I have been meaning for a while to post about this. We use cloth at home and disposable/cloth hybrids on the go. Because I have a lot to say about diapers I am going to divide this in multiple post with information on diaper types and reviews.
So first lets address the various types of cloth diapers:
Flats: These are one-layer diapers and are the most “old-fashioned” choice. Usually the less expensive choice however I was not up to all the folding and pinning that are required. We never considered these they are too cumbersome.
Prefolds: These are similar to flats, but have multiple layers with more layering in the middle. They come on a multitude of sizes from preemie to toddler. You can get them in bleached or unbleached. You typically use a fitted wrap-style cover over them; however they can also be pinned. You can also get prefolds made from hemp or bamboo both of these are more absorbent then cotton; however more expensive. Positive points are that they fit a wide range of body types and sizes, don’t have elastic/snaps/velcro to wear out and are very absorbent. Even though we received about 30 prefolds from Geoff's sister that she never used with her kids, it took us forever to try them, because again we are going for simplicity and I could never seem to remember how to fold them. Also they looked huge on him when he was first born. However with a bit of practice these are now one of our favorites.
Fitted: Fitted diapers often have elastic at the legs and back and basically look like a disposable diaper. They can have velcro or snap fasteners, plain or printed outers, and can be made from a variety of materials like organic cotton or hemp. You need to use a cover over the fitted similar to a cover you would use with a prefold to ensure that you do not get any leaks. Papa likes these well enough, maman does not.
All-in-ones (AIO): The absorbent part of the diaper and the cover combined into a single diaper, just like disposables. These are extra easy to use. You can get some with snap closures or with velcro. They come in a multitude of colors and a variety of fabrics with cotton being the most common. Because everything is combined in one they can require anywhere from one round to 3 rounds in the dryer depending on the brand. Many AIO come with doublers (kinda of a liner) that snaps inside for extra absorption. We have tried a few AIO most of them worked fine.
Pocket Diapers: These have a layer of fleece sewn to a cover with an opening in the back so that the inside of the diaper can be stuffed with any absorbent layer. The fleece lining wicks moisture away from babies' skin, leaving it dry to the touch. Once again these are extra easy to use and look just like a disposable (once stuffed). You can get these with snaps or velcro. Unlike the AIO these typically only take one round in the dryer. Once again we tried a bunch of these and they all seem to work.
I am sure there are others styles that I have not covered but I think that is the most common ones.
Out of all the types we have used our favorites are Pockets and Prefolds; I will share why during the reviews of each type.