Something that I've come to realize when having Jonah out of the house in his cloth diapers, is that there is a lot of confusion about the modern cloth diaper. This confusion trickles down to expecting mothers who are interested in using cloth. Mothers who are new to cloth often find the amount of information on the internet overwhelming, and difficult to decide what kind of cloth diapers she should be using as well as how they work.
I have had a lot of questions about the various styles of diapers that Jonah dons on his derrière. I have seen every reaction from "what the heck is that?" to "it's not old fashioned anymore!" So, I would like to give everyone a quick tour of our diaper drawer, pointing out all of the gadgets and conveniences of the modern day cloth diaper. We, like several other cloth users, have several different styles of diapers. The style of diaper that we choose in a particular moment is unique to the situation. Are we going out? Is it naptime? Bedtime? Playing at home? Do we need something quick to put on or can we take a little time? These situations influence what diapers we reach for.
The most convenient diapers we own are called all-in-ones (AIO.) This kind of diaper is the closest you can get to how a disposable works. Just as the name suggests, it has the cover and absorbent component all in one nice package. We have two AIO's, one Thirsties pocket AIO, and one AIO that is made by a work at home momma on Hyena cart called a TK Cuddler. These are very convenient because you literally just velcro them onto your baby. One drawback, though, is that you can't control how much absorbency each diaper contains. They are also one of the most expensive diapering options. They are great for quick outings, or for babysitters and daycares as they need no extra special attention.
Another diaper that we keep for babysitters are pocket diapers. These are similar to AIO, except that you have to stuff the absorbent material into them. The material that goes into the pockets are called inserts, and come in a variety. There are bamboo, hemp, cotton, organic cotton, and many other inserts to choose from! The pocket diapers usually have an inside that is made of wicking material such as microsuede, so that the moisture is taken away from your babies skin and into the insert. We have six pocket diapers: five BumGenius, and another TK Cuddler pocket version. All of our pockets are also one-size, meaning you can adjust the size to grow with your child. These are also expensive, but grow with your child, so you get a lot of use from them.
We also have what are called fitted diapers. These diapers are the absorbent portion (you need a cover to make them water proof) but instead of having to fold and pin them, they are already contoured to fit to a baby, and either velcro or snaps to close them. They are typically very soft, and also pull the moisture from baby's skin. We have three Thirsties Fab Fitteds, and I love them. The only drawback to these is that they do not hold very much moisture, so are not ideal for long outings or night time use.
My favorite, and the most basic of diapers, is called a prefold. This is the diaper that many people think of when they hear "cloth diapers." There are so many options with the prefold, it really is a universal diaper. It can be folded to accommodate several different pottying styles, and to prevent certain diaper mishaps such as leaks or blowouts. When the diaper is folded, it is as if you are custom fitting a diaper right onto your child at that moment. If you don't like pins, you can use what is called a Snappi to fasten it, or you can simply put the cover on without fastening it at all. Prefolds are definitely abundant in our house.
When using a prefold or cover, if you want the diaper to be water proof then you need a cover for it. I love to let Jonah go coverless when we're around the house. It is good for our elimination communication as well as his skin. It lets me know the second that he is going potty, so that I can change the diaper right away. However, when we are out of the house, or if I am doing chores while Jonah is playing, we need a cover. We have five thirsties wrap covers, two Imse Vimse organic cotton wrap, two fleece soakers handmade by a good friend, and a Dasani wool soaker. A wrap style cover is a cover that is wrapped around the diaper and then velcroed or snapped shut. A soaker is a cover that is simply pulled up over the diaper, and kind of resembles underwear. Soakers are typically made from wool or fleece.
I hope that this has cleared up any confusion people may have about my diapers, and perhaps helped some parents who are unsure about what kind of diapers would be useful to them