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Styles of Diapers

So you have made the decision to cloth diaper. That is great but what basic supplies do you need?

Have you decided on the style of diaper you will be using?

Let’s go over the different styles:



  • All-In-One cloth diapers or as many stores like to call them (AIO)- these diapers have one absorbent layer then a waterproof cover but they are all one piece. They go on and off just like a disposable diaper. There major disadvantage is that they take a really, really, really long time to dry. And since you have to put the in the dryer then they tend to wear out quickly.


  • Pocket cloth diapers-a waterproof outer shell that has a inner “Pocket” running from the front to the back. That holds an absorbent insert that looks like a supersized maxi pad. This is stuffed into the pocket so the whole diaper works similar to a disposable without the harmful chemicals. But once wet the pocket diapers will need to be “unstuffed” before washing, which will require you touching the inserts to separate them from the shell.  A major disadvantage is that “stuffing” the pockets are a hassle and leaking is a BIG problem with pockets.

  • All-in-Two cloth diapers (AO2)-these are very similar to the AIO except they have snaps on there waterproof covers so another absorbent insert can be used without having to “stuff” into pockets. This insert will stay in place even in the wash. Their major disadvantage is that they don’t dry very well, are somewhat complicated and difficult to add extra soakers into.

  • Fitted cloth diapers-these are very easy to put on and seem very comfortably because they are soft and stretchy. They are also very absorbent which makes them a good choice for nighttime. Since the covers can be reused they also have a prolonged life. The covers dry quickly on the clothes line. The major disadvantage to these is since they are in two pieces you are going to get your hands messy touching the wet/poopy diaper. And they take longer since they are in two pieces but they work great for nighttime!


  • Prefold cloth diapers-are the old fashioned “cloth diaper” that you can buy in many stores these days. We use them as burp cloths. With these you will need a waterproof outer shell of some sort. Many people will pin the diaper with diaper pins but they have now come out with new fasteners called Snappi and Boingo. These are both neat fasteners that are replacing the diaper pins to prevent accidental poking. You will also need a waterproof cover for these.


  • Flat cloth diapers-now these are the diaper I remember my mother using. I also used these these as dish towels. If you could think of a prefolded cloth diaper before the machine folded and folded it. That is what a flat diaper is. Just one thin sheet that you will need to fold yourself. Oh and you will also need a waterproof cover for flat diapers. They are secured with your choice of the above fasteners.


  • Flip cloth diaper covers-these have inserts that just lay/tuck in the shell. These are nice because there isn’t any “stuffing” involved. As the name suggests you just “flip” out the insert, dry and insert a fresh absorbent pad. Since these air dry so quickly and you really don’t need to use the dryer this prolongs their life. A disadvantage to “flip” diapers is that there nothing holding the two pieces together so it’s important to make sure that all the absorbent parts are tucked in.

So no matter what style of diaper you decide to use there are things to consider. Advantages and disadvantages, such as drying situations. For example as I pointed out, many diapers will last longer if they are air dried as apposed to machine dried.

Something you need to take into consideration is what is important to you and your family. What do You want, not what others think is best. How important are natural fibers to your family? What do you want your baby’s skin to be touching? These are questions only you can answer.




If you have any questions or need a hand, feel free to leave a comment below and I will be more than happy to help you out.


All the Best,

Elaine Smith

6 thoughts on “Styles of Diapers

  1. Thank you. A very interesting article. My grandmother was a big believer in cloth diapers herself. Again thank you for the article.

    1. I found many interesting pieces of information while I was doing my research. A few things I didn’t realize. My mother was also a great cloth diaper person and they are now coming back. Some of my nieces are choosing to cloth diaper also.

  2. Thanks Elaine,
    This was a very interesting article. I did not realize how many types of diapers are available.
    I used flat cloth diapers for a while, before switching to disposable. That was years ago, my youngest is now 17.

    Which type of diaper do you think would be best for new parents to begin using?

    1. Thanks for the comment.
      You are correct.. there are so many different types of diapers available.
      As far as which one I would recommend that totally depends on the child and what their needs are. For example what worked great for my daughter was not the best for my son. That’s really a choice the mother will make. However I did like the AO1 simply because of convenience.

      Tried and true


  3. Admittedly, they do ‘sound’ complicated to use, and some of them to wash too. But, as a former user of disposable nappies, I think the return of old fashion diapers is great news for the environment. And the proof that more families are reverting back to material nappies is in the fact that so many retailers are now selling them again. I guess the only precaution to using material nappies would be in getting a goo supply, so that you never fall short in … emergencies !
    Thank you for dedicating your website to something so useful and environmentally friendly 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my website. Some are maybe difficult to laundry but you can get in a routine and then it will just seem like second nature. Especially when you think about all the benefits.

      Tried and true


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