Cloth Diaper Terminology

All-In-One (AIO) Diaper – Fitted diapers with a waterproof outer layer. The outer layer usually consists of fabric that has a PUL (polyurethane) backing, fleece, or wool. These are most similar to disposable diapers as a one-step diapering system. AIO’s are usually fastened with hook/loop or snap fasteners (no snaps or pins needed). The absorbent soaker material is often sewn into the diaper or it may be detachable. They offer the convenience of disposables but have the environmental advantages of cloth. No separate diaper cover for an AIO required.

Pocket Diaper – Pocket diapers are like AIOs. They have an outer layer of a waterproof material and an inner layer of a stay dry material, like micro-fleece or suede-cloth. They close with Velcro or snaps and have a pocket opening that allows absorbent material (liners, doublers, inserts) to be stuffed in the pocket and removed for laundering. The inserts can be made of micro terry cloth, regular terry cloth, hemp or your pre-fold diaper.

Pocket diapers are a popular choice among cloth diapering parents because you can customize the amount of absorbent material (you can stuff more than one insert/doubler at nap time or bed time if your baby is a heavy wetter). You do not need a separate diaper cover for Pockets.

One-Size AIO/Pocket Diapers – The newest introduction to cloth diapering is the One-Size pocket/AIO diaper. Most of these diapers will grow with your baby – from newborn through potty training. A great investment, especially if you have more than one child. The diapers come with multiple layers of snaps to adjust to baby’s growing body. These have the same waterproof outer liner, so no separate diaper cover is necessary.

Pre-Folds – Pre-fold diapers are rectangular shaped diapers that must be folded into the shape of a diaper. They often have 2-4 layers of absorbent material on either side and 6-8 layers in the middle. The amount of layers varies according to the size you choose which generally ranges from preemie to toddler. You may see a pre-fold described as being 4x8x4. This describes how many layers there are in the outer and inner sections, four layers in both outer sections and 8 layers in the inner or middle section. Pre-folds are the cheapest least expensive type of cloth diapers available. You will need to use a diaper cover with pre-fold diapers.

Contour Diapers – These are hourglass shaped diapers with no elastic in the legs or back. They must be held together with Snappis, pins, or a diaper cover. These diapers are not waterproof so a cover will be needed.

Fitted Diapers – Fitted diapers closely resemble disposable diapers. They are contoured and fitted with elastic around the legs and back. They fasten with Velcro or snaps and a waterproof cover must be worn over them, and are considered the next step up from flat pre-fold diapers but much easier to use. They may come with the absorbent lining attached or detached. Add more liners/doublers to increase absorbency.

Diaper Cover – Covers come in many styles and shapes but their function is to provide a waterproof outer layer for non-waterproof diapers (all except AIOs and Pockets). They are often fitted with elastic and fasten with snaps or Velcro. Some covers pull-up, like underpants. Diaper covers are usually made from polyester, Polyurethane laminates (PUL), waterproof nylon, fleece or wool. No need to wash the diaper cover after every use – they can be reused until they get dirty or retain an odor.

Doublers – Doublers are pad-like absorbent soakers added to a diaper to increase absorbency. You can use them at nap or bed time if you know you need extra protection.

Liners – Liners are thin layers of cloth or paper placed inside the diaper to aid in the cleaning of solid waste. In the case of paper liners, the solid waste collected on the liner can be removed from the soiled diaper and either thrown away or flushed (follow manufacturer instructions). They help reduce staining and cut down on the laundering of your diapers and can be washed along with the diapers.

Inserts – Inserts can be made from Hemp, Fleece, or Cotton. They may come with the diaper, or be purchased separately. Easily inserted into the ‘pocket’ of pocket diapers or as an extra layer in AIO’s or pre-folds. Inserts or doublers must be used in pocket diapers for absorbency.

Snappi – A plastic mechanism that fastens a cloth diapers. These are often times used instead of diaper pins.