In our parents’ and grandparents’ time, cloth diapers were simple. In most cases, they were just prefolds, pins, and plastic pants. There were very few choices available and in many cases, they rejoiced at the appearance of disposable diapers. This is not the case for those of us using cloth diapers today. There are a lot of options, from the type of diaper to the look of the diaper. There are so many options that anyone looking to get started in cloth can be easily overwhelmed by all of it. Often the terms used can get confusing. People are left wondering whether they are talking about a diaper or some military project. So here is a quick list of some cloth diaper terminology and acronyms.
First there are the types of diapers.
*All in One-abbreviated AIO. This is exactly as it sounds. It’s a whole one piece diaper, just like a disposable
*All In Two-abbreviated AI2. This diaper type has an absorbent pad that is removable. Often that pad will snap in or simply be laid in the diaper
*Pocket-This is similar to the AI2. However the diaper consists of two layers with a pocket in between and that is where the absorbent pad fits into
*Prefolds-These are the diapers that older generations are usually most familiar with. These are flat diapers with an absorbent portion sewn into the middle. It’s meant to be folded and fastened around the baby’s bottom.
*Flats-These are like prefolds, but the diaper is all one flat piece and must be folded to create the absorbent portion as well as folded around the baby. Both flats and prefolds require an additional waterproof cover.
*Hybrid-These are similar to the AI2, but they usually use a disposable absorbent pad
*Fitteds-Fitted diapers are similar to flats or prefolds, but they do not require additional folding to put it on the baby. These diapers are cut and use elastic to fit around baby’s legs and waist so that you just put it on like a disposable and fasten. Like prefolds and flats, these require an additional waterproof layer
Then there are the parts of the diapers.
*Cover-this is the waterproof layer on the outside of the diaper. For AIOs, this is all part of the diaper, for the other types, like flats, this is a separate piece. Covers are usually made of a plastic laminated fabric but can also be fleece or wool.
*Soaker-This is the absorbent pad in the diaper. In AIOs, this is also part of the diaper, in other types this is a separate insert. Sometimes the term soaker is used to refer to wool or fleece diaper cover.
*Insert-This is just another term for soakers
*Pins-Diaper pins are often used to fasten prefolds and flats together.
*Snappies-Snappies are another type of fastener for prefolds
*Boingos-This is a third type of fastener.
Then there are the diaper brands and products. There are dozens and dozens of diaper brands and products, from those made by big corporations to those made by individual women at their home sewing machine. Because there are so many, I will not list them all. However, a few common brand and product names you will find are Cotton Babies, Bum Genius, Gro Via, Swaddlebees, Imagine, Thirsties, and many others.
There are a lot of cloth diaper terms that can confuse anyone just starting out in the cloth diaper world. This short list should help anyone just starting out figure out exactly what is being discussed when deciding which diapers to try out first.