Sunday, May 22, 2011

How to Fold A Cloth Diaper

One of the questions I am asked most frequently when people hear about our lifestyle is, “HOW do you fold cloth diapers?” Just today a dear friend called me with a newborn and the same question.  I tried to walk her through it on the telephone and I don’t think I was very successful… so Mrs. T, this one is for you! 

When Farmgirl was born I was very new to the cloth diapering world.  I didn’t realize that there are fancy cloth diapers that you can get, so I bought plain old rectangles from a Mennonite company called “GVS” (which is short for “Great Value & Service… And they definitely live up to their name!).  These diapers were a great investment!  I spent less than $100 in diapering supplies (including covers, which I bought elsewhere) and this stockpile has lasted through 3 babies.   (Papa the Farmer says the next baby definitely gets its own new diapers.  Some of the diapers are getting pretty worn out… But still… $100 to diaper three babies is pretty good!)

(GVS does not have a website, but call for a free catalogue!  They have lots of neat stuff, not just diapers!  Their number is 1-800-398-2494 and their email address is

I fold my diapers in two different ways, depending on the size of the baby.  The first way I will show is the way I fold the diapers for the littlest babies.  I think I folded the diapers this way for about 3 months with Farmgirl, but only for about 6 weeks with FarmBaby.  (He was much bigger)…

So here it goes!

How to fold a cloth diaper for a little baby (approximately 0-3 months)

First, lay the diaper out in front of you:
Picture 533

Next, fold the diaper in half by matching up the two short ends so you have something that resembles a square:
 Picture 534

Then you take that square, and fold in half one way, and then in half the other way (so you just folded it in quarters and now you’ve got another, smaller square):
  Picture 537

Now is the tricky part (but it’s not too bad, I promise!).  Slowly, lift one corner of the diaper…
Picture 538

Now watch as I do this…  Continue to lift that corner and pull it across the diaper, and then several inches off the diaper, forming a triangle.  Did you see how that worked?  The corner that I lifted in the photograph above is the corner that is now the upper left tip of the triangle in the photograph below:

Picture 539

There!  That’s the hardest part!  The rest is easy!  Now, simply flip the whole thing over so that your triangle is now beneath the diaper:
 Picture 540

The square part that is sticking out to the right is going to be the absorbant part of the diaper.  Start folding it over.  Here’s the first time I folded it:
 Picture 541

And here’s the second time:
 Picture 542

Ta da!  Diaper is now ready for Baby!  My baby is too big to model this style, so my favorite baby doll agreed to model it for you instead.  (Yes, I still have my original cabbage patch doll from 1984!  Her name is Amy, if you’re wondering!)

The diaper in the picture above is technically upside down, so just rotate it around so that the long side of the triangle is at the top.  This is the part that will wrap around the baby’s waist.  Next, lay your baby on top the diaper.  The rectangular part comes up between the baby’s legs:
 Picture 543

Next, simply bring each side piece around the baby’s waist and pin it to the part in the middle.  Usually you only need one pin to do this.
 Picture 544

And you’re done!  See?  That wasn’t too bad, was it?

Now, what if you have an older baby?  Well, then it’s even easier!

How to fold a Diaper for a Larger Baby (3 months - 2+ years)

As before, you lay the diaper out in front of you and then you fold it in half.

Picture 534 Picture 533

Next, fold it into thirds:
 Picture 546 Picture 545

Now, take the upper corner and fold it out.  Depending on the way you folded it, your diaper may need to be pulled out to the left or the right:
 Picture 547
Repeat this step with the opposite corner:
 Picture 549

And ta da!  You are ready to put a sleepy, cranky baby in that diaper!
 Picture 551 Picture 552 Picture 553
 Picture 554 Picture 555 Picture 556

As before, the long, rectangular part comes up between the baby’s legs and the “wings” on the side wrap around and are secured with a pin.

Then, I put a diaper cover over the whole thing.  Personally, I really like ProRap diaper covers!  We’ve had several diaper covers over the years and these ones have held up really well through literally thousands of washings!  They're inexpensive (only about $7 each) and they also have great little leg gussets that help prevent leaking!  Click here to Search for Prorap

By the way, in a pinch, you can use a T-shirt to fold either of these diaper styles.  (Please don’t ask me how I know this.  Let’s just say I’ve been diapering steady for almost 7 years now!)  Just fold the sleeves in so you have something that looks like a rectangle and follow the steps above!

                                                                        Happy Diapering!


  1. thank u sooooo much. that was so helpfull

  2. Tell me where I can purchase the diapers. That would be helpful.

  3. This is really very informative post for me. I just love cloth diapers because they just seem so much more comfortable for little one. Plus, I love saving all the money and having less garbage to take out!
    Baby cloth diapers