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What Kind of Cloth Diaper Do I Want?

Posted by Sprout Soup on

Navigating the world of cloth diapers can be difficult! There’s strange terms and words that don’t mean what you think they should mean. We certainly don’t blame you if you end up trying to figure out if we’re even writing in English! One of the reasons we opened our store in Columbus, Ohio is so we could provide one-on-one consultations with customers interested in cloth diapers. If these cloth diapering terms don’t make sense to you, please stop in. If you’re not local to us, we’d be happy to schedule a phone or online consultation with your to help you determine what diapers will be the best for you and your family.

Prefolds and Covers

Prefold DiaperPlusDiaper Cover

Prefold diapers are flat cloths, usually thicker in the middle, that can be wrapped around baby or just folded and laid inside the cover. Covers, or wraps, are the waterproof portion of this diapering system, they are not absorbent, but they keep the wetness inside so baby’s clothes stay dry. A Snappi can hold the diaper together instead of using pins.
Pros:Inexpensive. Two pieces mean two layers of protection against leaks and blow-outs.Cons:Some people are intimidated by the prefold, it takes a little time to get used to folding it. Recommended Quantities Newborn:36 Prefolds, 8-10 CoversRecommended Quantities 6 Months +:24 Prefolds, 6 Covers Average Start Up Cost: $200

Fitteds and Covers

Fitted DiaperPlusDiaper Cover
Fitted diapers are like an upgraded prefold. They have fasteners attached to the diaper for easy closing and are shaped to fit your baby so no folding is needed. The same covers you use for prefold diapers can be used as the waterproof outer for fitted diapers. Fitted diapers do not have waterproofing built-in, they need a separate cover.
Pros:Easy to use. Two pieces mean two layers of protection against leaks and blow-outs. Snug-fitting for less bulk.Cons:Fitted diapers are usually close in price to pocket or all-in-one diapers, but they still need covers, making it a more expensive system. Recommended Quantities Newborn:36 Fitted Diapers, 8-10 CoversRecommended Quantities 6 Months +:24 Fitted Diapers, 6 Covers Average Start Up Cost: $600

Hybrid Diapers

Pocket InsertPlusDiaper Cover
Hybrid diapers are the half-way point between two-piece cloth diapers like prefolds and fitteds, and one-piece diapers like pockets and all-in-ones. Some brands of Hybrid Diapers, like Bestbottoms, have inserts that snap into place. This creates a one-piece diaper from which you can just remove the soiled inside and place a clean liner on the outside cover. Others have inserts that just lay or tuck inside the cover.
Pros:Hybrids with snap-in inserts can be used like an all-in-one, but the cost is much less because the cover does not have to be replaced at every change.Cons:When baby is small, the covers will usually get soiled every time and the cost-saving value of the Hybrid option will not be realized. Recommended Quantities Newborn:36 Inserts, 12-15 CoversRecommended Quantities 6 Months +:24 Inserts, 6-10 Covers Average Start Up Cost: $325

Pocket Diapers

Pocket Insert Plus Pocket Diaper

Pocket diapers are really all-in-ones with removeable and customizable absorbency. “Pocket” refers to the outside, or cover of the diaper. This piece has a waterproof exterior and an interior that is usually a fleece-like, soft fabric that will wick moisture away from the baby and deposit it on the soaker or insert. This insert piece gets put in-between the layers, through an opening. Once the insert is in place, the diaper is ready to use.


Easy to use. Easy to clean. Adjustable-size diapers work well in pocket form because the shell can change size and the insert can be shifted around to fit.


Can be expensive to get started. Bulky (especially if one-size). Most Pocket Diapers come with microfiber inserts which can be prone to retaining odors or having ammonia

Recommended Quantities Newborn:36 Diapers, 36 InsertsRecommended Quantities 6 Months +:24 Diapers, 24 Inserts Average Start Up Cost: $600


All In One Diaper
All-in-One diapers are just what they sound like. Everything you need is here. The outside is waterproof, the inside has layers of absorbent material sewn in place so all you need to do is put it on the baby. Nothing comes apart, the entire thing is used and then washed.
Pros:Nothing else needed! The most like a disposable diaper, just wrap it on baby and go.

Cons:Expensive. Can be difficult to wash and dry if the inside absorbency is thick.

Recommended Quantities Newborn:36 Diapers

Recommended Quantities 6 Months +:24 Diapers

Average Start Up Cost: $750


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