How Do I Choose the Right Diaper Cover?
Once you learn how to get the right size cloth diaper for your baby, choosing the right diaper cover is the next step.
Diaper covers wrap-around or pull-on over cloth diapers to provide a thin, water proof or water resistant layer between the absorbent cloth diaper and baby's clothes, bedding, or other surfaces. Some cloth diapers have this protective fabric sewn as an exterior layer, but when they don't, diaper covers are a necessity.
Cloth diaper covers are available in three (3) basic types - wraps, pull-ons and side-snaps; among these types, the fabrics and cuts of the style will vary. Below we will discuss the types of diaper covers and then tackle the diaper fabrics used in their construction.
Cloth Diaper Wraps or Wrap-Style Diaper Covers
Cloth Diaper Wraps work very much like disposable diapers. Baby is placed atop an open diaper cover, and the side tabs (a.k.a. 'wings') wrap around baby to either Velcro or snap to the front portion of the diaper cover. This style of diaper cover is extremely popular because it fits snuggly without the need for diaper pins or the Snappi Diaper Fastener.
Because cloth diaper wraps must fit snug to hold diaper firmly in place, it is imperative that accurate measurements are taken and the right size is used, otherwise moisture will seep out the leg or waist openings.
We carry several cloth diaper wraps, in varying colors, prints, styles and fabric choices:
Pull-On Cloth Diaper Covers
Pull-On Covers are the most basic covers available. In general, parents use pull-on covers over fitted diapers because pull-on diaper covers do not fit snuggly enough to secure a prefold diaper in place. When using a pull-on diaper cover over prefold diapers, diaper pins and/or Snappi Fasteners are required.
A simple, economical diaper cover, pull-on diaper covers offer wetness protection with less bulk and can easily move into the potty-training months with baby.
We have selected hardy styles of pull-on cloth diaper covers for our store:
The most observed downside to the pull-on covers is the nature of the removal. If a child has an especially dirty diaper, the only way to remove the cover, which may be soiled, is to slide it down baby's legs. This means any poop on the cover may end up on baby's legs or clothing.
Side-Snapping Diaper Covers
Side-Snapping Diaper Covers are very similar to Pull-On Diaper covers in that they do not fit as secure or as snug as the Wrap-Style Cloth Diaper Covers. The snaps are located on the left and right sides of the diaper cover and snap to hold it in place. The snaps do not allow for much adjustability or customization of fit, so take care to choose the right size diaper cover to prevent against leaks.
Cloth Diaper Cover Fabrics
The fabrics used for cloth diaper covers are varied and so, they differ in their strengths and weaknesses. Some materials, such as nylon, vinyl or PUL (Polyurethane laminate), provide a complete, waterproof barrier over cloth diapers, but cannot 'breathe'. On the other hand, natural fabrics such as wool or natural/synthetic fabric blends like polyester fleece, are more breathable, although only water resistant.
Nylon - Nylon Covers are very thin and flexible. These covers are waterproof and can be washed as normal and either air dried or dried on medium heat. Nylon covers do not retain odors, making them a nice diaper cover to have in your long-term stash.
Vinyl - Vinyl Covers are made from a heavy-duty material that cracks and breaks-down very quickly. Vinyl covers are what so many people associate with their grandmother's cloth diapers; discolored, hot and sticky.
Though you might find cheap vinyl diaper covers at your local grocery store or super center, we do not suggest using these over your baby's cloth diapers, because vinyl traps heat against baby's skin because unlike nylon, it cannot breathe at all.
PUL - PUL (Polyurethane laminate) is completely waterproof; usually found sandwiched between two layers of fabric or left exposed on the inside of a diaper cover, PUL can be washed and dried normally. PUL may retain odors over time.
Wool - Wool can boast the best longevity of any fabric available. Recommended for nights or other times when leaks will most likely occur, wool covers must be washed carefully by hand and air-dried to retain their shape and natural water barrier, lanolin.
Wool is highly breathable and naturally anti-bacterial, which can help prevent diaper rash and naturally resists odor build up.
Fleece - Fleece is soft and flexible. Fleece does not require any special washing instructions and is highly breathable. Much like wool, fleece covers are water resistant, but not water proof. Fleece diaper covers may retain odors if they are not washed regularly.
Choosing a diaper cover is pretty straightforward once you get the right size cloth diaper. Both diaper covers and their fabrics, fit best with specific cloth diaper styles and fabrics. If you still aren't certain which diaper cover, style or fabric would work best for your baby or toddler, contact us and we'll help you decide.