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  • Mama of wildlings

Common modern cloth diaper styles

Updated: Oct 19, 2021

There are several different styles, when it comes to cloth diapers. While one option works great for one family, it might not be your favorite. We highly recommend trying out different styles AND different brands, before going all in on one.

COVERS: Are the waterproofing outer layer needed for absorbent diapers, such as flats, prefolds and fitteds. They come in two sizes: Newborn and One Size. Covers do not absorb by themselves. Prefolds or flats are essentially large pieces of fabric that you fold to wrap around your baby, they can be fastened with snappis or safety pins with a cover on top. Fitteds are made to fit your baby and come with closure snaps.

POCKETS: Pocket diapers are similar to a cover with an added fabric lining on top creating a pocket. the opening forming in the back (or front) of the diaper. This allows you to customize your diaper absorption with whichever style/type of insert you prefer based off of your absorption needs (We will discuss Insert types at the end of this blog post). Pocket diapers have different options for interior material, micro-fleece, microsuede, athletic wicking jersey, bamboo cotton, being the most popular choices.

ALL IN ONE (AIO): means that the absorbent cloth diaper and waterproof diaper cover are sewn together to create one piece. An AIO cloth diaper is all sewn together, meaning your covers match your inserts 1:1. This is where the added investment comes in. It also means you're washing your covers after every single use, which adds wear and tear. You are also not able to interchange inserts to accommodate different absorbency needs.

ALL IN TWO (AI2): With an AI2, your insert and cover come separate, which allows you to re-use your cover 3-4 times before laundering. This means you only need about 6 waterproof covers for a full set (approximately 24) of absorbent inserts.


Microfiber inserts

· tend to be the cheapest inserts available. They are made from synthetic fibers. Microfiber absorbs fast, but doesn’t hold a large capacity. Microfiber cannot be placed directly on the skin, it will cause dryness and irritation to the skin. Microfiber is similar to a sponge, when squeezed, it leaks. Microfiber is more prone to compression leaks, meaning if the insert is completely saturated and your baby is playing/falling/sitting in a carseat the insert will compress causing the diaper to flood and leak. Microfiber is also prone to barnyard stink. NOT a good long term choice.

Bamboo charcoal inserts

· Most (if not all) bamboo charcoal inserts are microfiber inserts wrapped in a layer of bamboo charcoal. While they offer antimicrobial properties, they do not really hold much more, they too are also prone to compression leaks. Since the microfiber is covered by bamboo charcoal, However this insert is safe to use directly against the skin. These inserts are also still prone to barnyard stink.

Cotton inserts

· Cotton inserts have a much higher liquid capacity, cotton is a "natural fiber", meaning that it is safe against the skin. Cotton works great for heavy wetters, and as doublers for overnight diapers. Cotton inserts tend to be a bit on the expensive side, but generally well worth it.

Bamboo inserts

· Bamboo inserts are considered synthetic as the process to make them into inserts is by breaking them down into a pulp, aged, and then made into a fiber. Although it is considered synthetic, it is still safe to place directly on the skin. Bamboo is very absorbent, easy to clean, and doesn’t hold onto smells as easily. Also on the more expensive side, but the absorbency capacity makes them worth it.

Hemp inserts

· Hemp inserts are the most absorbent insert however they are slow absorbing. Hemp generally isn’t ideal for those who are flooders. Hemp can also hold stink, and tend to be one of the more expensive options.



· Flats are a large piece of fabric that can be folded to suit your baby and then a cover goes over it., or it can be folded to fit inside of a pocket diaper too.


· Prefolds are a piece of fabric where the middle has more layers. It can be folded to suit your baby with a diaper cover, or folded to fit inside of a pocket diaper too.

We really hope you find this guide helpful! feel free to leave questions in the comments!

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