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Cloth Diapers: At A Glance

The choice to cloth diaper is one that has many parents intimidated, or confused.There are so many different systems! Not sure where to start? Here is a quick overview on common cloth diaper options or combos.

Flats are square or rectangular sheets of fabric that can be folded in several different ways to ensure a perfect fit to your baby every time. You can do a lot with a flat, and customize absorption levels depending on what type of fold, too. Flats require either pins, boingos, snappis, etc. to be held together. Once on your baby, it must be covered with something waterproof, such as a polyurethane laminate (PUL) cover, or a wool option. Check out our informational video here on tips for folding a flat diaper.

Prefolds have three sections of layers, commonly 4x6x4. The most absorbency is centered, and added to as the outer thirds are folded inward. These can be worn and fastened similar to flats, but also require a cover to be waterproof.

Preflats are an interesting mix between flats and prefolds. They are made from a heavier fabric than flats, but require less layering than that of prefolds. When fastened, they fit like a fitted!

Covers provide the needed waterproof layer over the absorbent option you choose. You may pair our covers with our flats, preflats, or fitteds.

Fitteds do not have an outer waterproof layer, and must be worn with a waterproof cover or wool cover. That said, hybrid fitteds have a hidden layer that will push liquid back into the absorbent layers of the diaper. They can be worn alone, and are considered to be more water resistant than just a fitted, but they are not waterproof.

Pockets have a layer against your baby’s skin that allows liquid to pass through it, while keeping your baby dry. The absorbent layers, or “inserts” are ‘stuffed’ inside, usually through an opening in the back of the diaper, or a sham opening.

All In Two (AI2) and All In One (AIO) diapers are waterproof on their outer most layer. Inside, they have sewn in or snapped in ‘soakers’. With an AI2, you can add or remove the amount of absorbency inside the diaper, which allows for greater customization. With an AIO, the absorbent layers are sewn into the diaper, making it all one piece. However, you can still customize absorbency by adding boosters. Boosters, or doublers, are separate additional absorbent inserts, each with 2-3 layers of absorbency.


Truthfully, if you are just starting out with cloth diapering, LS recommends trying out several systems until you find what works for you. In our experience, different systems have worked best at varying times of our children’s diapering days. Every parent and child are different, and have different needs. See what works for you in your lifestyle.

As for how many, consider how often your child soils a diaper, as well as how often you know you’ll be washing your diapers. If you know your child goes through 12 diapers a day as a newborn, and you’d like to wash every third day, then you’d want to have at least 36 diapers in your stash. If you are changing 8-10 times a day, you might need more like 24-30 in your stash. If you’re like us, you might like to have style choices, and wind up with more than 30! 😉 For the parents who collect, we’ve got you covered!

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