Cloth Diaper Systems

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I remember how overwhelming it was when I first began cloth diapering.  There were so many choices (and SO many more now!) and I had no idea where to start.

The one thing I did know was disposable diapers are gross and I needed something else.  I refused to compromise my child’s health any more (the gel crystals all over his private areas was the stick that broke the camel’s back!).

I want to help you get off to a smooth start.  But, plan for bumps in the road.  No one cloth diaper will work for all babies.  No one laundry detergent will work for all households.  However, as long as you stick to your convictions (why you began looking into cloth diapers) then you’ll ensure success in the long run.

You may have noticed that there are different kinds of cloth diapers.  Some need a cover, others need inserts and then there are those that need nothing added to them.  The following is a condensed explanation of the different cloth diaper systems. (Click => How to Make Cloth Diapers for links on how to make many different types of cloth diapers.) Check here for our recommendations on our favorites of each!

ALL IN ONES/ALL IN TWOS (AIO/AI2)

An AIO is generally viewed as a diaper that needs nothing else and is very similar to a disposable. The soaker is either sewn internally or externally (referred to as a quick dry soaker) and can close with snaps or Velcro (Velcro is a trademark but there are two other similar products: aplix (softer, long life, doesn’t roll in like touchtape can) or touchtape (stronger stick and available in a variety of colors) ).

An AIO does not require a cover. An AIO with an internal soaker will have a longer drying time because the air cannot circulate around the hidden material.

An external soaker, referred to as a Quick Dry (QD) soaker, allows for air to circulate around the soaker when drying, therefore quicker dry time.  The addition of a pocket to an AIO makes it a Stuffable AIO.

An AI2 has a snap in or lay in soaker . The name All in Two arose from the ability to get two uses out of each diaper.  When your child pees, theoretically you can remove the soaker and replace it with another if the shell did not get wet. AI2s also have a much faster drying time because the soaker is external.

POCKETS

A pocket diaper usually does not require a cover. The exception would be a fitted that has a pocket. A pocket can be made with a PUL (polyurethane laminate) or fleece outer.

The outer can also be any material backed or lined in PUL. Minky is lusciously soft and many makers offer this fabric for their pocket diapers.

The inner material choices for a pocket include: microfleece, suedecloth, velour, athletic wicking material, minky, cotton or bamboo. Different materials will feel different on the baby when wet. Of the fabrics listed above, microfleece, suedecloth and athletic wicking material are considered “stay dry”.  This means baby feels dry after a pee.

A pocket diaper is 2 layers of material sewn together on 3 sides leaving an opening for you to insert the amount of absorbent material you desire. The insert can range from a very trim microfiber towel to a bulkier infant prefold.  Another popular insert material is hemp. Hemp is a natural fiber that is antimicrobial and extremely absorbent as well.  Infant prefolds do double duty as an insert as well. Simply trifold the prefold and stuff the pocket. For added absorbency wrap the prefold around one of the above inserts.

FITTEDS

A fitted diaper is a diaper that contains no waterproof layer therefore requires a cover.  Fitted diapers are the easiest to make on your own because they can be made from any material you have laying around your house.

Fitted diapers can be made from cotton, hemp, fleece, velour, bamboo, knits, various types of terry cloth, kitchen towels, old t-shirts, sweatshirts and many other scrap fabrics you may have laying around. Fitteds are kind of like quiche…toss in any leftovers and out comes a great product!

Without a cover the pee will soak through and get you or the furniture wet. If you are just hanging out at the house for the day a cover isn’t necessary.  Just make sure to consistently change the diaper before a leak occurs.

You will undoubtedly stumble upon fitted cloth diapers and ask yourself the same question everyone asks at one time or another, “why are fitteds so expensive and cute when you just have to cover them up?”  Many factors go into the answer but just think of it like a good wine or expensive pair of shoes…you often get what you pay for.

PREFOLDS

Prefolds are an absolute staple that every mother should have in her basket. They are amazingly durable and versatile. A prefold diaper is a rectangular piece of cloth divided into 3 sections. The outside layers contain 4 layers of fabric and the middle contains either 6 or 8 layers. The middle layer is the absorbent layer.  You will see the prefolds described as 4x8x4 or 4x6x4. This describes the number of layers in the sections. It does not always mean the 4x8x4 are more absorbent. It is the weight of the fabric that indicates absorbency.

You will find some variations to the number of layers especially if you are purchasing specialized prefolds made with bamboo or velour. In some cases there may be 2 layers of bamboo with an extra layer of hemp in the middle.

Bamboo is a highly absorbent material, therefore needing fewer layers than cotton prefolds.  This allows for a trimmer fit as well. It comes down to what you want to pay and how soft a fabric you desire.

Prefolds generally come in three sizes-

  • Preemie (4-10pounds),
  • Infant (newborn to 15 pounds) &
  • Premium/Toddler (15-30 pounds).

There are different types of prefolds out there and many abbreviations for them.

