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Best Cloth Diapers
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Types of Cloth Diapers
Flat Diapers: The originals that Grandma would recognize. Large rectangular or square fabric, like bleached or unbleached cotton, hemp or bamboo. Once used to require safety pins to hold them together (ouch!), but now can be fastened with Snappis diaper fasteners. Requires a waterproof cover (wool, fleece or PUL—polyurethane laminate) on top. A very economical approach to cloth diapering.
Prefolds: A rectangular piece of fabric (options include cotton, flannel, hemp and bamboo) with 6-8 layers of fabric in the middle. Needs a waterproof cover and (possibly) Snappis or safety pins. Generally come in three sizes: preemie (4-10 lbs), infant (newborn to 15 lbs), and premium/toddler (15-30 lbs). Also very economical.
Contours: Similar to prefolds, except that they’re hourglass-shaped for a closer fit to baby. Fabric options may include cotton fleece, cotton terry, bamboo or flannelette. Can be used with or without a Snappi, inside a waterproof cover.
Fitteds: Shaped like disposables, fitted diapers have elastic at the legs and back, and close with snaps or hook and loop (e.g. Velcro or Aplix). Contain messes better than any of the above, helping to keep diaper covers cleaner for longer. Fabric options may include cotton, hemp, cotton fleece, cotton terry and bamboo. Generally dry faster than all-in-ones, saving energy and time. Needs a waterproof cover.
Pocket or Sleeve Diapers: Hourglass-shaped with elastic in the legs and waist, pocket diapers consist of a waterproof outer layer (PUL or ProCare, fleece or wool) and a stay-dry inner layer (usually fleece or suedecloth). An absorbent insert gets stuffed in the middle, which soaks up the pee, leaving the fleece layer dry next to baby’s skin. Fastens with hook and loop or snap closures. No additional cover needed.
All-in-Ones: Often referred to as AIO’s, these are quite similar in shape and function to pocket diapers, except that they don’t need to be stuffed—the absorbent insert (or soaker) is generally either sewn into the waterproof cover or attaches with snaps. No additional cover needed. Available as one-size AIO’s (which typically fit from about 10 or 12 to 35 pounds) or sized AIO’s, (which generally fit better, but for a shorter period of time). About as easy to use as disposable diapers, although more expensive than many other options (except pocket diapers).
Learn more here about Eco-Friendly Baby Clothes and 22 Cheap Ways to Go Green
As a guide, if you plan to do laundry every two days, you’ll likely need about 20-24 diapers for a newborn to 4 months, 16-20 diapers for a baby 4-10 months old and 12-16 diapers for a child 10+ months, suggest the folks at KellysCloset.com, a Maine-based online retailer.
If you’re interested in trying cloth diapers but are scared to commit, check out of the many trial programs available through cloth diaper retailers, which allow you to experiment with the diapers before you go all in. For example, Diaper Lab offers a two-week trial program for a $35 rental fee to retail customers (although they may expand it online), and Jillian’s Drawers offers a 21-day trial program for a $10 fee (you’ll pay a deposit of $149.94 plus $10 shipping; you’ll get $139.94 refunded, regardless of staining, should you return the dipes).
All-in-One & All-in-Two Diapers (AIO/AI2)
bumGenius Elemental Organic One-Size Diaper
A terrific “no-stuff” one-size diaper, these bumGenius AIO’s are about as easy to use as disposables—which make them a great choice for reluctant family members or caregivers, as well as kids in daycare (plus: check out this cloth diaper-friendly daycare directory from the RDIA and RDA!). The interior is made from organic cotton with six layers of absorbency and the exterior is waterproof PUL. Includes three rows of snaps on the front rise and two full rows of snaps across the waist, which, combined with the “stretch-to-fit” tabs, ensures a great fit. Available in a range of pastel and bright colors, as well as this sweet “Tiny Socialite” collection by artist Chelsea Perry.
bumGenius Elemental Organic One-Size from jilliansdrawers.com, $24.95-$26.95
A super-duper easy-to-use all-in-one diaper, the GroVia AIO is a combination of incredibly soft organic cotton on the inside and water resistant TPU outside. Requires no stuffing or doublers, but a soaker can be snapped in for older babies or heavy wetters. Comes with stretchy tabs for a great fit; snaps adjust in three positions on the front rise as well as alongside the waist. Fits babies 10 to 35 pounds. Available in a handful of pastel colors and sweet prints.
