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There are numerous types of cloth diapers and I will explain the basic types here.  Hopefully this will help in deciding what will work for you.

All-in-one (AIO)

All-in-one diapers are made so when they are soiled the entire diaper is then placed in the laundry for washing.  This is the closest equivalent to a disposable.

Pocket diaper

Pocket diapers have a ‘pocket’ where an insert is put in the diaper cover making it essentially an all-in-one diaper.  However this may seem simple it is just one more wasted step in my opinion.  That means every time you wash the diapers you have to spend extra time re stuffing them with an insert.  You can’t just replace the insert because the pocket is still soiled.

One Size diapers

One size diapers can be AIO or pocket diapers but they typically have snaps in the front that make it possible to adjust the size of the diaper as the baby grows.  Essentially making it a one size fits all diaper.  Typically different brands will still run a little large or small.

Trifold/Prefold/Old School Cloth diapers

These are the simple cloth diapers your parents probably used, or if not your parents then definitely the grandparents.  They usually come in a package with 6 or so in it.  They are rectangular and you fold them and use pins or Snappis to fasten them in place.  Cheapest most versatile option.

Homemade Wipes

Homemade wipes can be made out of scrap fabric, paper towels, or napkins.  They are an easy alternative to paying for wipes every week.  I love making my own cloth wipes out of flannel, you can read more here.


Fabric ‘inserts’ are placed in a pocket diaper to increase the absorbency of the diaper.


Doublers can be used with most varieties of diapers as an extra insert.  Gives more absorbency for nap time, bedtime, or anytime you might need it.  Cloth diapers are generally more bulky and the doublers add to that bulk.

Diaper Covers

Diaper covers are usually thin and made of a waterproof material.  It helps to keep the moisture in the cloth diaper and away from the child’s clothes.  They can have fancy designs, velcro, snaps or elastic.  There are so many different types of covers you can find just about anything.  I definitely suggest investing in a few good covers that you are comfortable with.

More about cloth diapers…