Are you ready?
Ready to try cloth? Feeling a bit overwhelmed? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. The cloth world has it’s own language. You’ll see these random works like insert, prefold, pocket, all-in-one, hybrid and so many other terms. I remember trying to google all of these words at one point…DON’T DO IT! You’ll end up even more confused. I promise. Do what I did, and turn to Facebook. Well, turn to Facebook after reading this. The Abby’s Lane chat group, Abby’s Chatties, is amazing. If you lurk long enough, everything will magically click and you’ll have your ah-ha moment of clarity. There’s also the option of jumping right in and making a post to ask questions. I personally was way too shy for this, but I know some of you won’t be shy at all. So go for it! Ask away! We’ll all be there to answer any of your questions.
Hindsight is 20-20
You know how the saying goes, “hindsight is 20/20”? Well, it’s true. The number one thing you’ll hear when you start dabbling with the idea of using cloth is “try multiple brands and types before you commit to buying a whole stash.” I didn’t listen to this key piece of advice. Don’t be me. Don’t buy 24 diapers while sitting in your hospital bed about to give birth. Guess what, those 24 diapers didn’t work for us. I was sad because the prints and solid colors were beautiful, but at the end of the day, they weren’t going to work.
This brings us to the point of this round of Science. Try at least the 3 main types before committing to what you want to use. I know this will mean you will likely have to use disposables some while you figure things out and that’s ok. Do what you need to do.
There are 3 most commonly used type of diaper systems: All-in-one (AIO), All-in-two (AI2), and Pockets
Below is a picture of a Smart Bottoms 3.1. This is the most common AIO sold by Abby’s Lane. It’s super soft on the inside and the long tongue allows you to customize the absorbency concentration within the diaper.
Notice how the tongue is attached to the diaper. This is where the all-in-one wording comes from; the diaper is all there and ready to go. No need to snap on an insert or stuff some sort of fabric into a pocket etc. This concept is as close to a disposable as you can get.
These tends to be the preferred option of most caregivers. Our daycare allows cloth, but only in the AIO form
This option is similar to the AIO option as in it can be set up to be all there and ready to go for whoever changes the diaper. However, this option isn’t ready to go straight out of the wash. You’ll need to put it together while folding diapers. This isn’t a big deal and usually only takes a couple extra seconds.
There are benefits to this option because you can customize it to a certain degree. Below you’ll see a Lalabye AI2. This is the most popular AI2 diaper Abby’s Lane sells. The inserts it comes with are super thirsty; holding around 12oz when used together. These inserts snap onto the diaper. You can either stuff them inside the pocket option for a stay-dry feel or let them sit on top of the shell for a natural fiber option.
If your baby ends up needing more absorbency as they grow older, you can add some inserts into the pocket of the Lalabye. The pocket option with it’s top flap prevent inserts from sliding up onto the baby’s belly which would lead to the moisture from the pee wicking onto their clothing.
Since this option can be turned into the style of an AIO, most caregivers love it and most daycares would allow it. As long as it’s simple, one-step process to put on a baby, try it out and see how it goes.
This would be the most customizable option of the three most common types of diapers, but it takes the most amount of work. Don’t worry, the benefits can outweigh the extra time it takes to stuff the diaper.
With most pockets, you’ll have an opening at the front and back of the diaper. This allows you to use both hands to get the materials into the pocket and also allows the materials to agitate out on their own in the wash. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of fishing out things that are soiled. If I can get away with not touching pee, I’m going to go for that option.
Below is a Thirsties pocket. This brand makes both an Aplix (Velcro) version and a snap closure version. This is by far the most popular pocket option on the market. It has a soft fleece inner for a stay-dry feeling and double gussets around the legs for extra protection against explosions.
Most pockets on the market come with inserts. These vary widely in material and absorbency. The Thirsties pockets come with a double insert combo with one being microfiber and one being a hemp/cotton blend. The unique thing about this option is the microfiber absorbs liquid incredibly fast. We put the microfiber facing up once inside the pocket. My son tends to flood diapers quickly so having this option is great.
Now that my son is a toddler, the original Thirsties inserts aren’t absorbent enough. This is why pockets are so awesome. I still use the microfiber for quick absorption, but other natural fiber options are our current go-to. A flip overnight insert (really a prefold) holds around 13-14oz all on it’s own. And if I’ve fallen behind on laundry, I like to use a Geffen Super Absorber instead of the Thirsties microfiber.
Pockets may need to be stuffed, but you can always do what I do and that is turn on your favorite show or a movie and fold/stuff after the kiddos go to bed. It’s kind of therapeutic. Don’t tell a lot of people this…they might not understand.
The possibilities are endless with a pocket. With their lower price point, they are often times the most popular option among cloth diapering families.
Whatcha gonna choose?!
All 3 options live with us. We mainly use our pocket for naps, our AIOs for daycare, and our AI2s for fun.
But really, don’t buy a bunch of one type based on what I typed above. Even if you have a friend who swears by a type or brand and tells you they’re their favorite, still try multiple options. Remember those 24 diapers I bought before my son was born? They’re long gone and being loved by someone who they do work for. So my vote is try one of each kind.
There are lots of brands Abby’s Lane carries in each style. Be sure to utilize the Abby’s Chatties Facebook group! You can always post and ask what people love and why! This group is a great resource for all your cloth and baby-kid needs.