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The Quick and Dirty Guide to Pre-fold Cloth Diapers

With over five years' experience using pre-fold diapers, I've awarded myself a Master's degree in crunchy waste management. As my youngest is on the precipice of ditching diapers, I want to share some hard-won pre-fold knowledge before I forget it all.


It's not actually pre-folded (and a few other basics)

Actually, there's no need to fold a pre-fold, making diapers the easiest load of wash you'll ever put away. You do need to fold the outer two thirds in toward the middle before putting it on the baby, however. There's more padding in the middle third (the part of the diaper that's doing most of the absorbing), and less material on the outer two thirds. You could spend your entire pregnancy watching How-to-Diaper-Your-Baby tutorials, but this one is great. But really, you only need to watch one.

Start with a supply of two dozen diapers. You can always buy more and you'll definitely need to buy bigger sizes as your baby grows. You will also need:

1 | Diaper covers

Three or four is plenty, unless your baby has frequent blow-outs. The cover creates a waterproof barrier between the cloth diaper and the baby's clothes. You can get them with velcro or snaps. Snaps offer more adjustability and room to grow but are less convenient. Velcro, on the other hand, is more convenient, but if you plan to use the cover through multiple kids, velcro won't withstand all that washing and continue to adhere.

2 | Snappis

The Snappi is a stretchy, “Y" shaped alternative to safety pins. They have hooks on each of the three ends, which secure the Snappi to the cloth diaper in the front and hold it together. You only need one per diaper but they're like pens; When you need one, you need it bad, and they tend to get lost and wear out, so you'll want back-ups.

Pre-folds aren't the most high tech, but they do the job (well)

Pre-fold diapers may not be the best cloth diaper ever. Like most of my parenting decisions, I chose them because they were the first good-enough option I tried. Plus, I was tired of making decisions about all the things. (Decision fatigue is real.) Everyone said to try different cloth diaper systems, to see which one would fit our baby best. My brain was exploding. I wanted fewer choices, not more.

So when my in-laws gifted us with a month of diaper service, and the only option for the service was pre-folds, we were thrilled to sidestep yet another choice. Once we ditched the service, we stuck with pre-folds, mostly to avoid making another decision. Plus, pre-folds worked. They fit. They didn't leak. They were impermeable to all but the most powerful blow-outs, and the diaper covers were so darn cute.

If you use a diaper service, pre-folds might be the only option. This might be an issue of availability, as the diaper service in your area might not do pocket diapers (a.k.a. all in ones), or it might just be cost-prohibitive.

According to Kelly Epstein, owner of Eco-Baby Diaper Service, while the national trend is for diaper services to launder pre-folds only, some are starting to service pocket diapers. According to Epstein, because of pocket diapers' high cost, it's generally viable for the service to launder pocket diapers only with an upfront deposit and/or a contract, and for a much higher fee. Prices vary, but a pocket diaper generally costs as much as a dozen pre-folds, and you can expect to pay about double for a service to handle pocket diapers, versus pre-folds.

Washing them is seriously not a big deal

There are about 1,438,443 Pinterest posts on washing cloth diapers, but they're all saying basically the same thing. All you do is:

  1. Collect them in a large wet bag. Ours lines a tall trash can with a swinging lid.
  2. Put them through the rinse cycle.
  3. Wash in hot water with a tablespoon of Charlie's Soap.
  4. Throw them in the dryer for 60-90 minutes on high or hang them out to dry in the sun. Note that if you choose the latter, they'll be about as soft as cardboard. In the summer, I pop them in the dryer for five minutes with a damp washcloth to soften them after they've been hanging on the line.
  5. Stack them up and put them away. (No folding necessary!)

You might as well use cloth wipes

You're already doing a load of diapers, so it's no big whoop to throw wipes in, too. My favorite wipes are double-sided, thicker and rectangle-shaped, because they're user friendly and require zero folding. I store them in a used disposable wipes container (minus the lid) with enough water to keep them perfectly wet. (For five long years my husband and I have argued over the perfect moisture level. This is obviously a judgment call.)

You don't have to be a purist

There's nothing wrong with using a combination of disposables and cloth diapers. I changed my kids into a disposable whenever we went somewhere, at bedtime, and on those days when I just couldn't handle one extra thing. I also have a container of disposable wipes available at all times, because sometimes a cloth wipe just can't get into all the folds and creases. Remember, no one is grading you on your crunch factor. Do what works for you.

The liners are genius

I almost quit cloth diapers when our daughter started solids. I didn't have the sprayer you attach to the toilet, nor was there room in the bathroom for a diaper pail. I couldn't fathom carrying a poopy diaper from the bathroom back to the baby's room after wringing it out in toilet water. I know people do this, and I think it's awesome (I am literally in awe of them), but I just cannot.

