Having a baby at the beginning of winter, and with two older kids to care for, meant that I got REALLY behind on the laundry (even more than usual!), including the nappies. The drying time of fitted and all in one nappies in the middle of winter, just added to the backlog. So when I ran out of cloth nappies one day, I had no choice and pulled out the prefolds and flats. And the awesome thing was that over that winter I seemed to always have prefolds and flats available – they dry so much quicker than modern cloth nappies. And because they don’t have any materials such as elastics and PUL that can be damaged, you can be a be a bit rougher with them in terms of dryer use and they continue to live another day.
Prefolds and flats are the cheap and cheerful option of the cloth nappy world, which is perfect when you get through piles of nappies every day with a newborn. Cotton is the cheapest with bamboo and hemp being more expensive, but much more absorbent so if you can, get a variety of types.
When your baby outgrows prefolds, they make great boosters for other nappies such as boosters in pocket nappies or as boosting night nappies. Once flats are outgrown, they too can be used for boosting, along with hundreds of other uses around the house. And when they don’t have a lot of life left in them, they’re perfect cleaning cloths – you can definitely get your moneys worth out of flat nappies!
I’m by no means an expert on all folds or particularly coordinated so I kept it nice and simple, using an angel wing fold for prefolds and an origami fold for flats. And now that my baby doesn’t fit all the prefolds and flats with these folds, I find them great just pad folded and put into covers or shells – a quick and fuss free cloth nappy option, which I find particularly useful for those times when you need a nappy for a short period of time, like an hour or so before bath/bed. A quick Google will show you tutorials on all sorts of prefold and flat folds – some suit different sized babies better, so have a look through and see what might work for you and your little one.
Even if you intend to go down the modern cloth nappy route, I think there’s always a place for traditional cloth nappies in any nappy stash. They’re perfect to pad out your stash over winter and to have on hand for those newborn days – and if you only end up using them as burp cloths or for mopping up baby messes, you’ll still get a lot of use out of them!
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