Using Prefolds as Pocket Diaper Inserts. Which Size to Use?

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For the longest time we were able to get away with just one insert in a pocket diaper and remain leak free. Then my son became a toddler who started drinking a lot more liquids and suddenly not even the addition of a doubler was enough for very long. Now we are using two full inserts or prefolds inside most of our pocket diapers.

Over time, microfiber inserts start to flatten and no longer work as well as they did when they were new. The beautiful thing about prefolds is that they get more aborbent the more you wash them. They’re a perfect choice to use as an insert. But what size fits inside a pocket diaper?

These days K is wearing his diapers on the largest rise setting most of the time and on this setting, I am using size small trifolded GMD prefolds and they fit perfectly inside.

Prefold sizes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and may differ slightly in their labeling. One brand’s preemie may be another brand’s newborn so pay attention to the dimensions more than the size label when purchasing for use as inserts.

The sizes noted on the photos are the size of the diaper at each rise setting so you will want to choose the prefold that is as close to that size when prepped. It doesn’t have to be perfect because there is some give inside the pocket. For example, my bG 4.0 measures at 12½” but my prefold measures at 13½” and it still works.

Some sites will tell you their prewashed and prepped sizes. If the retailer you purchase from does not, see the chart below for prewashed and prepped sizing of two popular brands.

Using prefold diapers as pocket inserts

Using prefold diapers as pocket inserts

For the Medium rise setting a newborn sized prefold would work nicely

Using prefold diapers as pocket inserts

For the small rise setting a preemie or newborn sized prefold would be a good fit

Using prefold diapers as pocket inserts

Now you may be wondering, but isn’t a trifolded prefold bulky inside a pocket diaper?! It is a little bulkier than using an insert and doubler but only slightly more bulky than using two microfiber inserts. Below is the profile view of a bumGenius pocket stuffed with a prefold. Not too bad

Using prefold diapers as pocket inserts

Below is a chart of two popular brands (Green Mountain Diapers and Diaper Rite). If you use another brand and they don’t have their prepped size listed, use the measurements of the unprepped size and you should be able to determine if they will fit inside your diaper or not. Please note, I am not recommending one brand over another. These are just the diapers that I have experience with. 

Prefold diaper size chart

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  1. Thank you so much for your post! I am new to the cloth diaper world and feel a lot more comfortable using prefolds in my pockets knowing I am not the only one! We did it for the first time overnight and I am impressed! Way better than those cheap microfiber, those are a waste of money!

  2. This is exactly what we plan to do with our prefolds when baby gets a little older. This is definitely getting bookmarked!

  3. We will be buying some newborn and size small GMD prefolds so that we can cloth diaper our little girl right from the start. I’m so glad that they can be useful later on used as an insert!

  4. I was glad that I had kept my first childs infant size prefolds. When child #2 came along, I need to replace the microfiber inserts from my first son’s pocket diapers, so I used them instead. I loved using the prefolds so much better than microfiber! They seemed to be much more absorbent, and I had less problems with detergent build up and rash issues.

  5. Yep! Once my babies outgrow their infant prefolds, I use them to stuff my pocket diapers. Great absorbency!

  6. Awesome, I always wondered! Thanks for sharing!

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