  • DSQ simply means that it is Diaper Service Quality versus the type of diaper you would find in your discount store. They are more absorbent than the Gerber brand and are the type that you would pay money for from a diaper service company.
  • CPF stands for Chinese Prefold
  • Another option for prefolds are Indian Prefolds. Indian prefolds are said to be softer than the CPF and are made of gauze rather than twill.
  • There is also the choice of bleached or unbleached. Bleached prefolds are not whitened with bleach but rather with peroxide. Unbleached are in a natural cream colored state. Unbleached do require extra prep time to remove the natural oils in the fibers.

Prefolds can be pinned or snappied on your baby or you can fold it in 3 (trifold) and lay it in a cover. If you choose to use a different system prefolds can still be used as pocket stuffers or doublers. They are an investment worth making.

In upcoming posts I will explain different covers and how to wash your cloth diapers.  If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask.  When you read posts always read the comments.  There is a wealth of information found in the comments!

101 Responses to “Cloth Diaper Systems”

  1. Julie Says:

    Oh my, did you forget flats or did I just miss it? I think something needs to be said about flats. They wash and dry so much easier than everything else. I was so skeptical and never tried them with my first two cloth babies. I didn’t see how a single layer of thin cotton could contain the contents of a messy diaper, but over the last couple of years I kept reading about them (funny, I don’t recall much mention of them when my first two cloth babies were in diapers) and the flats challenge on Dirty Diaper Laundry and it made me curious. Why were all these people using flats and how did they work? So, I bought some unbleached flats. At first, I didn’t like them. My little one had some digestive issues and all her poos were watery even past the time when she started solids. So I put them away. The next year rolled around and the flats challenge came up again. I bought a few more because they were on a great sale and watched some youtube videos on how to fold them. Okay, now that I’d figured out how to fold them better (gotta pinch in the legs so they don’t leak) I used them more but I still didn’t like having to rinse them after a poo. Then baby girls’ poos started firming up and I decided to try pad folding. Whaaa? Why had I never tried this before?? It was soooo easy. Just fold into a rectangle and lay it in a cover. Spraying off solids was so easy on the flat surface. I love flats now! I’m having stink issues with my synthetics so I think I’m going to go all natural fiber for our dipes. Flats. Try them. :)

    Reply

  2. Mikayla Fex Says:

    Thanks for the blog post! Will most definitely keep this as reference when purchasing my cloth diapers!

    Reply

  3. Kerrie Says:

    Your site is VERY helpful! I’m due with my first in July and have been considering cloth diapers (for money and health issues…I have very sensitive skin so good chance baby will too) but I’m not sure I have fully committed yet, Hubby likes the idea…he was cloth diapered as a baby. I’m thinking about Bum Genius Organic AIO, but I am a little confused. I thought AIO didn’t require anything else but I keep seeing and being suggested on different purchasing sites to buy inserts??? Are they needed?
    Also, this probably sounds really silly and I’m almost embarrassed to ask but if baby has a messy poo (like I know they do) is it easy to clean up still, I mean from the diaper, and put into the toilet?

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      You can buy doublers to make AIOs more absorbent for long periods like nighttime and long car trips. I can’t say that every poopy diaper is easy to clean BUT you don’t really have to worry about that until you start baby on solids…another good reason to wait as long as you can to introduce solids :)

      Reply

    • Jennifer Kelly Says:

      Kerrie, you don’t need to worry about flushing baby’s poo until they eat solids. I know that sounds gross, but your baby’s poo is essentially just breastmilk so it will very easily break down and wash away in the washing machine.

      Reply

  4. Amy Says:

    Thank you so much for this site! I’m expecting my first in July and am trying to prepare myself for cloth diapering, and this site has helped so much. I plan to buy your guide to cloth diapering when I get a little closer to my due date. I love to sew and I’ve seen some books and PUL fabrics offered at Joannes by Babyville brand. Have you had any experiences with these diapers? I’m contemplating making my own in order to save money and to have a truly personalized cloth diapering experience. Thanks for your time.

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      I’ve heard many enjoy the kits but I’ve also heard that buying supplies in bulk is a better money saving option.

      Reply

  5. Emily Says:

    Hi from Italy! I’m due in March with my first and I would very much like to use cloth diapers with my little girl. The problem is Í live in Italy and moms don’t even seem to know what cloth diapers are! I’ve shopped around a little but there aren’t a lot of options and what there is is much more expensive than what’s available in the States (as is everything). I’ll be going back to CA for about a month over the holidays and would really like to stock up on cloth diapers (not to mention A LOT of other baby stuff), but I’m a bit worried that I’ll spend lots of money on something my baby (or I) might end up hating/not reacting to well. For the moment I’m doing my homework on the subject and literally taking notes, but as all the moms and moms-to-be have expressed: it’s soooo overwhelming…and being in Italy I really feel like my hands are tied.

    My questions are: With all the available options, is it silly for someone to buy everything in one-go before the baby is born? I read that you recommend about 24 diapers for a newborn; Can I feel comfortable just ‘going for it’? Is there a good ‘mix’ of cloth diapering options and brands that you could recommend to me for the first 4-6 months…Kind of like a starter/intro pack? I will most likely return to the States next summer with the baby so I’ll be able to assess the diaper situation and shop with more knowledge and experience then, so it’s the initial decisions I need help with!

    Thanks so much!! Grazie!!

