Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cloth Diaper Styles

Welcome to Cloth Diaper Month at The Accidental Wallflower! I am so excited to be doing this and have a ton of great posts lined up.

I thought we'd start out the month with a post on the different types of cloth diapers. Choosing the best style for your needs can be a very daunting task because there are so many options. If you have a cloth diaper store in your area I highly recommend taking a trip to see the different kinds in person. If that's not an option for you, I hope this blog post helps break down the different styles so you can pick which types you'd like to try with your baby.

First, let's talk about different closure types.


Snaps are my favorite closure type. They're very durable and great for toddlers because they're hard for little hands to undo.

Some diapers have two sets of snaps all the way across.

bum genius 4.0
Bum Genius 4.0

And some don't. I don't think it really matters which way.

fuzzibunz one size elite
FuzziBunz One Size Elite

To close the diaper the tabs have the corresponding "male" parts.

A downside of snaps is that they do take longer to put on the baby. This can be especially frustrating when you have a wiggly nearly-nine month old as we do!

Velcro/Aplix/Hook & Loop

imagine pocket
Imagine pocket

Velcro, aplix and hook & loop are all the exact same thing, I'll refer to it as aplix so it doesn't get too confusing. Aplix closures are a favorite of dads and daycare providers who don't deal with cloth diapers on a regular basis. They go on your baby just like a disposable and offer unlimited adjustability.

All aplix diapers basically look the same.

The tabs on aplix diapers have a square of fabric sewn in known as laundry tab. You affix the aplix to the tab to prevent diapers from sticking together in the wash.

Some of the downsides are that toddlers can easily take off these diapers and the aplix wears out fairly quickly. If you have aplix diapers its not difficult to replace but is an extra step that many parents don't want to have to deal with.


 Snappi fastener for cloth diapers

Some diapers don't have any type of built in closure, so you'll need a Snappi to keep the diaper on your baby (old school diaper pins will work, too). I have no personal experience using a Snappi so I can't give a fair review of them, but I wanted to include them here because they're a popular option, especially during the newborn phase.

Now lets talk about the different types of cloth diapers.


We've never used or washed this diaper

Flats are your grandmother's cloth diapers. As you can see it's just a big piece of cloth. I've heard flannel receiving blankets can be used as flats too, so you don't even need to go out and buy anything special to start cloth diapering! There are many different ways to fold these diapers to put around your baby. Flats aren't very popular these days because they do take so much longer to fold, but they are the most economical way to diaper a baby.
Cost: About $2 each
Fastener (snappi/diaper pins) Needed: Yes
Cover Needed: Yes


Gerber brand, not recommended for cloth diapering but they make great burp cloths!

Prefolds are similar to flat diapers, but they have extra absorbancy throughout the middle of the diaper to make folding it easier and quicker. As I mentioned above, these are a popular choice for newborns because they are less expensive than newborn AIOs.
Cost: $2-7
Fastener (snappi/diaper pins) Needed: Yes
Cover Needed: Yes


Good Mama

I hardly know anything about fitteds! They're like prefolds and flats for the most part but are shaped like a diaper so no folding is necessary. 
Cost: $10-40
Fastener (snappi/diaper pins) Needed: Depends on the diaper
Cover Needed: Yes


Covers can't be used as a diaper on their own. They are waterproof layers meant to be used on top of flats, prefolds and fitteds to keep moisture in. Covers are mostly made out of PUL (polyurethane laminate), but you can also find fleece and wool covers, which are used a lot for overnight.
Cost: $10-60
Fastener (snappi/diaper pins) Needed: No


FuzziBunz One Size Elite

My favorite type of cloth diapers! A majority of our stash is comprised of pockets. Pocket diapers have a PUL outer layer sewn together with a fleece or micro suede stay-dry layer. There is a pocket opening between the two layers where you add inserts, usually made of microfiber, hemp or bamboo. We typically use one insert during the day and two at night, but you could use more if needed. What I love so much about pockets is the fast drying time. We air dry everything and the pockets are dry after a couple hours and the inserts probably take four to six hours.
Cost: $5-30
Fastener (snappi/diaper pins) Needed: No 
Cover Needed: No

 All In Twos (AI2s)/Hybrids

G Diaper

Another type I don't know much about. Before we started cloth diapering, I briefly considered the G Diaper system. G Diapers consist of a reusable outer shell (like a cover) with an insert; either reusable or disposable. Another similar system is Flips, which is by the same company as Bum Genius.
Cost: Hard to determine since there are so many different styles and insert types
Fastener (snappi/diaper pins) Needed: No
Cover Needed: Yes

All In Ones (AIOs)

Tots Bots, Thirsties, GroVia
 AIOs are pretty self explanatory, everything you need to diaper your baby is in one piece. I like the AIOs where the absorbent pads aren't completely attached to the diaper (like the two on the ends in the above photo) because they dry so much faster. Some AIOs also allow for customizable absorbancy and others don't.
Cost: $10-26
Fastener (snappi/diaper pins) Needed: No
Cover Needed: No

So, there you have it! Pretty much every type of cloth diaper. Gosh, I hope I didn't miss one. I hope this was educational for you if you haven't started cloth diapering yet. The last thing I want to do is make it more confusing. But trust me, as soon as you purchase your first diaper the whole shebang becomes so much more manageable!

Thanks for participating in Cloth Diaper Month!

What's your favorite type of cloth diaper?


  1. I have been reading your blog for months now (found it through thebump) and decided it was high-time for me to leave a comment!

    I love that you are doing cloth diaper month! We decided to start CDing a few months back and I became so overwhelmed with everything out there. I could have used a post like this.

    Right now I have only used fuzzibunz and a pre-fold. I definitely prefer the pocket diaper! I hope to try and make some of my own soon.


  2. I read a lot of cloth diapering blogs. I especially did a lot of reading before having my son. I wish this were around back then, because this is the most informative post I have seen that breaks down which ones are which. I wish you could have talked about the AI2s, but I know it's hard to cover all the many types out there. That is why your post is so great! You covered so much. I am sure some mom out there who is thinking about cloth diapering is going to find this helpful.

  3. Great explanatory post! I remember how confusing the different types were to me when I was still pregnant and researching cloth diapers. Definitely recommending this post to other moms-to-be.


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