Confused about the different types of cloth diapers available? Below we've listed the various types of diapers and their main features. We hope it helps!
Prefold diapers come flat and rectangular and must be folded into the shape of a diaper. They often have 2-4 layers of absorbent material on either side and 6-8 layers in the middle. The amount of layers varies according to the size you choose which range from preemie to toddler. Pre-folds are the least expensive type of cloth diapers available and must be used together with a diaper cover.
Fitted diapers are the absorbent core of a two part diapering system, resembling a disposable diaper. They are contoured and have elastic gatherings around the legs and back and fasten together with snaps or Velcro. The second part of this system is the diaper cover, which is worn over the fitted diaper as a waterproof layer between your baby and the rest of the world. Parents who choose this option do so for a few reasons. One reason is that they like to have a natural fabric next to their baby’s skin. Also, for parents who practice Elimination Communication, Infant Pottying or are potty training their toddlers, this is a great option as your child can feel when their diaper is wet or soiled.
AIO’s are fitted diapers that have a waterproof outer layer, which usually consists of fabric that has a PUL (polyurethane) backing. The inner layer consists of cotton, hemp or microfiber. The outer waterproof shell and the inner absorbent material are all sewn together. There is no stuffing or folding required with an AIO, simply remove it out from the drawer and put it straight onto baby! These are the closest in similarity to disposable diapers since they are a one-piece diapering system. Often an AIO diaper will take longer to dry then diapers with removable microfiber cores. Due to its simplicity of use, this is a great option to have on hand for babysitters, daycares, grandparents or any other caregiver that may not be familiar with cloth diapers.
Hybrid diapers are very similar to AIOs with the exception that the absorbent soaker material is not attached to the diaper in any way. The soaker is a separate piece that must be used in conjunction with the waterproof outer layer. The drying time for these diapers is shorter than the traditional AIO. Like many two part systems, if the cover does not get soiled you can continue to reuse it for a many diaper changes. Often, all that is needed is new dry insert!
Similar to AIO diapers, pocket diapers have an outer layer of a waterproof material and an inner layer of a stay dry material. An opening between the outer and inner layers allows the absorbent core (insert, doublers or prefold) to be stuffed into the pocket and removed prior to placing in the diaper pail. This two piece system is easy to wash and fast to dry. A pocket diaper can be stuffed with as much (or as little) material as desired. Many parents increase the stuffing for heavy wetter’s or nighttime use. Inserts/doublers consist of absorbent materials like Microfiber, Hemp or Bamboo.
One Size diapers are a pocket diaper that can be adjusted in size by snapping down the rise in the front of the diaper. They are a very economical choice as they are designed to fit most babies from 8 - 35lbs. They can be a little bulkier on a smaller newborn. Remember, as a one size diaper gets used and washed a lot over the course of the 2-3 years your child will wear them, they will have more wear than a diaper that is used for a particular size. For parents hoping to re-use their diapers for more than one child, you may want to supplement some sized diapers with some one size diapers or consider purchasing a larger quantity so that each diaper is being used less frequently.
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