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Cloth Diaper Terminology - with personal opinions and Pros/Cons
AIO's, pockets, fitteds, doublers...It can get a little confusing for a cloth newbie. Let us help sort it all out. On this page we provide definitions for all the major cloth diapering products, and under which category they fall.
AIO - All-In-One
- AIOs are fitted diapers that have a waterproof outer layer. This
layer usually consists of fabric that has a PUL (PolyUrethane Laminate)
backing, polar fleece, or wool. These are the closest in similarity to
disposable diapers since they are a one-piece, single-use diapering
system. The absorbent soaker material is often sewn into the diaper;
it may also be detachable to aid in drying time. DAYCARE, GRANDPARENT,
- Single use, just like a disposable
- Snaps (in this case) don't wear out and prevent a curious toddler from taking off her diaper!
- Longer drying time
- Wear items like elastic, PUL (waterproof material), velcro get washed everytime.
AI2 - All-In-Two - AI2s are very similar to AIOs with the exception that the absorbent soaker material is not attached to the diaper
in any way. The soaker is usually a second, separate piece that must
be used in conjunction with the diaper. This will definitely aid in
Learn about GroVia's Hybrid Diapering System by clicking below
shell - if baby is wet, simply snap out soiled liner and snap in new.
This way, you can get away with only buying 12 covers/shells if you have
- GroVia is also a "One Size" diaper that will grow with your baby from birth to potty-training.
- Doubles as a diaper cover.
- No pulling out an insert from a pocket which can get pretty gross!
- No re-stuffing after laundering.
- GroVia even has the option of using soft, truly
without the hassle of stuffing into (and cleaning!) a
plastic liner, like the GDiaper.
- The thick soakers do take longer to dry than a polyester-based pocket diaper.
Covers and Wraps
- Covers come in many styles and shapes, but their function is to
provide a waterproof outer layer for non-waterproof diapers (all,
except for AIOs). They are often fitted with elastic and fasten with
snaps or Velcro. Some covers pull-up, like underpants. Diaper covers
are usually made from polyester, PUL, waterproof nylon, fleece or
- Two step system and squirmy baby can get impatient.
Thirsties Cover Raspberry
- Diaper Service Quality - Diaper services use only the highest quality
materials because their diapers must stand up to a lot of use and a lot
of laundering. DSQ is usually used in reference to high quality
prefold diapers. Most are made in India, China or Pakistan.
- Doublers are additional inserts (for pocket diapers) or swaths of
material that add to the absorbency of a diaper. Hemp absorbs 3x as
much as cotton and less bulky. We put a hemp doubler behind a cotton
micro-terry insert for naps and nighttime. You can also wrap a prefold
around the insert for increased absorbency.
- Fitted diapers closely resemble disposable diapers. They are
contoured and fitted with elastic around the legs and back. They
fasten with Velcro or snaps, and a waterproof cover must be worn over
- Can get expensive having to buy several sets of diapers as the baby grows
FuzziBunz Perfect Size
- Liners are thin layers of cloth or paper that are placed inside the
diaper to aid in the cleaning of solid waste. Some are flushable.
CAUTION: We had new plumbing in our 130 year old house and a basement - all
water/waste is directed to a "poop-grinder-pump" and ejected out a 2"
pipe to the sewer line.
I WOULD NOT flush even biodegradable liners in
this plumbing system. They don't have time to biodegrade from flush to
Same with an old septic system!
- One Size diapers grow with your baby. Most will fit from birth to
potty training (7-35 lbs) - usually by adjusting the rise of the diaper
by snap downs or more recently buttoning elastic much like the
adjustable waists in children's pants (
FuzziBunz One Size).
- Grows with baby - only have to buy one set
- Pretty bulky on a newborn
- Some complaints that 35lbs is stretching the truth a bit and the diapers run a little small.
- Pocket diapers are like AIO or AI2s. They have an outer layer of a
waterproof material and an inner layer of a stay-dry material, like
microfleece or suedecloth. They close with velcro or snaps. They have
a pocket opening that allows for the absorbent inserts/doublers to be
stuffed in the pocket during use and then removed for laundering. The
absorbent material for stuffing can be an insert, prefold, or doubler.
Pocket diapers are a popular choice among users because the amount of
stuffing can be customized to the baby. This image is a ONE SIZE
- Can choose the stuffing depending on the need (nap, nighttime, outing)
- Snaps (in this case) don't wear out and prevent curious toddler from taking off her diaper!
- A must for nighttime (put a Joey Bunz Hemp Doubler behind the cotton microfiber insert for 12+ hour protection!)
- Most pocket diapers use microfleece, which wicks away moisture from baby.
- Microfleece and shell dry quickly
- Depending on the brand, sometimes you have to flip up an interior pocket to pull out the insert. Mild ick-factor.
a second step to laundry b.c. of re-stuffing requirement. (I combat
this by NOT re-stuffing and simply stacking the inserts inside a drawer
so that I can stuff depending on the time of day).
- Most pocket diapers use microfleece, which can be irritating to some babies.
- Prefold diapers are rectangular shaped diapers that must be folded
into the shape of a diaper. They are similar to flats, but have
multiple layers with more layering in the middle. The amount of
layers varies according to the size you choose, generally ranging from
newborn to toddler. You may see a prefold described as being 4x8x4.
This describes how many layers there are in the outer and inner
sections: 4 layers in both outer sections and 8 layers in the inner or
middle section. Prefolds are usually the cheapest type of cloth
diapers available. They must be used in conjunction with a cover.
- Will fit every baby
- Recyclable (my husband covets them for washing his car!)
- Cotton (or hemp, or velour) never reacts with baby's sensitive skin.
- Durable! These will last for all of your babies (as opposed to the "fancier" pockets, AIO, etc)!
- Easy to sanitize!