My son in the adorable Giraffe Lil Bums print cloth diaper!
Choosing the Right Type of Cloth Diaper For Your Baby
When I first began my cloth diapering adventure, I was lost at not only the many different brands there were out there, but the TYPES of them! It was very overwhelming, being new to cloth diapering, and so I decided to do my research! Eventually, I figured which types of diapers were best for my baby and I and, with the right information, so will you! Here’s to making your life a lot easier!
Let’s start with the many different styles of cloth diapers.
Types of Cloth Diapers
Diaper covers come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. They use different types of closures, like snaps or Velcro, and some simply pull on. Diaper covers are often made of wool, fleece, or PUL (polyurethane laminate).
The cloth diaper used under a diaper cover can be a prefold or a flat diaper that you fold yourself, or it can be a contour or fitted diaper that doesn’t require folding.
The prefold diaper is a rectangular cloth with a thick, padded center section. It needs folding before you put it on your baby. So does the flat diaper, which is a large square cloth that’s equally thick throughout.
Contour diapers are shaped like an hourglass. They usually need to be secured with fasteners or pins, though there are a few variations available with built-in snaps or elastic.
Fitted diapers are the most like disposables in their design (except that they require a cover). They’re shaped like an hourglass, have elastic around the legs and waist, and fasten with built-in snaps or tabs.
An “All in One” diaper, or AIO
This diaper consists of a waterproof outer layer, an absorbent “soaker,” and an inner layer. It fastens with snaps or tabs and has elastic around the legs and waist, similar to a disposable diaper. AIO diapers come in two forms – either with all the pieces sewn together as one complete unit or with pieces that partially detach with snaps (for faster drying). An AIO is used once, then washed.
An “All in Two” diaper, or AI2
An AI2 diaper consists of an outer waterproof shell (similar to a diaper cover) and an insert that gets put into the shell and lies directly against your baby’s skin. Some inserts attach with snaps or Velcro, and some get tucked under flaps in the cover. The shell has elastic around the legs and waist and fastens with snaps or tabs. The insert is made of absorbent material. Some inserts are topped with a stay-dry fabric for your baby’s comfort.
A hybrid is similar to an AI2 diaper, with two parts making up the whole. The difference is that a hybrid diaper’s insert can be either cloth or disposable.
A pocket diaper consists of a waterproof outer layer and an inner layer of fabric that has a pocket opening. An insert is stuffed into the pocket opening before wearing and then taken out for washing. Pocket diapers’ absorbency can be adjusted by using more or fewer absorbent inserts. The inner layer of fabric is sometimes made with stay-dry material to keep your baby comfortable. Pocket diapers have elastic around the legs and waist and fasten with snaps or tabs. Because the insert and pocket will both get dirty when your baby pees or poops, pocket diapers are used once, then washed.
So, how do I know which one is right for my me & my baby?
This is strongly an opinion that only you can figure out for yourself. Personally, I have tried them all and I love the pocket diapers because it gives me the ability to control the absorbency or “stuffing” I place into the diaper. For example, at night, I can stuff the diaper more so that my son will not leak through his diaper; whereas during the day, lighter stuffing is needed.
My biggest piece of advice? Try a few different types and see what works best for you and your family!