Understanding the different types of Cloth Diapers


11After getting into the world of cloth diapers, understanding their different types can be quite overwhelming. When I was new to cding, I really wished they had come up with some course to understand the different types of cloth diapers, the different types inserts and which one to choose. So I will try to capture all these doubts here.


As you know by my previous post, cloth diaper consists of absorbent insert and waterproof outer shell. There are different types of cloth diapers in the market based on these combinations. This post is to help you understand the different types.

What are the types of Cloth Diapers?

  • Cover diaper: 4This is a very basic type with one insert and one cover. You just have to place the insert inside the cover and snap the diaper on the baby. Some of the covers come with additional snaps which help keep the insert in place. Here the covers can be reused by just replacing only the inserts every 2 hours or as and when insert gets soiled. So cover diapers are very economical. I recommend these for newborns, as they poop frequently and we would need a large number of other types in case of newborns. With covers, we can also use old cotton cloth pieces as inserts. For babies who are sensitive to wetness, we can use these with fleece or suede layers on top.
  • Pocket diaper: 14This is the one where in we need to stuff in the insert into the pocket provided in the shell. The inner surface of the shell will be wet free, so no extra layer needed. This can work very well for day time and lasts for 2 to 3 hours. If you want to use pocket diaper for longer duration, absorbency can be increased by adding extra inserts. While dumping for wash, remove the insert and dump. Like cover diapers, in case of pocket diapers also the shell and insert can be dried separately, so takes lesser time to dry. But here we will have to replace the entire cloth diaper when soiled. Even if the inner surface doesn’t feel wet, it is recommended to replace the entire diaper after 2-3 hours. I prefer pocket diapers for the ease of use. I use one insert for daytime and use a bi-fold ( long insert with multiple folds) for nights. These work the best for me at night, than the most preferred AIOs. Also removing poop out of pocket diaper is very easy, as only outer shell will be soiled.
  • All in One: As the name suggests, it is just one piece. The insert and cover are both sewed as a single unit. Here you cannot remove/detach the insert. This type of cloth diaper is the most closest to disposable diapers in terms of structure, just snap on the baby as it is and then dump for wash after use. This is most recommended for daycare for the ease of use. But this will take the longest time to dry as we cannot dry the layers separately. No stuffing pockets, no adding in extra insert as simple as it can be. I do not own this type.
  • All in two: 10Similar to the above AIO, only difference being we can snap in more inserts if needed, that is use one insert for daytime and snap extra insert for night time. This is the preferred night time diapering. It is easy to wash and easy to dry. Detach the inserts when putting for wash and drying. But I find removing poop out of this can get very messy, as poop can seep into all the layers from the edges. I have a lot of these and prefer these for travelling and night time.
  • Fitted : 12This is more closer to a traditional cloth nappy, difference being these are more structured with adjustable snaps. They are mostly only cloth, no water proof layer, so they are more breathable. These are preferred for day time and can be used to give baby ‘diaper- free’ time. These can be used with covers to make them waterproof. I use these also for daytime, without covers.8

Different types of inserts:

  • Microfiber: 3This is the most basic type, used in pocket diapers. They are the fastest absorb-er and also dry faster. They are not wet free, need to use suede covers to give them wet free feel. These should not be kept next to baby’s skin as it absorbs moisture from baby’s skin and can be very drying. I use these for daytime diapering.
  • Charcoal bamboo: 7Little less absorbent than microfiber and are dark in color, so poop stains will not be prominent on these.
  • Hemp: 5These are most absorbent and can hold in a lot of liquid, very good to be used for night time. But they absorb slowly, so it is better to have the fast absorbing microfiber layer on top of hemp. Microfiber + hemp are the recommended night time diapering insert combo.
  • Cotton: As it is natural it is safest for babies, but it does not give wet free feel. Also this can be the trimmest insert type which does not make the diaper look bulky.

Hope I could help you understand Cloth diapering a little better 🙂

Let me know what would you like me to cover next.

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