Rumparooz Lil’ Joey Diapers
These teeny tiny all-in-one newborn diapers have won over loads of new parents. Designed for use from birth, the Lil’ Joey has a waterproof outer layer with a sewn-in soaker and features a snap-down center for easy umbilical care. Comes with internal gussets to help contain the kinds of notorious messes newborns are known for. Fits preemies and newborns 4 to 12 pounds. Comes in a rainbow of solids and a handful of fab prints.
Kissaluvs Marvels One-Size All-in-One Diaper
Incredibly easy to use, these Kissaluvs one-size AIO’s will help to win over squeamish parents and caregivers. Comes with a waterproof PUL exterior, a soft fleece interior an attached soaker that flips inside-out in the wash on its own—meaning no danger of poo-covered hands while fishing out inserts! An additional pocket in the back allows for the stuffing of additional soakers for added absorbency. Comes with adjustable snaps along the waist and front rise and overlapping wings to ensure a good fit. Fits babies 7 to 35 pounds. Available in a limited color palette.
Kissaluvs Marvels One-Size AIO from kissaluvs.com, $22.95
Best Bottom Diapers
One of the trimmest cloth diapers around, this all-in-two diaper from Best Bottom pairs a one-size diaper cover with your choice of three inserts: stay dry (4 layers of microfiber topped with moisture-wicking fleece), hemp/organic cotton (5 layers of hemp/certified organic cotton topped with a soft layer of hemp/certified organic cotton fleece) or overnight (6 layers of microfiber made to fit with either of the former). If the insert is merely wet, you can continue reusing the shell until it gets soiled or it’s time to do laundry. Fits birth to 35+ pounds, courtesy of four snap settings on the front rise. Available in several solids and prints.
Flip Hybrid One-Size Diaper System
For parents who need flexibility and convenience, the Flip Diaper System is a great option, as it offers a few choices. The one-size diaper cover can function with the one-size Stay Dry Insert (included here; made from 3 absorbent layers of microfiber), the Certified Organic Cotton Insert ($7.95), or disposable inserts ($4.95/18 pk), which make a great on-the-go option. If the insert is only wet, you can simply wipe down the cover and re-use. Fits most babies 8 to 35 pounds. Available in a range of muted shades.
Flip One-Size Diaper Cover w/ Stay Dry Insert from cottonbabies.com, $16.95
gDiapers Diaper System
One of the best-known hybrid diapers, gDiapers offer parents several choices within one (super-cute) system. The waterproof shells, called gPants, can be paired with snap-in liners (one included with each little gPant; $20/6 pk) and biodegradable gRefills (which can be composted if they’re wet, flushed or tossed if wet or soiled; $14.49/32-40 pk) or gCloth inserts ($29.99/6 pk). Flushing the inserts can be a bit complicated, as it involves tearing the gRefill apart to ensure the absorbent inner core comes out, stirring with a swishstick ($2.50) to break up the contents, and then flushing, tossing in the outer material of the gRefill at the end of the flush. Flushing is not recommended for faulty, older, or non-standard plumbing. Unsoiled gPants can be re-used again and again until laundry day. Available in tiny gPants (6-10 lbs; $59.99/6 pk) and little gPants: S (8-14 lbs), M (13-28 lbs), and L (26-36 lbs). Available in a slew of vibrant solids.
bumGenius 4.0 One-Size Pocket Diaper
One of the best-selling cloth diapers on the market today, bumGenius one-size pocket diapers are trim and absorbent—and an easy transition from disposables. Available with snaps (shown) or Aplix (similar to Velcro) at the waist, the diapers come with three rows of snaps, allowing parents to adjust the diaper to small, medium and large sizes. Comes with a one-size adjustable insert as well as a smaller newborn insert than can be used as an overnight booster or as additional absorbency for heavy wetters. Fits most babies from 7 to 35+ pounds, although generally fits best starting around 12 pounds. A good choice for an overnight diaper. Available in a range of bright and pastel colors, as well as the artist series from Chelsea Perry.
