Becoming a parent is no cheap feat these days. Once all of the big one-time items are purchased, there is the never ending revolving door on all of the necessaryNewborn Nursery disposable items: formula (for some), baby powder, wipes, and diapers. Parents are forever scrounging for sales, deals and coupons, especially for diapers. Many parents don’t even consider cloth diapers, but more people are curious than ever. Today’s cloth diapers have gone through a revolution and different types offer different advantages to each of us. These days cloth diapers come in bright colours, patterns, and designs. There are a multitude of diapers to pick from, with five primary types: prefolds, fitted diapers, pocket diapers, all-in-two’s (AI2’s), and all-in-ones (AIO’s).  This article hopes to help you find the right type of cloth diapers for you.


Prefolds are the most reminiscent of old fashioned cloth diapers.  It is a two piece combination, consisting of an absorbent soft inside and a waterproof cover.  Prefolds are basically squares of multiple layers of cloth sewn together to maximize absorbency, particularly down the middle of the square.  Covers mimic the shape of disposable diapers, and can be very colourful or covered in designs.  Prefolds are purchased according to the size of the baby, while many covers are designed to fit newborns and toddlers, and are adjustable.  The prefold itself is laid inside of the cover, and the diaper is then placed on the baby.  Covers and prefolds are the best option in cloth diapering when it comes to cost, they also dry the fastest after being washed.

Fitted Diapers

Fitted diapers are multiple layers of cloth sewn together in the shape of a diaper. Some have buttons, others are simply pieces of absorbent cloth.  They are made out of a lot of the same materials as prefolds.  Like prefolds, fitted diapers must be used with a cover. Fitteds without buttons can be secured the same way as prefolds.  Fitted diapers keep in solid waste a bit better than prefolds, due to their construction. This does cause them to cost more than prefolds, but are a bit easier to use.  They should be purchased based on the size of your baby.

Pocket Diapers

Pocket diapers are a great choice for value and usability.  They have a water proof outer shell, with a soft inner lining, and can have Velcro fasteners or snaps.  They open at the back so absorbent inserts can be placed inside.  Inserts are made out of all sorts of materials such as cotton, charcoal, hemp, or microfibers.  Prefolds can be used with pocket diapers as well, for extra absorbency, or simply as a cover for the prefold.  Using prefolds with an insert at night is a great way to add nighttime absorbency, helping babies and parents sleep through the night.  Pockets are more expensive than covers and prefolds, but are significantly cheaper than AI2’s and AIO’s.

AI2’s (Hybrid)

All-in-two’s (AI2’s), or hybrids, are a great option for parents just learning how to cloth diaper.  This diaper type consists of a waterproof outer shell with the ability to snap or otherwise secure various types of inserts inside, including disposable inserts and disposable liners. Disposable liners are usually designed to be flushable, which can cut down on necessary cleaning.  Based on the diaper design, they can be adjustable for baby size, or need to be purchased in various sizes.  Along with AIO’s, AI2’s are on the upper end of the cost scale, but they can be very convenient when compared to the other types.

AIO - All-In-One’s

All-in-one’s (AIO’s) are best option for cloth diapering when it comes to ease of use. They come wide range of designs & patters.  There are no inserts or extra pieces to manage. They mimic disposable diapers in the way they are used, except they don’t go in the trash at changing time.  The fasteners vary, as with the others types of diapers.  AIO’s are by and most convenient of the cloth diaper options and the most popular.

Cloth diapers have been reinvented in the last decade, and besides the five different types mentioned above, there are many different brands and designers to choose from.  Parents choose to cloth diaper for a variety of reasons.  Some cloth diaper due to sensitive baby skin, and some do it out of concern for the environment or just to help soften the financial burden associated with having a child. 

Whatever your reason for choosing to use cloth, there is a cloth diaper out there for every parent, every baby and every budget. 

February 12, 2018 by Rachel Hemi

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