Choosing cloth diapers is much easier with a clear understanding of the cloth diapers and cloth diaper accessories that are currently on the market. As the market is constantly improving itself, with manufacturers and Work-At-Home-Moms (WAHMs) launching new cloth diaper products, we will update these cloth diapering definitions. Feel free to bookmark this page for future reference.
All In One Diapers (AIOs)All in one diapers, sometimes abbreviated AIO, are the easiest and most convenient cloth diaper to put on a baby. They are called All In Ones because they are both a cloth diaper and a cover all in one piece. They are the most similar to a disposable in that sense. They are often the choice of cloth diapering parents who are leaving their child with a caregiver that is unfamiliar with cloth diapers. They are one-time use diapers, which means that they must be washed after each use. There are sized and one size AIO diapers.
Materials: They consist of an outer, waterproof layer, an inner absorbent layer, and closures made with Velcro or snaps. Sometimes, the absorbent layer is sandwiched into the diaper, just like a disposable. Other times, its folded in, or sewn in at only one end to shorten drying time.
1. Slide the back of the diaper underneath the babys bottom.
2. Pull the diaper up through the legs to the tummy.
3. Fasten closures at the tummy.
Care: Cold rinse, then hot wash with - the amount of recommended detergent, followed by cold rinse. Diapers can be machine or line dried, though machine drying may shorten the life of the elastics. Many AIOs will take extra drying time due to the multiple layers of absorbency. Do not use fabric softeners or bleach.
All in Two Diapers (AI2)All in two diapers, or AI2s, are very similar to all in one diapers except that the absorbent layer can be snapped in or laid in. Because of that, the drying time is much better with this diaper. Also, the shells of many AI2 diapers can be used for multiple diaper changes, or until soiled. They can also be used as diaper covers over fitteds, prefolds, or flats. AI2s come as sized or one-size diapers.
Materials: These diapers consist of an outer waterproof shell that fastens with Velcro or snaps. Sometimes, the shell is lined with microfleece or some other soft fabric, and sometimes it can be wiped dry. The absorbent layer can be made of many possible fabrics cotton, hemp, and microfiber, to name a few and are snapped or laid inside the diaper.
1. Snap/lay in the absorbent layer
2. Slide the back of the diaper underneath your babys bottom.
3. Pull the diaper up through the legs to the tummy.
4. Fasten closures at the tummy.
Care: Cold rinse, then hot wash with - the amount of recommended detergent, followed by cold rinse. It is recommended to line dry the shells to prolong the life of the elastics and closures. Inserts can be machine dried safely, or line dried. Do not use fabric softeners or bleach.
Contour DiapersContour diapers are really just prefold diapers with contours (crescent shaped cut outs) around the legs. They are sort of like a cross over between a prefold diaper and a fitted diaper. They usually need to be fastened with diaper pins or a Snappi and require a cover but dont require special folding. There are some contour diapers with elastic at the leg, but this is atypical; that style of contour diaper is often called a 'semi-fitted' cloth diaper. Contour diapers are a one-time use diaper, which means that they will be worn once between washes.
Materials: These diapers may be made out of many absorbent fabrics including microfiber, cotton, or bamboo. Some contour diapers have elastics in the legs making them a hybrid between a fitted diaper and a contour diaper, or a semi-fitted diaper. They have no closures.
1. Slide the contour diaper behind your babys back.
2. Pull the front of the diaper through your babys legs.
3. Wrap tabs around the waist and fasten with a diaper pin or Snappi.
4. Place a diaper cover over the diaper.
Care: Cold rinse, then hot wash with - the amount of recommended detergent, followed by cold rinse. They can be machine or line dried, though line drying may prolong the life of any elastics found in the diaper. Do not use fabric softeners or bleach.
