Monday, March 28, 2011

Prefold and flats in cloth diapering

Prefold and flat can be the simplest kinds of diaper to use. It is definitely not daycare-friendly or daddy-friendly and yet it is absorbent, long-lasting, multi-use and very affordable especially when you need to cloth newborn where most other system hard to get the right fit. They are quick to dry too.

Both flat and prefold are in rectangular shape and usually made from birdseye, cotton or other gauze type of fabric and must be folded to become a shape of a diaper. Flat cloth diapers are the classic cotton square which is folded to fit baby and secured with diaper pin or a Snappi. Another option is to simply lay them in a wrap style cover and forego the additional closure. Some even used flat or prefold for doubler or insert for pocket type diapers.

Anakku (lampin) printed flat

Snappi for diaper closure for either flat or prefold

The only difference between flat and prefold is that prefold have extra layering in the center and it's absorbent are 3 to 5 times better than flats. Both are not waterproof and require cover especially when you have a heavy wetter.

It won't last wearing that long without any leaks, say up to 4 hours unlike other system and averagely most will wear it between 1 to 2 hours.If you have a light to medium wetting baby, it last about two hours without a doubler. With a good doubler, light to medium wetting baby can even wear it over night.

The most distinct type on prefold are Indian prefold or Chinese prefold. Indian prefold are the ones made from Indian cotton and are noted for being unbleached.It is super absorbent and repetitive washing makes them even more absorbent. It is characterized by their beige colour.

Unbleached prefold (4x8x4) size regular

The Chinese prefold is made with all natural 100% cotton. It is made of thicker material, constructed with heavy thread. It is not so soft compared to the Indian ones but stronger and mostly are bleached. Unbleached version last longer because the fiber has not been chemically weakened by bleach.

You can also find prefold made from bamboo or hemp. It is more absorbent and more expensive.

The most common question about prefold is what size to get because it comes with different fabrics, sizes and weights. Most prefolds will have a 4x8x4 sort of identification, the first and last numbers tell you how many layers of fabric there are on the right and lefts sides of the diaper and the middle number tells you how many layers of cloth in the middle. Most stores that carry prefolds will have the standard sizes - preemie/newborn, small, medium and large.

You can liven up your basic cotton prefold with colourful dye or embellishments. Embellishing means when you take a printed fabric usually a cotton knit or flannel and sew it onto your prefold to decorate the center panel of your prefold.

Green Mountain Diapers Embellished Prefold

Or, you can convert it and make it easily wearing and used. This is called converted prefold. It is shaped like ready-made diapers.

From local Mamas Converted prefold

And some are made with extended tab with wings for better fit for longer usage especially measurement around the belly.

Meg-a-roo's Design Extended Tab Prefold (S)

It can be challenging to tell which kind of prefold will become your favourite and many factors should be considered. You can considered based on: how you plan to use your prefold (with Snappi, pin or just lay-in flat inside cover, absorbency, drying time, organic or regular, cost and availability.

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