Thursday, October 11, 2012

Types of Cloth Diapers

(Diaper Cover)

So There are LOTS of types of cloth diapers out there now. They range from almost exactly like disposables where you just put it on the baby and go(but washable) to multi-layers and features for heavy wetters, custom absorbency, and various types of fabric.
Your head may be spinning. You are probably wondering what type is right for you, and how to tell the different abbreviations and types apart.

So here's the breakdown. Cloth diapers are two basic types. Those that require a waterproof cover, and those that do not. Then there are sub types of those two categories. We'll get to those in detail.
New types of cloth diapers come out all the time so this is not meant to be a perfect list. Just n idea of the common types available.

To see what each diaper looks like click the bolded text. I am also including a few places to purchase each type online. However I do not include these links based on personal experience or as a claim they are the best place to purchase, just as some options to help you get an idea.

  1. Re-usable
  2. cost is lessened by each child who uses the diapers
  3. can buy new or used, or from a work at home mom
  4. lots of options and price points
  5. eco friendly
  6. babies in cloth tend to potty train earlier than babies in sposies
  7. less diaper rashes (some babies are sensitive to "stay dry" materials. But there are natural fiber options so this is not a reason to quit cloth diapers if you really want to use them.) 
  8. better for babies skin
  9. no chemicals in the diaper
  10. Less diaper leaks and "blow outs"
  11. Less Trash (big one for my hubby)
  12. Lots of cute prints and bright colors, Cloth can match any outfit, or special occasion! 
  1. Higher up front cost 
  2. You have to wash them
  3. Some prep is needed with some types of diapers
  4. not all types of diapers work for all babies or parents (see #7 above)
  5. Constant attention (meaning you have to deal with the dirties within a few days)
  6. Travel with Cloth requires planning ahead of time
  7. More Finicky than disposables

For me none of the cons outweigh the pros. My DD is also allergic to disposables so I have no other option. Yes I have tried multiple brands of sposies and the "eco friendly" baby friendly options. No dice. Personally I like cloth better though so the pros far out weigh the cons.

Covered Diapers:
(picture shows a flat folded in 1/4's and one "pad" folded)
Flat diapers are basically a LARGE square-ish piece of absorbent fabric. You fold them into various shapes to create the right absorbency, and fit for your baby.   
  1. wash easy
  2. dry fast
  3. cheap
  4. easy to find (target even has a item called "flour sack towels" that you can buy to use as these
  5. organic and other types of materials(hemp, bamboo) available for extra cost
  6. Natural materials
  1. needs a cover
  2. have to be folded to get the right shape and fit
  3. needs to be snappi'd or pinned for most folds
  4. harder to customize absorbency

    Prefolds tend to be mostly rectangular pieces of fabric that are thicker in the center. They are like a "folded" flat diaper hence the name.
    1. less folding than flats
    2. inexpensive
    3. easier to fold than a flat
    4. very absorbent
    5. natural materials
    6. easy washing and drying
    1. Needs a cover
    2. has to be folded to get the right shape and fit
    3. have to buy bigger sizes as baby grows (not one size)
    4. Snappi's or pins required for some folds
    5. harder to customize absorbency

    (outside) (inside)
     These are made out of the same materials as flats and prefolds. They are VERY absorbent and are often recommended as night diapers. They are made with elastic in the legs and back so they don't require folding like the previously mentioned diapers. Some have snaps, some don't.
    1. very absorbent
    2. wash and dry well
    3. no folding!
    4. great for night time
    5. usually made from natural materials(including but not limited to : hemp, bamboo, organic fabrics, unbleached fabrics, etc.) 
    6. can be purchased in cute colors and prints!