Examples: Kissaluvs One Size Contour Diaper, Sustainablebabyish Snapless Multi Fitted Diaper
Diaper CoversDiaper covers (also called diaper wraps) are not diapers in and of themselves but are absolutely necessary when using a diaper that does not have an outer, waterproof layer. A diaper cover is a waterproof or water resistant layer put over a fitted, prefold, countour, or flat diaper to contain moisture and sometimes messes. They can be used multiple times, or until soiled. Diaper covers come sized and one size. Most diaper covers fasten to a baby like a disposable diaper, going between the legs and attaching at the waist. However, some varieties (especially wool and fleece covers) simply pull up and down.
Materials: They come in a couple of different materials including PUL or TPU (a polyester fabric lined with a waterproof layer of laminated plastic), wool, and fleece.
1. Fasten the cloth diaper to the baby.
2. Lay the diaper cover underneath the babys back.
3. Pull the front of diaper cover through the legs and to the tummy.
4. Fasten closures at the tummy
* Wool and fleece diaper covers are often pulled-on over the diaper like underwear.
Care:Wool- Handwash inside out in cold water with gentle detergent and lanolin. Turn right side out. Roll in towel to remove excess water. Lay flat to dry. Do not use bleach. Do not machine dry.
PUL Covers- Wash with your regular diapers, and line dry for best results. They may be machine dried, but doing so could shorten the life of your cover. Do not use bleach.
Fleece Covers- Wash with your regular diapers. May be machine dried or line dried. Do not use bleach.
PUL-Thirsties Duo Wrap Diaper Cover, Rump-a-rooz One Size Diaper Cover, Bummis Super Whisper Wrap, Blueberry Coveralls Diaper Cover, Econobum One Size Diaper Cover, Flip One Size Diaper Cover
Fleece-Stacinator Fleece Diaper Covers, Organic Caboose Eco-Fleece Diaper Cover
Diaper DoublersThis is the name for an absorbent layer used to boost the absorbency in a diaper. It looks like a pocket diaper insert a rectangular or oval pad of absorbent layers sewn togetherbut its typically smaller and thinner than your regular inserts.
Materials: Any absorbent material will do for a doubler. Youll find them most commonly in hemp, bamboo, cotton, or polyester.
Usage: They can be stuffed into a pocket diaper, folded into a prefold or a flat diaper, or laid into an AIO, AI2 or fitted diaper along the length of the crotch to boost the amount of absorbency.
Care: Cold rinse, then hot wash with - the amount of recommended detergent, followed by cold rinse. They can be machine or line dried. Do not use fabric softeners or bleach.
Diaper FastenersThere are two types of diaper fasteners on the market today: Diaper pins and Snappis. They are both used to fasten diapers without closures such as prefolds, flats, and snapless fitteds
Diaper Pins: These are safety pins with a durable plastic or metal head that protects curious little fingers from exploring the sharp point of the pin. Though they can be found readily in many local baby stores or fabric stores, its recommended that they be bought through your cloth diaper retailer because they will offer you diaper pins with great features such as a curved body to make pinning easier and safer, and heads that lock into place. Some great brands of diaper pins are Diaper Rite Heavy Duty Diaper Pins, and Dritz Diaper Pins.
Snappis: Snappi is the brand name of a diaper fastener that is shaped like the letter T and has little, plastic teeth at each end. The Snappi is stretched horizontally to catch both sides of the diaper, and then vertically to grab the diaper and anchor itself. A Snappi must always be used with a diaper cover and must be replaced after every six months of use.
Care: Both Snappis and diaper pins can be washed with warm soapy water when necessary. They should not go in the wash with your diapers.
Fitted DiapersFitted diapers are much like disposable diapers and AIO diapers in the way that they fit and attach to your baby, but the difference is that they lack a waterproof layer and require a diaper cover. Fitted diapers, also called fitteds, are a one-time use diaper, which means that they will be worn once between washes. They come in sizes or as one size fits all.
