When we first started cloth diapering, I thought it would be no big deal, I'd just buy some cloth diapers. And then I realized there's about a million different options and got totally overwhelmed. Now we've been doing cloth diapering with our daughter for over a year. I've shared about our 80/20 method to cloth diapering, how it changes after baby starts eating solids, and my one year review sharing everything I've learned about cloth diapering since we started. But, this blog is all about the different types of cloth diapers and what the pros and cons are of each to help you decide which one is right for your family.
Like I said, there's tons of options. So, I'm going to go over all-in-ones, hybrids, and pockets which are three popular choices. And this is just a brief overview to help you. On the websites, you really only get to see the pictures where they all look the same, so having some of this basic information can help you decide which ones you want to go with.
All-in-one Cloth Diapers
These are what we use and we use bumGenuis, which I got off of Facebook Marketplace because they can be so expensive. We decided to use all-in-ones because in my opinion, they are the easiest. You've got the shell and inserts attached. You take the entire thing of your baby when it's dirty, throw it in the hamper, and grab a new one. It's like a disposable, but you wash it. SO SIMPLE.
The major con with these is that because it has the flaps/attached inserts, they are harder to clean. We do elimination communication with our cloth diapering so now I really only have to clean like two poopy diapers a month. But, you can imagine, even though we had a sprayer, it was harder to get poop out of the flaps and crevasses. And, they also take longer to dry in the dryer than other options. So, these really are not the slickest for cleaning, but to me that was worth it because they are so easy to change. One other thing with the all-in-ones is that you need more of them. We have 24 of them, but with the hybrids, I've heard you only need about six.
Pocket Cloth Diapers
So, again, I do not use these. But, on my Instagram, I asked people what they used for cloth diapers and a ton of people said they had a couple of each type, which blew my mind and messes with my OCD. I need them all to be the same, but whatever works for ya! But, most of these people say they started with all-in-ones and switched to pockets and now love the pockets. Plus, check out Nora's Nursery, they have SUCH cute cloth diapers.
So, a pocket diaper just has a “pocket” inside of the shell, but you take the insert and stuff it all the way to the bottom of the pocket and you're done. What's nice about these is that if they poop, you just spray it off and it's super easy. Then, pull out the insert and you wash and dry them separately. People also said these are way less bulky than the all-in-ones. But, you can also put in more than one insert, especially at night, if you have a heavy wetter to make sure you don't get any leaks.
These aren't quite as easy to change as the all-in-ones, but like anything, I'm sure it gets easier and you get used to it. And, you could even “pre-stuff” some so they're ready to go when you change your babe.
Hybrid Cloth Diapers
These are two pieces. One piece is just the empty shell and the other is the liner, but there's no lining what so ever in the shell. You just take the liner and put it right in the shell. Some, you just tuck the liner into the shell and others have little clips. But, it's basically just like a pad.
Then, you can keep the same shell (as long as there's no leaking into the shell) and just replace the liner when you change your babe. And, like the pockets, you can use more than one liner if you need to. Plus, there's a lot of different liner options for these. Since we don't use them, I don't know a whole lot about the options, but there are bamboo liners, charcoal ones, etc. so you have more options with these. These also dry way faster than other kinds and make less laundry, but aren't quite as easy to change.
There are flats or pre-folds, which are like the OGs that are like towels that you can put on your baby anyway and they have pins and everything. There are also fitteds which are similar to the flats, but instead of it being like a towel, it's more like a non-waterproof diaper.
Our neighbors even have a service for cloth diapers. They don't have to clean any of their diapers. They set them out on their doorstep, someone comes and picks them up, and then drops off all the clean ones.
I've also worked with Pampers and tried their hybrid diapers. I read that it takes 400 YEARS for a disposable diaper to decompose. These hybrids are a disposable liner that you put in your cloth diaper shell. It's great when you're on the go or if you don't want to wash the liners and it still helps reduce waste.
If you don't want to go the cloth diapering method or you do 80/20 like us but still feel bad about the disposables you're using 20% of the time, I also just read there are now bamboo diapers which only take about 75 days to decompose. So, compared to 400 years, that's a much better option.
Whatever you choose, just make sure it's a good fit for you and your fam. And, like us, you don't have to do cloth diapering all the time. Stick with what you can do without losing your sanity. Even choosing bamboo or hybrid or doing cloths some times is great.