In part one of the Cloth Diapers series, I talked about the “ew” factor (how cloth diapering is not as dirty and gross as people think). This week’s post is about the different types of cloth diapers available today.
Ah the complicated world of the modern cloth diaper. Flat diapers? Prefolds? Pocket diapers? All-in-one’s? It’s enough to make your head spin. If you know that you want to use cloth diapers with your little one, but are unsure of what kind you want to try, take a look below.
When you picture the cloth diapers of the past, a flat diaper is what you are thinking of. This involves using a square piece of cotton gauze that is folded and then pinned before a waterproof cover is worn. This is not a very popular option these days, but this remains the most cost-effective cloth diapering system.
In 2011, dirtydiaperlaundry.com had a one week challenge for parents to hand wash flat diapers in order to raise awareness of this affordable method or cloth diapering. When the challenge was over, the participants (400) completed a survey on the practicality of using flat diapers out of (cost) necessity. Surprisingly, most people said that flat diapers were practical, though the hand washing part of the experiment was not something they wanted to continue to do after the challenge.
Prefold diapers are a little like flat diapers but the woven square is not the same thickness throughout. Instead, the middle 1/3 of the square is thicker than the side thirds. The thickness varies from 2x4x2 to 4x8x4. The thicker the middle panel, the more absorbent it is. With a prefold, you must still use a waterproof cover. A great company that makes prefolds is Bummis.
This is what I wanted originally because of the positive reviews I read, and the ridiculously cheap price (so much cheaper than pocket or all-in-one diapers). I am not sure how prefolds hold up to leaks in general. However, I would love to know if anyone else has tried this type of diaper on their little one, and what they thought of them.
Pocket diapers are what we use for Little Man. There is a waterproof outer layer with snaps or velcro for fastening and an absorbent inner layer of fabric. The inner fabric includes a pocket that can be stuffed with extra absorbent pads. This is one of the more popular styles because you can vary the absorbency by adding or removing inserts, and the diaper itself has a snug, contour shape.
Little Man’s uses Canadian company Applecheeks, which we have really liked so far. Like a lot of parents, we had to play around with the fit when Little Man was very young. He woke up wet a lot until we found which snaps to use on the diaper cover (there are two rows of snaps on our allowing you to make a tighter fit near the leg and a looser fit near the belly). Although they were not as cheap as the Bummis prefolds I originally wanted, I am really happy with pocket diapers.
All-In-One Diapers (AIO)
If you want to use a diaper without any extra work, then all-in-one diapers are what you need. They have all of the features of disposable diapers, with the added benefit of being eco friendly. No stuffing pockets or folding fabric necessary here. If you are interested in AIO diapers, take a look at BumGenius.
Pricewise this is the Ferrari of cloth diapers. You will not have to get dirty removing wet/soiled liners, but you will pay a premium for that privilege. For me, personally, I am willing to do a little more work to save a little cash. If anyone has used or is currently using AIO cloth diapers, I would love to see a review.
With the many different types of cloth diapers, it can seem overwhelming to make a decision. Add to this that cloth diapers now come in a wide variety of bright colours and funky fabric. Really it just comes down to what is more practical for you. Do you want to save the money and go with the prefold or is your time at a premium making the AIO a better choice? Ultimately it is up to you. One thing is for certain, cloth diapers will save you money (and the environment) in the long run.
If you have a favourite type or brand of cloth diaper, I would love to hear about it. Feel free to leave your comments below.