    1. Require a cover under most circumstances (though some people use the cute ones around the house without a cover and change at first sign of wetness.)
    2. some require pins or snappi's
    3. Customizing absorbency for "super soakers" usually requires a lay in doubler/soaker which can be an additional purchase and cost. (though some fitted's have these included or sewn on)
    4. Typically require larger sizes as baby gets bigger (not "one size")

      "Coverless" Diapers:
      (most diapers mentioned here are still a of a "two part" diaper. Which is some sort of shell or cover and an absorbent insert that gets stuffed inside. These diapers are typically sold WITH the insert)

        (inside with pocket opening showing a bit)

      These look like a disposable diaper, they have a "cover" and an insert. The insert comes in many fabric types typically Microfiber, that absorbs the pee and moist part of poop. This insert is "stuffed" inside the cover. The cover is usually 2 layers. The side you see is typically made of Poly Urethane Laminate fabric (AKA PUL) and the inside that goes against baby's skin is made of either a stay dry material usually polyester of some sort) or cotton or some other absorbent material.
      Absorbency can be customized by adding extra inserts, or different types of inserts.
      1. No need for additional purchases of covers Since they come with the inserts and cover. 
      2. No need for snappi's or pins. These close with either snaps or Applix(velcro)
      3. Fast drying since the inserts come out of the cover
      4. Covers can be dried in the dryer or hung to dry
      5. Customized absorbency with multiple inserts, or other types of inserts(hemp or bamboo is more absorbent)
      6. Daddy/Grandma/Babysitter friendly, No folding
      7. Come in MANY cute prints and colors! No need for bloomer style diaper covers. They can match dresses and outfits! 
      8. Typically a "onesize" diaper that adjusts with a snap down rise. Though most will not fit newborns as they work better at 10+lbs. however some DO fit from birth to potty training.
      9. Can support work at home moms or buy from a name brand

      1. More expensive than prefolds, flats, but comparable with fitteds. Cost seems to depend on brand.
      2. Does require stuffing
      3. bulkier than some other types of diapers

      • Multi Part Diapering Systems or Hybrid Diapers- These are usually toughted as perfect for those who want to use cloth and disposable. Typically a cover and insert, but the insert can be organic, microfiber with a stay dry layer, or even disposable and compost able.
        These typically fasten with snaps or Applix.

        Some Diapers labeled as hybrids are actually a fitted diaper with a water resistant layer of polyester fleece to help push moisture back to the insert and other absorbent layers of the diaper.
        Most fasten with snaps or applix, but there are some that are closure-less and can be pinned or used under a cover. 
      1. Lots of options(types of fabric, disposable inserts etc
      2. no snappi's or pins typically needed. 
      3. No extra covers typically needed
      4. lots of cute colors and prints 
      5. can support work at Home moms or buy name brand
      6. wash and dry fast due to less layers in two part systems
      1. Inserts in two part systems can shift which means if your baby poops more than once or twice a day you need more covers
      2. You have to buy extra inserts since the two part systems need more than one per cover
      3. Longer dry time in the instance of the water resistant type
      4. Cost more due to all the options and materials varying

      (inside) (outside)
        These are most like a disposable diaper. They are one piece and have a PUL layer on the outside, and an absorbent inner, usually sewn in place under a stay dry material. Though there are options on the market for natural fiber top layers. They fasten with snaps or applix.
      1. Work easiest of all kinds of diapers. Some even have pockets so you can add absorbency if needed.
      2. snaps or applix for closures
      3. daddy/grandparent/babysitter/daycare friendly
      4. Lots of cute prints and colors
      5. can support Work at home moms or Name brands
      1. very high cost (25+ dollars a diaper)
      2. take the longest to dry due to the way they are made. 
      3. Larger stash size needed since you can't reuse the outsides as you can for fitted/prefolds, and flats. 
      4. Harder to get clean sometimes due to longer dry time