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      That’s tough! I hate to recommend one diaper and it totally not work for your baby. Fitteds are the safest bet for newborns. A good absorbent one. Using fitteds cuts down (out) leaks that can happen with AIOs. There are so many newborn options available now — that weren’t available in January when I had #5. Where in California will you be? I highly recommend going into a store or two and checking out the stock. Granola Babies is Southern California, Banana Peels, Sew Crafty and Tender Cargo are in the Bay area. Once your baby is 12lbs they will fit into one-sized diapers, some brands better than others. Pockets are a great option because you can adjust them for day or night. The My Recommendations tab will direct you to my recs for each category. Softbums is a great system that works from the newborn stage on up ;)

      Reply

      • Emily Says:

        Thanks so much! I’ve written down all your suggestions. I’ll be in the Bay Area so I’ll definitely check out the shops you mentioned! I wish I could go now :)!

        Reply

        • laura Says:

          i’m in the same situation as you exactly! except i’m in germany and i’m from san diego. my first baby (boy) will be born at the end of may, and i’m totally confused by all these diaper options. and of course, i don’t even speak german yet (we just moved here – was in spain for the past 5 years) and so i don’t even know if they have anything like this here!!

          everything is SOOO overwhelming. good luck!

          and autumn, thank you for attempting to explain all this – hopefully i’ll figure it out and be able to order something soon… :)

          Reply

          • Emily Says:

            Hey! I thought I’d update you on what I decided. Over the Xmas holidays I bought 12 BumGenius One-size 4.0s and 6 Grovias (because there was a great offer on Costco.com). I figured I could get away with 18 diapers being that I could reuse the Grovia shells with other inserts (like prefolds) if necessary. So far everything has worked out great and 18 diapers have been plenty if I wash every 2-2.5 days (for our now 2-month-old baby girl), but if I had to do it again, I would just go with all pocket diapers like the BumGeniuses. They’re super easy to use and wash and they dry so quickly! For the price, they’re also much more versatile as they come with 2 inserts each so if you have a good sized batch you have a great supply to mix and match to create the needed absorbancy. I always have fresh inserts left over! The Grovias are good, but they’re more expensive and the inserts take much longer to dry! Plus, I think the BGs are much cuter :).

            I’ll also add that we had some poo-up-to-the-shoulders incidents a few times while using disposables. This has yet to happen with the CDs (and not for lack of poo!! :))!! I’m so happy we went the CD route!!

            Reply

  6. Samantha Says:

    I need help :( we have the bumgenius 4.0’s in velcro and snaps it doesn’t matter which I put on my 13lb 2 month old he always ends up peeing on me! I’ve tried unsnapping a button length wise I’ve tried tighting and loosening his waist. I’ve swapped out the NB inserts and put in the longer ones. I’ve tried making the longer ones to their longest and shortest and it seems like no matter what I do it comes out his waist or legs when his is nursing or napping (ALWAYS wakes him up from his nap)….common denomenator being laying down. We do not use diaper rash cream with his 4.0’s and we wash them with Rock’n Green Cloth Diaper detergent. What are we doing wrong here? Suggestions? I’m at the end of my rope!

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      He is most likely peeing faster than the suede cloth can absorb. It takes downward pressure for the fabric to take in the liquid hence the reason the problem is worse when lying down. Flannel, although not staydry, absorbs quickly. You could experiment with strips of flannel and see if that helps. Are the diapers new or used? The way you can tell if they are repelling is to forcefully squirt an aspirator into the diaper. Make sure you are pressing down or it will roll off.

      Reply

  7. Jeri Kendrick Says:

    I’ll be a FTM in February, and I don’t know a thing about diapering, either with cloth or disposables. I’ve changed only 1 diaper in my life. HELP! Disposables seem so “easy” to me, possibly because they are so prevalent. Is that a myth? I saw the descriptions of different CD “systems”, but I wouldn’t know where to start if I decided to go that route. My primary concerns will be ease of use and most definitely leakage control (isn’t it for everyone?). Just the term “blowout” gives me shivers.

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      I had blowouts all the time in disposables but very few with cloth. For newborns I recommend a fitted diaper. Look into some newborn cloth diaper rental programs to help ease you into it.

      Reply

  8. Andrea Says:

    Hi, I’m also new to this whole CD and I can say I’m overwhelmed with so many choices. I don’t think I quite understand some of the options, but so far I think I would go with the AIO2.
    Here is some of a thousand of questions that I still have:
    I live in CA, and the price for water here is ridiculous. I see people saying that they launder their CD every other day. Wouldn’t that break the bank and make CD more expensive than disposables? And what about the soap? It seems that we need some especial soap and I wonder are they easy to find, are they bought only online, are they expensive?
    I also wonder about hygiene. Is it really okay to buy used CD for your little one? I understand the new ones are really expensive and my goal is to not only be gentil to the environment but also save money. What would you suggest for me to start off? I have a 2 years old, not potty trained yet who has a very watery poop and a 6 month old boy who was EBF until a few weeks ago. Now we just started solids.
    Thank you for this blog and hope to clear my questions.

    Reply

    • Mike Says:

      Hi Andrea,

      WATER: Certainly the cost of water is an additional cost with cloth diapers. However, even washing every other day with high water costs, you’ll still pay less over time than with disposables. Washing machines nowadays are incredibly efficient with water. You certainly will use more, but your water bill isn’t going to double or anything.

