Sara from Diaper Daisy Breaks Down Cloth Diapers

Everyone please welcome Sara from Diaper Daisy to For The Love of Baby! She has broken down all there is to know about Cloth Diapers. Stick around too because Sara has some prizes too!

I am so excited that Jenna invited me to participate in her Going Green series at For the Love of Baby.  I am here to talk about cloth diapers, which are a fantastic way to go green with baby.  Today, I am going to do a quick overview of the different types of cloth diapers available, and tomorrow I will touch on how to determine which kind might be right for you.

When considering getting started with cloth diapers, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the number of choices.  But with a little knowledge of each type of diaper and your lifestyle, you can get an idea of which type of cloth diaper might be right for your family.  I am going to give you a quick rundown of each type of diaper, in order from the least expensive to the most expensive.  You will see that as you pay more, the diapers become more convenient to use.

Your browser may not support display of this image. Flat and Prefold diapers

Flat and prefold diapers are the simplest of cloth diapers.  Flats are a rectangle of cloth – prefolds build upon that by adding extra layers of fabric in the middle.  These diapers are either wrapped around the baby and secured (with either pins or a Snappi diaper fastener) before being covered with a diaper cover, or they can simply be folded into the diaper cover and wrapped around the baby without additional securing.

Advantages of flat and prefold diapers:

  • Very economical – a dozen diapers can be purchased for $15 to $30.
  • Absorbent
  • Can be used on their own, in conjunction with other absorbent materials, or as an insert in pocket diapers
  • Very durable – easy to wash and long-lasting

Disadvantages of flat and prefold diapers:

  • Require the use of a diaper cover
  • Take time to fold or wrap around the baby
  • Can be more difficult to wrap around a squirmy baby

Your browser may not support display of this image. Fitteds

Fitted diapers are the next step up from flat and prefold diapers.  These cloth diapers are made with cotton, bamboo, hemp, velour, or another absorbent material and are usually designed with elastic around the legs and some type of closure.  These diapers tend to be trim and fit snugly against the baby, doing a better job that prefolds of holding in diaper leaks.  However, like prefolds, these diapers are not water resistant, and so they do need a diaper cover.

Advantages of fitted diapers:

  • Fit trim and snug against baby
  • May do a better job holding in diaper messes than prefolds
  • Additional cloth layers can be added for naps or nighttime

Disadvantages of fitted diapers:

  • Need a diaper cover to be waterproof
  • More cumbersome to add additional absorbency than pocket diapers

Your browser may not support display of this image. Pockets


Pocket diapers are just what they sound like – diapers with pockets.  Most are structured with a waterproof outer layer and a stay-dry inner layer, and then the pockets are where the absorbent material is added.

Advantages of pocket diapers:

  • Easy to adjust diaper’s absorbency by changing the amount and type of inserts used
  • Outer cover and absorbent insert separate, making drying time shorter
  • Can be trim if the insert is thinner

Disadvantages of pocket diapers:

  • A separate insert must be used to keep baby dry
  • Can be bulky if a lot of inserts are needed to keep baby dry, especially at night

Your browser may not support display of this image. All-in-ones

All-in-one diapers (AIO) are the height of convenience in cloth diapers.  As the name suggests, these diapers come with all of the features of a cloth diaper in one simple package.  AIOs have a waterproof outer layer, an absorbent core, and either snap or hook-and-loop (Velcro) closures.  They function exactly like a disposable, except that they are washed instead of thrown away!

Advantages of all-in-one diapers

  • Most convenient type of cloth diaper
  • Diaper covers and inserts are not needed
  • These diapers are often preferred by babysitters, daycare providers, and reluctant dads and grandparents

Disadvantages of all-in-one diapers

  • Most expensive type of cloth diaper
  • Take a long time to dry

One Size Diapers vs. Sized

Within the fitted, pocket, and all-in-one diapers, there is also a choice of purchasing one-size or sized diapers.  One size diapers are designed to fit children from birth through potty-training with the use of additional snaps or other closures to adjust the rise of the diaper, whereas sized diapers are made to fit a specific size range.

One Size Sized
  • Designed to fit from birth through potty training – purchase one kind of diapers, and you’re done
  • A good choice for families with two children in diapers
  • Fit and trim – perfect size for the baby
  • Will last through multiple children and hold value better for resale after use
  • May not fit children who are smaller or larger than normal as well
  • Children may outgrow before potty training
  • Will probably not last for more than one child
  • Tend to be bulkier than sized diapers
  • Need to purchase two or three different sizes of diapers – more hassle and expense
  • Same diaper will not work  when a family has two in diapers

So, what is right for me???

After looking through all of this information, many parents’ heads are spinning. I remember thinking, “I just wish I knew the right answer – which are right for our family?” That is exactly the point I will touch on in tomorrow’s post. Hope to see you there! 🙂

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  1. Great post on different diaper types!! Wish I would have read this when I first started cloth diapering because I didn’t realize that you needed a cover with fitteds lol.

  2. I LOVE my bamboo diapers…I’ve got a couple bamboo fitted & just got my first GADBaby pocket diaper with a bamboo velour is the softest most absorbent material for diapers!!!- I don’t mind having to use a seperate cover on my fitted diapers, I think it adds to the variety & versatility!

