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Styles of Cloth Diapers
To help you get an idea of what you should be looking for and what decisions you will need to make, we’ll first go over some of the most important factors to consider when choosing among the various types of cloth diapers for your family!
Pull up Styles work best with fitted diapers. If you want to use them with prefolds, you will need to use a snappi or pins to fasten the prefold. Pull up Covers can be used with some contour diapers that have long wings that can be used to fasten the diaper in place. Basically, they are a waterproof layer that provides no support to the diaper, so the diaper needs to hold itself up or be held up by a fastener. They are your most economical cover. Pull up Covers can be used several times before they need to be washed, as long as they are clean.
Velcro Styles, in general, provide support for the diaper so you can just lay a prefold diaper in the cover and fasten the velcro. One of our velcro covers is a pocket diaper (bumGenius), so the absorbent material goes in the pocket. Some covers (like the Kushies Wrap) will work better with either a fastened prefold or a fitted diaper. They are very adjustable and offer a customized fit for your baby. If you are starting in cloth diapering and are looking for a velcro fitting cover, I would try the Bummis Super Whisper Wrap (velcro). It is our most versatile cover and fits most kids well and works with prefolds, most fitted diapers, and contour diapers. Velcro covers can be used several times before they need to be washed, as long as they are clean.
Snap Styles provide almost the same adjustability as the velcro covers without having to deal with velcro in the wash.
Types of Cloth Diapers
Swim Diapers are great for pool use. The Swim Diaper is not only reusable, it meets all the new health regulations for use in private and public pools.
The second most liked feature about the diapers is the fact that they can be used with a regular diaper as well. Sometimes parents will equip their babies with regular diapers and then put a reusable swim diaper on over that just to make sure nothing gets out. This can be a bulky and cumbersome procedure for standard diapers but swim diapers make this easy and hassle free.
Finally the next feature that many parents especially appreciate is the life span of the diaper. Aside from being directly damaged from sharp objects swim diapers will function properly for a year or more depending on how heavily they’re used. Considering that babies grow very quickly they rarely see their true lifespan. However it’s estimated that the average good quality swim diaper will last about 1 to 5 years under normal usage.
Having a reusable swim diaper on hand can make your day at the beach with your baby much more enjoyable. You won’t have to worry about any messes leaking out into the water and cleanup is much easier than with a normal diaper. Add to the fact that they are washable with repeated use and most parents are very happy.
- It’s cost effective because it can be used over & over
- You only need one diaper for the whole day! Simply wash it out when it gets dirty.
- When you are traveling a reusable swim diaper will take up far less room.
- You have to wash them. Your going to need a spare on hand for when you have to clean your cover.
- They don’t hold in liquid. But, the main purpose of a swim diaper is to retain the solids.
Doctors and health professionals agree that there is no reason that even newborns as young as one month old can’t go in the pool and say that introducing children to water early on can be conducive to teaching them to swim. Taking a baby into the pool means providing the baby with the appropriate swimwear.
Pocket Diapers are a two-piece system. The waterproof outer is attached to a suede-cloth or fleece inner. They come with a micro terry insert for absorbency.
Pocket Diapers are similar to All in One diaper in that you have to change the entire diaper every time that you change your baby. The advantage that pocket diapers have over the All in Ones is that the absorbent material (insert) is not attached to the waterproof outer. That allows you to wash the inserts and covers separately if you choose to. It also allows you to easily add more absorbent inserts for nighttime.
Pocket Diapers also give you a built-in stay dry liner to keep wetness away from your baby.
- Easy to use
- Quick to dry
- Stain resistant
- Keeps baby feeling dry
- Customized absorbency
- Available in fun colors and prints
- More expensive
- Not as convenient as an All-in-One
- Not made with all natural materials
- Have to pull the insert out before washing
Pocket diapers are a little more expensive, but they are very popular and well worth the money if you can afford it.
Prefold Cloth Diapers
Prefolds are rectangles of cotton or cotton/hemp that have been folded and sewn together. A prefold has extra layers in the center of the diaper along with two lines of stitching which divided the diaper into thirds.
The name isn’t quite accurate – prefolds still need to be folded in order to be used.
When new cotton prefolds will be thin and soft and feel a little stiff. They need to be washed before being used.
Bleached cotton prefolds need to be washed and dried 3-4 times in order to reach absorbency.
Unbleached cotton prefolds and hemp prefolds need to be washed 7-8 times in very hot water to reach absorbency (they haven’t gone through the bleaching process which means it is necessary to wash them often enough to strip off the natural oils from the cotton.)
Hemp prefolds do not start out flat and stiff.