      SOAP: You don’t need any special internet only soap, although there are those options. Depending on your child’s sensitivity, you could just use regular Tide, for example. However, if you child is a bit sensitive or you are concerned, you can use products that say “Free & Clear” on them. For example, All Free & Clear or Dreft. Both should be readily available at stores in CA.

      HYGIENE: Certainly you can buy used, without a problem with hygiene. I’d suggest washing them through your washer before using them on your child, just to be safe. If you are concerned, wash them a second time or give them an extra rinse or two.

      NUMBERS: If you are looking for a number, my wife and I have found that 24 diapers works well for us (one child). With two in diapers, you might try 36 diapers between the two of them if you get a one-size system that can fit either one of them. You’d probably have to wash everyday with only 36.

      CHOICES: We chose Rumparooz because of the inner gussets that keep poop in the diaper and really do prevent blowouts. They are pocket with insert diapers but they are one size so we don’t need to buy more sizes as she grows, we just change the snap pattern (there is also a velcro option). Our daughter (9 weeks) is EBF — watery poop and all — and we’ve only had 2 blow outs, both of which were caused by us not putting the diaper on very well. It’s amazing how when you open the diaper you can see where the gussets stopped the poop from going farther! However, the pocket and inserts aren’t for everyone. If you went with a one-size option, you could use the diapers on either one of your children.

      I hope this helps!

      Reply

  9. Erin Thomasma Says:

    help! i want to keep cloth diapering but they seem to be hurting my little man’s bum! little man never gets the all over, light pink diaper rash…but after a day of using cloth diapers he gets bright red, slightly raised dots/bumps. he doesn’t seem to mind so i keep using them but i don’t like it! the pediatrician gave us cream that takes care of it-but we have to use disposables as to not wreck the cloth diapers. he never gets this rash with disposables-but i really want to cloth diaper! we’re using bum genius 4.0’s, he never goes more than 2-3 hours in a diaper and we’re using charlie’s laundry soap for diapers and clothes so i don’t think it is a detergent allergy because it isn’t anywhere else on his body…

    you mentioned your 3rd being “allergic to the suede liner” is that what i’m describing? how do i fix this? i bought 24 of these guys and i really don’t want to have to buy a whole ‘nother set. is there a liner i can use? is that even the issue. help! i want my sweet boy to have his “soft as a baby’s bottom” bottom back!

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      It can be the detergent even if you aren’t having sensitivity issues with the clothes. I hear this all the time with Charlie’s users. Suede cloth does cause more sensitivities than other fabrics I’ve noticed. You can see if the fabric is the problem by cutting microfleece liners. If that doesn’t help try flannel. Then you can tell if he just needs natural fibers touching his skin.

      Reply

    • Mike Says:

      My wife and I had experienced similar issues to what you said with our little girl. Were using Rumparooz and All Free & Clear. We started researching and talking with our Doc. Two things we found:

      The first is that you may need to change him more often. The primary cause of diaper rash isn’t detergent, liners, etc. It is pee, poop, and bacteria. Prolonged exposure to pee and poop can cause. It’s often harder to tell when little ones have pee in the cloth vs. the “green line indicator” in disposables. So, you might just check on him a bit more often.

      Second is the bacteria and yeast… diaper area is warm and moist; a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. Rashes generally start within the creases of the skin, and there may be red dots scattered around the creases. Making sure to wipe all the creases, etc., will help. If you are feeling lucky, letting your little guy “air out” and dry a bit before putting on the next diaper can help as well. Our girl loves to air dry!

      I would agree with you that the detergent isn’t the problem. You would be noticing issues elsewhere on his body — even if it is more minor than the diaper area — since you are using the detergent on everything.

      So, I say try changing a bit more often and letting air dry (or wiping him up a few extra times if you aren’t feeling so lucky!)

      Good luck! Let us know what happens!

      Reply

  10. Stephanie Says:

    So are the indian cotton or chinese prefolds better? What is the birdseye? Also I have seen 100% cotton flannel prefold diapers offered, any experience with these, they appear to have a contour? Thank you for doing such a wonderful job on this site, this information is priceless to newbie CD users:)

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      Cottonbabies has a nice chart:
      Wondering if you should go with Indian prefolds or Chinese prefolds?
      Indian prefolds benefits:

      Softer cotton
      These are probably made of gauze cotton
      Unbleached diapers wash up quicker (3 washes)
      More absorbent

      Indian prefolds drawbacks:

      May wear out faster than the Chinese prefolds.
      Lighter weight thread is used when sewing the ends of the diapers so the thread may wear out faster than the fabric does.

      Chinese prefolds benefits:

      Heavier duty stitching
      These are probably made of twill
      Due to being made of a heavier-weight fabric and stitched with a thicker thread, these prefolds will probably stay nice longer than the Indian prefolds.

      Chinese prefolds drawbacks:

      May pill up more than the Indian prefolds.
      These diapers are still soft but they are definitely rougher than the Indian prefolds (when washed and dried in the same load)
      It takes 7-10 hot wash cycles to make an unbleached Chinese prefold usable and absorbent.

