Cloth diapers come in many different shapes and sizes. For someone who is jumping into the cloth diapering world for the first time, it can be a challenge (though also kind of fun!) to wade through all the options to choose a diaper that will work well for you, especially when you have to decode all the industry lingo that is often used to describe cloth diapers.
For those of you who are exploring your cloth options for the first time, or who would simply like some categorical clarification, we give you the diaper dictionary!
All cloth diapers fall into one of two basic categories: 1-piece or 2-piece.
1 wrap + 1 insert or fitted diaper = a 2-piece diaper. The image above also shows the Bio-Soft liner on top.
Inserts generally come in different sizes, and are available in a variety of fabrics. The most common fabrics are cotton, organic cotton, bamboo and hemp. Compared to flats, prefold inserts are much more common in contemporary cloth diapering since they are so simple and user-friendly.
We recommend using inserts with an adjustable wrap. When fastened snugly, the wrap will hold the insert in place. If using an insert with a pull-on style wrap, a Snappi will be necessary to hold the diaper in place.
Advantages of inserts: versatile, easy to wash, quick to dry, extremely durable, simple, very affordable.
Advantages of fitted diapers: complete coverage for increased leak protection, diaper fastens securely, no folding, can be worn with pull-on wraps.
Advantages of 2-piece diapers: versatile, customizable, less laundry (insert or diaper must be washed after each use, but wrap can be rinsed, hung to dry, and then put back into rotation), easy to use, easy to wash, quick to dry, natural fibres against baby’s skin, many affordable options, durable.
Whereas in a 2-piece diaper the waterproof exterior and absorbent interior are two separate pieces, in a 1-piece diaper they have been sewn together into a single unit. There are two basic styles of 1-piece diapers: pockets and all-in-ones (AIO).
*Although most pocket diapers actually consist of two separate pieces, they are generally categorized as a 1-piece diaper, probably because they look like a single unit once the liner is stuffed into the pocket.
Advantages of pocket diapers: Very easy to use, OS diapers can be used from birth to potty, pockets can be stuffed in advance for quicker diaper changes.
The Easy Fit diaper (pictured above) is halfway between a pocket and an AIO. The liner is attached, and simply needs to be tucked into the pocket. The liner agitates out of the pocket in the wash - no need to reach inside a messy diaper with your hand before tossing it in the machine!
Advantages of All-in-ones: As easy as disposable diapers, sized versions are very trim-fitting, no stuffing or folding.