All prefolds shrink several inches after being washed, and they quilt up and get soft and fluffy. Hemp prefolds will shrink more than cotton prefolds.
- Extremely cost effective
- Fast drying.
- Assembly required
- You have to put a separate cover
Depending on the fold and cover, prefolds can be very trim or very bulky. Depending on the diaper cover that you choose, you may or may not need a snappi. Prefolds require a cover.
Contour Cloth Diapers
Contour Diapers are shaped to fit into a diaper cover without being folded. Contour diapers are not built with closures but may have elastic at the leg. For a snug fit, they will need to be pinned, or snappi’d. Usually, they are less absorbent than prefolds. Kissaluvs contours have extra-long wings in the back to make for easy pinning.
- Extremely cost effective
- Fast drying.
- You have to put a separate cover
Contours require a cover..
Fitted Cloth Diapers
Fitted Diapers are shaped like disposable diapers. They close around baby’s waist with velcro. Pins and snappis are not necessary. Fitted diapers are more expensive than contours and significantly more expensive than prefolds, but lots of people love them. With a cover, they are the best at keeping in the more explosive poops.
- Easy to use
- Cute on baby
- Natural fabrics
- Keeps messes contained
- Fits baby really well
- More expensive than flats or prefolds
- requires a diaper cover
- Takes longer to dry
Fitted diapers require a cover.
All In One (AIO) Cloth Diapers
All In Ones (AIO) are used exactly like disposables. They do not need a cover – the cover is built in. They are usually more expensive than other diapering options. You have to dry them on low since the cover is built-in, which means they take longer to dry, and they don’t last as long because the cover is essentially being washed every time you wash the diaper.
- Super easy to use
- Available in cute fabrics, colors and prints
- Favorite of childcare providers
- Most similar to disposable diapers
- Difficult to clean
- Long drying times
- Usually made with synthetic materials
They are very convenient to use, and most people like to have a couple around when their children are being watched by someone who is not familiar with cloth diapers. The Prorap AIO is the best at keeping in poop.
One Size diapers
One Size diapers usually span infant to early toddler years. In the beginning, you snap down the rise so that they fit the baby. They can look really big on a newborn. One Size diapers are recommended if you don’t want to keep buying diapers as the baby grows. Also recommended if you’re starting as an infant and not later.
- One size cloth diapers are convenient.
- One size cloth diapers are great if you have an infant and a toddler because you can use the same diaper on both children!
- Saves a lot of money!
- With multiple children they will get worn out quickly from repeated washings.
- May not fit tiny newborns “just right” or those in the awkward stages while growing.
The bumGenius comes with a cover/diaper combo.
Cloth Diaper Liners
Cloth diaper liners are just what the name suggests. They are liners for cloth diapers.
One of the liner benefits is that they are supposed to keep the baby’s skin dryer, too, by not allowing the baby’s bottom to be in contact with the wet. The wet is wicked away from the surface allowing the baby’s behind to be drier. (note: there a number of different brands of cloth diaper liners on the market today – just like with anything else. This means there will be all kinds of liners -some will be “stay dry” and others may not. Please use this information to make you more aware of your options and what to look for before purchasing one.)
The other major benefit of cloth diaper liners is that they make cleaning up the poop much easier. In the old days, when diaper liners did not exist, you would have to dump the diaper in the toilet, maybe let it soak awhile, then run a load of wash (if bad enough) and lastly learn to put up with all the diaper stains since oft times the stains would not completely come out.
With these diaper liners, you simply remove the dirty liner and put it in the trash, or, since many are biodegradable, flush them down your toilet. By doing this, there is little poop remaining on your cloth diapers – unless your baby’s BM was a little “looser” than normal.
A newer type of cloth diaper liner is made from a fleece, which is thicker than the liners described above. These fleece liners allow the moisture to be wicked away which keeps the baby skin drier. It is also claimed that a stream of “pee” could shoot through the fleece in one spot and not wick backwards. These are also washable and reusable.
Disposable Liners are made to help keep poop from sticking to the diaper. Disposable Liners also act as a stay-dry barrier. They are meant to be disposed of after each use, but if they are only peed upon they can be washed a few times before they start to fall apart. Don’t put them in the dryer.
Extra Absorbency liners are sometimes called doublers. They are basically absorbent material that is either rectangular or hourglass-shaped. Some have a stay dry layer of fleece or mesh and are meant to allow for extra time between changes such as at nighttime.
Stay Dry liners are either washable or disposable. Most of the washable types have absorbent material sewn to them and are made out of fleece or mesh. We do carry a washable stay dry liner with no absorbent material.