Megan Holdham

complete beginnger's guide to pocket diapers #pocketclothdiapers #howtoclothdiaper #pocketdiapers

The Beginner’s Guide to Pocket Diapers

Hello there! Welcome to my pocket diaper guide! No, this isn’t a diaper guide that is convenient enough to fit in your pocket (although, I suppose if you’re reading this on your phone, it is.). This guide is all about the who, what, and how of pocket style cloth diapers.

Note: This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. What does this mean?

What are Pocket Diapers?

Different Types of Pocket Diapers

One Size vs. Sized

Like the other diaper styles, pocket diapers may come in “One Size,” generally fitting between 8ish to 35ish pounds. Most pockets diapers are one size.

Alternatively, pocket diapers may be “sized”. This sizing type in beneficial because the sizing isn’t as broad as one-size, and the diaper will have a better fit. A company may have a “newborn sized” pocket diaper, or they may have a “size 1” and “size 2” pocket diaper system.


Typically, pocket diapers are a cover (likely make with PUL or TPU lining, to make it waterproof), with a pocket sewn onto it. This pocket often is made of a stay-dry material such as microfleece or suede. The stay dry material is great because it helps to keep baby’s skin dry when the diaper is wet, which can really help in preventing rashes. You can also purchase pockets that have a natural fibered fabric on the inside (touching baby’s skin). These are very helpful to add some extra absorbency to the diaper, as well as prevent irritation to babies who may be sensitive to the stay dry material.


Snap closures are known to last longer, so they’re ideal if you are planning on using your diapers with multiple children, or if you want to resell them once you’re finished diapering.

Hook and Loop

Hook and loop, or velcro, may wear out overtime and not stay “nice” for as long as snaps. However, hook and loop provides a more customized fit, and is about as easy to use as a disposable diaper because it functions so similarly. Because of this, hook and loop may be a good option for other caretakers such as babysitters and daycare.

Regular Pocket

A regular pocket style diaper has just one opening (think of a pocket in your jeans – hopefully it only has one opening!). This is the most common style of pocket diaper. The opening may be in the front of the diaper, or in the back.

Sleeve Pocket

A sleeve style pocket diaper has two openings to the pocket, one on each side. These are convenient because you have a better chance of the absorbency “agitating out” in the wash, so you may not NEED to un-stuff your diapers before loading them into your machine. I have found, however, that this doesn’t always happen 100%, so I like to un-stuff my sleeve pockets just in case.

Cost of a Pocket Diaper

Pocket diapers tend to have a wide range of cost depending on brand. Below are some price points. Keep in mind that when you buy a pocket diaper, it usually comes with some form of absorbency (usually a microfiber insert). I encourage you to do your own research and shop around to find ones that are going to be a perfect fit for your family.

Here are some examples:

ALVABABY Baby Cloth Diapers One Size: $29.99 for 6 ($5.00 each)
Suede inner fabric, microfiber inserts
Comes with two microfiber inserts for each diaper

Nora’s Nursery Cloth Pocket Diapers: $59.95 for 7, plus wet bag ($8.56 each, if you count wet bag as a bonus)
Suede inner fabric, bamboo/polyester blend inserts
Comes with one bamboo/polyester blend insert for each diaper

The Bee’s Knees Cloth Pocket Diapers: $35.97 for 4 ($8.99 each)
Suede inner fabric, bamboo/polyester blend inserts
Comes with one bamboo/polyester blend insert for each diaper

Thirsties One Size Pocket Cloth Diaper: $24.50 for one
Sleeve-style pocket with cotton inner fabric, cotton and cotton/hemp insert
Comes with one 100% cotton newborn insert and one 55% hemp, 45% cotton full sized insert

bumGenius Original One-Size Pocket-Style Cloth Diaper 5.0: $25.95 for one
Suede inner fabric, microfiber inserts
Comes with one-size insert and newborn insert

Benefits of Choosing Pocket Diapers


Pocket diapers are very convenient. Once they are all stuffed and assembled, they go on about as easily as a disposable. This makes them simpler, especially for other people (who may be intimidated by or just not used to cloth diapers), to use.


