Cloth Diapering Definitions and Terms for Cloth Diapers and Cloth Diaper Accessories
Choosing cloth diapers is much easier with a clear understanding of the cloth diapers and cloth diaper accessories on the market. As the market is constantly improving on itself, with manufacturers and Work-At-Home-Moms (WAHMs) launching new cloth diaper products frequently, we will update these cloth diapering definitions; feel free to bookmark this page for future reference.
The following list is arranged alphabetically.
ALL-IN-ONE DIAPERS (AIOs) - All-In-One Diapers, also seen written as AIOs, are the style of cloth diapers most similar to a disposable diaper. Often purchased by those caregivers seeking absolute convenience, or parents of babies and toddlers in day care, All-In-One diapers are constructed of all the necessary components needed in a diaper - they are an all in one cloth diaper unit.
All-In-One Diapers are easy to put on baby. Most styles of All-In-One Diapers secure around baby with some form of Velcro or hook & loop closure tabs; snaps can also be used. The inner lining that rests against baby's skin is made from any number of fabrics - 100% organic cotton, flannellete, hemp, and even stay-dry microfleece. The outer layer is made from fabrics treated for waterproofing.
CONTOUR DIAPERS - Contour Diapers are hourglassed shape and made to contour to baby; hence the name. They aren't exactly a prefold diaper, although they are sewn in layers. They also aren't exactly a fitted diaper - though they do contour to baby's body. Without the need for any cloth diaper folds, or the use of elastic at the waist or legs, contour diapers boast a trim fit and are secured around baby with diaper pins, snappi fasteners, or a cloth diaper wrap.
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.
DIAPER COVERS - Diaper Covers, also called cloth diaper covers or cloth diaper wraps, are an absolute necessity if you cloth diaper your baby with any style of cloth diaper that doesn't have an outer waterproof fabric layer. Available in an assortment of colors, fabrics and sizes, cloth diaper covers will protect your baby's clothing, crib bedding, car seats, and anything else their bum touches, from being soiled with whatever surprises baby has left for you in his/her cloth diapers.
Most Diaper Covers can be classified as one of two styles; pull-ons that simply pull-up or down, and cloth diaper wraps which come off and on using snap or velcro wings that wrap around baby (much like a disposable). Diaper Covers are made from water-resistant and waterproof fabrics such as nylon, PUL, or heavier fabrics such as wool or fleece. Though the heavier fabrics are not recommended as an everyday cloth diaper cover to use beneath baby's clothes, they do tend to be a favorite for night-time diapering.
DIAPER DOUBLERS - Diaper Doublers are absorbent, multiple-layered pads designed to increase absorbency for heavy-wetting babies or during extended periods of times such as naps, night-time diapering, or even for long car trips. Diaper Doublers are placed atop the inner layer of a cloth diaper, along the length of the crotch.
DIAPER FASTENERS - Diaper Fasteners are varied, but include both the traditional plastic-topped and heavy duty brass locking head diaper pins, as well as the stretchy plastic t-shaped grippers known as Snappi Diaper Fasteners. Diaper Fasteners are simply a means to secure baby's cloth diaper on them in a safe and comfortable way.
FITTED DIAPERS - Fitted Diapers are made from more varieties of fabric than you can imagine; 100% cotton (bleached and unbleached), certified organic cotton, cotton fleece, cotton velour, and even hemps and sherpas. Absorbency, as well as price, will vary with the type of fabric used to sew Fitted Diapers. More often than not, Fitted Diapers are gathered with elastic (encased or not) at the thighs and waist and secure with velcro and snaps on the wrap-around wings; there are a few versions without snaps or velcro closures that require a diaper pin, snappi fastener or a wrap-style diaper cover to secure them to baby. They look and cut resembles a disposable diaper, but without a waterproof outer layer, so Fitted Diapers do require a cloth diaper cover to contain seepage when baby wets. Fitted Diapers do not require any kind of cloth diaper folding to use. Check out our a step-by-step pictorial on how to put on a fitted diaper and pull-on diaper cover.