Enter the liner. It's like a flushable panti-liner for diapers. The poop sticks to the liner, so you just hold the diaper over the toilet and let the liner and the poop fall in. While they aren't perfect, they will keep about 95% of the poop off the diaper about 90% of the time. Pro tip: Hold the diaper close to the toilet to avoid excessive splashing.


I'm not here to convince you to use prefolds. But if, like me, the myriad options of strollers, carseats, carriers, bouncy swings, and cribs sapped your decision-making energy before you arrived at the diaper question, I assure you, there's nothing wrong with using prefolds without researching every other option. If nothing else, prefolds are by far the most economical option. You can spend the money you've saved on sitters.

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When model Mara Martin was one of 16 finalists selected to walk in the 2018 Sports Illustrated Swim Search show, she was thrilled to fulfill a lifelong dream. And when she woke up the day after the show to see that she and her baby daughter had made headlines around the world, she was thrilled all over again.

Martin breastfed her 5-month-old daughter Aria while walking in the runway, and the story spread quickly.


"It is truly so humbling and unreal to say the least," Martin wrote in an Instagram post Monday. "I'm so grateful to be able to share this message and hopefully normalize breastfeeding and also show others that women CAN DO IT ALL! But to be honest, the real reason I can't believe it is a headline is because it shouldn't be a headline!!! My story of being a mother and feeding her while walking is just that."

SI Swimsuit Editor MJ Day says the breastfeeding moment wasn't planned in advance, but it worked out wonderfully. Day was speaking with the models backstage when she noticed Aria was peacefully nursing away. Having breastfed her own two children, Day recognized this as a powerful moment in the making, according to SI Swimsuit.

"I asked Mara if she would want to walk and continue to nurse. She said 'Oh my gosh, yes! Really? Are you sure?', and I said absolutely! I loved the idea to be able to allow Mara to keep nursing and further highlight how incredible and beautiful women are," Day explained.

Martin hopes that her moment in the spotlight can help other mamas feel comfortable nursing when and where they feel like it, but she doesn't want to overshadow some of the other women who took part in the show.

"One woman is going to boot camp in two weeks to serve our country," she wrote. "One woman had a mastectomy (@allynrose), and another is a cancer survivor, 2x paralympic gold medalist, as well as a mother herself (@bren_hucks you rock) Those are the stories that our world should be discussing!!!!"

And thanks to Martin's powerful motherhood moment, now, people are.

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Dear Jeff Bezos and all who have anything to do with Amazon Prime Day,

I just want to start by saying—I know you are trying to be helpful. I love you all for that. I honestly do. But, you are kind of making me feel a lot of pressure today. Like, in a good way, but also, in an anxious way.

Let me explain…

On any given day, as a mother to three children, I have a certain level of anxiety. While it's not constant, I do have my anxious moments. Why? Because there are various versions of the following: Me asking my two older daughters to get their shoes on what feels like 500 times as I am changing my 9-month-old's very, very, very messy diaper while I am trying to figure out what I can throw on to wear in about five seconds while I am repeating brush your teeth, brush your teeth in my head so I, in fact, don't forget to brush my teeth.

Not even to mention the mental load that weighs on my mind every single day. Remember to flip the laundry, fill out the school forms, cancel that appointment, reschedule this appointment, order more diapers, figure out what we're having for dinner, squeeze in a shower, lock the basement door so the baby can't get down the stairs, find better eczema cream for my middle daughter, get more sunscreen...the list goes on and on and on.

But then you Amazon Prime Day me and I'm having a lot of feelings about that.

Because you're reminding me of things I need to order, to think about, to be on top of more.

The little potty that's on sale reminds me that I need to step up my potty training game for my 2-year-old. That super cute dollhouse reminds me that I need to think about my daughter's first birthday in two months (WHAT!). That face mask reminds me that I need to remember to wash my face before bed because I forget waaaay more than I remember which is terrible.

But then I realize, these deals are going to save my mental load by fixing my life. Right?

Like, I never knew I needed an Instant Pot until you told me it was only $58. Now I am scouring Pinterest for meals I want to prep in my own. THIS POT IS THE TICKET TO GETTING MY LIFE IN ORDER.

Do we need more plates and cups for the kids? I mean really they only probably need about two plates and two cups each but YES. Yes I do need more cute kids kitchenware. THESE PLATES ARE THE TICKET TO BEING A GOOD MOM.

What would I do if I had five Echo Dots? I don't know, but let's find out because they're only $29! THESE DOTS ARE THE TICKET TO EFFICIENCY.

