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Pockets vs. All-in-Ones
May 21, 2012 11:46 am | by
Prepping Cloth Diapers

So you’re shopping for cloth diapers and wondering how to choose between pockets or all-in-ones? Let’s discuss.


One of the great things about pocket diapers is that you can adjust the absorbency based on what you need. Baby wearing the diaper overnight? More inserts! Just wearing the diaper for an hour before bed? Not so many inserts. This is also good for those of us that have heavy-wetters. Some kids just need a diaper that is more absorbent and when you’re using pocket diapers you have control over that.

Of course this means that you’re going to have put the inserts back into the diaper after each wash. It doesn’t take much time but for some busy parents, this is one step too many. Some people stuff their diapers as soon as they come out of the dryer (or off the line) so that they’re all ready to go once they’re back in the drawer/basket/storage-place-of-choice. Personally, I just add inserts as I am grabbing the diaper for the next change. I’m a procrastinator though.


These diapers come the closest to disposables in terms of ease of use. Put diaper on baby, take diaper off baby, wash diaper. Repeat. No extra steps, no extra pieces, just one diaper all in one piece. Let’s bold and underline that on the “Pro” part of our pro/con list. Because they require no extra pieces or steps, all-in-ones are great diapers for babysitters and daycare providers to use. Since there isn’t anything to “figure out” you can pretty confidently have anyone else change the baby without a lesson first. Woohoo! Fewer diaper changes for you!

There are some drawbacks to all-in-ones though. They can sometimes take longer to fully dry after the wash because of the built-in soaker. This isn’t always true though- the bumGenius Freetime features soakers that are semi-attached, which reduces drying time. Some people may also find that their heavy wetter needs the addition of a doubler, especially for overnight. This isn’t a problem but does add a step and an extra piece, reducing the simplicity aspect of the all-in-one.

Personally, I use more pockets than all-in-ones. But I do think that it’s a worthy investment to have at least one or two AIO diapers on hand. It makes it easier for babysitters and helpful family and friends when others are changing diapers for you. It’s also great in those early days with baby to have an AIO around for when you just can’t think or want an easy option for the first out-of-the-house diaper change. The bumGenius newborn is the only newborn AIO I’ve tried and I’m a big fan. It’s part of the group of diapers I lend out to friends with new babies.

When looking at pockets and all-in-ones, know that it comes down to a personal choice- neither diaper is better than the other. And you can always try a combination of both types to fill out your diaper stash and get the best of both worlds!

Do you have a preference for one style over the other?

About the Author

Claire is an Army wife that may not have been cut out for homemaking. Follow her adventures as she, her husband (Sergeant Handsome), their three sons and two dogs try to keep it together over on her personal blog, The Half-Hearted Housewife, where love means never having to do the dishes.



  • Thinking About Cloth Diapers said...
    May 22, 2012 at 9:04 am

    When I started cloth diapering a few years ago, I bought only pockets to start. I wish I had discovered all-in-ones and all-in-twos sooner! When I returned to work, those extra minutes stuffing pocket diapers every few days really did seem to add up! I had always thought that the AIOs took a long time to dry, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a lot of the newer all-in-ones are designed to speed up drying times. While I love the flexibility to customize absorbency in pockets, when I had to buy a few extra diapers, I decided to try all-in-ones. They quickly became my favorites because I didn’t have to stuff them! One that I discovered that I love is the Mother Ease Wizard Uno. It also has the added convenience of a pocket to allow you to add extra absorbency if you do need it. And it dries just as quickly as my pockets and inserts do. Thanks for a great article!


  • care baby said...
    May 22, 2012 at 1:12 am

    Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful info specially the last part I care for such information a lot. I was seeking this particular info for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  • Anonymous said...
    May 21, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    I skipped both and went for hybrids. My daycare center who had never had a little one in cloth are all converts! My mom who cloth diapered me in the era of plastic pants loves our diapers too.

  • Amanda said...
    May 21, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    I do the same as Elaine. If the pocket diapers are pre-stuffed, then it isn’t an issue with other caregivers to change the diaper. Of course, I’m the type that stuffs the diapers before putting them away. 😉

  • Elaine said...
    May 21, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    I find pre-stuffed pockets work as well as AIOs for family/friends… and I just have them put the dirties in the diaper bag’s wet bag. Then I just strip out the insert and hose down the cover (as necessary) when I get a chance.