      Cloth Diaper Extras:
      • Diaper liners- These are typically disposable and used to prtect the diapers from creams and pastes for baby's bottom that are not cloth diaper friendly. Reusable options exist too. Easiest to avoid by using coconut oil instead of butt paste and creams.
      • Wipes- You can use cloth (my choice, less chemicals, reusable, cheaper, etc) or disposables. Lots of mom's simply toss the disposable wipes in with the cloth diapers and wash them, then toss them in the garbage after they come out of the drier. It doesn't hurt the diapers at all to do this. 
      • Swim diapersa great re-usable option in place of disposables. Also bigger range of sizes. My Sweetness was too small for the disposable options the entire swim season. But for cloth swim diapers we had no issues! They make them super tiny so even little bitties like my munchkin can swim and enjoy it. And they are re-use-able for the next baby. :) 
      • Diaper pailsYou can use one or not. Some are plastic, some are a hanging bag with a zipper in the bottom. You unzip over the washer and wash with the diapers. They both work great and are not to pricey.  
      • Wet bags- The essential for the cloth diaper mom on the go. Any sort of bag that doesn't leak will do so you can re-use your plastic grocery sacks if you like. But I prefer an option I can wash and don't have to throw away. Many affordable options out there. lots of nice colors and prints. 
      • wool covers- A great option or those who use prefolds, flats, or fitteds and don't want to use PUL covers. They are reusable multiple times and waterproof and antimicrobial when properly lanolised. They do not have to be washed after every diaper change either. Just hang to dry if wet.
        These are typically cheapest if you can get them from a Work at Home Mom (WaHM) and made form recycled wool sweaters.
        Check out:
        Hyena cart And Etsy for handcrafted ones. Or if you knit make one yourself! 
      • Training Pants- Yep you don't even have to go with sposies here either! They come in all different kinds and styles as well as covers! 
      • snappi's- Invented by a dad who didn't want to use pins anymore. Snappi's are way faster, and personally easier to find in diaper bag. lol 
      • pins- Good quality is a must for ease of use. Store with the points down in a bar of soap to keep sharp. :) 
      • Diaper Sprayer-  Worth the money! Way easier way to rinse your diapers that are poopy before washing. Not necessary while baby is exclusively breastfed but once solids are introduced a great alternative to dunking in the toilet. 

      Where to buy:
      Alva baby: A Chinese diaper retailer. But the cheapest option for pocket diapers. They sell both one size and newborn diapers. As well as wet-bags, changing pads, wipes, liners, and bamboo diapers. They have free shipping(just have to pick it instead of the paid shipping) on all orders and free expedited shipping with orders over 100.00 They do come from china though so shipping can take up to a month. Make sure to add insurance. It's worth the extra dollar.

      Green Mountain Diapers: A US based company with great ethics. (I've stalked them on facebook) Great products and prices. Everyone I know who has them LOVES thier GMD prefolds and workhorse diapers.

      Flip diapers: These where not my favorite diapers but I know many moms who love them. They are a hybrid system with many insert options.

      RE-Diaper: Gently used Cloth

      Sustainable Babyish| Slmoob: EXCELLANT quality fitted diapers and wool. But very pricey. Drool worthy though.

      Nikki's Diapers: Sells many different kinds of diapers.

      JustSimplyBaby: They ship anywhere within 48 hours

      Jillians Drawers: Has a cloth diaper trial offer! Really neat option to try lots of different kinds of cloth.

      Sum up:
      My recommendation is to pick a few types of diapers and try them out. If you don't like a type sell it after washing, and sunning(to get the best resale value) and buy more of what you do like. If you aren't afraid of used, try ebay, or spots corner on hyena Cart. Or even There are also many groups on facebook, and various baby forums for trading and selling.

      Don't be afraid to start, and don't be afraid to play with your washer routine. For more info check out my other cloth diaper posts by clicking the "diapers" label below this post! 


      1. A-MAZ-ING!

        I got so much out of this :) You really helped me out. Was uncertain at first, but now I am completely confident in my choice to go from 'sposies' to cloth!

        Thank you, Ma'am :),

      2. Replies
        1. Glad to help and you are welcome!

      3. If I used cloth diapers which I might when we decide to have another I will print this and keep it some where safe. Such great info