Guest Blogger | Cloth 101: Types of Cloth Diapers

Vilate is back with more knowledge on cloth diapers. Comment below if you have comments/questions for her! You can also follow her on Twitter @myniftynappy

So last time we talked about the Lingo of Cloth Diapers and the reasons to choose Cloth Diapers.  Today I will explain the types of Cloth Diapers and covers.

Prefold: A prefold is a piece of absorbent fabric that has been pre-folded and sewn with a bulk in the middle. You have to do some folding and tucking when you use a prefold. You also have to use some type of closure be it pins, a cover, or snappie. People like the prefold for the price. A prefold can be a little bulky, though it doesn’t bother some.

Fitted: A fitted is a diaper that has been sewn into a diaper shape. There is no folding involved and they usually have elastic to fit better. They usually close using a snap or velcro. They need some sort of cover too. These are the most breathable of the diapers and your baby will have less chances of diaper rashes if you use a fitted, especially if you use a fitted with a wool cover.

AIO and AI2: (All-in-one) (all-in-two) These are like the fitteds except there is a layer of PUL (polyurethane laminate) that is waterproof. This makes it so the diaper doesn’t need a cover. Some people love these, because there is less to deal with. On the other hand they aren’t breathable and if your baby gets rashes this can make them worse or cause them. They also take a long time to dry because the absorbent layer is sewn in. AI2’s do dry faster because the absorbent layer is usually a layer that is only attached in one spot.

Pocket: These are like the AIO’s except the absorbent layer isn’t sewn into the diaper. You stuff the pocket with an insert for absorbency. These are nice for drying purposes with the insert separate they dry faster. They have a PUL layer and so don’t need a cover. These are great for on the run diapers. If you go to daycare these are great for others watching them for the ease!

Tie-Nappy: This is a diaper type that is not well know. This is a diaper that ties on your baby. They can be made out of a variety of fabrics from old t-shirts to hemp and bamboo. Usually you want a lay-in insert for more absorbtion. They are not to diffucult to tie on, You can even tie them in the back if you have a child that you think will untie them, or won’t lay still for a diaper change. This diapers need a cover. It is great for affordability though.

So now that we have covered the types of Cloth Diapers there are a few other things that you should consider when picking a Cloth Diaper.

Types of Closures: This is a personal preference.

  • Pins: I personally HATE pins.  I was always sticking myself and worried about sticking the baby, but they do let you customize the fit of the diaper.  They are a cheap alternative though!  You will only have to use these on the pre-folds and some fitteds.
  • Snaps: I love snaps!  I bought an industrial snap press when I started making my diapers and I still stick with it.  The snaps don’t leave red marks on the babys, and they hold up really well.  I have diapers I made 6 years ago that the snaps are still 100%!  I love the front snapping diapers too. I started with side snapping, but found the front snapping gave a better fit for a longer spread of sizes.  My diapers now fit from 7-35 lbs.
  • Velcro: when you use velcro on diapers you don’t want it to be velcro you want it to be aplix or touch tape.  The aplix holds up better.  You want to make sure that it has a washing flap.  This is so that you you can attach the aplix to something while washing or you end up with a bunch of diapers all stuck together making your aplix wear out sooner. I personally don’t like this, I found it to difficult to work with.  Plus the kids can take off the diapers easier as they get older.  I haven’t ever used these, but lots of people love them.  You use these with a pre-fold or a fitted that doesn’t have snaps or aplix.
  • Snappi: this is a glorified rubberband that is t-shapped and folds under and around the diaper to hold it all on.  These are used on Prefolds and some fitteds.


There are some diapers that use liners that are flushable, but I personally think that if you are using diapers you are doing it for one of two reasons:

  1. you want to save money (and purchasing liners isn’t doing that)
  2. you want to be environmentally friendly (I don’t think that flushable diaper liners is the best way to do that, wouldn’t reusable ones make more sense?)

So if you decide you need to use a liner cloth would be best.  Why would you use a liner?  Liners have a few purposes.  In some diapers they are just a liner that makes diaper clean up easier.  For others they are used for absorbency purposes.  You can also use them when you have a rash you are dealing with and don’t want to get the cream on the diaper. (creams usually aren’t good for diapers)

Covers: I have lots I can say about covers, but I will try to be short and sweet here.

  • Plastic Pants: These are cheap, but they aren’t breathable, and my kids always had issues with the elastic on their legs. -I say throw these away… FAST!
  • PUL covers: These can come with snaps or aplix, and that is just a personal pref.  These are the most common cover out there.  BUT they again aren’t very breathable.
  • Fleece covers: These are easy to make and easy to find.  Some people like these because they are breathable.  On the down side though you have to wash them every couple diaper changes.
  • Wool covers: These I love!  Wool is breathable and soft.  They are warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  There are: wraps that snap or aplix. There are: soakers that are like bloomers that pull on. There are: longies that are like pants. Then you can have fun and make shorites or capris, and if you are having a little girl you can have a little skirtie that you put over either a soaker or a longie. For woolies you only have to wash them about once a month, unless they get poo on them. Then you should lanolize them for maxime usage. This isn’t a hard or long process, for more information you can visit my wool info page.

In our next post we will cover some FAQ and the answers to them.  So come back and see if we can answer your questions.

Happy Diapering

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Annie @ Mama Dweeb - May 6, 2010 - 11:20 pm

Great post! I have people ask me all the time for a quick rundown of the different types of diapers. For my older boy I love my All in Two diapers but when he was littler and his delicate skin was prone to rashes prefolds and fitteds where a huge part of our stash! I know a few mamas that love flat diapers but I just don’t have the time to learn how to fold them LOL

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