What are the different types of cloth diapers?
When you’re new to cloth diapering, a lot of the terminology can be intimidating!
This is especially true when it comes to all of the different styles and brands there are to choose from.
Where to begin?
Below is my introduction to a few of the basic types of cloth diapers.
While this is only a brief explanation (with pros and cons), I will go more in-depth on each type in future blog posts. Stay tuned!
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Flats are the most old-school way to diaper.
Out of all of the types of cloth diapers, they are also typically one of the most affordable. Flats can be folded many different ways, so they are great for versatility. However, folding them takes practice, so they can be very intimidating for beginners.
- Easy to wash
- Fast drying
- Take practice to fold
- May be bulky on smaller babies
Read more about flat diapers in my beginner’s guide to flat diapers!
Prefolds are basically a flat diaper that has been cut and sewn into place to make a rectangle that has several layers and is thickest in the middle.
Prefolds are one of my favorite types of cloth diaper, and the one we primarily use in our home. They also can be folded a variety of ways, and are fairly versatile.
- Easy to wash
- Easy to dry
- The folds take practice
- You have to fold them (which takes time)
FITTED OR CONTOUR DIAPERS
- Easy for beginners to put onto baby
- May have snaps or hook-and-loop (convenience)
- They need a cover to be waterproof
- May be expensive
I will be writing my own detailed post about fitted diapers soon. Until then, check out Diaper Jungle’s post here for more information.
DOUBLERS OR BOOSTERS
Doublers and boosters are very handy in a cloth diaper stash.
As a child grows, their urine output increases (makes sense, right?). One problem many parents run into during their cloth diaper journey is their child suddenly having leaks because they’ve “outgrown” the absorbency of their diapers.
This is where doublers and boosters come in. They increase the amount of absorbent fabric in the diaper, thus increasing the amount of liquid the diaper can hold before leaking.
- Extend the use of your diapers
- Great for overnight
- Increased bulk
- Extra expense
Pocket Diapers are similar to covers, but they typically have a layer of microfleece sewn in to make a “pocket”.
This pocket is where you can “stuff” your absorbent materials, such as a pad folded prefold or flat (more on this later) or inserts/doublers.
- Built-in moisture-wicking layer
- Very convenient once stuffed
- Can only be used once per wash cycle
- Take time to stuff after drying
- Have to unstuff before washing
Do you think pocket diapers might be the right cloth diaper style for you? Check out my complete guide to pocket diapers here.
All-in-two diapers are a diaper system that has a cover with snap-in inserts.
These are similar to pockets, in that they have to be prepped after washing. Instead of stuffing a pocket, you are snapping inserts.
- Very convenient once assembled
- You have to prep them after washing
- Can be expensive
All-in-one diapers are just as they sound. All in one. Everything you need for the diaper is sewn together.
These are the closest thing to disposable diapers in terms of ease-of-use.
- Easy to use
- Easy for newbies or babysitters
- May take a while to dry
- May be expensive
For those who use flats, prefolds, contours, inserts, etc., covers are the part of the diaper that makes it water-resistant.
You need a diaper cover if you don’t want your baby to have wet clothes every time he or she pees.
- They dry very quickly
- Make your diaper water resistant
- Can usually be used multiple times per wash cycle
- Usually very affordable
- Take some prep before use
- They’re less convenient than other systems
Check out my YouTube video about the different styles of cloth diapers!
And there you have it! Those are some of the most popular types of cloth diapers (although there are a few others)!
Which of these works best (or do you think would be a good fit) for your family?
You may also be interested in: Why We Decided to Start Using Cloth Diapers