      Reply

      • Stephanie Says:

        Thank you, you are such a blessing, and a wealth of information in this uncharted territory:) well for me uncharted:) Looking forward to trying them out, you are very helpful, and I am very thankful:)

        Reply

  11. Jacqui Fettig Says:

    I love this blog! So much great info!!
    My son is 3 months old, and we started with a diaper service that my mother gave us as a shower gift. The service is changing to wash-your-own, so we cancelled it, because I had been gifted a stash from two friends who used CD’s with their kids. One stash included contoured diapers with wraps, the other had pocket diapers. I HATE THEM ALL! I feel so bad because I LOVED the diapers I used from the diaper service (white “china short” 8 ply prefolds). I just couldn’t see the point of “renting” diapers to wash myself, when I had about 50 or so diapers of my own already.
    I’d been using the small countoured diapers with a cotton waterproof wrap, and it was fine during the day, although we had to change him WAY more often than with the prefolds. I went back to disposables for a few days to wash them and see how the stains came out (sunbleaching was the only thing that worked – found that idea here, thanks!) but they are so expensive and such a waste. I tried the pocket diapers for overnight, but he went through THREE sleepers because he leaked out of each one. I don’t know if I’m not using them right or what, but I never had that problem with the prefolds.
    Do you have any suggestions?? I don’t want to waste such a valuable gift! If these don’t work, I’m going to be investing in the prefolds because I just love them so much.
    THanks!

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      I’d just go buy the prefolds and sell the pockets and contours. Get back to what works and enjoy cloth diapering again!

      Reply

      • Jacqui Fettig Says:

        Thanks! And thanks for the recent article on prefolds. What a wealth of info! So glad to have found your site. It really makes me feel so much more confident about CD’ing on my own.
        Cheers!

        Reply

  12. Bec Says:

    Hi, I am now pregnant with my second (and last) child. I am looking into a cheaper and greener way to diaper my newborn this time. My dd is 4 yo and out of diapers so I don’t need anything for her. But looking more into this I know it’s te way I want to go I just don’t know where to start. I’m not due for quite some time (January) but know there is so much to learn between then and now. A few questions I have:
    1) How do you get hubby and then family on board!? The easiest thing I’ve seen so far is an AIO! But hubby is still grossed out about the cleaning factor.
    2)I want to get a few different ones but have discovered my state (WA) doesn’t seem to have many CD stores. I’ve looked at Baby’s R Us to just kind of see if somewhere bigger possibly has them and they have a few but not the selection I’d like to see.
    That’s all I have for now but I know I have more… I’ll give them to you in doses LOL.
    Thanks!
    Bec

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      What grosses him out? The washing poopy diapers in the same machine his clothes are washed in? This is common. But, honestly if the washing machine is doing it’s job he has nothing to worry about ;) You could always run an empty bleach cycle after you do diapers.
      I highly recommend a newborn cloth diaper rental program or a diaper trial pack. I have a link to Diaper Junction in the right sidebar that lets you try out popular brands. Also, Pooters Diapers and Sweetbottoms baby have newborn cloth diaper rental programs.
      If you could find a group that has moms that cloth diaper you might be able to see some cloth diapers up close. Check out LLL groups or Google natural parenting in your area.

      Reply

  13. Lanae Says:

    I got my first two diapers in the other day (pooters) and I’m very excited to start CD. But I’m so confused. I feel so dumb because I have no idea what I am doing. Both diapers came with two inserts one is snapped in and very long….is this a nighttime insert that you fold over for more absorbency? And the second insert is smaller, is this for daytime or is it to be added for nighttime as well? This is probably one of the dumbest questions you’ve had to answer, sorry.

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      The snap-in one you leave in all the time. The smaller one is a booster/doubler. I use them both. No dumb questions :)

      Reply

  14. Katie Says:

    This website is great! I just have a couple of questions for you though. I am currently using kissaluvs size 0, prefolds and proraps covers and I just can’t get my husband to use anything but the kissaluvs. I need a diaper that he would be more willing to use. I was thinking about AIO’s but my duaghter is a heavy wetter at any time of day, so I think that might be a bad idea. Do you think that pockets would be better? I need something that my husband can just put on her and go. He refuses to fuss around with the diaper and if I don’t have any of the kissaluvs clean, he’ll use a disposable! Thanks!

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      They are harder to find because they are being discontinued but Bum Genius 3.0 AIOs are awesome! You could always go for the Bum Genius 4.0. They are pockets. I don’t like to fuss around with a diaper either, that’s why I love AIOs :)

      Reply

      • Katie Says:

        I like that idea of the Bum Genius, but the price is a whole other story. I was thinking about getting some Kawaii One Size Heavy Duty Pocket Diapers or Kawaii Goodnight Heavy Wetter One Size Pocket Diaper because the price is more in my budget…. I’ve only heard good reviews about them and was wondering what your thoughts are. Thanks again!

        Reply

  15. Tricia Says:

    I love this website – I’m expecting my first in April and haven’t used cloth diapers since babysitting my nephews over 20 years ago – so much has changed since then.

    Reply

  16. Mike Says:

    My wife and I are expecting our first in June. We haven’t settled on a brand yet, but that isn’t the crux of my question. I’m sure we’ll figure out one or two or more styles and go from there. I’m wondering how you deal with the dirty diapers when at home and out and about.

    At home, do these cloth diapers just get thrown entirely into a pail and then washed whenever? If not everything, then what parts?

    When out and about and baby needs changing, what do you do with the dirty diaper? With a disposable, it just ends up in the trash (and ultimately the landfill). But, with the cloth, do you just fold it back up and put it back in the diaper bag until you get home? Seems that would be a bit smelly after a bit.

    Any insight into how people handle this would be helpful! Thanks and Happy 2011!

    Reply

  17. Jill Says:

    Hi

    I just found this website and was looking at all the information about cloth diapers. I’ll continue to look but was wondering do you like the disposable inserts or do you think thats not needed? I’m assuming cloth diapers end up saving money in the long run but I was wondering your take on that. This is my 3rd baby and I have never used cloth before.

    thanks

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      I’ve used Flip disposable inserts and written about them. You can search for that on the blog. I wouldn’t recommend using a disposable insert long term but in a pinch they’re great.

      Reply

  18. Sandra Says:

    I was wondering if there were any pockets or AIOs that had wool or fleece or some other natural fiber as the waterproof layer as opposed to PUL? I like the idea of the simplicity but I don’t like the idea of PUL as I am trying to keep everything as natural and breathable as possible.

    Reply

  19. April Says:

    Great website! I have a 12 month old and a 2 week old. My 12 mo old is a heavy wetter and her stools are more loose than firm most days and my 2 wk old nurses constantly, it seems, therefore pees & poos quite often! I’ve yet to CD because I’m, quite honestly, scared to take the big leap into the unknown! Is there a system you would recommend that I might be able to use with both of my children? One that is also simple enough for a busy military wife and mommy of two so close in age? And one that is less likely to leak messiness out? I’m really disgusted with disposable diapers these days. Thank you so much for all of your help! :)

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      Great question. I would go with a one-sized diaper but depending on the size of your 2wk old they may not fit him/her well. In the long run diapers that you can use on both will save you tons of time and energy. The best diaper at holding in runny poop are Rumparooz. Rumparooz are a pocket diaper which means you can adjust the absorbency for each child. A pocket diaper has to be washed after every use unlike systems you will see referred to as Hybrids. A hybrid is basically a cover with a snap in or lay in insert. Every change you’d simply toss the insert in the pail and add a new one. I like these systems a lot but with runny poo it can get irritating to rinse the cover every time. I would buy a couple of Rumparooz (if you are brave check out http://www.diaperswappers.com to find some used ones. I say brave b/c the site can be overwhelming.) and try them out.

      Reply

  20. Carole Says:

    Do you have a wipes solution that you prefer? Do you know of any home made solutions that also have antibacterial properties?

    Reply

  21. Carole Says:

    I started using cloth diapers (Bum genius 4.0) this summer for my second son. (I was not wise enough to use it for my first ;-) ). I love them! I almost have everyone in the house (my husband and babysitter) using cloth wipes as well. My question is how do you transport your wipes in your diaper bag so that they stay moist. To date, I have been just putting dry cloth wipes in the bag and carrying a bottle of thirsties booty luster and spraying it on my son’s tushie when cleaning the dipe. There has to be a simple way to keep them moistened so I don’t have to carry the bottle. The closer I can get them to disposable wipes, the more compliance I will have with my husband and baby sitter. Thank you!

    Reply

  22. Connie Says:

    I am looking into CDing my daughter, but she’s already 6 months old and 20 lbs. Is it too late in the game to be switching now? Do most mommies start right at the beginning? I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to switch since I feel like we are so late in the game.

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      Not too late at all!! I didn’t begin cloth diapering in 2005 until my son was 15 months old. This is actually quite common. I’d say it’s more accurate to say that most mommies start cloth diapering way after the beginning ;)

      Reply

  23. Heather Says:

    A friend of mine told me aio are more prone to leakage than pocket diapers. She also said they take longer to dry because you can’t put them in the dryer because of the outer-layer. I’m guessing you haven’t noticed increased leakage since you prefer the aio, but can they go in the dryer or strictly air dry? Whats the average dry time if you have to air dry?

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      I dry all my diapers in the dryer on high heat. Always have. BG organic take longer to dry than many other diapers. I set my full load of diapers to dry for 110minutes. All are toasty at the end.

      Your friend is most likely referring to AIOs with a sewn-in soaker. Still the blanket statement that all aio are more prone to leaks is incorrect. Especially when many pocket users will chime in that they have more pocket issues. Currently I have a Ragababe AIO that is sewn-in and it works great. My other AIOs are BG which are a QD= quick dry meaning they are sewn at the ends and loose in the middle to allow for air flow.

      Reply

  24. Katie Says:

    I love the summay, as I have been sooo confused as to how this whole thing works…. BUT… It would be very helpful to have pictures of the items along with the descriptions. It still seems a little vague as to how big the pockets on a poket diaper are, and soakers stay put in an AI2, and what about gDiapers?
    I guess trial and error might just be best for me to figure this whole thing out.

    Reply

  25. lina Says:

    IM ALL FOR REUSABLE DIAPERS IM NOT JUST NOT ALL FOR THE WASHING OF POOPY DIAPERS AND IM COMPLETELY CLUELESS ON REUSABLE DIAPERS I WOULD LIKE ONE THAT I COULD POSSIBLY PUT SOMETHING THAT IS DISPOSABLE FOR POOP INSIDE ARE THERE ANY LIKE THAT AND WHERE CAN I FIND THEM

    Reply

  26. Jolene Says:

    I love your website for cloth diaper info! I was so overwhelmed at first when I saw all of the different types. I am really considering going with all prefolds and covers for financial reasons. Your recommendations section doesn’t list and prefolds for nighttime use. Should I consider having other types of cloth diapers in addition to the prefolds & covers? I hope this makes sense! Thanks!

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      Jolene, I have never found success with prefolds. Do I long for the simplicity? Sure! But, for consistent, longterm use especially for nighttime, at this time I can’t list them in “My Recommendations”. There are many moms who do use only prefolds and covers and have tremendous success.

      Reply

  27. Cara Says:

    Hi,
    I am just new to cloth diapers and have been trying out a few to find the right one. I have been noticing that the diapers I am trying are riding low on my little guys thighs, not above his thigh like a disposable… is this normal? They are all one size diapers and he is on the smallest @ 14lbs (2 months old) I tried the bigger adjustment but it didn’t really seem to help. Could it be the brands … I have tried AMP, Bum Genius 4.0, Flip and Bum Genius AIO or maybe is it because they are one size diapers? As well is the diaper too tight if it leaves red marks…not really bad ones just little ones? I don’t know how tight to make it. I don’t want it to bee to loose i can fit my finger in the elastic
    Hopefully you ca help
    Thanks,
    Cara

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      Cara, cloth diapers do provide a fuller coverage for babies. You’ve got some great brands. As far as the red marks, I’d try loosening it up a bit and see if that helps. If not he may be sensitive to the tight elastic. Let me know if he still has them and I can direct you from there.

      Reply

  28. Alexa Says:

    Hi Autumn!
    I am so excited to have found your site today. My husband and I are expecting our first this November. I have heard that you can do a “cloth diaper registry” and I’m wondering if you have a recommendation for best cloth diaper registry website? I have found a bunch already but not sure which is the best. I want to be able to have a good selection (different brands) and comparable prices. Any thoughts? Thanks!

    Reply

  29. Cathy Says:

    Hi thanks for this website!!! I too will be a first time mom in November and am extremely interested in doing cloth diapers. So it sounds like I should get some all in ones for during the day and then maybe something like a pocket plus an insert or prefold plus a cover for night time? How many of each would you recommend getting for a newborn? My parents have been extremely generous with us and we can afford to get the cloth diapers ahead of time – I would love a realistic number of how many to get…I also want to get the premium/toddler sizes now too just to have them ready. (Plus my hubby is 6’4 and I’m 5’7 so who knows how fast our little guy will grow!)

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      For newborns I suggest around 20 diapers. I prefer newborn sized diapers for the first couple of months then if you want to move into one-size you can. Check out the My Recommendations tab for my favorite diapers.

      Reply

  30. Jen Says:

    I’m so dense–I’m still missing some part of the equation. What would be the point of NOT going with an AIO/AI2? What is the added benefit of separate pieces, ie inside and cover?

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      You’re not dense at all. An AIO/AI2 is great for light wetters and daytime use. Many heavy wetters have leaking problems in AIO/AI2s. Also, nighttime requires a diaper that will hold more fluid. This is where a pocket that you can adjust the absorbency or a fitted (needs a cover) made of bamboo or hemp will help.

      Reply

      • Melissa Says:

        I just bought a lot of one size bum genius aio for when the baby is a little bigger, they have pockets to stuff so that leaking shouldn’t be a problem, is that right? I used disposables with my son and am due in May, are bum genius xsmall aio good for newborns?

        Reply

        • Autumn Beck Says:

          You can still have leaks even with a pocket. You might have to experiment with inserts to find the best for your baby. Bum Genius xsmall, I hear, are excellent nb diapers. I am using smalls on Camden right now and love them (he’s 12lbs).

          Reply

  31. Margot Says:

    Great site, lots of good info. I am adopting a three year old boy who is training out of disposables (mainly wetting at night – I will use a plastic mattress cover.) I am thinking that a prefold that allows him to feel wet may help train him out of diapers or would a fitted be better (but expensive?) I want to stay economical as I expect him to be out of diapers soon. What are your recommendations and thoughts?
    Thank you.

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      you could go really cheap and buy gerber prefolds and lay them in some underwear. the messes might be more than you want but he’d feel it and it’d be cheap.

      Reply

  32. George Says:

    I am a Dad to be expecting in Aug and I want to use cloth diapers, upon doing research on the internet I came accross your site. Thanks for all the info! So here’s my question: Can I use flushable liners with all cloth diapers? I was looking at some AI2’s since they will be easier to dry, but I have not decided on one type of CD System. I want to use cloth diapers but the thought of scrapping poo off of diapers or rinsing in the toilets skeeves me out, so flushable liners is the way to go for me, I just want to clarify their usage. Thanks in advance!

