I will preface this post with the fact that there are many different types of cloth diapers. I prefer One-Size diapers: diapers that can snap and unsnap to adjust the sizing to fit babies 8 lbs to 35. These are all good examples of OS (one-size) diapers that are part of the Bumgenius family from Cotton Babies.
From left to right is an All-in-One, Pocket, Organic All-in-One, and a Diaper Cover. From the outside, though, they look pretty similar.
Before we dive into what, exactly, makes them all different, let’s stick to talking about the outside. For a closure, I obviously favor snaps but there is aplix (velcro) closures available.
I prefer snaps because they rarely have to be replaced, whereas it’s a pretty much a guarantee you will have to replace the velcro on aplix closures. Snaps are also pretty much impossible for babies to tear off of their bum with the sturdy closure. There is value in aplix though, aplix is commonly packed for daycare providers, sitters, or anyone who will be helping change your baby’s diaper and may not be familiar with cloth since the closure is most like disposable diapers.
All OS diapers have snaps down the front to help size the diapers based off of weight and length of your baby. These snaps are referred to as “rise snaps”.
The newborn diaper has a single snap down for the umbilical cord, it fits babies from 4lbs to 12. Which is a great overlap as OS starts at 8- but really didn’t fit Violet until a little over 10lbs. Keep the diaper on the highest rise snap from 8lbs-16, then right around 16lbs is when you can switch to the mid-rise snap. That one lasts until about 22lbs. Finally, have the diaper rise fully unsnapped from 23-35lbs. So the same OS diaper can be worn by your baby from newborn to potty training- then reused for any subsequent babies!
The first diaper is an All-in-One. Just as the name suggests, with AIOs you just have to snap and go. No preparing the diaper for use inbetween washing. It’s a great time saver for laundry and it’s very easy for anyone to use, these are my husband’s favorite choice when he changes our baby. Just make sure the flaps are turned down properly, so that the soft sueded side is against your baby’s skin and the rough microfiber side is facing down and away. The negative aspect is that it can be difficult to add absorbency to this type of diaper and that some babies are too heavy of wetters for microfiber to keep up with.
Pocket diapers are again a pretty straight forward name. They have an opening with a pocket between the inner sueded fabric and the water proof outter PUL. These diapers need to be stuffed with an insert after being washed. Laundry can be a little tedious, stuffing diapers after being washed and dried. What I like about them is the ease of being able to adjust absorbency to your baby’s individual need by using different inserts and different combinations of inserts. For that reason, pockets are our go to diaper for overnight diapering.
The next diaper is an organic AIO. These diapers are super trim and, again, has the benefit of no stuffing- just wash and go. Since it has an organic cotton inside, it’s no big deal if the underside of the flaps end up touching baby’s skin. As with all natural fibers, it becomes more absorbent with the more it is washed and used. For that reason, some prefer to buy the organic AIOs (Elementals) used.
Lastly, the diaper cover. This system can most resemble the way cloth was done in our grandparents’ generation. You can wrap a prefold (absorbent sheet of fabric) around your baby, use a receiving blanket folded inside, or just tuck a natural fiber insert into the cover as if it were a pocket. This kind of diaper can take a bit to get use to and master- and may not be the best to ask a daycare provider or sitter (that aren’t already familiar with cloth) to use. These diapers have the benefit of customizing absorbency to the individual baby’s needs and the only diaper that can be used multiple times in a single day without being washed in between. If wet, you can simply take out the wet insert, wipe down the cover with a wet wipe, and lay a new insert in the wiped out cover and go. For this reason, covers are the ideal diaper choice for road trips or travel as it requires less packing. It is also very cost efficient for those starting cloth on a tight budget since it requires less diapers.
Stay tuned for the next post in our Cloth 101 series as we cover the different kinds of inserts and how to combine them to your baby’s needs.
Previous posts in the Cloth 101 series: