What type of cloth diaper is the “best”?
The right question to be asking is “What type of cloth diaper is the best for my family?” The best cloth diaper for you is one that fits into your financial budget, lifestyle and values. Here is an overview of the different types of cloth diapers and their individual benefits to help you choose what is the best type for you and your baby.
Prefolds are the most basic type of cloth diaper and are what many of us first think of when we hear “cloth diapering.” Prefolds consist of two parts - a flat cotton layer that needs to be folded and secured around your baby and a waterproof cover. Back in the day, our parents and grandparents used pins to secure the cotton layer but today we either rely on the cover to keep the diaper in place or we use a Snappi fastener. No more sharp pins to worry about!.
Prefolds are usually considered the most economical choice of cloth diapers. You don’t need to change the cover with every diaper change - only if it is soiled. Typically you will need to purchase different sizes of the cloth prefold and the covers. Prefolds are absorbent, easy to clean and budget friendly. However, they do have two steps and require you to become comfortable with folding and applying the cloth diaper.
Fitted diapers are similar to prefolds in that there are still two parts, but differ in that the absorbent inner layer is contoured to fit the baby's shape with elastic around the legs and waist. This inner layer is usually secured in place with snaps or velcro and still needs a separate waterproof cover. With most brands, you will need to buy a new size as your baby grows.
Fitted diapers claim to be more absorbent and hold in blowouts better than prefolds, but they are more expensive and take longer to dry. There are still two steps when using fitted diapers and they must be used with a waterproof cover.
All-in-Two or Hybrid
If you want a reusable diaper that offers the benefits of cloth with the convenience of disposable diapers when away from home, the Hybrid may be right for you. Also called the All-In-Two (AI2), Hybrid diapers come with an outside waterproof shell that can hold either reusable cloth or disposable absorbency layers. This gives parents the flexibility to use reusable cloth at home and disposable inserts when out in public or when the child is at daycare.
The hybrid diaper still consists of two parts and depending on the brand, you may need to buy new sizes as your baby grows. AI2 or Hybrid diapers are easier to put on than prefolds and you can change the cover independently of the absorbent layer. These diapers are more expensive than prefolds but typically cost less than All-in-Ones.
Pocket diapers have a waterproof outer layer and a pocket where you can stuff absorbent inserts made of cotton or bamboo. They are fairly easy to use, as you can adjust the absorbency as needed and are fairly quick to dry. When the diaper is soiled, the liner and outer layer both need to be taken off and washed. Depending on the brand, pocket diapers may have adjustable sizing so your supply will last up until potty training.
Pocket diapers are liked for their adjustable absorbency and comfort. They are more expensive than previous types discussed, the outer cover needs to be changed at every diaper change and you need to remove the insert before washing.
All-in-One (AIO) diapers are generally considered the easiest cloth diaper to use because it goes on and off very much like a disposable diaper. It is a well-fitted, one-piece diaper - the inner absorbent layer and the waterproof cover are all connected. And typically these diapers have adjustable sizing - eliminating the need to buy a new size as your baby grows. Do Good Baby diapers are durable and ultra-absorbent All-in-One diapers.
AIO are very easy to use, great for caregivers uneasy using cloth, well fitted and absorbent. Because the absorbent layer is sewn into the cover, the entire diaper needs to be taken off and washed after it is soiled. How the absorbent layers are connected to the liner will affect how easily the diapers will wash and dry. Do Good Baby's AIOs have two absorbent flaps to allow for superb washing and drying. AIOs are usually the most expensive type of cloth diaper but the same diaper can last from infant to potty training.
As you can see, there are so many options when you are ready to use cloth diapers! If you are still unsure what diaper type will work best for you, try a few out! You don’t have to go all or nothing - purchase a few different styles and try to use just one cloth diaper a day or just on the weekends or just at naptime, etc. Do Good Baby offers a 7 Diaper Challenge Package to encourage you to try using one cloth diaper a day for a week.
If the idea of washing the diapers makes you nervous, check out a cloth diaper service in your area. And finally, if you desire more information on cloth diapers, check out Do Good Baby’s Cloth 101 classes live on Zoom. Remember, the BEST cloth diaper is the one that works best for your family’s budget, lifestyle and values!