Materials: Fitted diapers have elastics at the waist and legs, and attach at the waist with either Velcro or snaps. Both the price and the absorbency of your fitted will depend upon what type of material theyre made of. They come in a variety of different absorbency layers including bamboo, hemp, or microfiber.
1. Slide the back of the diaper underneath your babys bottom.
2. Pull the diaper up through the legs to the tummy.
3. Fasten closures at the tummy.
4. Fasten a diaper cover to the baby over the fitted diaper.
Care: Cold rinse, then hot wash with - the amount of recommended detergent, followed by cold rinse. They can be machine or line dried. Line drying may prolong the life of the elastics in the diaper, but will take much longer. Do not use fabric softeners or bleach.
Flat DiapersThese diapers are probably the oldest cloth diaper. They and are very similar to prefolds with the exception of being flatter with more surface area, and they are only a single layer of fabric. They consist of a large square (that is now available in a variety of sizes) that is attached to a baby with special folding methods that used to be passed down through generations, but were all but forgotten with the advent of the disposable diaper. They are not only absorbent, but very versatile and easy to care for. Flat diapers are one-time use diapers which means that they are used one between washes. They are secured to a baby using diaper pins, a snappi, or a diaper wrap.
Materials: Flat diapers are most often constructed of a single layer of loosely knit birds-eye cotton. They can also be found in muslin, flannel, organic cotton, terry, and various other fabrics. If youre ever in a pinch, an old receiving blanket or even a T shirt can be used as a flat diaper.
Usage: Many methods of folding can be used to customize the size, fit, and absorbency for your baby. Please refer to the following videos for these folds:
Origami Fold: http://youtu.be/PIgqoc3oG0M
Kite Fold: http://youtu.be/fOE-kiQglXA
Trifold/Pad Fold: http://youtu.be/fOE-kiQglXA
Newborn Folds: http://youtu.be/CTxy-9pJyhs
Care: Flat diapers are easier to care for than any other diaper because they only have one layer and wont trap odors or residue like other diapers do. They may be washed and rinsed as many times as a regular cloth diaper, but typically, they dont need as many steps to get really fresh and clean. Rinse them in cold water first to keep any stains from setting. Follow that with a hot wash. Then, throw them in the dryer or line dry them. Theyll dry very quickly either way. Do not use fabric softener.
HybridsHybrid diapers are a unique diapering system that meshes cloth diapering with disposable diapering. They are cloth covers that come with either disposable or cloth inserts. Hybrids come in different sizes or as one size fits all.
Materials: The cover is usually made of PUL or some other waterproof material, and has snaps or Velcro on the closure tabs. The reusable inserts for these diapers is made of absorbent fabrics such as cotton or microfiber. The disposable inserts are made with compostable substances such as wood pulp, a small amount of SAP, and even bamboo, and are free from harmful chemicals typically found in disposable diapers such as TBT and Chlorine. Some of them have a layer of plastic to protect the diaper cover, and some do not.
1. Lay the cloth/disposable insert into the diaper cover/shell
2. Place the back of the diaper underneath the babys bottom.
3. Pull the front of the diaper through the legs and to the tummy.
4. Fasten the diaper at the tummy with Velcro or snapping tabs. (Diapers will be fastened at the sides/back)
Care: Covers/shells and cloth inserts should be washed with a cold rinse, followed by a hot wash with - the amount of detergent, followed by a cold rinse. They may be machine or line dried (gDiapers recommends the removal of the snap in pouch before washing). Do not use fabric softeners or bleach. Disposable inserts can be tossed or composted. Because they contain no plastic, gDiaper disposable inserts can be flushed as well as being composted or tossed.
InsertsInserts (sometimes called soakers) are typically rectanglular shaped, multi-layer pads of absorbent fabric stuffed into pocket diapers that do not need to be folded. They come with all your major pocket diapers, but are usually sold separately as well. The great thing about inserts is that they can be used to customize the absorbency of just about any diaper. You can lay them in a fitted, an AIO or an AI2 diaper, if the diaper is not absorbent enough by itself or even fold them into your flat or your prefold diapers.