If I order a Vitamix at 30% off, I know I'll lose the baby weight. Think of all the smoothies I'll mix up! I mean, I just lost a pound even thinking about the smoothies that thing can whip up. THIS VITAMIX IS THE TICKET TO A SEXY BOD.

Buying this trendy, floral dress will step up my mom style significantly. THIS DRESS IS THE TICKET TO KEEPING MY COOL.

Okay, then after I add all the fixers to my cart, I realize… I have 99 things, but necessity ain't one.

I mean, I have everything from waterproof band-aids to bras to dresses for myself and my kids to an alarm clock and books. I basically feel like Oprah—You get an Audible subscription! You get an Audible subscription!—but instead of these products magically being paid for by Queen O herself, the money is coming from my bank account, which is a lot less fun of a game, TBH.

And if I am being honest, I don't need much help with my order-things-from-Amazon-and-pretend-it's-being-paid-for-with-Monopoly-money game as I am quite often coming home to an Amazon package wondering what it could be, opening it with the enthusiasm of a kid on Christmas morning—even though I am the exact person who ordered whatever is inside of that Amazon box.

But today, on Amazon Prime Day, you tempt me with all the deals. And yes, my anxiety, blood pressure and adrenaline rise. And yes, my bank account might temporarily decrease—BUT if we are being fair, with the savings I'm getting on things I would buy anyway, I am basically making our account increase overall. Right?

And while these things aren't going to make me skinnier, or cooler, or more put together—I'm okay with that. I am doing a pretty good job on my own. But some of them will actually help my life in a few different ways at a reasonable price, and I am grateful for that—for real.

Now, Bezos, please end this 404 error nonsense and let me purchase all the things!

Thank you for all the savings and excitement,

Mamas everywhere

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Usually when celebrities post swimsuit photos on Instagram they don't exactly look like your average beach-going mom, but former Bachelorette (and mom of two) Ali Fedotowsky posted a series of bikini photos on Monday that are both beautiful and relatable.

"This might be my most vulnerable post on Instagram ever," she wrote in the caption for the photos which show a postpartum belly that looks like a real postpartum belly.

"At the end of the day, I know it's important to be open and honest about my postpartum body in hopes that it helps even one person out there who is struggling with their own body image," Fedotowsky (who just gave birth to her second child in May) wrote.

In the first photo of the series she's wearing a sarong around her stomach, but in the second and third photos Fedotowsky reveals the kind of stomach many mamas sport: It's not perfectly taut, she's not showing off any abs, but it is definity beautiful.

"If you swipe to see the second photo in this post, you see that my body has changed. My skin around my stomach is very loose and stretched out, I'm 15lbs heavier than I used to be, and my cup size has grown quite significantly," Fedotowsky writes.

The photos are a sponsored post for Lilly and Lime Swimwear (a line made for women with larger busts) but that doesn't mean it wasn't brave. In fact, the fact that it's an ad makes it even more amazing because research shows that when advertising only shows us bodies that don't look like our own, women become "generally more dissatisfied with their body and appearance".

Ali Fedotowsky

On her blog Fedotowsky notes that a lot of comments on her previous Instagram posts have been followers remarking how slim she looks, or how much they wish they looked like she does postpartum. By dropping that sarong and showing her tummy Fedotowsky is showing other mothers that there is nothing wrong with their own.

"While I appreciate the positive comments, you guys are always so good to me, I keep trying to explain that I'm just good at picking out clothes that flatter my body and hide my tummy," she wrote on her blog.

"I bounced back pretty quickly after I gave birth to Molly. But things are different this time and I'm OK with that. I'm learning to love my body and embrace how it's changed. I hope I get back to my pre-pregnancy shape one day, but that may never happen. And if it doesn't, that's OK."

Ali Fedotowsky

It is okay, because our bodies are more than our swimsuit selfies. They the vessels that carry us through life and carry our children and provide a safe, warm place for those children feel love.

Loose skin is a beautiful thing.


Thanks for keeping it real, Ali.

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Amazon shoppers were anxiously awaiting the countdown to Amazon Prime Day, but when the clock struck one, er three, the website went down.

On Monday afternoon shoppers were trying to get their hands on the much-hyped Prime Day deals but instead of low prices, many users just saw 404 errors, continuously refreshing pages, or had issues keeping or adding items to their shopping carts.

CNBC reports shares of Amazon were down during the shopping glitch, and many shoppers took to Twitter and Instagram to discuss how all they could see on Amazon were the dogs who decorate the site's 404 pages.

As cute as the dogs are, shoppers are getting tired of seeing them, so hopefully Amazon gets things back up and running soon. Analysts had projected Amazon would rake in $3 billion dollars this Prime Day. Time will tell how much of that was lost during the great dog picture debacle of 2018.

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