I received this item at no cost to facilitate this post. All opinions remain my own.
Prefolds can seem intimidating. Fancy folds? Diaper pins, Snappis, Boingos? The Cloth Diaper Source sent Little Miss Cub some GroVia prefolds so I could tell you just how easy they are to use!
If you can fold into thirds, you can use prefolds. And prefolds are the most versatile and cost effective option out there if you’re looking to rock All-in-Two cloth diapering.
In case the terminology is new: All-in-Two (AI2) diapering means any system where, rather than changing the entire diaper each time, you swap out only the insert and use the same cover for multiple changes.
GroVia prefolds are 55% bamboo and 45% organic cotton and come in four sizes. We have Size 3 for Cub, and have used those since he was about two years old. Size 2 prefolds, the ones I’m featuring in this post, are meant to be used up to about 15 lbs, but I would say they’re suitable for many babies over that weight. The Size 3s, listed 15-25 lbs, would be far too big on Little Miss Cub (she’s about 15 lbs) and are plenty for Cub (he’s 3.5 years old and 35 lbs).
Take a look at how a Size 2 prefold fits in a GroVia shell on its tallest and shortest rise: To fit on the shorter rises, you can fold the prefold down before folding in three. If you have a boy, you will probably put the extra fold at the front. For a girl, you’ll likely want it at the back, which is how I use it for Little Miss Cub.
When you first receive your prefolds, they will be significantly larger than what I’m using in the photos above. They shrink a lot during prepping! Below, you can see the difference in size after washing about five times:
When Cub was a baby, using prefolds and covers was the only system of cloth diapering I knew, and I loved it. As I branched out into other styles and into cloth diaper blogging, I of course came to love pocket diapers and all-in-one styles, too.
There are three aspects of using prefolds and covers that I think are worth highlighting: cost effectiveness, minimalism and versatility.
In terms of cost-savings, a 3-pack of GroVia Size 2 Prefolds is $18 CAD. That’s three diaper changes. A single pocket or AIO diaper will typically cost at least $25. A diaper cover, which you will typically reuse for multiple changes using prefolds, will run you about $15-$20. As for minimalism, your diaper station and your diaper bag are less cluttered. Rather than having 25-30 individual diapers, you have 25-30 prefolds and, say twelve or so covers. This is how I travel to my parents’ place: with prefolds and covers. In fact, there are two-dozen prefolds that live at my Mom’s house for this exact purpose, and I just pack my covers. And what about versatility, you ask? Well, a prefold can, as the name suggests, be folded in myriad ways to suit your needs. (See this post from This West Coast Mommy for some ideas.) It is not limited to use in diaper covers, either. You can absolutely use your GroVia prefolds as an insert in a pocket diaper!
For example, they work perfectly in AppleCheeks:
You will also find that prefolds are useful outside of diapering. I typically lay a prefold down on the change pad, under baby, to prevent the mess from getting onto the change pad itself. They are perfect as burp cloths, and once you are completely done cloth diapering, they are amazing rags. Since I happen to have more prefolds in my life than I need, I already use them for cleaning the bathroom. I’ve spoken to “old-school” cloth diaperers (those who were using prefolds in the 80s) who are still using those prefolds around the house.
Consider, also, that as baby outgrows the absorbency of Size 2s alone, you can still boost them.
Cub uses Size 3 GroVia prefolds, which have, I think, finally stopped shrinking (I expect my Size 2s will still shrink down a touch more as they continue to be laundered). There has been some bleaching of my cloth stash, so that’s why the Size 3 pictured appears much whiter.
Prefolds will always hold a special place in my heart. I find that GroVia prefolds, with their bamboo-cotton blend, are much more absorbent than their 100% cotton counterparts, and are useful beyond the 15 lbs listed weight max. Another bonus? Prefolds are so easy to launder! No synthetic fibers to worry about and they go straight in the dryer on high with no issue… just another reason to love them.
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Central Alberta’s The Cloth Diaper Source carries more than cloth diapers: they’ve got lots of maternity accessories, too! They offer free shipping in Canada over $99 and a low flat-rate of $6.99. They also offer free delivery in Red Deer, Lacombe, Sylvan Lake, Blackfalds, Ponoka and Innisfail. US Shipping is also now available.