Cloth Diapering Made Easy – Types of cloth diapers explained

I decided to do a “Cloth Diapering Made Easy” series 😊. I remember when I was pregnant with LB and researching cloth diapers, I was overwhelmed. I felt like the pricing was crazy high, and they’d be hard to use – Did we have hard water? What’s a prefold? Wash routines? Etc. There was so much conflicting info and I was a first time mom who had to go back out to work in 12 weeks, so I decided to go with disposables.

This time with Viv I decided to just go for it. What’s the worst that could happen? And we are 2 months in! It’s been great. I’ve simplified my routine and my stash is much different now that I’ve found out what I like. I currently only own Mama Koala pockets ( shown in the pic above – use code VIVMKTHX to save 10%), Grovia AIOs (all in ones), Grovia hybrids, Thirsties pocket diapers and 3 sigazor AIOs that I’ll probably get rid of (they’re hubbys fave, not mine lol).

Anywho, enough blabbing. Today I want to go over the first thing that confused me while researching diapers years ago – all the types! Let me make this as easy as possible.

Left to right – Grovia Hybrid Cover, Snap in insert, prefold

1. Flats, prefolds and covers. Flats are old fashion cloth diapers. I don’t have any in my stash. There’s several methods to fold these on YouTube and blogs. Prefolds are like simplified flats. They have a thicker center strip so less folding is needed.

Both of these options require a diaper cover – an absorbent outer shell to keep clothes from getting wet. You can either fold these on like a diaper and fasten with snapeez (or keep it old school with pins) or lay them like a pad in a diaper cover. I use my prefolds inside of a Grovia hybrid. Covers are typically one size, prefolds come in different sizes based on weight. And you can also use biodegradable disposable inserts for diaper covers if you prefer.

Prefolds and flats are the most absorbent types of cloth diapers – especially when folded around the baby vs just laid in a cover. They’re also the cheapest options. You also don’t have to wash covers after each change – they can be wiped out and used again unless they are soiled. Oh, and prefolds and flats can be dried in the dryer with no worries and covers hang dry in like 20 mins. The con however is that they’re more complicated to use.

Left – mama koala. Right – Thirsties

2. Pocket diapers. These are the most common type of modern cloth diapers and usually what mommas use for caregivers who aren’t familiar with cloth diapering. When assembled, they look basically just like a disposable. A pocket diaper does not need any additional covers. There’s an absorbent insert that slides into the “pocket” which is made up of a diaper cover type material and a stay dry interior.

You can “stuff” a pocket diaper with anything absorbent – so there’s several brands of inserts and materials and some mommas stuff with prefolds, too. you can also lay an insert directly into a cover instead of using a pocket (as long as the insert IS NOT made of microfiber – microfiber cannot go directly against a babies skins without causing a rash).

There are many pros to this type – including price, availability (tons of brands and materials), simplicity and cute factor (tons of prints patterns and colors). The con is a lot of people don’t like stuffing after doing laundry. It can be time consuming. Also, since the pocket itself is absorbent you’ll have to wash after each use(unlike a cover)

Left to right – Sigzagor, Thirsties and Grovia

3. All in one diapers. All in one diapers have everything all in one piece. Unlike pockets, that need inserts stuffed inside after washing, all in ones have sewn in inserts. You can usually always find preloved all in ones in great condition for sale on cloth diaper BST pages because most mommas assume they’ll like them the most, buy a bunch, then sell some to buy other types once baby gets here 😂. They do make laundry simpler – but they also make drying take more time. Ideally, all waterproof covers/pockets/ all in ones should be air dried or dried in the dryer on low. With pockets and covers – you can throw the absorbent interiors in the drier on a higher temperature to speed drying. With all in ones you can’t do that so drying takes FOREVER.

To speed up drying most more expensive all in ones only sew inserts in on 1 end, so they flip out for quicker air drying. Also, you can’t modify the absorbency like with pockets or covers to replace with more absorbent material. Though the left Sigazor AIO does have a pocket behind the sewn in insert, it would make it super bulky to add an insert.

A note on closures – snap closures are the most common for pocket diapers because they last longer. However “hook and loop” or Velcro is available in a lot of brands. The pro is ease of use, but the Velcro will eventually wear out and need replaced. I also don’t find them as pretty (except the Grovia hook and loop on the hybrid)

And that’s it! Simple enough, right? Ok still a bit confusing but the good news is you can always buy 1 of a few different types or brands to see what you like best before buying a whole bunch 😊. Drop any questions in the comments, and click here for more cloth diapering info.

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