Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Many Faces of Cloth

Gone are the days of frustrating pins and plastic pants. While the new age variety of cloth diapers is wonderful, it can also make for a confusing journey for someone new to the scene. To help, here is a breakdown of the types of cloth diapers. While cloth diapers are always evolving, they can generally be categorized into the following:

Prefolds: Prefolds are what would be consider most like the "old fashioned" cloth diapers of yesteryear. They are layered cotton, with the thickest layer in the middle. They are very soft and absorbent. Prefolds must be folded at each diaper change to fit your baby. They can be fastened with a pin or snappi (pictured), or simply tri-folded and laid in a wrap style cover. Prefold diapers need a diaper cover to be waterproof, but don't think ugly pull up covers. There are adorable waterproof covers to be had on todays cloth market. Diaper covers can be air-dried and reused between diaper changes. Wash them at the end of the day, or when they are soiled. These are the least expensive option in the cloth diaper world and a great addition to your stash.

Fitteds:Fitted diapers are contoured and fasten with snaps or Velcro. They do require a cover to be waterproof but the covers will get dirty less often than when using prefolds. They are a  more expensive alternative to prefolds, but go on quickly and are notoriously great at containing "explosions". Fitteds are also great for a newborn diaper collection. A good fitted and wool cover are also a bulletproof night time daiper.

Pockets: Pocket diapers are just as convenient as disposable diapers! Pocket diapers have a pocket where absorbent material, like microfiber inserts, is stuffed. A waterproof layer is sewn into the diaper so no need for a cover. The inside of the pocket is made from fleece. Fleece is a great material for diapering because it allows the moisture to go through to the insert while keeping baby's skin dry.

All-In-Ones (AIOs): All-In-Ones are the about as close to disposable diapers as they come. They are as their name implies. They are similar to pocket diapers, except the absorbent part of the diaper is attached to the outer waterproof layer. You have the option of laying in a soaker for additional absorbancy, but all in all, no stuffing and no cover needed.

All-In-Twos (AI2s): All-in-twos are easy-to-use diapers that are easier to wash and dry than all-in-ones. The diaper is two parts, a shell and soaker. The shells are designed to be reused while the soakers are changed at every diaper change. Therefore, more soakers than shells are needed. Some diapers of this nature have a disposable insert option and are referred to as Hybrid Diapers.

So many options, so little time. Some may work for you, some may not. The important thing to do is to identify what your cloth diapering needs/wants are. As always... questions? Shout it out.

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