Thinking of using cloth diapers but don’t where to start? Well, I know I felt that way when I was pregnant. There are so many different brands and terminologies out there I felt so overwhelmed. To help you figure out what’s best for you, here are some of the basics explained.
Prefold diapers are rectangular shaped diapers that are divided lengthwise into 3 sections. They are usually made of cotton. The outer sections usually have a thickness of 4 layers. The middle section can have 6 or 8 layers. Prefolds are the cheapest cloth diapering option. Prefolds can be secured using safety pins or snappi fasteners. The photos below show what prefolds look like loose and being worn with a snappi fastener. Even though it’s called a prefold, you still have to fold and wrap it around your baby – this may take some practice.
Fitted diapers look a lot like disposables. They have a contoured shape and have form fitting elastics around the legs. They are fastened with either velcro or snaps (no pins or snappis needed). Fitted diapers are more expensive than pre-folds, but are much easier to use since it is already shaped like a diaper and takes little time to put on your baby. The pictures below show a fitted diaper laying flat and folded together.
Both pre-folds and fitted diapers need a waterproof cover to keep the moisture in. A cover can be made from PUL, Nylon, Fleece or Wool.
All-In-One Diapers (AIO)
AIOs are fitted diapers that come with a built-in waterproof cover. It is a one piece system, so no need for stuffing. They often have fewer absorbent layers than their counterparts. These diapers are ideal for out of home use. When it comes to ease of use, AIOs are as close to disposable as it gets. The picture below shows an example of an AIO.
Pocket diapers are the newest type of diapers to hit the cloth diapering market. Pocket diapers are a two piece diapering system, typically with a layer of fleece that makes up the inner portion and a waterproof layer that makes up the outermost portion. When “stuffed” with an absorbent insert, the whole system acts as an all in one system that keeps babies dry.
Compared to AIOs, pocket diapers dry much faster since you take out the insert at laundry time and the “pocket” itself only takes a few hours to hang dry. Also, you can add extra inserts for long trips or night time so they are more flexible than AIOs in that respect. The diagram below shows how pocket diapers work.