Cheat sheet to cloth diapering...

November 04, 2013


My sister in law recently started her baby on cloth diapers which led me to do some research on cloth diapering. I went to a Getting Ready For Baby talk last year where a diapering service did a great talk on cloth diapering. I was bummed that I didn't do my research while being pregnant or have a class to share all the great benefits of cloth diapering. If you are considering cloth diapering here is a bit of a cheat sheet to get you started and hopefully lead you to the right one that works for you.

There are so many great ones out there; here are a few of my picks (starting left):

Babykicks Organic One Size Fitted Natural via Sears: Made with a custom blend of hemp and organic cotton. There is a front pocket that allows you to customize the absorbency, which is always nice to be in control of however some moms have told me they get tired of dealing with stuffing the pockets so it really is about you and the baby's comfort level.

GroVia One-Size All-In-One Cloth Diaper via Caribou Baby: I see this diaper a lot in my neighborhood, Brooklyn moms seem to love it which is not hard to see why, they are pretty darn cute. This diaper is known for having super absorbency which means no stuffing required. Made with organic cotton inner that is with a soft and has a water resistant TPU outer. 

Bum Genius Freetime All In One Reusable Diaper (pictured in turquoise and orange) via Target: Bum Genious is a brand that many moms recommended to me when I was considering cloth diapering. They have a stay-dry absorbent cloth that doesn't come apart from the diaper. The cloths that go into the diaper are easy to put in, no stuffing required.

Charlie Banana Reusable Diaper Set (pictured in red alphabet print) via Target: This is a diaper I can my sister -in- law gravitating towards. There is a soft lining which is great for sensitive skin, which I know most babies have however some more then others. The diaper will adjust with growth is which is nice, $$$ wise. My mom friends who have used them love the firm fit and that leaks are very rare.

Babee Greens Growing Greens Cloth Diaper via Caribou Baby: I really look for Caribou Baby for their baby picks. If they say this is great, I believe them for they are one of the lead experts in cloth diapering. This diaper is made with high quality organic. The diaper is  well constructed fitted one-size diaper that fit both small and growing babies, so important. There are also added benefits such a unique contour that features an umbilical cord cutout for comfort and healing.

Baby Kicks Premium Cloth Diaper Hook and Loop Closure via AmazonThis diaper is snug and is easy to fasten. They tend to be trimmer then some diapers which it is hard to avoid bulk in a cloth diaper especially on the go- so these would be great for a city mom. Also, since they are lighter they are great when leaving cloth diapers at daycare. 


What is what in cloth diapering (via momadvice) :


Prefolds are the types of diapers you probably think of when you are considering cloth diapering.  They are a traditional cloth diaper with a thick strip down the middle. These are typically worn with a diaper cover and are one of the least expensive options for cloth diapering.  They come in three sizes- Preemie (4-10 pounds), Infant (newborn to 15 pounds) & Premium (15-30 pounds). 

There are different types of prefolds out there and many abbreviations for them. A DSQ Prefold, simply means that it is Diaper Service Quality versus the type of diaper you would find in your discount store. They are more absorbent than the Gerber brand and are the type that you would pay money for from a diaper service company.  CPF stands for Chinese Prefold and it is the most popular type of prefold on the market. It has heavy-duty stitching, is usually made of twill, and washes up extremely well. Another option for prefolds are Indian Prefolds which are softer than the CPF and are made of gauze rather than twill. They are more absorbent, but do wear out a little faster than the Chinese Prefolds.

When your child outgrows the Infant or Preemie size diapers, you can reuse these for dust rags or they can be used as a diaper stuffer or to double up your stuffing at nighttime. We used a hemp insert & a prefold in our daughter’s pocket diaper before she went to bed. It makes for a bulky diaper, but we have never ever woke up to her being soaked in the morning.

Diaper Covers:

If you are interested in using the prefolds, you will probably want to purchase waterproof diaper covers too.  A prefold can be folded inside of the diaper cover and the diaper cover simply covers the prefold and acts as a waterproof barrier.

Fitted Diapers:

Fitted diapers can also be used with Diaper Covers. Instead of using a prefold, you can use a fitted diaper, which has elastic gathering around the legs and usually has snaps or a Velcro closure to keep the diaper together.  Place the diaper cover over the fitted diaper, and you are ready to go. These types of diapers are less expensive than other options, however, they are more expensive then using prefolds. Despite the cost, these got the thumbs up from my husband who found them to be much easier to use than the prefolds (particularly in the middle of the night).

Contoured Diapers:

These diapers are very similar to the fitted, but are missing the elastic gatherings around the legs and waist. The diaper has wings that need to be fastened. These also require a diaper cover.

Pocket Diapers:

Pocket diapers are usually made with two layers of fabric sewn together to form a pocket for an absorbent insert. This type of diaper just fastens on and does not need a diaper cover over it.


Inserts are used for pocket diapers. They can be made of a variety of materials- micro-terrycloth, regular terry cloth, hemp, or you can just use prefolds as inserts. “Doubling up” just means using more than one insert, which you could do if you were away for an extended amount of time or at nighttime before bed, to discourage leaking.

All In One:

You will often see this term abbreviated to AIO. An All In One is a cloth diaper that has a waterproof cover and an absorbent inner liner that is all in one piece, thus the name. These diapers fasten usually with a hook/loop or snap fasteners. The choice fabric for these is usually wool, for the outer layer. These types of diapers are heavily relied on by a lot of parents who need a convenient diaper for daycare or for babysitters.  

One Size Diaper:

You will often see this term abbreviated to OS. A one size diaper usually fits the child from the day they are born until they are thirty to thirty-five pounds. These diapers usually have snaps that go across the diaper (making it smaller or bigger) and they can be folded over to create smaller sizes.  As the child grows, the snaps on the legs can become larger.

Wool Soaker:

A wool soaker is a diaper cover that is made exclusively of wool. This type of fabric has a high lanolin content, so it works well as a diaper cover. It can hold up to forty percent of its weight in moisture and can be used with fitted, contour, or prefold cloth diapers.


Helpful links & Resources:

How To Wash Cloth Diapers via Babycenter

Local cloth diaper resource and classes via Caribou Baby

Detergents for laundering cloth diaper:

Rockin Green

Charlie's Soap Laundry Powder 

Mrs. Meyers 2X Laundry Detergent-Baby Blossom


Posted By Donna

Photo source

Cloth diaper definitions via momadvice

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