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Mix N Match: Covers, Prefolds & Fitteds!

Oh my! So this is where my stash gets fun and expanded! When I was looking to make the switch, I was trying to find the most low cost way to do it. It pretty much came down to prefolds and covers. With prefolds averaging one to two dollars a piece and covers averaging about ten, you can put together a decent sized stash for less than $200.

Of course, the most economical route is to buy all one size covers, but these may not work as well for your babe as sized covers. At least you can get by with about 6 covers since you can reuse them multiple times before washing. If it’s wet, let it dry! If it’s soiled, you might be able to wipe it off and be okay. I’m usually not that lucky. For example, Rissa manages to get poo on the gussets of our Thirsties Duo Wraps. That requires a washing! (But at least it contained the mess!)

The first diapers I ever bought were FuzziBunz OS pocket, organic Bumgenius 3.0 OS AIO, 2 prefolds, and a Thirsties Size 1 Duo Wrap with snaps. I bought one Snappi as well. I used it until I realized the Duo Wrap held it in place and I didn’t need to secure it in place.

I did the best I could to wash them often to keep being able to use them. We didn’t have the funds to cover the upfront costs to buy a full stash. Plus, I wanted to try a few reusable diapering systems to find out what worked best for us. I read too many stories about people investing in all one kind and being unhappy. My plan was to gradually expand. Then, I lucked out on Freecycle!

I put up a “Wanted” ad on Freecycle in my area asking for “good used cloth diapers.”  I stated that I was looking to try a few kinds before investing and would appreciate it greatly if someone had a used diaper that still had life in it that they no longer needed. Of course, I had someone respond telling me I wasn’t going to get any free diapers, but she’d sell me some. This is a violation of Freecycle, by the way. She was wrong though. A generous woman replied that she had a box full of Mother-ease cloth diapers, prefolds, and flats that I could have. She had cloth diapered about five children and said she no longer needed them.

This was really great for me to make the switch to full-time. I had fun washing everything and seeing my stash grow so quickly. Most of these diapers had seen better days. I knew they were used to diaper several children, so I wasn’t expecting high quality performance. Some were very worn and didn’t have much absorption power left, but most worked fine. (I just didn’t care for the fit on skinny minnie.)

To me, the biggest prize was the amount of prefolds. I received so many that were in very good condition still! Well, I could talk your ear off about covers and what I use under them… this was my main way of diapering for a few months until I acquired more pocket diapers! So, I’m going to give you my take on pros and cons of prefolds, fitteds, and covers!

Pros of Prefolds

  • Cheaper price
  • Cleans well
  • Quick drying
  • Different folds
  • Versatile – can use as a wipe, burp cloth, rag, etc
  • While they come in different sizes, you can still use the smaller sizes as baby grows – still same number of layers to soak up the wetness
  • Less likely to have build up (from my understanding)

Cons of Prefolds

  • More boring – even if dyed, they get covered up
  • Requires a cover
  • Requires pins or Snappi (depending on the cover)
  • Doesn’t keep wetness away from baby’s skin

Pros of Fitteds

  • Can wear without a cover
  • Lots of cute fabrics
  • More absorbent for naps and car rides
  • Added protection against leaks around the thighs (tend to have elastic to be snug)
  • Can get in one size or sized
  • Can get in hook and loop or snaps

Cons of Fitteds

  • Need a cover for long periods of time
  • Can be bulky
  • Cute prints get covered up
  • Can get build up
  • May not wash as well
  • Longer drying than prefolds (but shorter than AIOs)

Pros of Covers

  • Cute prints and colors
  • Can use with most fitteds and prefolds
  • Can get one size or sized
  • Can be reused several times before laundering
  • Try fast on the line
  • Can be in hook and look or snaps
  • Can coordinate with outfits better! (since you can reuse – maybe this shouldn’t count as a separate pro, haha!)

Cons of Covers

  • Requires an absorbent piece to go with it (prefold or fitted)
  • Can restrict airflow which can result in (or prolong) diaper rash
  • Can be baggy or bulky – may not fit well with what is underneath

Some of the prefolds, fitteds, and covers I’ve used include:

Prefolds – most I don’t know the brand but I do have a Thirsties hemp prefold and some Econobum inserts

Fitteds – Thirsties Duo Fab Fitted, Sandy’s, Nifty Nappy, Dusty Bottoms

Covers – Thirsties Duo Wrap, Tweedlebug, Econobum, Mother-Ease Air Flow Covers, GroVia (yay versatile AI2!)

I really do mix and match these. I’ve used the Tweedlebug and Econobum covers over all my fitteds. I’ve used the GroVia shell over the Thirsties Duo Fab Fitted. I’ve used Tweedlebug over the Mother-Ease contours. I’ve used the Econobum inserts in my Thirsties Duo Wrap and the Tweedlebug.

I feel like I’m forgetting something!

And be sure to see what my co-hosts, Formula Mom and Mama on a Green Mission have to say too!

What are your thoughts on mixing and matching?

Jamie McMillan

Friday 17th of June 2011

I'm currently using covers and either soakers or recieving blankets as prefolds. Do you have a suggestion for brands of prefolds that are good at absorbing? Thanks PS. Your posts were helpful when i read them last week and It's really cool that you reply to the comments. Thanks!!!


Friday 17th of June 2011

I can't remember the brand I bought.. most I got from Freecycle and they don't have a label.

Thirsties hemp prefold is fantastic...

Otherwise I'd say look for DSQ (diaper service quality) prefolds - I hear Indian are good. But the different folds can help adjust absorbing too!. I do a newspaper fold since I need more absorption in the middle and back, but that should work okay for a boy too.

Andrea G.

Saturday 11th of June 2011

I don't own any Tweedlebug covers. Right now I only have one cover because prefolds and covers used to intimidate me (I know, stupid right?) but I'm looking to expand my stash of prefolds and covers. Thank you for this great post!


Friday 17th of June 2011

It's not stupid! I didn't share how I had trouble folding my first prefold and struggled with the snappi resulting in me and baby crying! But they really aren't that bad :)

Hannah Gardner

Friday 10th of June 2011

Right now I only have pockets, but want to expand my stash and try other diapers! This is a great basis to start off of:)


Thursday 9th of June 2011

i totally mix and match too. i use my thirsties prefold with any cover. i even use flats with all of my covers. i switch up folds as much as i can. i love prefolds and flats for at home. i love fitteds for night time a lot!


Wednesday 8th of June 2011

I think I failed in the prefold department because I thought I had to use the snappi and I couldn't get the hang of it. Granted, I didn't put in that much effort either. Next time, I think I'll just try the prefolds with a cover and see if it stays in place! If it works, I would love to use out prefolds!


Friday 17th of June 2011

The snappi is a little weird. I prefer just to let the cover do the work!