Cloth Diapering 101: The Options

Are you thinking about cloth diapering?  Our cloth diapering 101 series by WN Momma Krista can help!  In this second article of the series Krista shares here experilence with the cloth diapering options available.  If you are considering making a cloth diapering purchase ... This is a must read!

There are a lot of different options available, and different ones work better for different people; they are all popular for various reasons. They still make the standard prefolds, which many of us use as burp cloths. Instead of pins, they now have plastic things called “Snappis” which hold the diaper in place without the use of pins. Although you can still buy those pull up rubber pants, they also now make other waterproof covers that can go on more like traditional disposable diapers with velcro or snaps instead of pulling them up like underwear. These are the most cost effective, depending on what covers you get. The covers can be bought in various sizes or one-size (OS). The one size have a series of snaps that go up the front so that you can adjust the size as the child grows. The OS are great, except that none of them really fit newborns (even though many of them claim to). The OS don’t really fit well until about 10-12 pounds. The pros for these are that they are inexpensive and when there is just urine you can just change out the prefold insert and reuse the cover, so there is less to buy. The con for me was that I don’t like the fit as well and as my son gets bigger and more active they don’t stay in place as well and the prefolds are not as absorbent as the other diaper options. This is a popular option for newborns before they fit the other styles.

Picture of Prefold and one-size diaper cover with velcro.
There are also what are called All-in-Ones or AIOs. They function just like disposable diapers. They are shaped the same and can be bought in different sizes just like disposables. There are many options for brands, and for this style, I prefer to buy them off of from WAHMs. They are super absorbent, have a water-proof layer (polyurethane laminated fabric or PUL) sewn inside and come in so many options for prints. I have even had some custom made with NY Jets logo to get my husband excited about cloth diapers. I really like this style. The pros are that they are super easy, virtually the same as disposable diapers and so many adorable print options. The cons are that you have to buy new diapers as your child grows and they take a long time to dry. These diapers take over 24 hours to dry on my clothesline.

All in One diapers made by WAHMs, made to fit 10-20 lbs (I found they were too small around 17 lbs), but love the prints.

My favorite diaper style is the one size (OS) pocket diapers. These diapers have 2 parts, a PUL (waterproof) outer layer with the inside lined with fleece or some other soft material. Between the PUL outside and the soft inside there is a pocket where you put an insert made or terrycloth, hemp, bamboo or other absorbent materials. This diaper is shaped just like a traditional disposable diaper with closures made of velcro or snaps (I prefer velcro for young babies and snaps as they get older because snaps are harder for them to undo). You can choose different types of inserts based on absorbency and even double up for overnights or long car rides to reduce the risk of leaking. Pocket diapers also come in a myriad of colors and prints and are made by many companies and some WAHMs. Pocket diapers also come in fitted sizes, but I do not like having to buy more diapers as my child grows. The fitteds do however, fit better than the OS especially if you buy them for newborns. Because the inserts separate from the outer shell, you can put the inserts in the dryer to dry and just hang the shells, which only take about 1-2 hours to dry (even inside the house). As these are my favorites, I have yet to find any strong cons on this style.

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