Happy Heinys One for All Pocket Diaper
Happy Heinys’ newest one-size pocket diaper, available with snaps or Aplix closures, is an improved, revamped version offering a trimmer fit than past versions. Offers four different settings, and fits babies 8 to 35 pounds. Comes with two microfiber inserts (one small and one large). Happy Heinys hemp stuffins also fit well in these diapers, for added absorbency.
Available in 22 different colors and gorgeous graphic prints.
Happy Heinys One for All Pocket Diaper from kellyscloset.com, $18.95-$19.95
FuzziBunz One-Size Pocket Diaper
Also super popular, FuzziBunz pocket diapers are designed to fit babies 7 to 35 pounds. While the waist adjusts to 4+ settings, the leg casings adjust to 8+ settings, thanks to a customizable button/elastic adjustment system, which all keeps leaks to a minimum. The exterior is made of waterproof PUL and the interior is a polyester fleece. Comes with two inserts to stuff in the pocket. Available in a rainbow of solid colors.
FuzziBunz One-Size from jilliansdrawers.com, $19.95
Rumparooz One-Size Pocket Diaper
Another hot-selling pocket diaper, Rumparooz are the only cloth diaper with internal gussets, meaning that even the messiest #2s will be contained. They come with four size settings, offering a good fit from 6.5 to 35+ pounds, and are available with snaps or Aplix (shown). The outer shell is made from a biodegradable TPU waterproof material instead of PUL, and the inner shell is 100% hypoallergenic with no-pill microchamois. Comes with the 6R soaker set, including a full-size micro terry insert with snap down setting and a contoured newborn micro terry setting, which combine to allow for 6 size/absorbency combos. Available in a range of vibrant colors and incredibly cute prints.
Thirsties Duo Diapers
This two-piece diapering system from Thirsties is another good one to add to your stash. Made with a waterproof exterior with adjustable snaps on the front rise and a microfleece liner, this diaper has two openings, technically making it a sleeve diaper instead of a pocket diaper—and allowing inserts to come free from the diaper in the washing machine. The insert is made from 2 layers of microfiber terry snapped to 5 layers of hemp jersey. Available only with Aplix closures, Thirsties Duo diapers come in Size 1 (6-18 lbs) and Size 2 (18-40 lbs), in 8 bright solids and 4 prints.
FuzziBunz Perfect-Size Diapers
Similar to the FuzziBunz one-size pocket diaper (and identical in quality), these sized diapers offer a trimmer and closer fit than their one-size diapers. But if cost is most important to you, then the one-size diapers are likely the better choice, as they’ll take your babe virtually from birth through potty training. Comes with a soft waterproof PUL outer layer with two rows of snaps at the waist and legs and even softer microfleece inner layer; inner pocket allows you to choose how much absorbency your baby needs (stuff more for night or naptime, less for daytime—note: comes with a single micro-terry insert). Available in a range of vivid colors. Sizes XS (4-12 lbs), S (7-18 lbs), M (15-30 lbs) and L (25-45+ lbs).
FuzziBunz Perfect-Size from kellyscloset.com, $17.95
Smartipants One-Size Diapers
A more economical option, Smartipants one-size diapers are sleeved diapers that are made in the USA. Similar to FuzziBunz one-size diapers and bumGenius 3.0 one-size diapers, they feature adjustable snap closures and an inner sleeve instead of a pocket—which allows the insert to come out in the wash on its own (so you can avoid touching it!). Comes with a single insert (you’d likely need a second one for nighttime use). Fits babies 7 to 35 pounds. Available in a range of soft pastels.
Smartipants One-Size Diapers from jilliansdrawers.com, $14.95
Thirsties Duo Wrap Diaper Covers
These trim-fitting waterproof but breathable diaper covers are a smart and popular choice for families using prefolds or trim fitted diapers (Thirsties diaper covers are a roomier option for bulkier fitted diapers or nighttime diapering). Adjustable snaps on the front rise help achieve the perfect fit. Available in sizes 1 (6-18 lbs) and 2 (18-40 lbs), and with either snap or Aplix closures at the waist, these covers are woman-made in the USA. Available in 8 solids and 4 prints.
