Cloth Diaper Options and Accessories

Cloth Diapers 

Prefold- usually made of cotton, hemp, or bamboo, prefolds are probably what you think of when you
hear "cloth diaper."  Prefolds are rectangular and consist of multiple layers of fabric with more down the middle strip wetzone.  They are folded in a variety of ways and pinned or snappied on.  You must use a cover with prefolds. 
Pros:  Cheapest way to build a stash, easy to care for, double as burp cloths
Cons:  Some people think they are tricky, you will have to buy bigger sizes as child grows, not as absorbent as alternatives

Flat - the original nappy!  A large piece of cloth that has to be folded to create wetzones and then is pinned or snappied on, and is made from cotton, hemp, or bamboo.  Must be worn with a cover.
Pros:  Inexpensive, easy to wash and dry, some very luxurious fabrics are often used

Cons:  Trickiest type of diaper requiring more effort than others, works better with pins, harder to find

All-in-One (AIO) - the most popular choice for modern cloth diapers.  AIOs fit like disposables and consist of one piece with a waterproof outer and absorbent inner.  They usually snap or velcro shut.  AIOs can be sized (S, M, L) or one-sized (fits 5-32 lb).  They are a great choice for daycares or going out of the house.
Pros:  Easiest  in terms of putting on and changing diaper, usually trim under clothing, no need to buy extra diaper accessories
Cons:  Longer drying times, less ability to modify absorbency, may wear faster due to extra drying time.

All-in-Two (AI2)  - similar to AIOs, but they absorbent core usually snaps in.  You might be able to replace the insert and reuse the shell.
Pros:  Easy to use, faster dry time due to insert snapping in and out
Cons:  Somewhat harder to find, usually can't use shell with clean insert after 1st use.

Fitted - An absorbent, fitted diaper that snaps or velcros shut and must be used with a cover.  Made from all sorts of materials, esp. bamboo, hemp, and knitteds.  Fitteds can be sized or one-sized.
Pros:  Some think it contains heavy wetters/poo in better, works with a variety of covers, covers can be used multiple times, generally easier to use, drying time varies
Cons:  Must buy covers, may require snappi or pins

Pocket - can either be fitted or an AIO style, but the absorbent core is not sewn in rather it is stuffed in a pocket in the diaper.  A variety of materias can be used to stuff the diaper, including prefolds, inserts, etc.  These are available sized or one-sized, and snap/velcro shut.
Pros:  You have control over absorbency, simply add more or less stuffing, quick drying, easy to use
Cons:  Only one use before washing, have to stuff during changing, need to be prepped/stuffed to be sent to daycare.

Contoured - diaper that is shaped, or contoured to fit like a diaper without elastic or fasteners.
Pros - less expensive than most fitteds, slightly better fit than prefolds, generally quick dry
Cons - requires a cover, requires pins or a snappi, not as fitted to body so may allow for more leaks

Prefitted - fitted diaper made from a prefold
Pros - inexpensive, often easy to DIY, fairly easy care
Cons - not as absorbent as some other fitteds, requires a cover, may require fasteners

Hybrids- a popular new option.  Hybrids utilize cloth diaper-like covers and flushable or compostable inserts.  A few brands offer all cloth options with large pad-like inserts as well as the disposable inserts.
Pros - great for travel, versatile, may be more convenient for some families
Cons - more expensive, constant purchasing of inserts, may need several more covers because inserts don't always contain blow-outs, contributes to waste

Covers - waterproof or water-resistant cover that is used over prefolds, fitteds, and other non-waterproof diapers.  In the past they were made out of thin plastic.  Most modern covers are made from PUL (polyurethane laminated) fabric, a stretchy fabric that is coated with a very thin waterproof layer.  Other covers are made of fleece or wool.

Cloth Diaper Accessories

Snappi -the modern alternative to diaper pins, a snappi is made of stretchy plastic that hooks into the diaper.  They look tricky, but they are not.

Wet Bag - small waterproof bag to store wet diapers in when you are out.

Hanging Pail - large waterproof bag that can be used as an alternative to a diaper pail.  Generally takes up less space and can be washed with diapers making it less stinky than a pail.

Diaper Pal - like a medium trashcan to throw dirty diapers in, diaper pails can be lined with waterproof liners or unlined.  Some people fill with water and vinegar or baking soda, so diapers soak until washed.  This is the wet pail method.  There is a danger of drowning associated with the wet pail method.

Dryer Balls - alternative to dryer sheets.  Dryer Balls can be made of plastic or wool and reduce static as well as soften.

Liners - made from thin paper or fleece, liners can help protect diapers from staining.  Fleece liners can help baby feel dryer.

Inserts - pads made from microfiber, hemp, bamboo, and more used to increase a diapers absorbency.

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