One great thing about pocket diapers is you can put whatever you want inside the pocket. This means you can really customize the absorbency for your specific needs and preferences. This is especially useful when building night time diapers.

Dry Time

Because you can take the absorbency out, pocket diapers dry faster than all-in-one diapers, which are sewn together. More layers = longer dry time.

Cons to Using Pocket Diapers

Stuff, Un-stuff, Repeat

The biggest con to using pocket diapers is that you have to stuff and un-stuff them. This means, before you load your diapers into your washing machine, you need to take out all of the absorbency. Therefore, the dreaded TOUCHING PEE AND POOP!! Everyone’s worst nightmare when they think about cloth diapering. The truth is, as a parent, you are going to be dealing with pee, poop, vomit, snot, you name it regardless of if you are using cloth or disposables. Still, this is an extra step and does take extra time. You also have to re-stuff the diapers after they get out of the dryer so that they’re ready for baby’s cute little toosh.

The Stink Scenario

Okay, let’s talk poop. Young babies don’t have super stinky poop, right? It’s fairly easy to get their poopy diapers clean. HOWEVER. I don’t know if this is just my kid (maybe I have an extra stinky family? I don’t know?), but THOSE. TODDLER. POOPS. Man. That boy could clear a room. I found this stinky-ness extra difficult to get out of my pocket diapers. Maybe it was the nature of the material of my specific diapers. I’m not sure.

Single Use Item

Lastly for cons, because pocket diapers have a layer of absorbency (the outside of the pocket) sewn onto the diaper, they can only be used once per wash cycle. Once baby has wet that diaper, it needs to go into the pail. This is less convenient (and cost effective) than a plain diaper cover because covers can usually be used multiple times per wash cycle.

Tips for Success with Pocket Diapers

How do you use a Pocket Diaper?

When you’re looking at pocket diapers, try to pay attention to the size of the opening to the pocket. This is where you will be stuffing all of your absorbent materials every time you wash the diapers. Trust me, it is hugely to your benefit to choose diapers with a wider opening. They’re just so much easier (and faster) to stuff. A diaper with a small opening/small pocket may become frustrating over time. If you’re using newborn pocket diapers, this problem may be unavoidable, as the diapers are so small already.

What goes in a Pocket Diaper?

One of the great things about a pocket diaper is, you can put pretty much whatever kind of absorbency inside that you want. This means they’re very customizable. While pockets generally come with a microfiber insert when you buy them, there are many, many alternatives. Here are some ideas:

  • Flat Diaper (Pad Folded)
  • Prefold Diaper (Pad Folded)
  • Hemp Insert
  • Bamboo Insert
  • Cotton Insert
  • Old T-Shirt
  • Old Towel

And that’s not it. So many things can be used as diaper absorbency if you’re creative. Let me know in the comments if you’ve used anything as absorbency that I haven’t listed above. I’m curious!

Washing Pocket Diapers

Before you put your pocket diaper into the wash, you will need to “un-stuff,” or remove the absorbency. If you don’t do this step, you will likely end up with the absorbency bunching up inside the pocket, and thus not getting properly cleaned. The exception to this is if you use sleeve style pocket diapers. In this case, your inserts have a really good change of “agitating out” in the wash. Personally, I like to play it safe and un-stuff my pockets whether or not they’re the sleeve style.

As I mentioned above, one of the biggest disadvantages to using pocket diapers is that you have to stuff them after washing. While this may be more or less difficult depending on the size of your diaper/the size of the pocket, it is defiantly a little bit time consuming. This extra step may be a deal breaker for some parents who don’t want to take the extra time to stuff all of their diapers after each wash.

The Last Thing you Need to Know about Pocket Diapers

It can be overwhelming when trying to decide on the right style of diapers for your family. The best thing you can do is try some different styles before building a giant stash. Read my blog post about the other styles of cloth diaper here.

Try not to be intimidated. Like other aspects of parenting, cloth diapering takes a little bit of practice to get used to. You can do it!

complete beginnger's guide to pocket diapers #pocketdiapers #clothdiapersforbeginners

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