Materials: These are made from absorbent materials such as cotton, hemp, microfiber, or bamboo.
Usage: Stuff, lay, or fold into the diaper, then fasten the diaper to the baby.
Care: Cold rinse, then hot wash with - the amount of recommended detergent, followed by cold rinse. May be machine or line dried. Do not use fabric softeners or bleach.
LinersLiners were created for three reasons. 1) They make the removal of poopy messes much easier. 2) They provide a barrier between the diaper and the baby, which is particularly useful if you need protect your diaper from rash creams. 3) they keep a babys skin dry inside the diaper. Liners come in reusable and disposable varieties. They do not have any absorbency in and of themselves and are for use atop absorbent, cloth diapers.
Materials: Disposable liners are made of viscose, which is both flushable and biodegradable. Reusable liners are made of suedecloth, microfleece, knitted silk, wool, or even cotton velour.
Usage: Lay over the middle of the top-most inner layer of the diaper to provide a barrier between the babys bottom and the diaper.
Care: Disposable liners can be flushed after use. Washable liners may be thrown into the wash with the rest of the cloth diapers.
One Size DiapersOne Size diapers is just a quick way to say that the diaper is a one size fits all (or most) diaper. Youll sometimes see them abbreviated as OS. These diapers generally fit babies from about 7.5-35 pounds. Many different types of diapers have a one-size option and they accomplish one size status in different ways. Most one-size diapers have snaps on the rise and a waist that adjusts with a wide strip of snaps or Velcro. Some diapers have adjustable elastics in the legs and/or waist. Other diapers fit many babies with one size by different methods of folding.
Examples: AIO One Size Diapers- GroVia All in One Cloth Diaper, bumGenius Freetime One Size All In One Diaper,Kissaluvs Marvels One Size All In One Diaper
AI2 One Size Diapers- Best Bottom Diaper, Flip Diaper, GroVia One Size Diaper Diaper Covers- Blueberry Coveralls Diaper Cover, Econobum One Size Diaper Cover, GroVia Shell, Flip One Size Diaper Cover, Rump-a- rooz One Size Diaper Cover, Thirsties Duo Wrap Diaper Cover. Fitted Diapers- Eco Posh Diaper, Kiwi Pie One Size Bamboo Fitted, Blueberry One Size Fitted Diaper, Thirsties Duo Fab Fitted Diaper Pocket Diapers- Kawaii One Size Pocket Cloth Diaper, Diaper Rite One Size Pocket Diaper, Rump-a-rooz One Size Pocket Diaper, Fuzzibunz ELITE One Size Pocket Diaper, Happy Heinys One Size Diaper
Prefold DiapersPrefolds are the most common and well-known cloth diaper. They are a rectangular, multi-layered diaper with a thicker, more absorbent strip in the middle, and they are folded to fit to the baby. They require a diaper cover. These diapers are also fastened with pins, snappis, or diaper wraps and come in different sizes. You can usually find them in a local baby store, but it would be best to look for DSQ (diaper service quality) prefolds at your local or online cloth diaper retailer. Prefolds are one-time use diapers which means that they are used once between washes.
Materials: They are usually made of cotton. Two popular types of cotton prefolds are Indian prefolds and Chinese prefolds. They can also be found in other, absorbent materials such as hemp or flannel. They are usually available in only two colorsbleached and unbleached.
1. Fold your prefold with one of the methods found in this video:
2. Fasten the diaper to your baby or insert it into a diaper cover/wrap
3. Place a diaper cover under your babys bottom
4. Pull the diaper cover between the legs to the tummy.
5. Fasten the cover at the tummy.
Care: Cold rinse, followed by a hot wash with - the recommended amount of detergent. Machine or line dry. No fabric softeners.
