One thing that is inevitable when you have a baby is that you will need diapers. More and more people are turning to cloth diapers as they realize how expensive the alternative is as well as how much waste it creates. And cloth diapering has never been easier nor more cute….nor more confusing. There are so many new terms to learn. I hope to make things a little easier for you with this list!
These aren’t your grandmother’s cloth diapers anymore. Cloth diapers have never been easier to use nor more cute. But the terms! Oh, the terms. AIO, AI2, prefolds, fitted, pocket, hybrid, stripping, diaper sprayers, wet bags, sunning, HTF….it’s no wonder newbies get confused! I’ve been using cloth diapers for over 8 years, and I’m still learning new things all the time! I’m laying it all out on the line for you in hopes to answer any question you may have. If I missed your question, check out your local cloth diaper store. Their staff will be able to answer any specific questions. You may also be able to try out a diaper trial if you aren’t sure what kind of diaper is the best for you.
Let’s Get Technical
AIO = All In One
- The preferred method for many husbands and babysitters, this type of diaper is essentially a reusable disposable. The waterproof layer, absorbent layer, and the layer against the skin is all sewn together into one piece that fastens either with hook & loop (Velcro/Aplix) or snaps. These are the easiest diaper to use by far. But, they are also usually the most expensive ($16-25 a diaper!) and are the hardest to get completely clean.
- This type of diaper has a waterproof layer and a layer against the skin sewn together with an opening to stuff in an absorbent layer. It fastens either with hook & loop (Velcro/Aplix) or snaps. This absorbent layer can be made from microfiber, bamboo, hemp, or cotton and must be removed during washing. These can be convenient for babysitters if you pre-stuff them. They tend to not be as expensive as AIOs, but they are not the cheapest option.
AI2 = All In Two
- This type of diaper has a waterproof shell and an absorbent soaker that can be replaced. This enables you to remove the soiled soaker and reuse the clean shell so long as no poop has migrated off of the soaker. You can often get 2-3 changes out of a single shell, which means that you need less diapers in the long run (which saves you money!). Most AI2s come with their own branded soakers, but you can usually mix and match different brands. I’ve even used bamboo inserts from my pocket diapers in this type of diaper.
- This type of diaper is made up of an absorbent material and is sewn in the shape of a diaper. It fastens either with hook & loop (Velcro/Aplix) or snaps. It does not have a waterproof cover attached. What does this mean? Well, you’ll need to use either a PUL cover, a wool cover, or a fleece cover over top of it. I love the breathability of wool (plus wool and a fitted make a bulletproof nighttime diaper), but it can be expensive. PUL covers tend to be the cheapest option. Fitteds in general can be more inexpensive of any of the above options, but there are some specialty WAHM fitteds out there that fetch a pretty penny. These are not as convenient as our other options above, but they dry faster and are easier to get clean.
- These are the most like the diapers your grandmother used. This type of diaper is basically a rectangular piece of cotton (sometimes a cotton/bamboo blend) that has been layered to form an absorbent core. You need to fold it into a diaper shape and fasten (Youtube has lots of tutorials on different folds). Your grandmother would have used pins, but now we have Snappis and Boingos so pins are not necessary. While not the easiest to use, this is the least expensive option. Not only that, but you can abuse prefolds without worrying that they’ll get wrecked. These are a workhorse diaper.
- This type of diaper is great for someone who is travelling. It consists of a waterproof shell and disposable inserts. Often, these inserts are biodegradable. You reuse the shell in a similar way as with the AI2s. The downside to these is that the inserts can be expensive. But these are an awesome option for someone travelling or camping who doesn’t want to deal with the blowouts that can often come with regular disposables.
Cloth Safe Diaper Cream
- Unfortunately, most diaper creams you can find at the local big box or grocery store are just not safe for cloth diapers. Check out your local cloth diaper store to find a better alternative. Grandma El’s Diaper Rash Remedy, Peas in a Pod Bum Balm, CJs BUTTer, Live Clean (baby), and Delish Naturals are just a few of the ones I’ve tried and loved.
- No, this isn’t THAT kind of stripping. If you aren’t using a cloth safe diaper cream (see above), you will get build up on your diapers. And build up means that they won’t absorb pee properly which equals leaks. And nobody wants leaking diapers. There are lots of methods out there to strip diapers. We like these instructions. Please note that stripping is not usually needed in normal use!
- Gone are the days of dunking and swishing in the toilet. With the help of a good diaper sprayer, you never have to stick your hands in the toilet again. I love using a. Spray Pal with the diaper sprayer so that I don’t need to touch the diaper at all.
- These handy bags are perfect for cloth diapers when at home and out and about. There are lots of different styles and sizes available, from zippered to drawstring to hanging. They keep any smell and moisture in the bag. I’m partial to the large zippered Fabulous Bummiswet bag for at home and the medium zippered Fabulous Bummis wet bag for in my diaper bag.
- Now, we are talking about diapers here. And what happens in diapers? Poop. And depending on your child and what they’ve been eating, sometimes no matter how quickly you change and spray, you are left with staining. But, we have a magnificent tool at our disposal that is not only free, but easy! What is it? The sun! Just lay your wet diapers out in the sunshine (even just in front of a sunny window) and within hours, your diapers will be white again!
HTF = Hard to Find
- Some diapers are sold as limited edition or the colours/prints are retired. These diapers can fetch a pretty penny. I’ve seen them go upwards of $200 – and that was used!
Is all this too much for you, but you still want to cloth diaper? Many areas have cloth diaper services that will supply the diapers and accessories, pick them up, wash them, and bring you new clean ones! Check out if there is one in your area, and ask your friends and family to gift you a few months of service! Need some help in your home with your cloth diapering choices? I can help with that too as part of my postpartum prep package as well as with any postpartum care!
Love Sarah XOXO