Chinese prefolds are rectangular diapers that have more layers in the middle and fewer layers on the sides. They are made from 100 percent Chinese cotton. Prefolds are versatile, absorbent, long-lasting, multipurpose and very affordable.
Flat cloth diapers are the original cloth baby diapers. Flat diapers have been worn throughout human history. Flat diapers are a single layer of fabric designed to be folded into a cloth diaper shape. Unlike Chinese prefolds, Flat diapers do not have a thicker center section. Instead, they have the same thickness and number of layers throughout the entire diaper. Flat diapers need to be folded into layers to create the absorbent padding required to trap in messes. Practice makes perfect when using flat diapers. Folding flat diapers to make sure they are providing leak protection and comfort is sometimes difficult. Flat diapers and Chinese prefolds need diaper pins to keep them fastened around the baby. Some parents have switched to using the Snappi diaper fastener to prevent pin pricks. Although they are the least expensive, flats do not always offer the same absorbency as Chinese prefolds.
There are a number of benefits to using prefold diapers. They are as affordable as flat diapers and are great for a variety of uses. Prefolded diapers come in different varieties, fabrics, sizes and weights. Prefolds are made from a variety of fabrics including birds eye cotton, Indian cotton, Chinese cotton, terry cloth, flannel or gauze cotton. Chinese prefolds offer the most durability and absorbency strength. Prefolds made from other materials offer a variety of options in strengths and absorbency.
Prefolds are available in bleached and unbleached fabric options. Printed fabrics or embroidered fabrics are sometimes used. Chinese prefolds are usually twill cotton. They are a heavy grade of fabric stitched with thick thread. Though they may pill more than Indian prefolds, Chinese prefolds are durable and offer superb absorbency.
Cloth diapers are more healthy for babies than disposable diapers. The soft, breathable fabrics keep skin dry and well ventilated. Diapers made from cotton and terry cloth are less irritating than the plastics and chemicals used to make disposable diapers. Some parents go one step further and use prefolds made from all natural, unbleached fabrics. Prefolds are available in a variety of hemp fabrics. Prefold diapers are made from hemp fleece, hemp jersey and even woven hemp muslin. Hemp prefolds are almost as durable as Chinese prefolds. Hemp is extremely absorbent and has a natural resistance to mold and mildew. Hemp prefolds are more expensive than other fabrics.
Prefolds come in infant and regular sizes. Infant diapers have a 4x8x4 identification and regular diapers have a 4X6X4 identification. The first and last numbers in the identification indicate how many layers of fabric there are on the right and left side of the diaper. The middle number in Chinese prefolds tells you how many layers of cloth are in the center of the diaper.