Pocket DiapersPocket diapers are sort of like AIOs (all in one diapers) with customizable absorption. They too, are a single use diaper that has both the diaper and the cover in one, easy to use piece. They are also very similar to disposables in their shape and in the fact that they fasten with either Velcro or snap closures. The difference between pockets and AIOs or AI2s (all in two diapers) is that a pocket diaper is not a functional diaper until assembled. Pocket diapers have a pocket or a sleeve into which you can stuff one or more absorbent layers. They also dry much more quickly than AIO diapers. Pocket diapers are one-time use diapers which means that they are worn once between washes.
Materials: The pocket diaper itself is usually made of an outer layer of PUL (laminated polyester) that protects the outside world from moisture, and a soft, stay-dry inner layer of microfleece or microsuede that wicks moisture away from babys gentle skin. The inserts are most commonly made of microfiber, but you can find them in many, many different fabric options including hemp, bamboo, and cotton. You can even skip the insert all together and stuff your pockets with flat diapers or prefold diapers.
1. Stuff the pocket diaper with your choice of absorbency
2. Lay the diaper underneath the babys bottom.
3. Pull the diaper between the legs
4. Fasten at the tummy.
Care: Cold rinse, followed by a hot wash with - the recommended amount of detergent, and another cold rinse. Its recommended to line dry the pocket of the diaper to prolong the life of the elastics and closures, but the inserts can be machine dried safely, or line dried. Do not use fabric softeners or bleach.
Examples: Kawaii One Size Pocket Cloth Diaper, bumGenius! One Size Pocket Diaper 4.0, Fuzzi Bunz Perfect Size Pocket Diaper, Diaper Rite Bamboo Pocket Diaper, Happy Heinys One Size Diaper, Tot Bots Easy Fit Diaper
Sized DiapersThough one-size diapers are often very popular, many cloth diapers come in different sizes, much like the disposables you can buy in the store. XS, S, M, L, XL are examples of sizes these diapers may come in. People who buy sized diapers generally like them because they are less bulky than One-sized diapers. Also, its very difficult to fit a one-sized diaper on a tiny newborn. So, even if a stash is made of all one-sized diapers, it will probably be necessary to have a few newborn or extra small diapers in your stash for that teeny, tiny stage. Again, many different styles of diapers come as sized diapers.
Examples: Fuzzi Bunz Perfect Size Pocket Diaper, Bamboozle Fitted Diaper, Mother-ease Sandys Fitted Diaper, Diaper Rite Prefolds, Thirsties Diaper Cover.
SoakerA Soaker is generally used as another term for a wool diaper cover. In other words, a wool soaker is a diaper cover made of wool. Its natural, breathable, and yet amazingly water resistant! See the section on diaper covers for more information on wool soakers. I have also heard the term soaker used when referring to the absorbent layer of an AIO diaper (soaker pad), and even when referring to cloth diaper inserts.
Wet BagA wet bag is a waterproof bag used to hold soiled diapers and/or other wet things (such as bathing suits and towels). A small wet bag can be placed in your diaper bag for short trips, and a larger one can be used instead of or inside of a diaper pail. The great thing about these is that you can throw them in the wash with whatever cargo they carry. Also, any bad smells stay inside the bag. Theyre a --great diapering accessory to have.
1. Place it in the diaper pail, hang on the door, or put in the diaper bag.
2. Place dirty diapers in the wet bag.
3. Place wet bag and dirty diapers into the washing machine. (Please pull diapers out of the wet bag before doing so)
Care: Wash with your regular diapers then dry. It may be machine dried, but should be line dried inside-out for best results.
Examples: Rump-a-Rooz Wet Bag, Rump-a-rooz Diaper Pail Liner, Diaper Rite Wet Bag, Fuzzi Bunz Hanging Diaper Pail, Planet Wise Wet Bag, GroVia Cloth Diaper Wet Bag, Bummis Diaper Tote, Kissaluvs Antibacterial Pail Liner