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Flat and Prefolded Cloth Diapers are the most basic and least expensive cloth diapering option. They are really easy to wash, quick to dry, and fairly easy to use.
Flats are just like they sound – a large, flat piece of absorbent material that you fold to go around baby’s tush. The diaper is held in place with either pins or a snappi. Snappi’s are the preferred choice as they are really easy to use and you can’t accidentally poke baby during a diaper change.
Flats are usually made from cotton or hemp.
Prefold Cloth Diapers
Prefolded cloth diapers are usually made from cotton, hemp or bamboo.
They are “prefolded” and sewn so that they are thicker in the middle and thinner on the sides. This makes them a little easier to use than flat diapers.
If you use a simple wrap cover, you don’t really need to pin the diaper in place or use a snappi. Just lay the diaper inside the cover and close it up. Easy!
When buying prefolds, you will often see them listed as 4x8x4. What that means is that there are 4 layers on the side panels and 8 in the middle. This helps when searching for a diaper with more or less absorbency, depending on your baby’s needs. Prefolds come in 4 sizes so you can get a better fit.
A word of caution about buying prefold cloth diapers. You will find prefolds at places like Babies-R-Us or Walmart. Before you buy them there, make sure that you get diapers that are not made with polyester materials. This makes the diaper look big and fluffy, but polyester does not make the diaper very absorbent. Stick with all natural fibers.
Pros of Flat & Prefolded Cloth Diapers
- Easy to wash
- Flats are quick to dry.
- All natural materials
- Sturdy, will hold up after many washes and years of use
Cons of Flat & Prefolded Cloth Diapers
- Can be tricky to fold
- Hard to get on a squirmy baby
- Not as cute as some of the other cloth diapers
- Considered hard to use by “grandma” or the babysitter
- Birdseye Flats – the old fashioned, most basic diaper
- Indian Prefolds – a little softer than CPFs
- Chinese Prefolds (CPFs) – most durable than Indian
- Hemp Prefolds
- Cloth-eez Flat or Prefold Diapers