FLAT DIAPERS - Flat Diapers are most often constructed of a single layer of stretchy, loosely knit birds-eye, they can also be found in muslin, flannel, organic cotton, terry, and various other fabrics. Though the typical cut is a standard 27 or 30 inch square, flat diapers can now be found in a large variety of sizes. Flat Diapers are not prefolded, so they will require cloth diaper folding to get the single-ply diaper layered where baby needs it most. Once folded properly, Flat Diapers can be secured with diaper pins, snappi fasteners, or within any wrap-style cloth diaper cover.
INSERTS - Inserts, much like Diaper Doublers, are absorbent, multi-layered pads, however, Inserts are typically purchased and used to stuff inside a Pocket Diaper. Made from absorbent materials such as cotton, hemp, and microfiber, Inserts do not require any type of folding and can even be used in combination with a Diaper Doubler for babies or toddlers with heavier wetting patterns.
LINERS - Liners were created to ease the clean-up of a poopy cloth diaper and as a means to keep baby's skin dry INSIDE the diaper. A liner is placed atop the length of the stride INSIDE a baby's diaper; this forms a layer of protection for baby's sensitive skin. There are both reusable and single-use liners available. Single-use liners are made of cellulose and are both flushable and biodegradable; they are often referred to as rice paper liners. reusable cloth diaper liners are made of fabrics such as suedecloth, microfleece, knitted silk, wool, or even cotton velour, and wash up for use over and over again.
PREFOLD DIAPERS - Prefold Diapers are constructed of multiple layers sewn in three panels separated by seams that run the length of the cloth diaper. Think of a three lane highway and you can grasp the visual. As would be expected, the middle section of a prefold diaper is designed with more layers, making it thicker than the two side panels; this puts the absorbency right where it is needed. Diaper Service Quality prefolds, like Diaper Rite Cotton Prefolds can be found in layers such as 2-4-2, with the middle layer being 4 panels; as well as 4-6-4 and 4-8-4. Considered the most economical and versatile cloth diaper option, prefold diapers are just a step away from the large flat diapers, the only difference being prefolds are typically rectangular and not single-layered.
Prefold Diapers are sewn from as many different fabrics as any other absorbent cloth diaper, including 100% cotton, organic cotton, flannel, and hemp, to name a few. The Diaper Service Quality (DSQ) Cotton Prefolds come in two colors - bleached and unbleached; unbleached prefold diapers are light tan in color and require additional washing for each diaper to reach full absorbency.
Cloth diaper covers are a necessity with any Prefold Diaper because they do not have a waterproof outer barrier. There are a number of cloth diaper folding techniques when using Prefold Diapers, some require cloth diaper pins or snappi fasteners to secure, and yet others need only a cloth diaper wrap.
POCKET DIAPERS - Pocket Diapers are an anomaly in the cloth diapering world because they really aren't a cloth diaper at all - at least, not until they are assembled or 'stuffed'. A Pocket Diaper is basically a shell made by sewing two separate materials together, while leaving a 'hole' or 'pocket' of sorts to stuff-in an absorbent insert. Pocket Diapers must be assembled with this internal absorbent core BEFORE using.
The outer layer of a Pocket Diaper is typically made from a water-resistant or waterproof fabric, eliminating the need for a cloth diaper cover. The inner layer of Pocket Diapers can be made of many materials, including microfiber, terry cloth, hemp, or even a prefold diaper (great for maximum overnight absorbency). The idea of a Pocket Diaper is to tailor absorbency without losing the convenience of an All-In-One Diaper. Plus, if you select a Pocket Diaper with a microfleece inner lining, the baby's urine will pass through the microfleece, into the absorbent core within the pocket, keeping baby dry to the touch EVEN THOUGH the cloth diaper in the pocket is soaked. Last, but not least, it is as easy to put a pocket diaper on baby as it is a disposable diaper.
Choosing cloth diapers is much easier when you have an understanding of the cloth diapers and diaper accessories available. If there are any product names you are yet unfamiliar with, please contact us and we will be glad to explain any of the cloth diapering definitions for you.