Bummis Super Whisper Wrap
Made from two layers of a soft polyester knit with a super-resistant waterproof laminate in between, this diaper cover is incredibly popular—but likely best for babies on the slim to average side. Great for use with flat, prefold, and even fitted diapers. Available only with Aplix closures on the printed covers (white covers available with either snaps or Aplix). Comes in a handful of cute prints and white. Available in NB (7-10 lbs), S (8.5-15 lbs), M (15-30 lbs) and L (30-40 lbs).
Kissaluvs Wool Diaper Covers
Super soft and breathable, these wool diaper covers from Kissaluvs are a great, natural alternative to waterproof PUL diaper covers. They’re especially good for babies who are sensitive to synthetic materials. Made from Australian ultra-fine merino wool, these covers feel super soft. Wool is naturally antibacterial and repels and holds in moisture. Unless the cover gets soiled, it won’t retain odor, so it can be used for 2-3 weeks between washes. Available in S (8-18 lbs), M (15-25 lbs), and L (20-35 lbs). Great for nighttime or naptime, as well as for heavy wetters.
Kissaluvs Wool Diaper Covers from diaperjunction.com, $36
Prorap Classic Diaper Covers
A super affordable, easy-to-use, and effective diaper cover, Prorap Classic covers have double gussets that help keep poo-splosions contained inside their waterproof PUL exterior. They fit newborns especially well and have an umbilical cutout in the preemie and newborn sizes to help protect that area while it’s healing. Available in white only, with Aplix or snap closures, in sizes Preemie (2-6 lbs), NB (6-10 lbs), S (9-14 lbs), M (13-25 lbs), L (24-35 lbs), and XL (35-45 lbs).
Prorap Classic Diaper Covers from nickisdiapers.com, $7.75-$9.75
Kiwi Pie One-Size Bamboo Fitted Diaper
Made by a mom in Bozeman, Montana, these one-size fitted diapers (with hidden snaps) offer a trim fit, incredible softness and awesome absorbency—not to mention some rockin’ designs. Made from bamboo fleece, they’re super stretchy. Comes with two 4-layer soakers that can be used apart or together, depending on the absorbency needed and size setting. Fits approximately 8 to 35 pounds. Requires a leakproof diaper cover. Comes in sweet limited-edition prints.
Kiwi Pie One-Size Bamboo from jilliansdrawers.com, $24.95
Kissaluvs Fitted Diaper 2.0
These fitted diapers feel oh-so-cozy against baby’s skin. Made with 100% cotton fleece and a hidden microfiber inner, they are super absorbent and durable. Elastic at the leg and back openings work to contain messes; snaps on the wings adjust for a perfect fit at the waist. Comes in three sizes: 0 (approx. 5-15 pounds), 1 (approx. 10-25 lbs) and 2 (approx 20-40 lbs). Should be used with a leakproof PUL diaper cover or a wool diaper cover. Available in a range of pastels.
OsoCozy Indian Prefolds
Made from pure, unbleached Indian cotton, these are softer and more durable than bleached prefolds. Can be fastened with a Snappi, diaper pins or just folded and laid inside a diaper cover. With the exception of the XS size (which is 2x6x2 ply), all come in 4x8x4 ply, meaning that there are 4 layers of fabric on the left and right sides, and 8 layers down the middle. Available in sizes XS (4-10 lbs), Infant (7-15 lbs), Regular (15-30 lbs), Premium (15-30 lbs) and Toddler (30-45 lbs).
Bummis Organic Cotton Prefold Diapers
Another really popular prefold diaper, these Bummis organic cotton prefolds are a great absorbent, economical approach to cloth diapering—and they make a lot of sense for parents still determining if they’re committed to cloth. Available in sizes Preemie (4-9 lbs), Infant (7-15 lbs) and Baby (15-30 lbs). Preemie comes in 2x6x2 ply, while the larger sizes are 4x8x4 ply. Note: they will shrink approximately 20-25% in the wash initially.