Types of Cloth Diapers & Picking The Best Fit For You

Types of cloth diapers & finding your preferred style

You’ve made the decision to cloth diaper but are now wondering which method is best for you? With so many eco-friendly options, navigating the choices can get a little confusing. When deciding on which cloth diaper style is right for your family you’ll want to consider the different types of diapers, sized vs one-size options, closure options, whether the diaper will require an extra cover, types of fabric you prefer, ease of use, and price. We’ve covered the basics of 4 main styles of cloth diapers, sharing what we love about each and what we don’t.

1. Flats & Prefolds

This diaper consists of two parts: an absorbent inner layer and a waterproof cover. The inner layer is usually either a “flat” or a “prefold”—flats are just one large, flat piece of cotton cloth, while prefolds are rectangular in shape and come already sewn with a thicker, more absorbent area down the middle. Both options require you to fold them into a desired shape, and then fasten on baby and secure a cover over top. To fasten the diaper there are a few options for closure: hook-and-loop, front snaps or side snap.

What we love:

These diapers are often the least expensive, simply because you can reuse the covers for multiple changes. You will only change the absorbent layer each time your baby is wet but you can reuse the waterproof cover for a day or even two depending on the stage of your little one. Your collection only requires 4-6 covers and 20-24 prefolds/flats. This method is very versatile and easy to clean & dry.

What we don’t:

Preparing these diapers can be a bit of a complicated method, some have even called it diaper origami. Each diaper requires you to fold them into shape for proper functionality as well as both a fastener and a cover, all these bits and bobs make it a bit overwhelming for new parents. Additionally, although the upfront costs seem smaller, prefolds don’t grow with the shape of your baby, requiring you to buy larger sizes at each stage. Not to mention they are often bulky, and although we love a fluff butt, packing these diapers for on the go can weigh a diaper bag down.

2. Fitted

Fitted diapers consist of multiple layers of absorbent material, have leg and back elastic, and fasten on baby with snaps or hook and loop closures. Fitted diapers are usually made of cotton, bamboo, hemp or fleece and are very absorbent–but not waterproof. Fitted diapers are hourglass shaped and you do not have to fold them yourself like with flats or prefolds, so they are ready-made to “fit” you baby’s body. As with prefolds, you’ll need about 24 fitted diapers and 4-6 covers.

What we love:

This system is just like prefolds and are highly absorbent but without the complicated folding method, saving you both time and frustration.

What we don’t:

As with prefolds, these diapers can be quite bulky making it a bit of a challenge when traveling or packing a diaper bag. Also each diaper is sized and requires that you buy at each stage of baby’s growth.

3. Pockets

Pocket diapers are known as the “modern” cloth diaper as they are the first innovation in cloth diapering in years. They are called pocket diapers because each diaper comes with a pocket that must be stuffed with an absorbent insert. A pocket diaper is made of a waterproof cover that has a "stay dry" polyester lining that acts as a pocket between the lining and the cover. This allows you to insert an absorbent pad or insert into the pocket. Most pocket diapers are lined in either fleece or suede cloth–which are stay-dry materials, meaning that your baby will still feel dry even when they are wet because the urine passes through the liner and absorbs into the insert that is inside the pocket.

What we love:

The pocket allows you to easily adjust the absorbency of the diaper to fit your needs, you can use a thin microfiber insert during the day for a sleeker look, and add a couple of hemp inserts for overnight. Pockets are also super convenient for babysitters: after you’ve stuffed the insert, using a pocket diaper is exactly like putting on a disposable, with no folding or special instruction needed. With adjustable snap closures, you need to stock up on less diapers than other cloth methods as they will grow with your little one from a newborn to toddler.  

What we don’t:

As they mimic a disposable, they are a "one wear, one wash" style diaper. Unless using a disposable liner, pockets require a bit more washing than other cloth diapers.

4. All-In-Ones 

Just as the name implies, all-in-ones include the entire diaper in a single piece. They require no covers or stuffing and are most similar to disposable diapers. The waterproof layer, the absorbent layer, and the wicking layer are all sewn together. 

What we love:

There’s no stuffing, no folding and no confusion—just put it on and take it off. This means that using an all-in-one is every bit as simple as using a disposable, the only difference is you throw it in the laundry pile instead of the trash.

What we don’t:

AIO (All In One) diapers are the most expensive options for cloth diapering. Another key disadvantage includes longer drying time as you cannot remove the absorbency layer. This also requires a larger stock of diapers as the laundry time is increased. Also because the absorbency layers and shell are already built together, it can be difficult to adjust levels of absorbency for day and night time use.

Nora's Nursery Pocket Diapers 

After using pocket diapers with our son we fell in love with the modern functionality, what we were missing was a modern design. For this reason we created Nora's Nursery pocket diapers when cloth diapering our daughter, Nora. With fun prints & patterns our pocket diapers feature easily adjustable sizing snaps that help you achieve the perfect fit for your baby and/or toddler. These diapers are suitable for newborns from roughly 10 pounds all the way up to a 35 pound toddler! No need to stock and store multiple size diapers, our diapers will grow with your child and cover the needs of diapering multiple children of different ages and sizes.

About Nora's

Here at Nora's we pride ourselves on providing you and your little ones with sustainable Cloth Diapering and Nursery products that are made with the highest quality materials and up-to-date on stylish designs and functionality.

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