Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Fluff Newbie's Get Started With Cloth Guide Part 1

Since I have gotten questions from a few friends and acquaintances about the cloth diapers we use and what you need to get started, I thought I would write a guide on what you would need (In my opinion). I'm going to explain in a series of posts what you need to get started with Pocket and All-in-One cloth diapers and an explanation on everything you need to know to get started.

The cloth diapering community is WAY confusing to a newbie with no cloth experience and since I have traveled this road mostly on my own, I would love for others to learn from my mistakes and get feedback from a true newbie! Especially since I've only been at this for a little over a month!

Today's post will start with  basic definitions of terms that you will find throughout cloth diaper forums, websites, and shops. I will also outline types of materials used, cost per diaper, and some brands associated with that type of diaper.

  • This is the "old school" diaper (aka the one mom may have used on you).
  • It is made up of several layers for absorbency.
  • It can be  folded in several different ways and then pinned or snappied onto baby. 
  • Prefolds require a waterproof cover. 
  • Some brands that make prefolds are Gerber , Bummi's, Thirsties and Econobum. 
  • Prefolds can come in cotton, bamboo or hemp. Some prefolds are noted as DSQ which means Diaper Service Quality- these are either Chinese or Indian Cotton and would be the type of prefolds you would find in a diaper service package. 
  • Organic fabric options available
  • These will either be one size, infant size (7-15 lbs), toddler size (15-30 lbs), and sometimes newborn size (usually 4-8 lbs)
  • Price range $2.00- $8.00 per prefold, can be bought in packages too.
Flats or Flat Diapers:
  • This is like a prefold only it is one large piece of fabric. 
  • It can be folded in several ways and then is snappied or pinned on.
  • You can fold the fabric in many ways to meet the absorbency of your little one.
  • Requires a waterproof cover.
  • Some brands that make flats are Gerber and Hemp Babies.
  • Can come in Hemp or Cotton.
  • Organic fabric options available.
  • Is the most inexpensive way to cloth diaper your baby.
  • These usually only come in one size, but sometimes you can find them in infant or toddler sizes.
  • Price Range: $1.50-$7.00 per flat, can also be bought in packages.
Fitted/Contour diaper:
  • These are diapers that look the closest to disposable diapers.
  • No folding required, just snappi or pin into place. Some fitteds even come with snap or aplix (hook and loop) closures to make it easier to put on baby.
  • Require a cover, but can be used without a cover while at home and while trying to clear up diaper rash.
  • Some brands that make fitteds are Kissaluvs, Kiwi Pie, Mother-ease, Baby Kicks, Tiny Tush, Cow Patties, BSRB (BagShot Row Bamboo), Nifty Nappies, PLUMP Diapers, CC Bums, CozzyBunz, Cheeky Diapers.
  • Are composed of a variety of fabrics such as cotton knit, cotton, bamboo, hemp, microfiber, terry cloth, suede cloth, zorb, minky, etc.And also sometimes come in prints.
  • Can be One Size (8-35 lbs), or sized. Size options are usually Newborn (5-15 lbs), Infant (10-25 lbs, and Toddler (25-40 lbs).
  • Are one of the best options when diapering a newborn.
  • Are usually the most absorbent of diapers (especially for heavy wetters) and are virtually leak-proof when put on correctly.
  • Price Range: $10.00-$30.00. You can also sometimes buy them in packages which will save some money.
Diaper Cover/Wraps:
  • These are used over a flat, prefold, or fitted diaper.
  • Are either made of Wool, Fleece, a Polyester and Polyurethane laminated material (sometimes call PUL), waterproof nylon, or any other material that is waterproof or laminated.
  • Are either one size (8-35 lbs), Newborn (4- 10 lbs), Small (8-18 lbs), Medium (15-25 lbs), Large (25-35 lbs), and Extra Large(35 + lbs).
  •  They can be pull on covers or covers that use snaps or aplix (hook and loop) closures. 
  • Come in great colors and prints.
  • Will sometimes have gussets added for leak protection.
  • Some brands that make covers are: Kissaluvs, Happy Heinys, Tweedle Bugs, Flip, GroVia, Little-to-Big Beetle, Bummis, Aristocrats, Thirsties, CC Bums, Nifty Nappies, Cheeky Diapers, Cow Patties, Gen-Y and also look on for other mom made covers, especially wool.
  • Wool and Fleece covers can be made to look like diapers, shorts (called shorties), pants (called longies) and also skirts (called skirties which are like skorts). Wool also needs a special wash routine (I'll talk about that in another post)
  • Price Range: 
    • For PUL/Nylon/Waterproof Fabric Covers- $9.00-$18.00.
    • For Wool covers- $27.00-$50.00
    • For Fleece Covers- $15.00 -$30.00
All-in-One Cloth Diapers (called AIO's):
  • These are diapers that work just like disposables. The cover and the inner of the diaper are all sewn together.
  • These diapers either have snaps or aplix (hook and loop) closures.
  • The outside of the diaper is usually polyester backed with PUL (Polyurethane Laminate), while the inside can be a topper of fleece with absorbent layers of cotton, hemp or bamboo sewn in, or can be just organic cotton, hemp or bamboo.
  • Very day care friendly.
  • Come in a variety of colors and prints.
  • Some brands that make AIO's are bumGenius, Rumparooz Lil' Joeys, Kissaluvs, Mother-Ease, Bamboo Baby, GroVia, CC Bums, RagaBabe, Forward Thinking, BSRB (BagShot Row Bamboo), PLUMP Diapers, Bumbledoo, Swaddlebees, and a ton of other WAHM brands
  • Price Range:
    • For organic AIO's: $23.00-$35.00
    • For Regular AIO's- $15.00-$30.00
Pocket/ All-in-Two (called AI2's)  Diapers:
  • These are diapers that are either stuffable or have snap-in or lay-in soakers instead of having the material already sewn in.
  • Dry faster than AIO's.
  • These diapers have either snaps or aplix (hook and loop) closures.
  • These diapers have 3 components:
    1. A waterproof cover typically made of polyester and PUL.
    2. A stay dry barrier, this is what sits against baby's bum and keeps them dry by wicking moisture away. This is made of either microfleece or suede cloth and is sewn to the cover.
    3. A stuffable absorbent insert. This can be made of microfiber, cotton, hemp, or terrycloth, zorb, minky, flannel, etc.
  • These diapers are very convenient to use. All you do is stuff your insert into the pocket created by the cover and inner barrier and go. AI2's are easier because all you have to do is snap or place the insert into the diaper.
  • These diapers will come in a variety of colors and prints.
  • Very day care friendly.
  • Come in one size and sized options.
  • Organic options available.
  • Some brands that make AI2's and Pockets are: FuzziBunz, bumGenius, Happy Heinys, Rumparooz, SmartiPants, Thirsties, BabyKicks, Flip, Tweedle Bugs, Tots Bots, Knickernappies, Kawaii, Katydid, Doopsy, PLUMP Diapers, Forward Thinking, Blueberry, Cheeky Diapers, CC Bums, Bumbledoo, RagaBabe, Nifty Nappy, Cow Patties and a ton of other WAHMS.
  • Price Range: $9.00 to $30.00
Hybrid Diapers:
  • These are diapers that offer Eco-friendly alternatives to disposables. They are seen as a really easy way to get into cloth diapering.
  • Hybrids combine the idea of cloth diapers and covers with that of disposables, allowing parents to choose how they diaper their child.
  • Hybrid diapers are composed of a reusable diaper cover and two options as to what goes in the cover:
    1. Disposable, biodegradable or flushable inserts
    2. Organic or regular cloth inserts.
  • These are usually one size diapers, but gDiapers are sized.
  • Can be found in snap or aplix (hook and loop) closures.
  • Some brands are GroVia, Flip, BumEssentials and gDiapers
  • GroVia diapers offer a one size cover to use with either a 100% certified organic snap-in soaker or flushable/compostable liners which contain no plastic, fragrances, dyes or chlorine.
  • Flip diapers offer a one size cover to use with either an organic insert, a stay dry insert (suede cloth on one side and microfiber on the other) or a disposable insert that is fragrance and dye free and also is the only disposable insert that has achieved Oeko-Tex certification (meaning there are no harmful substances in the insert).
  • gDiapers offer a sized cover to use with either a 100% polyester microfleece/hemp/cotton insert, or a biodegradable/flushable/compostable disposable insert that are plastic free, fragarance free, and chlorine free.
  • BumEssentials offer a one size cover with snap in soakers. You could also use any of the above disposable inserts in a BumEssentials diaper.
  • Price Range: $13.00 - $20.00.
Now, lets talk abbreviations and acronyms for diaper talk. Below you'll find an alphabetized list of common diaper talk terms. These abbreviations will be found in any cloth diaper forum, on some blogs and also on facebook where there might be cloth diaper discussions.

