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Which Diaper Style?

Diaper Styles 101: Comparing Your Options!

Pockets, All-In-Ones, All-In-Twos, fitteds, hybrids, prefolds... We certainly remember how overwhelming it was when we first entered the world of cloth diapers... so many options! At Cozy Bums, we have taken much of the guesswork out, as each of the cloth diaper styles found here we ourselves have used on our own little ones with glowing results. We carry it because, quite simply, we love it. On this page we will break down and describe each style as clearly as possible for you. If you wish more specific information about one of the particular brands we carry, please click on the links below.

Cloth diapers have two parts: waterproofing and absorbency. The most convenient styles (eg. pocket diapers) combine both parts together as one unit to put onto baby. With other styles, the absorbent diaper (eg. a fitted or prefold) is first put onto baby, followed by a waterproof cover over top.

Pocket Diapers

Pocket Diapers are wonderfully innovative diapers. Essentially a "pocket" in shape, the outer fabric of the diaper is waterproof, while the inner fabric (the part that goes up against baby's skin) is typically made of a beautifully soft microfleece or microsuede. The absorbent part of the diaper (the "insert") is in fact removable, but once it is stuffed in place within the pocket of the diaper, the diaper is essentially one single unit which can then be put on baby - completely waterproof and absorbent.

The microfleece or microsuede fabrics used are "stay-dry" fabrics, as they do not naturally retain moisture. Rather, these fabrics pass or wick moisture into the absorbent insert beneath, while remaining essentially dry. This is part of the pocket diaper's brilliant design: by wicking moisture away from the surface of the diaper, baby's delicate bottom stays essentially dry! Because of the diaper's capacity to remain feeling dry for long periods, pocket diapers usually only require changing every 3-4 hours.

Another terrific advantage of pocket diapers is the ability to customize the absorbency. For night-time diapering, when more absorbency is needed, a second insert can be stuffed into the pocket. The more absorbent the diaper is, the longer it will continue to draw moisture away from baby! This doubling-up does create a bulkier diaper, but this is not usually an issue under a sleeper at night.

All-In-One Diapers

All-In-One (AIO) cloth diapers are one-piece diapers. The waterproof outer and the absorbent inner are sewn together, so the diaper is always just one single unit. These diapers are very similar to pocket diapers, except that the absorbent core of the diaper is permanently sewn into place, so it is not removeable. This is the most ideal design for convenience - no stuffing required. All-In-One diapers are the closest thing to disposable diapers, but just don't throw them out! The convenience of having a one-piece system is somewhat of a compromise, because all those layers sewn together means it may take a bit longer for the diaper to get completely dry after washing. Usually just a few extra hours on the clothesline or drying rack will fix this up in no time at all! 

Our favourite All-In-One diaper are (please click:)


All-In-Two Diapers / Hybrid Diaper Systems

All-In-Two (AI2) refers to any two-piece cloth diaper where the outer is a waterproof diaper cover and the inner is an absorbent soaker. The inner is usually just laid directly on top of the diaper cover, and then both pieces are fastened onto baby. All-In-Two systems are slightly more economical than one-piece systems such as pocket diapers and all-in-ones. With AI2s, only the inner needs to be changed, while the cover can be reused for several diaper changes. When it's time for a diaper change, simply remove the soiled inner soaker, and lay a new clean one in its place within the same diaper cover (assuming the cover is not also soiled). At the end of the day, toss the used cover into the diaper pail. Fewer diaper covers are required when using this method of cloth diapering! So why doesn't everyone use this system, you ask? Well, often times soakers are not "stay-dry", so as soon as baby wets the soaker, s/he will feel that wetness against his/her skin. This may result in a higher incidence of diaper rash, or at the very least a bit of an unhappy baby! Some manufacturers of AI2s have gotten clever and created soakers with a polyester stay-dry fabric layer (eg. Flip).

Sometimes AI2 systems are referred to as "Hybrid" systems. Some diaper manufacturers make both reusable soakers, as well as disposable soakers. This is ultra-convenient for families who want the best of both worlds! A disposable soaker is great for travelling and even daycare providers who may not be on board with cloth diapers. Both Flip and GroVia make soakers that are almost 100% biodegradable, too! The will decompose in approximately 2-3 months, as opposed to the nearly 500 years it is estimated to take an average disposable diaper to decompose!

Our favourite All-In-Two (AI2) diapers are (please click):

Fitted Diapers

Fitted diapers are very absorbent, contoured (hourglass-shaped) diapers. They may incorporate elastics, snaps, and/or velcro to achieve a snug fit. On their own, they are not waterproof, so they require a diaper cover to be worn over top. Is a cover always required? No, not necessarily. A fitted diaper without a diaper cover is very breathable - a nice bonus for baby's skin which, when you think about it, doesn't get a lot of air-time. Many parents prefer to leave a cover off when they're at home with their baby, but only when they can monitor baby's diaper and change it often to prevent it from getting too wet (and wicking moisture onto baby's clothing, or leaking). A well-fitting diaper cover over a highly absorbent fitted diaper makes a wonderfully reliable combination. In fact, many parents of heavy wetters prefer to use a fitted as their super-absorbent night-time diaper of choice!

Fitted diapers are often made out of soft, natural fibers such as cotton, hemp or bamboo. When these fabrics get wet, they feel wet against baby's skin (think of a wet towel - very absorbent, but feels very wet!). For this reason, some babies benefit from having a stay-dry microfleece liner added to the inside of their fitted diaper to wick moisture away from the skin, keeping baby feeling nice and comfortable.

Our favourite fitted diaper are (please click):

Prefold Diapers

Prefold diapers are possibly the most traditional style of cloth diaper found here at Cozy Bums. They are also probably the most economical choice in cloth diapering. A prefold is exactly that: it's basically several layers of cotton (or other absorbent fiber) pre-folded up and sewn together into a large rectangle shape. Two seams are sewn down the length of the rectangle, dividing it into three vertical panels. The middle panel is made of twice as many layers of fabric as the two outer panels, so that when the diaper is wrapped around baby, there is extra absorbency in the middle where it is needed.

Prefolds can be wrapped around baby and Snappi'd (or pinned) into place to keep it snug. A diaper cover is required for this system to be waterproof. Prefolds are incredibly versatile. There are several different ways of wrapping a prefold around your baby, depending on your personal preference and your baby's particular needs (for instance, there is a "boy" fold which will result in extra absorbency at the front where it is needed). For a quicker option, prefolds can be folded up and simply laid into a diaper cover without first wrapping it around baby. Once you've gotten the hang of folding this diaper around your baby, you'll discover that this style of diaper is truly a wonderfully absorbent, very economical diapering option!

Please have a look at our detailed Prefold User Guide!

Our favourite prefold diapers are Bummis Unbleached Organic Cotton Prefolds and GroVia Bamboo Prefolds

Diaper Covers

Diaper covers are meant to be used with diapers that do not have any waterproofing capabilities, such as fitted diapers and prefold diapers. Diaper covers are also necessary in any All-In-Two cloth diapering system.

The best diaper covers are highly adjustable so that they can provide a snug fit. Our favourite covers are vinyl-free and breathable - a key feature for maintaining healthy skin when so much moisture is involved. We carry some fantastic one-size diaper covers (which fit from birth through potty training), such as Flip, GroVia, and Best Bottom!

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