durability and relative cheapness compared to the cost of other types of cloth diapers make them a well-loved staple of many cloth diaper stashes even today. Over the years, people have come up with a million different ways to fold prefolds! Some may work for you and some may not, depending on the size of your baby (and their temperament—some babies will happily let you spend five minutes trying to get a diaper to perfectly fit on them, others are lucky to give you five seconds). Here are five common ways to fold a prefold diaper, as illustrated by the good-natured and hard working Mr. Koala:
Also called the “trifold.” This fold requires no fasteners such as pins or Snappis, and thus must be used with a wrap-around style diaper cover to hold it in place (no pull-ons here!). You simply fold the prefold in thirds, like a business letter, and place it in the center of the cover. Super quick and easy! With my firstborn, we used this fold the most. This fold is also neat because you can easily pre-stuff a few covers with the prefold before changing your baby!
This is probably the most common fold when using a fastener. The bottom two corners are folded into the center, leaving two longer “wings” at the top that wrap around baby’s hips and are fastened. This is also a very quick and easy fold.
A fold similar to the Angel Fold above. This is a great way to make a too-large prefold a little smaller, or add extra absorbency at the front of the prefold. Fold the bottom of the prefold up about a quarter. Then, fold the bottom corners to the center just like the Angel Fold above. This fold is bulkier at the front than previous folds.
Jelly Roll Fold
The Jelly Roll is a trim fold that does a good job of preventing leaks, but it takes a little longer than other folds and can be difficult with an uncooperative baby. Rather than folding the bottom two corners to the center, the corners are rolled. The difficulty comes in keeping the corners rolled while trying to fasten the diaper on a squirmy, screaming baby! However, with some practice it gets easier and this was one of my favorite folds to use when my children were newborns.
This was my second favorite fold when my babies were, well, babies! It gives you a little extra fabric at the hips to fasten if your babies tend to be wide like mine were. It’s also very quick—grab the bottom of the prefold and twist it in the middle! Then, pull up between baby’s legs and fasten.
There are many, many different ways parent fold prefolds! What is your favorite fold to use?