Chinese Prefold Diapers:
The very simplest definition of Chinese prefold diapers (CPF) is that they area prefold diapers made in China. However, I am guessing you already figured that much out already and were hoping for a slightly more detailed definition than that. These popular, yet "old fashioned" diapers are a great option for any cloth diaper stash for several reasons,and it is important to understand the basics of any diaper before purchasing them.
Basics of Chinese Prefolds:
If you are looking for detailed information on the ins and outs of prefolds, you will find the 4-1-1 of prefold cloth diapers particularly helpful. The in-a-nutshell explanation would be to say that Chinese prefolds are retangular-shaped diapers made from stitching together layers of cotton fabric. Typically, they are made of a twill fabric which partly accounts for both their durability and popularity.
A Word on Diaper Service Quality:
As you read on about chinese prefold diapers, keep in mind that the information below is assuming that we are discussing Diaper Service Quality (DSQ) prefolds. Diaper Service Quality prefolds are, generally speaking, a much better grade than the cloth diapers you may find mass-marketed in stores. Mass marketed prefolds may not have as many layers of cotton or may be filled with foam, making them much less absorbent. Chinese prefolds indicate how many layers are involved with notations such as 2X6X2, 4X6X4, and 4X8X4. This refers to how many layers are in each of the three sewn panels.
Chinese Prefold Pros:
There are several advantages of Chinese prefolds which make them quite the popular choice among cloth diapering parents. Perhaps the biggest reason why parents choose prefolds is because it is likely the cheapest cloth diapering option. Chinese prefolds (compare prices) can vary in price depending on from where you purchase them, but a ball park figure would be about $1.50 - $2.50 a piece.
Additionally, prefolds tend to be fairly rugged diapers that wash up well (or as well as any cloth diaper can) and outlives other types of cloth diapers. It also has a much lower drying time to all-in-one diapers or fitted diapers.
The Difference Between Chinese and Indian Prefolds:
Besides the country of manufacture, the biggest difference between Chinese and Indian prefolds has to do with softness and durability. Indian prefolds are known for being much softer, whereas Chinese prefolds are reported as lasting longer. Some parents find that their Chinese prefolds last long enough to be used on 4 to 5 children.
When comparing Chinese prefolds and Indian prefolds side-by-side, you'll probably notice that the stitching on Chinese is tighter. Indians are more likely to fray at the ends and wear out sooner. Finally, Chinese prefolds require greater preparation for use.
Diaper Covers and Fasteners:
If you do choose to go the route of prefolds, you also will need to pick up a few more supplies to make this diapering system work for you. Diaper covers are an absolute must. My personal favorite is the Bummis Super Whisper Wrap, but you can find even more economical diaper covers, like the Prorap (compare prices).
Now depending on your preference, you may also need to pick up some diaper fasteners to secure the diaper. These are not a necessity, as you can simply fold the prefold into thirds and place in the cover. The good news is that there are now alternatives to pins, such as Snappi fasteners.