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      The thought of scraping poop off cloth diapers makes me gag as well. I shake it in the potty and what comes off, comes off. I don’t try for more :) Can you use flushable liners in every system? Yes, I’m pretty sure you could get them to lay flat in a prefold but that would be the trickiest system.

      Reply

  33. Kim Says:

    Hey, I’ve used disposables for my first and am expecting again in sept. I am trying to find info on cloth with disposable inserts. Will they save me money? Should I buy an aio and then use the inserts? Is there a better option? I would prefer to use the inserts if I do move to cloth. Do you have any thoughts or recommendations along those lines? I will keep browsing your website until you get back to me. It’s been very informative and helpful so far!

    Reply

  34. Rachyll Says:

    Hi.. I am going to be a first time mom in november and I was interested in having my child wear cloth diapers. I always get the “you are crazy, they are so hard, why would you do that, you’ll hate yourself later, they don’t save that much money, its more laundry for you.. etc…” So, I looked at your page and well I found a lot of good information on the different types of diapers to get.. However I was wondering if there is a website or local stores in the nieghborhood that offers “starter kits”.. that would include little prefolds, and covers, and bags, and diaper liners, etc? So i could try them first and then decide if i liked or if I didn’t like. Also, I heard about liners that are extra and you just put in the diaper – would these be beneficial or just and extra thing to wash, etc?… I’m very interested in doing cloth, i just don’t like the whole buy online thing.. :( I like actually going to the store and picking up.

    -Rachyll

    Reply

  35. holly Says:

    I just started with CD and use the prefolds with thirsties covers as was recommended by several people. I use the thirsties duo wraps with snaps, but I seem to have bunching in the front. I can’t seem to get it to fit correctly. I have adjusted the waist straps to fit looser and tighter and it still seems to bunch. I have tried different folds but still can’t seem to make it lay flat. I don’t want to use pins or snappies. Any suggestions or do they just do that because they are obviously thicker. I am all confused and can’t spend a lot of money (which is why I am CD in the first place) to keep switching brands.
    My DD is 21 months and this is my first time with CD have 4 kids and my other 3 were all disposable.

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      bunching in the front is common when you trifold a prefold and lay it in a cover. The flip cover (that you asked about in the other comment) may provide a tighter fit. Have you thought of just buying a sized Thirsties cover? I have found they run big so keep that in mind. Unless your 21m old is super chunky, I’d go with a medium.

      Reply

  36. Erica Says:

    Hello, I am very interested in going to cloth diapers. With my first child I used regular disposable diapers and didn’t have any issues with them. But I had my second child in March and she’s been red down there almost ever since we got home from the hospital. And a lot of my friends use cloth and I just want to know more about them, I mean how do I know which ones are right for me to use? I don’t know, ther are soo many websites and types that I don’t know where to start. Thank you!

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      Erica, I know it must be extremely frustrating and overwhelming. I would start by asking your friends if you could borrow a couple of theirs. They will be more than happy to help you get a hands-on feel for the different systems. In my opinion, the easiest cloth diaper is the bum genius organic all-in-one. I don’t like stuffing pockets but I have several Rumparooz that I make that sacrifice for ;) Also, look at the tab at the top called My Recommendations.

      Reply

  37. Kelly Says:

    I was looking into Rumparooz and saw that they are around $24 for one diaper. How many of these diapers will I need for a newborn? I really like the Rumparooz the best so far out of my research, but I am still a little lost. I think I like the AIOs but I am afraid of getting something I might not like.

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      The one-size Rumparooz that are ~$24 are pocket diapers. They will fit your newborn at about 10lbs, if I remember correctly. The newborn Lil’ Joeys by Rumparooz are an AIO. A newborn goes through quite a few diapers so I’d suggest a couple dozen. You might try a variety of diapers instead of one. Look under the newborn category and see what I recommend.

      Reply

  38. Heather Says:

    I am still so overwhelemed. My hubby and I want to buy a birth to potty set but don’t know who to go with do you have a recomendation?
    Thanks
    HEather

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      Heather, check out the page at the top of the page called “My Recommendations”. I prefer Rumparooz and Bum Genius Organic Aio

      Reply

  39. Valerie Says:

    I just found your site and am so thankful I did! My husband and I are expecting our first child this June and I knew I wanted to do cloth diapers, but I felt so overwhelmed trying to figure out the different varieties. Thank you so much for breaking it down!

    Reply

  40. Rachel Cleek Says:

    Thanks sooo much! I am definetly going to look into them!

    Reply

  41. Rachel Says:

    Are the AI2’s just as absorbent and reliable as the AIO’s? I am thinking about simplifying and leaving all of my beautiful fitteds behind. However, I want my stash to remain fun and full of personality. All of the adorable prints I have found seem to be in AI2’s and I am a little hesitant to make a purchase. The last thing I want is to think that we’re all set but then to have a wet dipe leak on me ( heaven forbid on someone else!). I would love some advice and recommendations on where I can find an adorable and RELIABLE diaper.

    Thanks,
    Rachel

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      There are tons of cute pockets :) Berry Plush are AI2s and I had great success with them when I used them on Paisley. The Berry Plush snap-ins are awesome. I have used them in pockets before because they are so absorbent.

      Reply

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