These are probably the cheapest way to go. Flats are basically just a square of fabric that is folded around your baby and secured with either the traditional pins or a snappi. These are not waterproof so they need to have a cover placed over them. I have not personally used flats, so I am not much help in this area, but here is a great video on how to fold flats to use on your baby.
Picture source: Greenmountaindiapers.com
These are definitely another cheap option to go with when deciding to cloth diapers. Prefolds are cotton fabric that is layered and sewn so that there is more absorbency. They are sized for a better fit. This type of diaper needs a waterproof cover, and needs to be secured with pins or a snappi. I used prefolds with my daughter up until she wiggled too much. Now it is a race to try to get her still and diapered before she pitched a fit, so prefold are a last resort for us now that she is older. I LOVE prefolds for newborns and young babies. There is several different folds that you can do to suit your needs. Here is a great video that shows the different folds that you can do.
Picture source: greenmountaindiapers.com
Fitteds are a great diaper for heavy wetters. You do not have to worry about folding them around a wiggling baby, and some of them have snaps or aplix (Velcro) so you don’t have to pin or use a snappi. Fitted diapers do need a waterproof cover, though you can leave the cover off and let the baby’s bum breathe. You just have to make sure you change as soon as they pee or you may be cleaning up more than a dirty diaper. There are many types of fitted diapers available. Big name brands and WAHM fitted are both great options. You can get them in a variety of colors and patterns as well. You can also use an additional soaker for nap time, and heavy wetters to add more absorbency.
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4. Hybrids (two types)
Hybrids are a cross between cloth diapers and disposables. The cover is made from a waterproof material that you can reuse but you can purchase disposable inserts that you throw out after use. I have not personally used this method before so I am not familiar with how it works exactly, but here is a great page that can help you understand this system better if you wish to learn more. Click Here
Hybrids can also be referring to hybrid fitteds. These diapers are just like the above fitted diapers, however there is a layer of fleece sewn in that repels the moisture back to the insert. This type of diaper is semi-waterproof. It needs a cover to be completely water proof, but some moms use them without a cover around the house. This is a great option for babies with sensitive skin. This diaper allows a lot of air flow to the bum.
5. Pocket Diapers
These are probably one of the most common types of modern cloth diapers available. These diapers have a waterproof outer shell and a stay dri inner liner to keep baby dry. The two layers create a pocket that you stuff with absorbent inserts. These inserts must be pulled out after you change your baby though so they will be properly washed and dried. After washing and drying, pocket diapers need to be restuffed with the absorbent inserts before they can be used again. The really neat thing about pocket diapers is you can adjust how much absorbency is needed. If your baby is a heavy wetter you can add an extra insert. Pocket diapers are secured with either snaps or aplix. These diapers are dad and babysitter friendly since there is only one step to put them on the baby.
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6. AI2s (All-in-twos)
AI2 diapers are similar to pocket diapers except you do not have to stuff them. These consist of a waterproof shell that normally have sleeves at the from and back of the diaper on the inside to hold an insert in place, or they may have snaps to secure the insert in the diaper. This type of diaper is nice, because you can reuse the waterproof shell a few times before needing to wash it. In between changes you just wipe it down with a wet cloth and let it air dry for a minute. AI2 diapers have snaps or aplix closure for a secure fit on your baby. You can adjust the absorbency by adding an extra insert if need be. They come in a wide range of colors and patterns. These are nice because they dry much faster than AIO diapers, and you don’t have to stuff and unstuff like with the pocket diapers.
7. AIOs (All-in-ones)
The AIO diapers are the closest thing you can get to using a disposable diaper in cloth form. There is no extra steps involved at all unless you choose to add absorbency. AIO diapers have a waterproof shell and there is an absorbent layer sewn into the diaper. You do not have to stuff or match inserts to an AIO. These are great if your baby has to go to a baby sitter that is not comfortable with cloth diapers, because they do not have to do anything except put the diaper on the baby. The down fall to AIOs is that they take longer to dry because of the layers being sewn together. These are also secured using snaps or aplix.
These are the most common types of modern day cloth diapers. There is a wide range to choose from. My advice to someone just starting out is to buy a couple used types of diapers first to try the different styles out. You may find that you LOVE prefold diapers and hate pockets or visa versa. If you haven’t cloth diapered before, I would not buy a whole bunch of one style diaper until after you have tried a few first. Go on Facebook and find buy/sell/trade cloth diapering groups first to buy gently used diapers.
There are also lots of brands of diapers to try. They range from cheapies that are made over seas to WAHM diapers that cost way more than my entire stash cost me. There are a few name brands that I like and would recommend, but as a WAHM myself… I always like to suggest supporting other ladies that make a living making beautiful items.
Please visit my Business Facebook page if you are interested in purchasing a WAHM diaper: www.facebook.com/jchildsdesigns