Now that we’ve talked some about the why’s of CDing, let’s talk about the what’s.
A flat is basically a square of usually single layered fabric that you artfully fold into a diaper. These are usually the cheapest way to diaper. You can buy flour sack towels (FSTs) at Walmart for about a buck a piece. They can also be pad folded and stuffed into a pocket. Depending on how heavy of a wetter you have, these may need to be changed more frequently than thicker diapers. These are probably the easiest to clean, if you were to find yourself in a position of having to hand wash. They are kept on with a snappi or pins, and do require a cover.
These are thicker diapers that are usually folded or pad folded into a cover. As opposed to flats these are usually sized. They will “quilt” up with washing and become more absorbent with each wash. Prefolds are another option for cheaper diapering, averaging around 2 bones a diaper. Again, these are kept on with a snappi or pins, and do require a cover.
Fitted diapers are shaped like a disposable diaper…no folding required! They come in snap and snap less varieties and many absorbent materials. Most come with an attached soaker and some with snaps to accommodate added absorption. These run the gamut in price from —– for GMD workhorses (a personally fave) to around $30 for some of the great Work At Home Mom (WAHM) options out there. Please note that prices on these vary because of materials used and workmanship…those WAHMs deserve a serious shoutout! Fitteds can be a GREAT option for nighttime. These are not waterproof on their own and will require some kind of cover. If choosing a snap less option, a snappi or pins will be needed too.
I personally have a love/hate relationship with pocket diapers. Pockets generally consist of a waterproof (usually PUL) shell with a sewn in stay-dry liner. One end is open to create a pocket for stuffing. The majority of commercially available pockets come with an insert or two. The great thing about pocket diapers is the customability of them…you can stuff with as much, or as little absorption as you’d need. I have had great success with these as night time diapers and for long car trips…the stay dry liner keeps E comfy, but she can pee and pee and so far nary a leak-you just have to find what works for you stuffing wise. The part about pockets I’m personally not to keen on is the stuffing/unstuffing aspect. You have to take the time to get them stuffed properly before going On The Bum (OTB) and usually you have to unstuff them before washing to ensure everything gets clean. Although, there are some brands that claim their pockets can agitate out in the wash, I personally have not come across this.
All-in-Twos : AI2
AI2s are a system of covers and insets, where you snap an insert into a cover and change only the insert when soiled, unless the cover is visible dirty. In theory you can get buy with less covers, as they can be re-used and just snap in a new insert. I have no personal experience with this system yet, but am looking to make a purchase soon, as this seems like a fantastic option for traveling!
All In Ones : AIO
These diapers tend to be the most user friendly for the CD novice. They go on just like a sposie, except when dirty, instead of throwing away you just put in the diaper pail. There can be some debate in the CD world as to what constitutes an AIO…some still have a longer soaker that can be tucked into a pocket or a snap in soaker that some people claim is more of an AI2 situation. No matter which side of that debate you fall on, it can’t be denied that these are a far cry from the birds eye flats our grandparents used. These guys come in so many colors and patterns and cuts. It’s almost impossible to not find at least one that works for you and your family. These, as well as pockets and AI2s usually come with a snap or aplix (which is the generic term for Velcro…you’ll also see the term Hook & Loop thrown around for this) closure option. If choosing aplix AIO’s you’re as close to a sposie as you’re gonna get; these tend to be an excellent choice for baby-sitters, grandparents, and reluctant dad’s (Hi Shan!!)
Hopefully this quick look at some different types of diapers took some confusion away for some of you. Or maybe it inspired even more questions. If that’s the case, please feel free to ask in the comments, and I’ll do my very best to answer!