Favorite Things Friday | Cloth Diaper Types

I’m a little late on posting today’s post because I have both kids at home today, laundry to do (what’s new, right?), and a work conference call I needed to get on this morning.  Anyway… better late than never, right?  On today’s diaper-related post, I will cover the different types of cloth diapers – more specifically, the different types of cloth diapers I currently use, and my experience with them so far.

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Flat Diapers (aka Flats) – a flat diaper is just a large usually square, although some are rectangular, piece of cloth.  It’s typically made of Birds-Eye cotton cloth that’s extremely absorbent.  Once on the baby, the diaper requires a waterproof cover (like these). Some people make their own flat diapers, and despite my recent ventures into sewing, I’ve never tried.  I, however, did receive a 12-pack of Gerber flat diapers from a friend.

I really like the flats in that they (a) can be folded in many different ways for customization, (b) are trim on the baby (not a lot of bulk), (c) dry very quickly in the dryer, and (d) are really cheap.  You can find them for $1.50-$2 each.

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The downside to these diapers are (A) it takes relatively extra time to do certain folds to put them on baby – like the kite fold or origami fold, and (B) they are not the most absorbent.  They absorb well, but – and this is just from my experience, after an hour, the diaper is SUPER soaked.  For more pictures of flat diapers and how they are used on babies, there is a wealth of information on the internet (ex: HERE or HERE or HERE).


Prefolded Diapers (aka Prefolds) – Prefold diapers are rectangular diapers, divided into three sections that have extra layers of cloth in the middle section.  Like flats, they need a waterproof cover over them (although I hear on a hot day, some moms use them without covers).  Unlike Flats, Prefolds need not be folded a certain way to maximize absorbency in the middle section.  Prefolds, ironically, still need to be folded for an infant to properly wear.

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These are the staple of my cloth diapering stash – I currently have 42 of them.  18 of the 42 Prefolds are newborn sized and I’m currently using on JDB; 12 are “regular” sized, which will be used when JDB is around 5-6 months; and 12 are toddler-sized, to be used when he’s about 2 years old.  I read online over and over that Prefolds are very absorbent and very versatile.  And boy where they right.  The 12 toddler-sized Prefolds are now being used as burp cloths for JDB.

Two-Week-Old 2ndChild in a prefold

Two-Week-Old JDB in a prefold

The upsides to owning and using these Prefolds are similar to the flats’ – they are versatile, cheap ($1-2 each), and dry relatively quickly.  Prefolds are not the trimmest, but they are very very absorbent.  These are my go-to diapers at night.  I have only had ONE leaked diaper using Prefolds (even at night) – and that was because I didn’t realize part of the diaper was sticking out of the cover.  The only thing I don’t like about prefolds is having to fold them and use a Snappi (similar to my complaint with the Flats), especially at night when the baby’s kicking and I’m half asleep. For more pictures and information on Prefolded diapers on zee internets, click HERE, HERE, or HERE.


Fitted Diapers (aka Fitteds) – Fitted diapers are the easiest diapers to use that require a cover.  They are extremely absorbent, easy to put on, and dry almost as quickly as refolds.  These are AWESOME for night-time diapering. The downside to them is they can be expensive.  The cheapest fitted diapers I’ve found so far are from Green Mountain Diapers (for $7.95 each, going up to $9.95 soon).

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I have six Baby Beehinds fitted diapers, which are my most absorbent diapers (above picture).  On the left is the diaper opened, the middle are the extra soaker pads they come with that can be snapped onto the diaper, and on the right is the diaper closed.  I used these fitted diapers with C for night-time until he grew out of them.  I also have (not-pictured) 12 fitted diapers that my aunt from the Philippines sent me.  Six of them are the Chino Pino brand, which are not as absorbent, but they do the job, and six Curity diapers.  I’m not a big fan of these two brands, so I’ll probably be selling them off online or something.

All-In-One Diapers (aka AIOs) – All-in-One diapers are the easiest of diapers.  You just put them on and that’s it.  No pins or Snappis or covers required.  They can come in snaps (which is what I have) or velcro.  The velcro ones, of course, are the absolute easiest, since the snaps are kind of hard to snap sometimes.

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I have 12 AIOs, which are the BumGenius Elemental One Size Organic Cloth Diapers. The downside to AIO diapers are they (A) take forever to dry, (B) are not usually good for overnight, (C) are expensive – the Elementals are $25 each. I also have 18 Grovia Newborn AIO, which JDB no longer fits.  The Grovia Newborns fit newborns 5-12 lbs, although he grew out of these around 9lbs.  The Grovia Newborns are not very absorbent at all.  After an hour, they start to leak.

Pocket Diapers (aka Pockets) – Pocket diapers are similar to AIOs, except they have a pocket (either in the front or the back).  Inside the pocket is where you would put the soaker pads, called “inserts”.  You can customize the diaper’s absorbency by putting more or less inserts inside the pocket.  Of course, the more inserts you put inside the bulkier the diaper becomes.  With the right amount of inserts inside the pockets, they make great night time diapers.  Also, most of these pocket diapers have stay-dry fabric that touches the baby’s skin, so the baby isn’t discomforted by the feeling of wetness (you can remedy this problem with the other diapers by using a stay-dry liner).

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These diapers dry fast and are easy to use.  I currently have 12 pocket diapers – 6 Oh Katy diapers that I got for free, and 6 Rumparooz (two I received as a gift, and 4 that I bought).  There’s a few things I don’t like about pockets.. First is that they must be stuffed with inserts before each use – which takes time, and makes my putting-away-laundry routine longer than it should be.  Secondly, the WET/DIRTY inserts must be taken out before dumping them in the diaper hamper/pail.  I’ve found that sometimes the inserts will agitate out in the wash, but it doesn’t happen all the time.  Lastly, the stay dry fabric that wicks moisture from the baby’s skin can sometimes wick moisture away from the baby and onto the baby’s cloths – hence, leaks.  However, if worn properly – i.e. absolutely no part of the inside of the diaper is sticking out, this bad wicking/leaks can be prevented.

The five types of diapers I use are most of (the type) what’s available out there.  I know with all these diapers I have I look like some obsessed diaper fiend… But really, I have them all because of my devotion to researching what will work best for us.  And, the research kind of got away from me.  In the next month, I’m looking to streamline what I have in my stash and sell some diapers.  I’m aiming for all AIOs for daytime use and some Fitteds for nighttime use.  Once I go back to work, I’m not sure I’ll have time to stuff pocket diapers after they’ve been laundered, or even spend the extra time at night losing sleep battling a baby to put a prefold diaper on.

Of course, there are a couple other types of diapers that are available that I don’t use – they are the hybrid diapers (like the Grovia, Best Bottoms, Flip, and G Diapers brands)and contour diapers. You can read about them by clicking on their links.

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