Monday, August 29, 2011

Cloth Diaper Week -Types of Cloth Diapers

Newbies to the cloth diapering world may quickly become intimidated by all of the options out there.  In this first post for our "cloth diaper week,"  we'll do a run down of the different types of cloth diapers that are available.

Many people, including us, make up their diapering system from several of these options. Your preferences, lifestyle, and baby will guide you in finding what works best for you.

When talking about cloth diapers think in terms of:
1. The style of diaper such as prefolds, pocket, etc. as outlined in the post.
2. The size of the diaper.  Usually either sized (small, medium, large, etc.) or one-size-fits all (adjusted by folding or snapping)

Here we go...

Flats are what many people think of first when they hear the term "cloth diaper."  They are the old fashioned way of cloth diapering where a piece of fabric is folded, pinned or snappied, and covered with a water proof pant of some sort.  The biggest advantage of flats is probably the price, as they are by far the least expensive form of cloth diapering.  They wash easily and dry quickly. Can be sized or one-size-fits all.

Prefolds are similar to flats, but have a thicker middle section.  Like flats, they can be folded in a variety of ways to suit your needs, but will need to be pinned, snappied, or folded into a sung-fitting cover.  They come sized and the smaller sizes can be used as "doublers" once your child outgrows them. Like flats, they are also quite inexpensive. They take a slightly longer time to dry than flats. 

Fitted diapers look like disposables made out of cloth.  They have elastic at the legs and back and usually close using snaps or hook and loop closures. They come in both sized and in one-size-fits-all styles and must be worn with a cover.  They usually take a little longer to dry than flats or pre-folds.
Motherease (2 size fitted diaper) 
Motherease (1 size fitted diaper)

Covers are what go over all of the above-mentioned types of diapers.  They are waterproof and usually close using snaps or hook-and-loop closures, although there are also pull-on options.  Nowadays, they are usually make out of Polyurethane Laminate (PUL), fleece or wool.  Covers can usually be used a couple of times before it is necessary to wash them. They can be sized or one-size-fits all.

Pocket diapers are made with a layer of material such as fleece sewn to a cover and an opening in the back so that the inside of the diaper can be stuffed with an insert.  The fleece lining wicks moisture away from the baby's skin.  Before washing, the insert must be separated from the rest of the diaper so that it gets clean.  The covers cannot be reused because the lining gets wet or soiled during use. They can be sized or one-size-fits all. (The blueberry diaper link below goes to a video that explains how a pocket diaper works plus how to adjust the rise on a one-size-fits all diaper.) 
With all-in-twos an insert is placed directly against the baby's skin.  When soiled, the insert must be taken out, but the cover may be worn again with a new insert.  Biodegradable inserts are available, creating a hybrid system that falls somewhere between disposables and cloth. They can be sized or one-size-fits all.

All-in-ones are diapers where the absorbent part of the diaper and the cover are combined into a single diaper (like disposables).  The biggest advantage is that they are easy to use.  Like disposables, once they are soiled, the whole diaper must be taken off and washed.  They can take a long time to dry.  Most of the AIO's we've seen are sized.

Tomorrow we'll do a quick run down of our favourite brands of diapers and what we like about them. 


  1. I never knew there were so many cloth diaper options out there :)

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