When you start cloth diapering, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with the sheer number of diaper styles. All-in-ones, fitteds, hybrids? We’ve got a quick primer on the pros and cons of each style.
All-in-ones (AIOs) The simplest and easiest to use of the cloth diaper styles, the all-in-one is exactly what it says on the tin. Everything you need sewn together (or occasionally snapped together). These are a favorite for daycares and babysitters, as they don’t require any more work than a disposable.
· Simple to use- they go on like a disposable and don’t require any stuffing or snaps
· Usually very absorbent (and most can be stuffed with inserts for even more absorbency)
· Less bulky for the same absorbency
· Very unlikely to leak
· Daycare friendly
· Expensive- you need an entirely new AIO for each diaper change, and they’re the most expensive type of diaper
· Hard to wash- the multiple layers sewn together make it hard to get proper agitation, and the PUL layer can’t be removed for drying, so it gets more wear and tear
· Long Dry Time
All-in-twos (Sometimes called hybrids) ß what we use at Cottontails
All-in-twos are made up of two parts (waterproof cover and absorbent insert) which are used together (sometimes the insert snaps in, sometimes it just lies inside the cover). If the diaper isn’t soiled, the cover can be wiped clean and used multiple times. Some brands make disposable inserts for use when traveling (or whenever you just don’t want to do laundry) and are called hybrid diapers.
· Cost effective- reusable covers mean less to buy
· Simple to use- snap or lay in insert and then they go on just like a disposable
· Easy to clean- inserts are fully removable, and PUL cover can be taken out of the wash before drying
· Daycare friendly if inserts snap into place
· Laid in inserts may shift during use, snapped inserts need unsnapped
· Inserts that don’t snap may not be usable at daycare
· When used with microfiber, may be prone to compression leaks
The absorbent part of these diapers stuff inside the cover between the waterproof layer and lining, and then the diaper works like an AIO. For most pocket diapers, the insert must be unstuffed before washing.
· Once stuffed will work for daycare/babysitters
· Easier cleaning than an AIO
· Absorbency is easy to adjust by changing the number and type of inserts
· More cost effective than AIO
· Usually daycare friendly
· Stuffing and unstuffing can be time consuming and dirty
· Cover is not wipeable, and so a clean cover must be used with every change.
An absorbent diaper that snaps or Velcros on like an AIO, but then needs a waterproof cover put on over top.
· The best absorbency
· The least likely to leak
· Two-step process is usually not accepted by daycares
· Take a long time to dry
A flat rectangle of fabric that is folded and then put on baby (usually with Snappis, the modern diaper pin). A waterproof cover is necessary over top.
· Cheap- though you will need to buy different sizes as baby grows
· Good at holding in messes
· Finding the fold that works for your baby may take time
· Can be hard to put on a wriggling baby
· You have to keep track of Snappis as well as diapers
· Not daycare friendly
One big sheet of fabric that is folded up inside a waterproof cover. Only one size is needed for baby’s whole time in diapers.
· Cheap- the most affordable way to cloth diaper
· Easiest to clean – single layer fabric makes them easy to wash at home
· Quick drying
· Time consuming to fold
· May need additional absorbency for heavy wetters
· Not daycare friendly
There are a lot of choices when it comes to cloth diapering, and we can all be grateful that rubber pants are a thing of the past!