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Different types of diapers

The cloth diapering world is big! So big, that once you start your cloth diapering journey, it can be difficult to decide which way to go. To help you find your way, we have made an extensive description of all the different types of cloth diapers available. There are 4 main groups that you need to know about. In the tabel below you will find a short overview of these groups and the differences between them. Below that, you'll find descriptions and pictures of each of these groups. 

 

 

Two-part system

The two-part system, obviously, consists out of two separate part: an absorbing diaper and a separate waterproof cover. The absorbing part kan be a fitted diaper (shaped like a disposable) of a diaper that you have to fold into shape, called a flat.


The diaper

A fitted diaper has the well-known diapershape and is fastened around your baby with snaps or velcro. 

A flat is a cloth (like a prefold of a muslin square) that has to be folded into a shape that can serve as a diaper. This sounds complicated, but it is rather simple once you get the hang of it. One big advantage of flats is that they make very economical diaper solutions. 

Both the fitted diaper as the flat is very absorbant, but not waterproof. Which is why they need a separate waterproof cover.

An example of a two-part system: a fitted diaper with a separate, waterproof cover

 

Waterproof cover

As the diapers of a two-part system are not waterproof, they need a separate waterproof cover to make sure the moisture stays inside the diaper. There are different types of waterproof covers. The two main variants are those made out of PUL and those made out of wool

The most commonly used waterproof covers are those with a layer of PUL. PUL (PolyUrethaneLaminate) is a coating that is waterproof, but still breathable. This makes sure that the moisture stays inside the cover, but it doesn't scald. Because of this, the temperature in the diaper will not rise too much and air can still circulate. 
Waterproof covers have the same shape as a fitted diaper and can be put over the absorbant part of the diaper. You close them around your baby with velcro of snaps.

  

Example of a waterproof cover, OneSize

 

Another type of waterproof cover is one made out of wool. These woolen pants are knitted in such a way that they will become waterproof when you treat them with lanolin (woolfat). The good thing about woolen covers is that they are skin-friendly, self-cleansing and very leakproof. This is why they are often used to keep your baby dry during the night.
To make a woolen cover waterproof, you need to treat it with lanolin. This is rather simple: you put the cover in a bucket with water and lanolin. Lanolin is naturally dirt-resisting, which means that these covers only need to be washed and treated every few weeks, or when they are pooped on. In the meantime, just air them in front of a window and all the smell will disappear. 
Wool covers are pull-up pants, which are put on just like underwear. 

Example of a woolen cover

 

Pocket diapers

A pocket diaper is a waterproof cover with a layer of soft fleece attached to it. The fleece is on the inside of the diaper and between the fleece and the waterproof cover is a pocket in which absorbant inserts need to be place. Advange of this system is that you can choose which type of inserts you want to use and how many. So a pocket diaper can be adapted to how much absorbancy your baby needs. Most pocket diapers come with a shaped insert, but you can also use a prefold, muslin square or whatever else you have in you closet that might absorb fluids. 
Pocket diapers are fastened around your baby with snaps or velcro and are shaped like disposable diapers.

Example of a pocket diaper

 

All-in-Two diapers

All-in-Two diapers consist of a waterproof cover in which you can fasten absorbing inserts. It rather looks like a pocket diaper, but the inserts are put on top of the waterproof cover, instead of under a layer of fleece. The advantage of this is that the absorbing material is directly against baby's bottom, which means that all fluid is absorbed very easily. All-in-Two diapers are very easy and economical to use. In most cases, you only need to change the insert and reuse the cover. You put them on like a disposable diaper and close them with snaps or velcro.
By adding extra inserts, you can increase the absorbancy of this diaper. 

Het All-in-Two systeem is eigenlijk een waterdicht overbroekje waar absorberende inleggers ingeklikt kunnen worden. Hetzelfde idee als een pocket, dus, alleen dan worden de inleggers op het overbroekje geklikt in plaats van in een pocket gestopt. Het voordeel hiervan is dat de luier erg snel klaar voor gebruik is en de absorptie makkelijk kan worden aangepast aan je kindje. Door extra inleggers toe te voegen, krijgt de luier een groter absorptievermogen. De luier wordt gesloten met klittenband of drukknoopjes. 

 

Voorbeeld van een All-in-Two systeem: de inlegger wordt met drukknoopjes in het waterdichte overbroekje geklikt

All-in-One diapers

All-in-One diapers is a waterproof cover with absorbing boosters attached to it. This means that it is a diaper that has everything rolled into one. 
The outside looks just like a pocket system or an All-in-Two system: they are shaped the same and both fastened with snaps or velcro. The advantage of this is that you can put the diaper on in 1 movement. It's a one-step process, which makes it easy to use. The downside of having everything rolled into one is that an All-in-One diaper is somewhat more sensitive to leaking and that it is more difficult adapt the diaper to your baby. If your baby is a heavy wetter, most All-in-One diapers will not keep him or her dry. 

Example of an All-in-One diaper: the absorbing boosters are attached to the waterproof cover.

 

 

Sized or OneSize?

Once you start looking at cloth diapers, you will soon see that you can choose from Sized and OneSize diapers. 

Sized means that you buy diapers with different sizes. Most often you have one set in size S and one in size L, which will last you from birth to potty training, sometimes supplemented with a size Newborn or a size XL. The sizes are given in weight: size S might be 3,5 - 9 kilo and size L 8 - 14. These sizes vary, depending on the brand you choose to buy. The good thing about sized diapers is that they fit your baby perfectly. The downside is that you have to purchase multiple sizes and it is therefore somewhat more expensive.

OneSize diapers are diapers that will last your child from birth to potty training. They are adaptable in their height, most often by using snaps on the front of the diaper. In this way, the diaper grows with your child. OneSize diapers are an economical option, as you only need to have one purchase. The absorbancy of OneSize diapers is also adaptable: by adding extra boosters when the child grows, you will keep both a newborn and a toddler dry.
Downside to using OneSize diapers is that they might be rather bulky on newborns and small babies.