When I first began to research cloth diapering I became over whelmed by all of the options. I wasn’t familiar with many of the terms, and it took me a while to figure out how everything worked. Today I want to easily break it down for you and make a convenient guide, a dictionary of sorts. I hope that I have gathered everything, if I have forgotten anything please let me know.
Cloth Diaper Dictionary
Pre fold diaper
Prefolds- a prefold is pretty much what you think of when it comes to a cloth diaper. It’s a rectangle, with a thicker center you can do many folds with it to wrap around the baby’s bum. In the old days pins were used to keep the diaper closed, and a plastic pant was put over the diaper. Today, most people use Snappis and a diaper cover. Prefolds usually need to be prepped, meaning you need to wash and dry them 6 to 8 times before you can use them. Pretty much the more you wash and dry them the more absorbent they become. They can come bleached or unbleached, Chinese style, or Indian style.
All In One (AIO)- AIO diapers are pretty much a no work diaper. The diaper is just like a sposie, one easy step. (Very day care friendly diapers!) They can be line dried or put in the dryer, they tend to take a long time to dry. Like a diaper cover they can be OS, or come in various sizes. They also come in aplex or snaps.
Snappi- Snappi’s are used to keep prefolds together.
Diaper Covers- Diaper covers are made with a leak proof material (PUL). They can come sized (small, medium, etc) or one size fits all. If they are os then the diaper usually snaps down to a smaller size, then as the child grows you can snap to a medium size, after leave totally unsnapped for a large size. Diaper covers can last from 8 lbs to potty training. They either come with hook and loops or snaps. Some people hang dry covers (they dry pretty quickly), but they can be thrown in the dryer for a quick dry. The covers do need to be resealed in the dryer to prevent leaks, I reseal mine about once a month.
Fitted diaper- A fitted diaper is an absorbent material that looks like a diaper but is not water proof. They wrap around the body and are very soft and comfy. However they are NOT water proof and require a diaper cover. They can be snapped or aplexed. They can take a while to dry but not as long as an AIO. A fitted diaper can be made from hemp, bamboo or other absorbent fabrics.
Contour diaper- Contour diapers are very similar to fitteds. Except that they usually do not have elastic bands around the waist and legs.
Hybrid/All in two (AI2) diaper
An AI2 diaper is a diaper cover with an insert that sits (or snaps) inside.) The insert can be cloth or flushable (making it a hybred). So when the diaper is soiled you can replace the insert and wipe the cover clean (the wet does not sit on the PUL fabric) and the cover can be used again. Most people replace the cover during changes and let the other one air dry, then they use the cover for the next change. Also the cover is usually put in the pail/wet bag when its pooped on. (These are the diapers I use most, and in my opinion are the best for your buck.)
Pocket diapers are probably the most popular form of CD’s right now. The outside is a waterproof fabric, it is then lined with a soft material that wicks moisture down to an insert that is stuffed inside of the diaper. Meaning baby is not really sitting in wet! These diapers can be prestuffed which makes them great for daycares, baby sitters, and lets not forget about dads! They can be hung dry or put in the dryer. They come sized or one size, with snaps or aplex. Also, some people prefer to stuff pockets with prefolds.
Inserts are used to either stuff a pocket diaper or lay in an AI2. They can be made from micro fiber, bamboo, or another absorbent fabric. Microfiber should NOT touch baby’s skin (it will severely dry the skin out). So if the insert is made for an AI2 then it will have a materiel that is suitable for baby’s skin that will wick the moisture down (similar to the top layer of a pocket diaper.) Inserts may also be disposable, most true CD users only use these flushable liners for travel or a diaper rash. Some inserts can either snap or fold down to fit a OS diaper.
Doubler’s/soakers- These can be stuffed with an insert for more absorbency, or layered under an insert/fitted/prefold. They look similar to an insert.
Liners- Liners can be laid under baby’s skin, they are very soft and wick the moisture down. Liners are made from various material including fleece and raw silk. They can be cloth or disposable, many people use them at night and when diaper rash cream is needed. *Note- when using Shiny Heiny Bum Butter, a liner is not needed!
Wet bags/ pale liners- Wet bags and pale liners are made of waterproof PUL. Some are zippered/draw stringed/ or just left open. Dirty diapers are placed in the bag, then the whole bag is dumped in the wash, including the bag. They come in numerous sizes, including small to fit into a diaper bag.
Diaper pales- Some people store dirty diapers in diaper pales. They are usually lined with a pale liner that is made out of PUL. (Old fashioned wet pales use to contain water, this is a HUGE safety hazard and for the most part is no longer practiced.) You can buy a pale from a CD retailer, or use a plastic trash can.
Wipe Solution- This solution can be bought or home made, many just have a tad of baby wash to make cleaning easier. I have a peri bottle from the hospital that I put water in to wet my wipes, I also have a spray bottle for the diaper bag. Honestly though most of the time I just wet my wipe in the sink before use. Also some people wet a few wipes and keep them in a container, if this is done they need to be used/replaced frequently to keep them from becoming moldy.
Many people who CD use cloth wipes (including me)! They can be made or bought. I made mine from thin Gerber burp clothes, I cut them into six pieces and had instant wipes. Cloth wipes tend to clean more then a sposie wipe. I use one cloth for every three sposie. They are just thrown into the wet bag, and washed with the diapers.
Diaper Sprayer- Many people buy diaper sprayers to clean CD’s. You hook them up to the toilet and use it to spray of waste. This does not need to be used until baby starts on solids. Some people dunk the diaper in the toilet rather then spraying. You can also “plop”/scrape the waste in. Many people also just put a liner down and plop the solid in the toilet
Fleece/Wool Diaper Covers
Fleece and wool are both unique fabrics, in that this wick away moisture, being water proof. Some of covers may have snap or hook and loop others like ours pull on. Fleece and wool can also be longies, they are pants that second as a diaper cover.
My favorite diaper products would have to be my fleece diaper covers and longies. Not just because they are our products, but because of how soft and breathable they are. I also think that they are Lady Petunia’s favorite since she gets so excited when I put them on her.
What is your favorite cloth diaper product?
Make sure you check out part 1 and Part 3 of this series.