This week I am making videos and doing reviews of all of the cloth diapers we have used- and it's been a lot, since we bought a sampler package from Nicki's Diapers before Cas was born to try out a variety of brands before we made the plunge on one single brand for our diaper stash. But first I want to talk about different kinds of cloth diapers and their advantages and disadvantages.
Prefolds: Chinese and Indian Prefolds come in various sizes from newborn to toddler and the differences between the sizes are dimension and absorbency. They range from newborn (2x5x2) at 12 x 16 inches and fits 5-10 lbs to toddler (4x8x4) at 17.5 x 23 inches fitting 30+ lbs. The numbers in parenthesis indicate how many layers are on the sides and middle of the diaper. The higher the number in the middle the more absorbent it is going to be. Prefolds can either be bleached or unbleached. Prefolds must be folded up and put on the baby, can be closed with a Snappi (an alternative to old fashioned diaper pins), and must have a cover over it. There are many different folds, but I usually just trifold it, stick it in the cover, and place it on the baby. No need for a Snappi or pins with that method. The covers can be used more than once between washings, as long as they do not get soiled. Prefolds need to be washed several times before use, with each wash making the diaper become more absorbent. When you first buy them they will be flat, but with each wash they fluff up more and more, and will shrink up to 10% with the initial wash. I washed mine at least 5 times before I used them on Casper, and have never had a leak with them. The covers come in a variety of colors, and some people even dye or embroider their prefolds to make them look better.
There are also prefolds sold by Gerber, but they are not very absorbent. We bought a package to use when Casper was first home from the hospital and didn't think they worked well at all for diapering purposes. They work great as burp rags and to cover things during a diaper change however.
Pros: VERY inexpensive, very absorbent, can be used as stuffers inside pocket diapers, can be used for other purposes as well, such as spit up rags or to prevent your baby boy from peeing on you while you change his diaper.
Cons: Must have a cover, must be changed more frequently than other diapers because they do not pull the pee away from the baby into a separate absorbent liner like other types of diapers. If the diaper isn't entirely inside the cover, you will get a leak.
Fitteds: Fitted diapers are similar to prefolds in that they need a cover because there is no waterproof layer within the diaper itself, but they look just like disposables and pocket diapers. They are closed with either snaps or velcro and require no folding. I really like the one fitted I have (an organic Kissaluv), but they do get soaked as quickly as a prefold (I don't go more than 2 hours in either a prefold or fitted). An example is the Kissaluv I have.
Pros: No need to fold, easy to use, less expensive than pockets or all-in-ones.
Cons: Get soaked within a couple of hours, need a cover.
Pocket diapers: Pocket diapers have an opening in which to place an insert or prefold to absorb the pee. They are very trim fitting and dry fast after washing. They are very convenient but can be expensive. They come in one size that are meant to last from newborn to toddler with adjustments made in the rise and sized from extra small to extra large. These come in a variety of colors and prints. An example is BumGenius Pocket Diaper 3.0.
Pros: Convenient, cute, can be used from newborn through potty training, trim fitting.
Cons: Expensive, need to be stuffed before use.
All-In-Ones (AIO): A diaper where the waterproof layer and absorbent layer are sewn into a single piece most like disposables. They are very trim. Like the pocket diaper, but does not require stuffing. Take longer to dry but very convenient, once dry they are ready to use. Come in either one size or sized. In a variety of colors and prints. An example is the Thirsties Pocket AIO.
Pros: Very convenient, trim fitting, can be used from newborn through potty training.
Cons: One of the most expensive options, longer to dry.
Hybrid: There are also some new diapers that are a hybrid between cloth and disposable called G Diapers. These diapers have a fabric shell and a snap in plastic liner in which you place either a disposable or cloth insert. The snap in liner is reusable between washings, but stained very easily, and the cover did not need to be washed unless it was soiled. These are very trim. The disposable insert is supposed to be flushable, but I never tried to flush it. When thrown away it biodegrades within 60-90 days instead of 500 years like traditional disposable diapers and is also compostable. However, they are very expensive. The cloth inserts seemed absorbent after 6 initial washings but once wet would bunch up inside the plastic liner, leaving baby's skin exposed to the plastic and caused lots of irritation for our baby.
Pros: Very trim, cute, do not need washed after every wearing.
Cons: Very expensive when using the flushable inserts, cloth insert not fool-proof.