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A cloth diapering guide for beginners

Blog > A cloth diapering guide for beginners
Posted on: May 18th, 2017by Ivana Stamenkovic

Cloth diapers have changed a lot since the time your grandma used them. Due to their improved design, modern cloth diapers are easy-to-use. Now you can choose from various options until you find the best one for you and your baby since they came in so many different shapes and colors.

They are usually made of cotton, hemp or bamboo and covers are made of wool, fleece or PUL (polyurethane laminate). Cloth diapers and covers come in different sizes (S, M, L, XL) or as OS (one-size) with lots of snaps for adjusting the size.

Flats

Flats are large squares of single-layered fabric that's equally thick throughout. They are usually white and made of cotton. You can fold them in many different ways (yo, origami, kite, mini kite...) and fastened them with pins or fasteners (Snappi or Boingo) or use them as a layering piece for extra absorbency.

Pro: Flats are the cheapest version of cloth diapers. They are thin so they dry very fast. You can adjust their absorbency when folding them.
Con: They require folding and pins or fasteners fo closure, which makes them a little inconvenient for babysitters, grandparents or daycares.

Prefolds

Prefolds are rectangular pieces of cloth divided into three sections - the center section is padded for extra absorbency. You can either fold them and fasten them with pins or fasteners or use them as a layering piece, too.

Pro: They are cheaper than modern cloth diapers and you can also use them as inserts.
Con: More complicated to use - don't have their own closure system, you need to use pins or fasteners.

Contour

Contour diapers are something between prefolds and fitted diapers - they are already shaped like an hourglass (so there's no need to fold them) but they need to be fastened with pins or fasteners.

Pro: There's no need for folding them.
Con: More complicated to use - don't have their own closure system, you need to use pins or fasteners.

Fitted

Fitted diapers are shaped like the disposable ones. They have elastic around the legs and waist. They don't requier pins or fasteners since they have either snaps or aplix/velcro for closure and adjusting the waist size. For extra absorbency, they have a snap-in cotton insert.

Pro: They don't require folding or pins and fasteners. There's no need to change the whole diaper if only the insert is dirty.
Con: They are more expensive than flats and prefolds, and take a longer time to dry.

Pocket

Pocket diapers look like the fitted ones, but instead of a snap-in insert, they have a pocket which needs to be stuffed. The inner layer is sometimes made with the stay-dry material.

Pro: You can adjust their absorbency with different inserts.
Con: You always need to change the whole diaper.

All-in-Two (AI2)

All-in-Twos already have a waterproof cover, but they still need a snap-in insert for extra absorbency. Sometimes insert can just be tucked under flaps in the cover. They also have elastic around the legs and waist and either snaps or aplix/velcro for closure and adjusting the waist size.

Pro: There's no need to change the whole diaper if only the insert is dirty.
Con: You can't wash them in higher temperatures or put them in the dryer because of the sewed in cover. They need more time to dry.

* Hybrid diaper

Hybrid diapers are similar to AI2. The difference is in the fact that their inserts can be either cloth or disposable.

All-in-One (AIO)

All-in-Ones are diapers that already have everything (waterproof cover, a soaker and an absorbent insert), so there's no need for using covers or any extra inserts for absorbency. They also have elastic around the legs and waist and either snaps or aplix/velcro for closure and adjusting the waist size.

Pro: They are easy and convenient to use which makes them very popular as an option for babysitters or grandparents.
Con: You can't wash them in higher temperatures or put them in the dryer because of the sewed in cover. They need more time to dry. All-in-Ones are the most expensive option.

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