The Art of Folding Flat Diapers
Many people find flat diapers intimidating and wonder why anyone would bother with so much folding when there are pocket diapers that remove almost every bit of the work involved in putting a cloth diaper on a baby. The truth of the matter is, there are many reasons a person might choose to use flat diapers over other options.
These reasons could include ease of washing, shorter drying times, versatility, and cost, among many others.
In any case, diapering with flats does not have to be an intimidating experience. As long as you approach the subject with an open mind, you might find you can even have a little fun folding diapers for your baby. Additionally, the ability to fold your child’s diaper just the way he or she needs in order for it to be as effective as possible is an amazing skill to have, and can often save you the time and energy spent cleaning up after diaper leakage.
There are many, many ways to fold a flat diaper. In this article, we will cover just a few of those methods in order to give you a strong foundation and starting point. After you have mastered these folds, try doing an internet search, chatting with some local parents, or taking a cloth diapering class to learn new techniques.
Once you find some folds you like, feel free to tweak them to suit your baby’s needs. That is, after all, the point of learning different folding methods.
Method 1: The Pad Fold
This method is simple and straightforward. It doesn’t give you extra absorbency in any particular area, but it does get the job done, and when you’re in a hurry, that is really all that matters.
To begin, lay your diaper—or diapers, if you plan to double the absorbency—out flat. Fold the diaper in half once, hot-dog style, and again hamburger style. This should leave you with a smaller square. Finish it by folding one lengthwise third of the small square into the middle. Repeat with the third on the opposite side. This should leave you with a rectangle that is a third of the size of the small square, which is a very nice size and shape for covering a baby’s bottom.
Use the folded diaper in a cover or as an insert in a pocket diaper. This is the ideal fold for busy moms and dads who don't have the time or energy to get fancy with folds and pins, and the perfect substitute for a pocket diaper insert if you should ever run out.
Method 2: The Triangle Fold
Another ridiculously easy way to fold a flat diaper, the triangle fold can be done with two, three, or even more flats to increase absorbency. Because it is fastened with a pin, it can stand on its own, without a cover, as long as you won’t be going out—an awesome bonus for parents who don’t have many covers in their stash.
To begin, lay your diaper out flat — if you will be using more than one diaper, layer all of the diapers you intend to use and fold them as one — and fold up the longer side to create a square. (Some diapers are already square, and in this case you can skip this step.) Next, take one corner of your square and fold it across to meet the opposite corner. This should make a triangle shape and is the final step in folding your diaper.
To use the diaper, turn it around so the middle point of your triangle—the place where the two sides of the diaper meet up—is pointing toward you. Roll the top down to fit across your child’s back, and place the infant on the diaper. Pull the middle triangle point up between the child’s legs, pull the side points around, and pin or Snappi the diaper into place. You can add a cover if you like, but with enough layers, you can get away with the diaper only if you will just be hanging out at home.
This is a perfect fold for beginners who have mastered the pad fold and are ready to brave the diaper pin or Snappi. It’s also great for parents in a hurry, especially if they don’t have a cover to use.
Method 3: The Kite Fold
Just as the name suggests, this fold does look—for a moment, anyway—like a kite. However, it does not fly nearly as well as a kite might, and instead has a nice talent for covering baby bums. This is a classic fold that is a bit more difficult, but also more effective, than the triangle fold.
To begin, lay your diaper out flat and fold up the longer side (if there is one) to make a perfect square. Take one corner of your square and fold it in, bringing the side under that corner along with it and lining that side up with the middle of the diaper. Repeat on the opposite side. This should leave you with a kite shape.
Next, you will want to fold the top point of your “kite” down so that the top of the folded diaper is now straight across and you are left with an upside down triangle shape. Take the long point of your triangle and fold it in toward the middle of the diaper. This will leave you with a trapezoid (one long side, two sides angling inward, and a short side). Depending on your baby’s size you may want to roll the long side in to fit across their back properly.
Use the folded diaper by placing baby on top of the trapezoid with the widest side of the diaper across the child’s back. Pull the small part of the trapezoid up between the baby’s legs and pull the sides around to meet the middle section. Fasten with a pin or Snappi and top with a cover if you desire.
This fold is a good one for a baby who has frequent blow-outs, and might even save that adorable new outfit you just bought. To help make this fold even more reliable, you can roll the sides of the diaper—i.e. the leg holes—in, to create barriers where things could escape.
These are just three of the many diaper folding methods out there. Don’t forget to explore other methods and experiment to find what works best for your child. Keep in mind, your baby’s diaper needs may change over time, and it’s important to change your folding techniques based on the needs of your little
- Kevin Thill