Types of Cloth Diapers

It can be a bit overwhelming once you make the decision to cloth diaper.  There are so many different types and brands out there to decide from.  The best thing to do first is go to an actual store that sells cloth diapers and talk to them and see what the different types look and feel like and how they work.  From there you can decide on the type of cloth diaper you would like to go with.  Some like to have a variety of styles, I prefer to stick to pretty much one style that was about ease and convenience so that I could get my husband on board.

Types of Diapers

AIO (All-in-ones)
These are cloth diapers that are just that, they have everything you need all in one.  They are the closest thing you can get to a disposable.  There is nothing to stuff or pull apart, no pins and no covers.  You just put the diaper on and take it off once wet and throw in your diaper pail or wet sack until wash day.  The exterior layer of these diapers is either waterproof or water resistant.
Pros
Easy on and off system (generally hook & loop aka velcro)
No need for covers or pins
Generally a trim fit
Cons
They take a long time to dry
Not as easy to adjust absorbency
Most expensive option

AI2 (All-in-two)
Very similar to AIO’s except the absorbent insert either snaps in or lays in the centre of the outer shell.  These can be an economical option since the outer layer can be used multiple times throughout the day while only the insert is changed out.  The cover is either waterproof or water resistant.
Pros
Easy on and off system
No need for pins
Generally a trim fit
Able to adjust absorbency to suit needs
Don’t require the same number of covers as inserts
Cons
More expensive than flats

Pocket Diapers
They are just as the name says, they have a pocket that you stuff your absorbent inserts into.  Once they are stuffed some brands do not require un-stuffing for washing, so another great choice when trying to get your husband on board with cloth diapering.  These come in both hook and loop and snap options.  The exterior layer is either waterproof or water resistant.  Each time the diaper is changed, all of it is changed – cover and insert.
Pros
Easy on and off system
No need for pins or additional covers
Generally a trim fit
Can get these in a One Size fits all
Able to adjust absorbency to suit needs
Some can be used like an AI2
Cons
One of the more expensive options
The inserts generally need to be unstuffed for washing which can be gross for some parents

Hybrids
These are one of the most popular options.  These are generally a waterproof or water resistant cover which can be used with disposable inserts or cloth inserts. Insert is laid on top of the outer cover like an AI2.
Pros
Easy on and off system
No need for pins or additional covers
Generally a trim fit
Able to adjust absorbency to suit needs
Daycare friendly
No un-stuffing required
Cons
Waste is still generated – albeit a much lesser amount
Difficult to adjust absorbency with disposable inserts

Fitted Diaper
These are similar to AIO’s, but do not have a waterproof layer so they usually require a cover of some sort.  These are popular for people looking for organic materials and more absorbent diapers.
Pros
Easy on and off system
No need for pins
The cover can be reused throughout the day if it is clean
Cons
Not as daddy friendly since it requires a diaper and cover

Prefolds/Flats
These are the traditional diapers most people think of when they think cloth diapering.  They are the most economical choice and require some type of fastener and cover.
Pros
Can be made at home easily out of any large piece of material (ie receiving blanket if needed)
Economical
Can be hand washed much easier than the others
Easily adjust to fit any size baby or child
Do not need a cover for each flat as it can be reused throughout the day if clean
Cons
Require a cover and pins or fasteners
Much bulkier than some of the other options


Which style of diaper do you prefer and why?  I would love to hear more pros and cons to these options and why you chose the one you did.  Do you have a favourite brand?  We chose to go with pocket diapers due to the ease of putting them on and taking them off and they tend to dry relatively quickly on the line.  We get a great fit with these too.


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3 thoughts on “Types of Cloth Diapers

  1. Fuzzy Bunz! But they were there when I nannied and I had no other option available! So I also didn't have to pay for them:) I found they were easy to wash, I just put them in the machine and the washer was forceful enough to take the liner out of the diaper! Glad you and Paige are bonding well and getting out.

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  2. I have only used pockets thus far with my son, I tried gbaby diapers with my daughter (she's 4 now and has been potty trained for quite some time now) with the flushable liners, and I HATED them, they didnt absorb anywhere near enough for her, and they were just a pain, not to mention she was a big girl (born at full term the week of my due date and was 8lbs 14oz and 21inches long) and she grew quite quickly her first year so buying multiple sizes simply wasnt something I was totally on board with. Needless to say I ended up back to sposies quite quickly with that, which I regret now, but I had no one to guide me in the right direction back then and I had no idea of cloth diapering other than the “old fashioned” prefolds and flats with the pins that my mom used on me. This time around I have a sensative skinned red head and a friend from high school posted a photo of her stash on facebook and teasingly asked if anyone wanted to “stuff” her diapers for her 2 kids that were still in diapers. I was astonished at the thought of something much more cost effective that wasnt a pain in the tush and from what she told me was quite absorbent which was great because my son is a super heavy wetter, but I was still concerned since he too like my DD was a big boy ( he was nearly a month early and weighed in at 8lbs 6oz and was 18.5inches when born but was 21 3/4″ before he was even a full week old although I think someone may have mismeasured with all the commotion going on in the delivery room with him and I both having issues at that time)so I was concerned about the sizing issue like I had with my DD. She then told me about the one size pockets and gave me tons of info, I am now quite proud to be a CDing mama. I now have a ton of pockets and have my very first AI2 diaper on its way to me from a WAHM and well I wasnt sure what exactly an AI2 was even though I've been CDing for about 5 or so months now. So needless to say your site and info here has helped me tremendously in understanding the different diapers other than pockets. Thanks so much!!!! I am glad I found you via google.

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