Perfecting your prefolds - Folds, tips and tricks
To round out the end of our series I'm going to help you perfect your prefold cloth nappies. So far, we've discussed 10 reasons to love prefolds, why prefolds are great for newborns, what accessories to use with prefolds and how to prep them. Now we're going to focus on folds. I'm going to teach you a few popular ones and fill you in on their advantages and disadvantages. And then to finish up we've got a couple of tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your prefolds. So let's dive right in.
How to fold your prefold cloth nappies
Padfold or trifold
The padfold or trifold is the most basic fold. You don't need a Snappi, you simply lay this in your nappy shell or coverand use. This is a great way to extend the use of your prefolds. The newborn or infant prefold you once used in an angel wing fold around your tiny bub can now be padfolded into an extra Candie shell and boom! You have extra inserts for your toddler. The downside to the padfold is that it doesn't offer the double-layer of containment that other folds that go around the baby do. So, this is often best for older babies.
Angel wing fold
To fold an angel wing fold, first lay your prefold out flat, then either fold both sides of one end in or make a padfold (refer to previous fold) and fan out one end.
This fold is the most basic fold that goes around bub. It's snug, trim, easy and very customisable. You can fold down the back or front to shorten it. And it's very easy to add boosters in between the layers to create an economical night nappyor for daytime if you have a particularly heavy wetter.
To fold a newspaper fold, first lay your prefold out flat, then fold one end in to make the prefold shorter then fold in both sides of that end.
The newspaper fold is a variation of angel wing. It is good for prefolds that are too long or to add absorbency to the front of a nappy for little boys. It does create a bit more bulk than a standard angel wing fold
Jelly roll fold
To fold a jelly roll fold, first lay your prefold out flat, then roll in each side of the prefold towards one end.
The jelly roll fold is great for newborns because it is the best for containment of those runny (and yes, sometimes explosive) newborn poos. It is a little bit more fiddly than an angel wing fold.
To fold a bikini twist, first lay your prefold out flat, then cross your arms and grab each corner of your cloth nappy and then uncross them and you will have a twisted nappy. Place around the baby, being careful to make sure the twist doesn't sit over their bottom, you want that further to the front so you have a "poo pouch" at the back. (No one said being a parent was glamorous ?)
The bikini twist is an easy fold and a great choice if you want to keep the absorbency in the centre for a girl. It is great for chunky-legged babies because it creates large leg openings. It's also good for tiny babies because it is very trim between the legs. (It is worth noting that, although it may look uncomfortable to us adults, having the hips spread a bit apart by a cloth nappy is actually a very "hip healthy" position and should not be a concern). If you have a larger prefold you can fold it down at the front or back to get a good fit.
Putting the prefold on your baby
The steps for putting the prefold on a baby are basically the same for all folds (except the padfold). Place baby on the prefold, pull the front part up and then bring the wings around. Fasten your Snappi on one side and stretch to the other side, the pull down the bottom tab of the Snappi to create a Y-shape. Make sure the Snappi is fitted tight from hip to hip. After this, you can fit your PUL cover to make the nappy waterproof. Check out this blog about what accessories to use with prefolds to find out more about covers and Snappis.
If you're having any issues with poo leaking around the legs it's usually because your fit is a bit loose. When fastening the wings up and around your babies tummy, be sure to pull the fabric nice and tight around the hips and legs. As you pull the fabric it should create a gusset which should wrap snuggly around the legs and help minimize those leaks.
Tips and Tricks
- Remember one of the best things about prefolds is their versatility. Every fold is adjustable and customisable. So try different folds to see what suits your baby’s shape and what suits you as a parent.
- You can tailor absorbency for overnight or daytime heavy wetters. You can do this with smaller prefolds or with the boosters from your Candies set (if you're already using those to boost your Candies you can purchase them separately here). These boosters are absorbent but also trim so they fit perfectly to create extra absorbency right where you need it. For example, I have a son so I fold one in half and put it at the front. You can place this between layers of your prefold or between the prefold and nappy cover, whatever works best for you.
- If you're having trouble using or finding your Snappis (they can be a bit like hair-ties, it's either feast or famine) you can just lay our prefold in your cove and wrap it around the baby and use the cover to secure everything. This will be less bomb-proof with runny poo but will work fine.
- When using prefolds on a newborn ‘scoop’ the fabric between your babies legs so it’s not so wide. Lay your baby on the back piece and then as you pull the prefold up through their legs pinch the nappy so the piece sitting through the crotch is nice and thin, it will make a ‘scoop’ which helps to catch everything and makes it easier to get a tight fit around the legs.
- If the prefold is too long for your baby you can shorten it by folding over the front panel when you pull it up between your babies legs. This is particularly good for boys as it gives lots of absorbency where they need it most. Alternatively, a less bulky way to shorten the prefold is to fold it angel wing style and then fold down the fanned out fabric at the back. This is also a great tip if you have an explosive poo-er as it creates a bit of a ‘scoop’ to catch anything that might try to escape out the back! (See below)
So we've come to end of our five-part prefold series. I hope by this point, you love prefolds as much as I do. Whether you like them as an economical way to boost your stash, a handy night nappy or they're your staple reusable nappy. These versatile, durable and cost-effect nappies have a place in almost anyone's cloth nappy stash.
If you want to learn more about prefolds check out other blogs on the topic including the first four parts of this series, here.