AI2: all in two , usually has a snap in liner
AIO: all in one diaper

APLIX: brand of hook and loop similar to velcro
BKT: burly knit terry

BV: bamboo velour
CD: cloth diaper
Colorway: The color of the yarn
CPF: Chinese prefolds

DSQ: diaper service quality

Fitted: Fitted diapers.

Flat: a diaper that is typically 27"x27" square, single ply diaper to fold
FOE: fold over elastic

FS: front snapping
Hemp: hemp is made from the inner bark of the hemp plant. It is becoming popular for use in diapers because of its durability, absorbency and natural anti-microbial properties

IPF: indian prefold
OBV: organic bamboo velour
OC: organic cotton
OCV: organic cotton velour
OS: one size - a diaper that usually fits a child from birth up until about 35 lbs
OV: organic velour
PF: prefold - diapers that need to be folded to fit the baby
PUL: polyurethane laminate, a material used to make diaper covers
SC: suedecloth 
SS: side snapping
T&T :Turned and Topstitched 
UBCPF: unbleached chinese prefolds
UBIPF: unbleached Indian prefolds

WAHD: work at home dad
WAHM: work at home mom

WIO: wool in one -AIO with a wool cover rather than fleece or cotton
Wool Soaker: A wool soaker is basically a diaper cover made exclusively of wool

I hope you found this post useful and informative. I really tried to break down and explain each item from a newbies point of view to help you make a more informed decision. This was part 1 of my get started with cloth guide. In each post for this guide I will include an explanation of what I am talking about and also a guide of abbreviations and acronyms that are relevant to that topic.

In part 2 we will be talking about cloth diaper accessories!

Feel free to add anything that I missed in the comments section, I tried to be a thorough as possible, but I may have missed some key points and details, I am a newbie after all ;-)


    1. This looks like some great information. Cloth diapering can be very confusing, especially in the beginning. Thanks for the shout out!! I appreciate it.

    2. No problem! I can't wait to get my custom diapers!!

    3. Great post!

    4. This is a nice post! very informantive and to the point :)

    5. Thank you for all the love ladies!

    6. LOVE THIS! Thanks! I was planning a similar post, but you beat me to it and saved me some time :)