Prefold Diapers for Newborns

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Prefolds and covers are the most popular option by far for newborn babies. But which prefolds should you buy? There are couple of different choices and the prices and absorbency vary with each.

#1 – Indian or Chinese Cotton Prefolds: This is the most economical option out there. Indian or Chinese prefolds are 100% cotton and you can choose from bleached or unbleached (softer). Before buying, check the number of layers sewn into your newborn prefolds. Some of them are thinner than the standard and larger sizes.  The reasoning behind this is that tiny babies don’t wet as much at one time, and are usually changed more frequently, so they don’t need a really thick prefold. Price ranges from $1.75 to $2.00. If you buy your prefolds at Diaper Safari, they ship FREE.

Here’s a newborn cotton prefold trifolded in a Sweet Pea newborn size cover:

#2 – Bamboo Prefolds: Prefolds made of bamboo are relatively new to the market, but already growing in popularity. They are slightly softer and more absorbent than standard cotton prefolds, and many mothers like that bamboo is such a sustainable and “green” crop. Plus, you don’t have to shell out that much more for bamboo. Price ranges from $2.25 to $2.67 each. Nicki’s Diapers recently added bamboo prefolds and flat diapers to their Imagine product line.

Here’s a bamboo prefold trifolded inside the same Sweet Pea newborn cover. As you can see, the fabric is very similar:

#3 Hemp Prefolds: Hemp is definitely the “Cadillac” in terms of absorbency, but you do have to pay more for this perk. Although some hemp fabrics can be stiff and a bit “crunchy,” that’s not always the case with hemp blends. I am completely in love with the Geffen Baby hemp jersey prefolds – they are made in the USA from a smooth and soft blend of hemp and cotton. They feel like an old t-shirt and they absorb LIKE CRAZY. At just over $5 each, I can’t have entire stash of them, but I did grab 6 when Geffen Baby had a free shipping promotion. They are perfect for long naps and overnight.

Here’s a Geffen hemp jersey prefold (newborn size) in the Sweet Pea cover:

Hint: if you are looking for the Sweet Pea newborn cover that is featured in all these photos, Green Baby Goods sells them for just $9.95.

Did you use prefolds for your newborn? Which kind did you choose and why?

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  1. I am planning to use a combination of prefolds, fitteds and pockets on my newborn when he arrives. Thanks for this great post! I will do some more research and tweak my registry if need be 🙂

  2. I always use prefolds on my newborns. When I first started cloth diapering that’s all I could afford. My five month old may be my last baby so I branched out a little and got a few fitteds and one AIO but if I do get to have more I plan on trying some GMD prefolds, NB covers and more NB AIOs.

  3. Nice post! A great introduction to prefolds for any new Mom!

    Personally bamboo has always been my choice for prefolds. To me it held up better, lasted longer (especially bamboo velour) and cleaned better.

    Thanks for the pinable material!

  4. I love my newborn prefolds… I recommend every mom at least have a few in their stash, even if they only use them to stuff their pockets with until their LO grows into the pocket inserts, which always seem so bulky on a newborn.

  5. I have cotton prefolds for our newborn. Now if only I can spring him from the NICU in the next day or two, that would be great 😉 we used cotton premium prefolds and Thirsties duo hemp prefolds on our older boys. I’ve got an awesome Geffen Baby hemp prefold! I need to get a couple more of those for later, to go with all our wool soakers for overnight!

  6. I started out with the cheapo gerber prefolds. They were ok. I went to pockets and such for a while, but after my little turned one, we went back to prefolds and covers. I do use them in pockets too. I have 12 imagine prefolds in large, 6 Green Mountain in large and 12 in XL. I don’t know what I would do without them! I use an imagine prefold as an insert in a GM xl with a nylon cover for overnights…only thing that doesn’t leak for my heaving wetting 19 month old!

    • What a small world! Gerbers are one of the first things we tried as well. I found out later that they have synthetic padding inside, which explains the leaking we experienced. Do you have the cotton or bamboo Imagine prefolds? – Anne

  7. I bought a little bit of everything to try with my newborn. I’m planning to use prefolds/covers during the day and fitteds/pockets/AIOs for easier night time changes. For the prefolds, I bought Bumkins organic unbleached cotton when they were on sale for less than $2 each, and I received one Geffen hemp prefold from my registry. It will be interesting to see which I like best!

    • Sounds like a perfect plan, Rachel. I use prefolds/flats during the day and fitteds at night. Let me know what you think of the Geffen. It’s one of my favorite brands! -Anne

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