Make Your Pocket Diapers More Absorbent With Prefolds

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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 we reached toddlerhood and everything changed. We had to start using prefolds as pocket diaper inserts, and this is how we chose the size prefold to use for each diaper rise.

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 absorbent the more you wash them. They’re a perfect choice to use as an insert.

cloth diapers on a clothes line

What Size Prefold To Use As A Pocket Diaper Insert

I’m here to help you figure that out.

Prefold sizes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and may differ slightly in their labeling. One brand’s preemie may be another brand’s newborn.

Because of this, you will need to pay attention to the dimensions more than the size label when purchasing for use as inserts.

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

A newborn-sized prefold would work nicely inside the medium rise setting of a pocket diaper.

Using prefold diapers as pocket inserts

This bumGenius diaper measures 12½” on the largest rise setting and both small and medium prefolds fit well.

The sizes noted on the photos are the size of the pocket 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.

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

Prefold Diaper Sizes

Sizes are approximate; brand dimensions used: Green Mountain Diapers

If you use another brand and they don’t have their prepped size listed, use the measurements of the un-prepped size and you should be able to determine if they will fit inside your diaper or not.

SIZEUN-PREPPED (approx.)PREPPED (approx.)
Preemie11″ x 11.5″9.5″ x 10″
Newborn12″ x 13″10.5″ x 10.5″
Small14.25″ x 15.25″12″ x 13″
Medium15″ x 18″13″ x 15″
Large16.5″ x 20″14.5″ x 17″
Extra Large17″ x 23″15″ x 19″
I am not recommending one diaper brand over another. This is just one brand of diapers that I have experience with. 

Is A Prefold Diaper Too Bulky To Fit Inside a Pocket Diaper?

Now you may be wondering, isn’t a tri-folded prefold bulky inside a pocket diaper? That’s a reasonable question.

Yes, it is a little bulkier than using an insert and doubler, and only slightly bulkier 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

Do I Have To Stuff Pocket Diapers?

Actually, no. You don’t. If you don’t want to go throw the trouble of stuffing a prefold or any insert inside of a pocket diaper, you can use them as a plain diaper cover.

Simply lay a prefold (flat diaper or natural fiber insert) inside the pocket cover and use it like a diaper cover or all in two or AI2 diaper.

Final Thoughts

If you’re tired of stuffing pocket diapers, you don’t have to.

If your baby is a heavy wetter and you need more absorbency, try several options to see what works best for you.

The moral of the story is that there are never any hard rules when it comes to cloth diapering your baby. Just do whatever works for YOU.

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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!

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