    Great breakdown, AIO’s are the only kind I haven’t tried yet…maybe next baby.

  3. There is just so much – do you have advice on what you would tell someone who wants to get started with cloth? I kinda went through all the types with her but I feel so lost on what to tell her to buy.

  4. Upstatemomof3, I really do think that the person’s lifestyle and reasons for cloth diapering make a huge impact on what they should choose. I would tell her to consider those factors and pick out a few different types to try to see what will work well on the baby, and then try those, whether by purchasing one or two of a few different kinds or checking out a diaper trial.

  5. I am considering using cloth diapers with our third child, due in January, but I’m a little scared! I just started using g-diapers with my almost 2 year old, to ease myself into it, and I’m having issues with the dirty diapers already! Yikes 🙁

  6. Thanks for all the great info! I wish I had read this before I started with cloth to get a better idea of all the different kinds. I will be passing this along to a few friends who I know are interested too.

  7. I love how clearly you’ve broken this down. I have to say, I love pockets for their ease of drying. I have a Gro Baby with the snap in insert, and it takes twice as long to dry. I don’t have any traditional all in ones, as both of my “AIO”s are snap in aios for quicker drying, and i love that i can usually get the whole laundering cycle done with just one fluffy change so that I have only one one occasion been actually worried what snapdragon was going to pee on!

  8. I’m just starting out. So far I LOVE my pocket diapers, but I can see where stuffing pockets is going to get old. I think I want to try some fitted diapers next, but am a little worried about the loss of convenience.

  9. THis is some great information. I love my cloth diapering. It is hard to keep my husband on board. Mostly because we have homemade diapers for the most part and they sometimes leak. WE just can’t afford the beautiful cloth diapers out there, but I am trying to get a few here and there. At least the sitter will cloth for me, but she requires plastic pants over so they don’t leak… better than using disposables all the time.

  10. Marin, honestly, clothdiapering a newborn is MUCH easier for me because the dirty diapers are easier to deal with, especially for babies who are breastfed. You can just throw the diapers into the diaper pail and wash – nothing major until baby starts solids. Have you tried the new cloth inserts for gdiapers? It may be something to consider. I have also heard of quite a few gdiapers users using the cover over prefolds as well.

  11. thanks for the breakdown. i have always used AIOs, but recently starting using fitteds.

  12. I love fitteds first, because they can be trimmer and because they contain baby messes so well. A quick fitted AIO (but not a pocket diaper) is my favorite. But I also love one-size diapers, like Tiny Tush. (Bum Genius are finally growing on me.) And even though I dislike prefolds, my husband loves them! All in all, every one of our diapers gets used and loved. 🙂

  13. I’m really wanting to try prefolds and covers. I just thought it would be a slightly cheaper way to expand my stash. I’m currently using pockets and they are working great! I’d also like to try a few AIO’s. I just didn’t want to have to invest the money in having all AIO’s. I love cloth diapering and I wish I would have started when Ty was born, but I will definately start on day 1 with #2 whenever we(or God) decides to expand our little family! 😀

  14. I like the advantage you list with one-size diapers that they work great for 2 kids in diapers at the same time. We’re trying for #2 (baby #1 is 8 months old) and I didn’t even consider that we’d have to sort out 2 different sets of diapers. So now I don’t have to! Marissa

  15. what an awesome resource! i love how you broke everything down with the advantages and disadvanges! what kind of covers do you recommend for fitteds and prefolds? do you think a wool one works well or a water resistent? Also on the AIO’s do they get really clean or do they get stinky after a while?

  16. I am in love with my pocket diapers right now but it seems like the AIO might be something good to try too. Is Gro Baby an AIO diaper?

    I like that with the pocket diapers I can use prefolds inside when the inserts are all dirty. I am just looking for a liner solution now.

  17. Hi Sara,
    I really like how you’ve detailed the disadvantages as well as the advantages of each style – I think that would be very helpful to a cloth newbie. I like that your descriptions are simple, that you don’t get bogged down with all the sub-variations as well.

    Frameworks – a great way to help someone discover and then build on their knowledge.

    We use and have used a bit of everything but all-in-ones – budget forbid me on that one style.


    P.S I actually came here via the other post, and thought it was fabulous to break it down in terms of lifestyle factors. Best luck with your business, I hope this promotion really helps you to help lots of families make the switch!

  18. Sherri, I really love Thirsties covers for prefolds and fitted diapers. There are a lot of wool fans out there, too, but I personally like the others better for ease of care. The best situation I have found for wool is to use it as a cover for heavy wetters at night.

    Talina, all-in-one diapers are a great option for some families because they are all in one piece, so you just strap them on and go. Some also have pockets, so you can add absorbency when you need it. GroBaby diapers are in a category all their own because the absorbent layer snaps into the shell.

  19. This was a great post to read because we are just now branching out from PFs and covers and I feel like I’m swimming in different options and choices. Thanks for breaking it down for a “newbie” like me!

  20. Pingback: Choosing Cloth Diapers for your Family-Going Green Giveaway : For The Love of Baby! The Tattooed Mommy Blogger

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