Here's the lingo....AIO, AI2, hybrid, pocket, trifold/prefold, cover just to name a few!
So what does all this really mean?
Well, lucky for you, you are reading this blog. You have obviously done some research, thinking, and maybe even some talking about the possibility of using or switching to cloth diapers, otherwise I don't think you would be interested in what I have to say. I have to admit...I am not an expert. I am just a parent who has experienced the highs and definite lows of learning about, and using, cloth diapers. I will admit that it is a confusing, frustrating, and often times, draining journey.
Let's start with my most favorite/used types of diapers and then go from there.
AIO: This stands for All In One. This type of diaper is changed in the same way as a disposable. The whole diaper comes off, and you put a whole new one on the baby. All In One means that the absorbent soaker pad is attached and sewn in and usually comes with an extra booster for heavy wetting/naps that you can either lay on top or snap onto the bottom of the attached pad. This is a very popular style of diaper as many people say it is very daddy, grandparent, and day care friendly. These are very easy to use, fast, and usually not very bulky. If you read my last post "Navigating the Cloth Diaper World," you will be able to know that most AIO's are made with cotton knit, bamboo velour, or polyester fleece. The photo below shows an example of a cotton knit style with extra soaker pad snapped in place. You can see how this sample looks on my baby model and snaps closed on the sides.
AI2: AI2, or All-in-2 diaper, is another popular option because it is pretty easy and a little more economical than the AIO. Again there are many different styles/brands out there, but essentially the inserts are usually snapped in place inside the cover. The theory is that when the baby is needing to be changed, unsnap the soiled insert and then snap in a clean one into the same cover. The cover can be used a few times before needing to be changed (unless it is really soiled with poop/pee). Very easy to use, however keep in mind that inserts are usually brand specific. This means that not all inserts will snap into all covers. These snap-in inserts are usually made of cotton knit, hemp, bamboo, and polyester or cotton fleece. The photo below shows an example of a cotton insert.
HYBRID: This diaper is exactly what the name implies. This is a part cloth/part disposable diaper system. The insert that gets put inside the diaper is disposable/biodegradable and is typically held in place with an adhesive. Every brand of this style of diaper typically sells their own disposable insert. You may ask yourself, "If you are using cloth diapers why have a disposable insert?" Well each person is different in their rationale, but my main reasonings are these...diarrhea, travel or long day outings, beach. Of course I'll admit that it is also a good idea just in case you run out of clean diapers (yes, this really happens), or are too lazy or sick yourself to deal with cloth (yes, this happens too)! The disposable option is just that...an option. You can always just use the cloth insert. Disposable inserts are not necessary, and keep in mind that these are sold separately (and also brand specific) so it is an extra purchase! The photo below shows what this looks like.
POCKET: This style of diaper is another very popular option for ease of use. Again the whole diaper is removed during changing, and a new one is put on. The term "pocket" is used because the diaper has a pocket that you insert the absorbent pad into. These diapers usually come with a couple of absorbent inserts so you can boost absorbency as needed for your baby, or for longer periods of wear (naps or overnight). The absorbent inserts for pocket diapers are typically made of microfiber fleece. This style of diaper is also typically made of polyester fleece so that the baby will not "feel" the wetness upon urination. The picture below shows an example of this style of diaper.
TRIFOLD/PREFOLD: This style of diaper is popular for it's economic value. I refer to this style as "old school" cloth diapers. As you can see below the trifold/prefold is simply folded and put inside of a diaper cover. Once this is done you simply put baby on the diaper, bring up the front, and secure it closed. The economic value of this system is that trifolds/prefolds are typically only $1-$5 a piece. If you are using a good cover, you will be able to take out the soiled fabric and replace it with a fresh one. In essence, you will not need to purchase as many covers as you would diapers. In the photo, you can see how the trifolds/prefolds work. This choice of system definitely takes a little more getting used to handling and probably a little more explaining for the other caregivers in your baby's life as it is not as easy to put on as the above options (I can attest to this first hand, especially with a mobile toddler)!
COVERS: Covers are simply that. They are made of PUL so that they are waterproof and hold in the wetness/mess when the insert is soiled. A lot of covers are made so that they can be wiped clean between changes if needed. There are many types/brands of covers, but the thing to keep in mind is that they can be relatively cheap. I have seen covers from approximately $10-$17+. It really depends on what you want. Economical covers are usually very thin and plain colored. The fancier the PUL fabric, the more money you will end up spending. In the photos below you will see a few different types of covers that I own. They all basically work the same way. Usually the recommendation is that the cover can be reused 2-3 times before needing to be replaced. Two types of covers that I use are shown below.
There is more to come on this subject! One thing you do not realize once you start using cloth diapers is how much you want to talk about them! Let me know if you have any specific cloth related questions...Are you enjoying the info?