There are so many different types of cloth diapers, it’s enough to make your head spin. Are you wondering “What is the best type of cloth diaper?” Well, I won’t be able to answer that question exactly. But I can tell you all of your choices. Every baby and Mama is different. I highly encourage you to try a few different types and brands so you can find what works best for you and your baby. These diapers have different closure options and material to choose from. So, be sure to read about the different types of closures and different types of material after.
You will learn about:
Simply put, you stuff the pocket with an insert. They are probably the most popular because they are generally easy to use, customizable and affordable. They contain a stay dry liner on the inside and the outside is waterproof. You must put the insert in before each use and then remove it when it is soiled. The whole diaper is washed after each use. Usually these are made of synthetic material (polyester). The insert are usually polyester as well but switching them out for bamboo and hemp has become popular. They can have snaps or velcro/aplix.
Some pocket diapers have an opening on each end, therefore the soiled insert will agitate out in the wash and you don’t have to remove it.
2. All-In-Ones (AIO)
The name says it all. These are as easy as disposables. The absorbent part of the diaper is built right into the waterproof part. No cover is required. No stuffing or un-stuffing like a pocket. They are great for Dad’s, Grandparents and daycares. Usually they cost more and take longer to dry though. Some AIO’s have a design where only part of the inside is sewn in. That way it will wash easier and dry quicker. These can have snaps or velcro/aplix.
*My favorite AIO is the bumGenius Elemental. It has organic cotton on the inside. 🙂
3. All-In-Twos (AI2)
Similar to an AIO. They consist of a waterproof cover with a removable insert (some diapers the insert snaps in). That way you can reuse the cover and just replace the insert with each change. They are generally very easy to use and cost less than and AIO.
Similar to an AI2 but have the option for disposable inserts. Again the cover is waterproof and the insert is replaced after each change.
An example of both and AI2 and hybrid would be the Flip diaper system by bumGenius. They can even be used as a cover over fitteds, prefolds and flats.
The whole diaper is absorbent. Usually these are made with natural material like cotton, bamboo and/or hemp. They help to contain the mess. These require a cover. They are great for overnight. These can have snaps, velcro/aplix or be closure-less (which means they would require pins or a snappi). My favorite fitted diaper is made of bamboo velour!
These are the old school diapers! They consist of several layers of rectangular shaped material sandwiched and sewn together. There is a strip down the middle with a couple extra layers. Just like a fitted, it requires a cover. Prefolds can be folded many ways. Usually they are first put on the baby with pins or snappis then a cover is put over it. Sometimes they can be tri-folded and placed into a cover before putting on baby. Usually these are made with natural materials, mainly cotton.
These are just a large single layer, square piece of material that is folded up and then treated similar to a prefold. They will require pins or a snappi. These will wash easier and dry faster than prefolds. Usually these are made with cotton.
These are put over the absorbent part of the diaper whether it is a fitted, prefold or flat. They can be made of material like PUL (polyurethane laminant), wool or fleece.
PUL- is a polyester material with a laminant on it that makes it completely waterproof.
Wool (from sheep)- is absorbent and water resistant at the same time. It is natural and breathable. It needs to be hand washed and lanolized periodically to keep it water repelling. It is naturally antibacterial, so it can be used several times without washing. Wool is amazing!
Fleece (sometimes called a soaker)- similar to how wool works but is made of synthetic material (polyester). It repels water. It does not need to be lanolized. It can be washed and dried with all the other diapers.
For when your little one needs something that is easy to get on and off. There are many different kinds of trainers. Some will have a pocket and some will be AIO. Some slid on and off and some have snaps on the side for easy removal.