|esther hope, at 28 days in a pre-fold diaper (without a cover)|
types of cloth diapers
the four main types of cloth diapers are all-in-ones, pocket diapers, fitted diapers and prefolds. we use fitted diapers and prefolds.
let me define these terms for you, as they probably sound confusing.
all-in-one diapers are the most similar to disposable diapers. everything is together in one piece: the cover and the absorbent layer, along with snaps or velcro/aplix. the upside to this is that it makes it easier and quicker when changing a diaper, and babysitters and other caretakers are usually less intimidated by these kinds of diapers, since they are so familiar with what they are used to. the downside is that they are more expensive, take longer to dry (because they are so thick) and the cover breaks down faster since it has to be washed every time (other covers can be used for a full day or so before being washed.
pocket diapers are similar to all-in-ones, but come in two parts: a liner with a pocket, and absorbent material that goes in the pocket. more recently there is also a type of diaper called an "all in two"(AI2) which is similar to a pocket diaper, but instead of the absorbent layer going inside in a pocket, it snaps into the liner. the upside of pocket diapers/AI2's is that they are (like all in ones) easier for babysitters and such to figure out, and make diaper changes go quicker. also, since the absorbant layer is separate from the cover, they dry quicker. the downside is that you have to wash the cover every time (although with AI2's you could use the same cover a couple times, if you snap a new liner in) and you have to stuff/snap the diapers together when you get them out of the wash (or right before the diaper change) which adds another step in the process.
most of our diapers are fitted. with fitted diapers, the absorbent layer is snapped/velcroed directly onto the baby. it doesn't have a waterproof cover attached, so you have to put on the cover separately. the up side to these diapers is that you can usually re-use a cover for a day or two before it needs to be washed. also, fitted diaper systems tend to be a bit less expensive, especially since you can get away with owning just 3-5 or so covers. these kinds of diapers dry quicker than all-in-ones. the downside is that it takes a bit longer to change the baby, since you have to put on two layers, and this can be confusing to other caretakers (i have had so many people change our kiddo's diapers who don't realize that the diaper needs a cover, and then a few hours later i discover this when their clothes are soaked). also, you have to be careful that the diaper is fully tucked under the cover, otherwise the part sticking out will leak and get baby's clothes wet.
the last type of cloth diaper are prefolds. these are the traditional type of diaper that people think of when they think of cloth diapers. the absorbent layer is a flat cloth that is folded and then pinned or clipped together around the baby (in the above picture, esther is wearing a pre-fold diaper without a cover. like fitted diapers, these go directly onto the baby and then must be covered with a waterproof cover. most of the upsides and down sides are similar to those of fitteds but i will add a few more: prefold diapers are by far the quickest to dry, since they are flat. also, they last longer because there is no fancy stitching to break them down. a BIG upside is that they are by far the cheapest of all cloth diapering options. a big downside, however, is that these are probably the most confusing type of diaper for caretakers to figure out, since you have to fold and clip/pin them. they also take the most time for diaper changes because of this same reason (you get the hang of it pretty quickly, but it still takes a few seconds longer than a fitted diaper).
what type of cloth diapers do you use?
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