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Cloth Diaper Basics: Types of Cloth Diapers
July 27, 2014 5:29 pm | by

So you want to use cloth diapers, but where do you start? There are A TON of types of cloth diapers available, but sometimes, finding the right system for you can be overwhelming. Here’s a look at some of the options available today.Bumgenius-Freetime-AIO2

Pocket cloth diapers

A pocket diaper is a type of cloth diaper made of two layers of fabric sewn together to form a pocket that will hold an absorbent insert. bumGenius 5.0 are pocket style cloth diapers. This type of cloth diaper can be as convenient and simple to use as disposables. Pocket cloth diapers do require an extra step after laundering because the insert must be stuffed into the pocket so the diaper will become absorbent.

All-In-One (AIO) cloth diapers

AIO style diapers have a waterproof cover with built-in inserts. This means the inserts are sewn into the diaper. bumGenius Freetime and bumGenius Elemental are all-in-one style diapers. Many people consider all-in-ones to be the most convenient style of cloth diaper because there is no need to stuff inserts for absorbency. All-in-one cloth diapers are very easy to use, especially for those who may be resistant or new to cloth.

Hybrid diapers

Hybrid diapers are generally a two-piece system comprised of a waterproof outer cover and an absorbent insert. The Flip Diapering System is a hybrid. It consists of a waterproof, one size fits most, cover and your choice of stay dry, organic cotton or disposable inserts. One benefit of hybrids is that covers can sometimes be used more than once. When the insert is wet only, simply remove it, wipe the cover and replace with a dry one. Another benefit to hybrids is the ability to change the type of insert without having to purchase an entirely new diaper.

Covers and prefolds

Covers and prefolds are an economical way to cloth diaper. Covers are typically a single layer of waterproof fabric. Prefolds are the classic, original cloth diaper. A prefold has several layers of fabric with stitching generally dividing the diaper into thirds. With modern covers, there is no need for pins to keep your prefolds in place. To secure a prefold without a cover, you can use traditional pins or a Snappi. Prefolds are usually cotton, with bleached and unbleached options available. Econobum is an economical cover and prefold system, where you can cloth diaper your baby from birth to potty training for as little as $100.EcoPrefold400x4001

Flat diapers 

Flat diapers are usually a natural fiber, such as cotton or hemp. Flats differ from prefolds in that they are usually a single layer of fabric, without the stitching that prefolds have. Like prefolds, there are a variety of ways to fold your flats and secure them with pins or Snappis. Flats are not waterproof, so you’ll need covers to protect clothing. Because flats are a single layer of fabric, they dry much faster than prefolds. This makes them ideal for when you need to hand wash and hang dry your cloth diapers.

Fitted diapers

Fitted diapers are usually made with natural fibers, like hemp or cotton, and are a shaped diaper. These are not rectangles like prefolds or flats, and do not require pins or Snappis. They do require a cover to be waterproof. While not as convenient as an AIO, there are often more natural fabric options in fitted diapers and they can provide a better fit than a prefold or flat.trainer51


Cloth Trainers are specifically designed to fit older children who are interested in potty training. The Flip Potty Training pack comes with one cover and multiple cotton inserts you can change when wet and just wipe and re-use the cover, much like the hybrid Flip diaper system. Trainers are often less absorbent than other styles of cloth diapers, as they are designed to be used in conjunction with toilet training.

One-Size diapers

One-size diapers are a shorter way of saying “one size fits most.”  These cloth diapers or covers are designed to fit most babies from newborn stage 8-35 lbs. The way these diapers grow with the baby is by having rows of snaps in the center of the diaper that create an adjustable rise. These snaps do not have to be changed at each diaper change, only adjusted as babies grow. All bumGenius, Flip and Econobum products are one-sized products that will grow with your baby.

When it comes to cloth diapering, there’s one thing to remember — as long as you have something with a waterproof outer layer and an absorbent inner layer that fits your baby, you are going to be fine.

About the Author

Brittney is a social media coordinator for Cotton Babies. She has three sisters, loves pizza and enjoys listening to obscure bands no one has heard of. Outside of posting on the Cotton Babies Facebook and Instagram pages, she babysits a few cloth diaper-wearing kids and likes playing with her dogs.


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