Everyone who has considered cloth diapering their child has been confronted with the sea of choices in both brands and systems. Here is our attempt at providing all those choices in understandable terms along with contexts in which to use them.
There are two main branches of the cloth diapering family. And within these two branches reside all the variations. (Please Note: All our definitions are related to the brands we carry on our site. There are broader definitions for products we don't sell.)
The One Step Diaper System:
A one-step diaper is the closest in design to a single-use disposable diaper. The waterproofing layer is sewn to the absorbent layer and comes with either hook & loop or snap closure. Great for use anytime but especially for travel, short outings, or anytime you need a quicker change.
This is a fitted diaper and may be sized or one-size. The waterproof outer layer made of PUL (PolyUrethane Laminate), is sewn to the absorbent inner layer (sometimes only sewn at one end for faster drying). This is the closest to single-use disposable diapers.
Click here to purchase AIOs.
Similar to AIO's except that the absorbent layer is separate and needs to be either snapped in or simply placed inside the waterproof cover. Separate layers means less drying time.
Click here to purchase AI2s.
Pocket diapers are similar to AIO's in that they offer quick changes, and to AI2's because the absorbent and waterproofing layers are separate. An inner layer of wick-away microfleece is sewn to a PUL cover with an opening at one end in order to "stuff" the diaper with an absorbent layer; this absorbent layer is removed after use for better laundering. You can use inserts or your pre-fold diapers (if you have some). Great for nighttime use and for heavier wetters because you can add as much absorbent material as required.
Click here to purchase Pocket Diapers.
The Two Step Diaper System:
Any cloth diaper where the waterproofing layer is separate from the absorbent layer. This includes pre-fold, contour and fitted diapers. Using the two step system always requires the use of a diaper cover to act as a protective barrier between the absorbent layer, holding moisture and/or poop, and the outside world.
Pre-folds are the most economical diaper on the market as well as the most versatile. They can be custom fit for any child, they can be used as "stuffing" for pocket diapers, as a burp cloth, change table cover, etc. They are rectangular in shape with three panels of cotton layers which are then folded into the shape of a diaper and come in two sizes: small (nb to 20lbs.) or large (20lbs.+). If you see pre-folds described as 4x6x4 or 4x8x4, it refers to the layers of cotton per panel; 4 layers on the outside panels, 6 or 8 for the middle section. Always used with a cover and a Snappi® to hold in place.
Click here to purchase Pre-Folds.
This diaper is one step up from the pre-fold with regards to ease of use because the diaper is already contoured and fitted to fit baby, unlike the pre-fold. The elastics around the legs and on the back help to hold in moisture and solids and usually fasten with snaps or hook & loop closures. Must also be combined with a cover.
Click here to purchase Fitted Diapers.
Shaped like an hour glass, this diaper lies somewhere between the fitted and the pre-fold in that it has the contoured shape of a fitted diaper but does not have closure devices like a fitted. Always used with a cover and a Snappi® to hold in place.
We currently do not have any contour diapers in stock.
Covers come in a variety of fabrics, colours and styles, each with their respective benefits and create a barrier between cloth diaper and your baby’s clothing or bedding. The most popular and economical covers are made from waterproof or water-resistant fabrics and are used over a fitted, prefold or contour diapers. Wool diaper covers are great for night time wear but require more attention with hand washing and periodic lanolising. A good ratio is 1 cover for every 4 diapers.
Click here to purchase Diaper Covers.
Very breathable and holds 30% of its weight in moisture before it feels wet. Great for night time use or for everyday wear. Soft and has no fasteners, just slip them on. Wool covers need to be washed by hand but only every few weeks if properly aired out between usage and have not been soiled. They also need to be treated with lanolin (see below, Wool Diaper Care to retain its properties). Great to have a couple in your stash.
Click here to purchase Wool Diaper Covers.
For the fully committed cloth diapering parent, this is an essential and replaces the need for store purchased single-use wipes. Suggested to have 24-30 wipes on hand. Kept near a water source, simply soak in warm water before changing baby’s diaper; it’s all you need to wipe baby clean. Soft on the baby’s bum and no chemicals or alcohol. Simply throw it in the diaper pail with the used diaper after use.
Click here to purchase Cloth Wipes.
This is simply the pail in which all your dirty diapers will go. Best to have it right next to your diapering station in the home and lined with a diaper pail liner (see below). Most large chain drugstores carry many sizes and colours to best fit your space and needs.
Diaper Pail Liner
Made from machine washable waterproof material creating a barrier between soiled diapers and cloth wipes and your pail. Makes it easy to just pick up the bag and empty it right into your washer without having to touch them and wash the pail liner with the diapers - no mess - and no need to wash your pail every time.
Click here to purchase Pail Liners.
This is an extra layer of absorbency that can be added to virtually any diaper. Most often used for overnights, travel or heavy wetters. Will also help protect your diapers from constant soiling once baby enters the solid waste stage.
Click here to purchase Doublers.
This item is incorporated into your cloth diapering system once baby starts to eat solid food. It is by no means necessary but adds a great level of convenience in disposing of solids by flushing down toilet. Not necessary at night as babies rarely have movements during this time. There are also very effective and washable micro-fleece liners that are easy to get solids off to dispose of in toilet.
Click here to purchase Liners.
Inserts are for use with pocket diapers and can be made of micro-terrycloth, cotton, hemp, etc. Some diaper brands include inserts with purchase of pocket diaper while others leave the choice of insert purchase up to the consumer’s preference.
Click here to purchase Pocket Inserts.
An ingenious diaper fastener that has all but replaced safety pins. Made of stretchy material with grippy little teeth (similar to tensor bandage fasteners) that hold prefolds and contours in place.
Click here to purchase Snappis.
Think of it as a portable mini diaper pail liner. This is for use when you’re on the move. Just place the wet diaper in the sack and either place it in your diaper bag or just carry it as it. Many models and colours to choose from. Washable and made of waterproof material.
Click here to purchase Wet Sacks.