When you first start cloth diapering, it can be a little confusing figuring out what everything means. You start hearing words and phrases that leave you scratching your head and rushing to Google to search for answers. Like what exactly are pocket diapers?
The good news is, we’re here to help answer some of those all important cloth diaper questions, no matter how silly you may think there are. After all, there are no silly questions.
So, lets get to it and break down everything you need to know about pocket diapers.
What are Pocket Diapers?
Pocket diapers are among the most popular cloth diapers out there. They are easy to use and require minimal effort.
Unlike all-in-ones (AIOs) where everything is sewn together into one piece, pocket diapers are a two part system. There is an absorbent insert, and a waterproof shell with a pocket sewn in. This is where the name “pocket” comes from.
The shell is typically made of PUL, which is waterproof, with a layer of wicking material, like microfleece, sewn onto one side. This material forms the pocket of the diaper.
The pocket usually has an opening on each end (some only have one opening), and is designed to hold the inserts.
Pocket diapers will typically have hook and loop (Velcro) closures or snap closures for ease in use.
And most will have adjustable rises, so you can alter the fit based on your baby’s size and weight. This means the same diaper could last you from start to potty training time.
What are Inserts?
Inserts are the main absorbent part, designed to be stuffed into the pocket of the diaper, or simply laid inside a waterproof cover.
There are many styles of inserts available, and you can even use flats or pre-folds as inserts if you choose. These styles include pad, snake, trifold, or even petal, and are made of absorbent materials, like cotton, bamboo, fleece, hemp, or microfiber.
Pad – multiple layers of absorbent material sewn into a rectangular shape, similar to a pad, designed to fit into the diaper pocket
Snake – A longer strip of material designed to be folded and inserted into the diaper. These provide extra absorbency.
Tri-fold – A wider insert, similar to a pre-fold, designed to be folded into thirds to create three layers of absorbency
Petal – Two or more inserts sewn together on one end to create more absorbency.
Are All Inserts Created Equal?
No, not all inserts are equal. Their effectiveness and absorbency are determined not just the style, but also by the materials they are made of. And each has is advantages and disadvantages. For maximum absorbency, you will want to look for hemp and bamboo are your best options.
How do Pocket Diapers Work?
Pocket Diapers are designed for easy use and easy washing. The insert is designed to be stuffed inside the pocket, resting between the layer of wicking material and waterproof PUL. You can customize the level of absorbency you get based on the inserts you use.
Once the insert is in place, and the rise is snapped where it needs to be, the diaper is ready for use.
Once your baby has wet or soiled his diaper, you simply spray or rinse off the diaper, if necessary, then remove the insert (trust me, you want to remove it right after use instead of waiting till wash day), and toss the insert and shell into the pail till you are ready to do diaper laundry.
Do Pocket Diapers Come in Different Sizes?
Pocket diapers used to be available in many different sizes, but now you can typically only find them in two sizes – newborn and one size.
You will typically have to look on sites such as Etsy to find newborn sized pocket diapers from independent diaper makers.
Most manufacturers nowadays only make pockets in one size, which is aptly called “one size.” One size diapers have a wide size range due to their adjustability through the snap rise. This means, the same diaper can theoretically fit your baby from 8lbs to 35lbs.
How Much do Pocket Diapers Cost?
The good news is, pocket diapers are very popular, so there are many options available. You’ll be able to find pockets ranging in price from $10-$15, depending on the brand.
You can also find bundles available online for reasonable prices. Just be aware that some of the cheaper options out there may not stand the test of time, or may come with inserts that aren’t as absorbent as you may need.
What Brands are Best?
Just like with everything else, there are certain pocket diapers that are better than others. Does this mean you can’t use the more economical brands you see online? No. Does this mean those cheaper options will last as long as some of the others? No.
But here are a few brands that have been known to have consistently good reviews.
Bum Genius has been around since 2005 and has consistently provided a dependable diaper across the board.
Their pocket diapers offers two size options, one size and big. The One size fits approximately 7 – 35 lbs., while the Big size fits babies from 35 – 70lbs.
They have a 3 snap rise for easy adjustment so you can get the best fit for your baby. The one size diapers are available in both hook and loop and snap closures.
While they come with microfiber inserts, I found that after a certain point I had to switch from these to an insert with a bit more absorbency.
Rumparooz are amazing pocket diapers and can also be found on Amazon. They fit as small as 6lbs, and up t0 35lbs, but I found they fit a little snug the bigger my babies got.
They are available in both snap and hook and loop closures, and feature a suede cloth inner. And each diaper comes with a 6R microfiber insert.
One of the best things about these diapers is the double gusset, that does an amazing job at eliminating newborn blowouts.
These diapers come in bundles of 4 – 24 per set, or are available for individual sale. That way, if you are on the fence, you can just buy one to try out before committing to a whole stash of these babies.
We may get some side eyes for including these on the list, but we can’t deny Alva Baby diapers are some of the most affordable pocket diapers available.
In terms of affordability, they can’t be beat, and they do have some cute diapers. But there are also some drawbacks to this brand too. They don’t tend to be as durable as some of the other brands, and their inserts aren’t as absorbent with older babies.
If you are on the fence about cloth diapering and looking for a brand to buy so you can try it out, this is the brand for you.
With so many options out there, its hard to figure out what cloth diapers to try. And while I am a firm believer in trying all the different styles to find out which one you like best, pocket diapers are among my personal favorites.
Pocket diapers are some of the easiest diapers out there for parents new to cloth diapering. They are affordable and easy to use, making diaper changes a breeze. Plus, unlike some of the other styles out there, pocket diapers can be used with both flats and pre-folds, making them a very diverse and economical choice.
If you have tried pocket diapers and want to share your experience, please do so in the comments below.