Modern Cloth Diapering, Parenting Hacks

Modern Cloth Diapering for Beginners – I

Fluffy baby bums are something that I have come to love the past year.

Aside from the fact that these are ecofriendly, the variety of prints and colors and types of diapers that one can get is something that has made me stick to them and turn into a full time cloth diapering mamma. I am kind of really proud to say that I have not used a ‘sposie in months now. If you, like me, started out reading about cloth diapering by doing a Google search, I am sure you must be overwhelmed with the amount of information that is out there and it can be really intimidating. I started reading about cloth diapers even before A was born but till I started cloth diapering (when A was about a month and half old), they did not really make sense to me. Because a lot depends on the fit of the diapers on your child, how much you are ready to invest, what kind of a wetter (is that even a word?) your baby is, etc.

In the next few posts, I am going try to give you as much information as you need to simplify the whole process of cloth diapering.

So, what are Modern Cloth Diapers (MCDs) anyway? Well, these are cloth diapers but unlike your olden day cloth nappies (langots as they are called in India), these need not be changed after every pee and are waterproof. These are reusable as well. I am not going to go on and on about how much money this is going to save you, how eco-friendly this is and blah, rather I am just going to explain the various types, how you can make the most of them, etc.

There are two main elements to modern cloth diapers – a waterproof outer shell and an insert.

The waterproof outer shell is usually made of Polyurethane Laminate (PUL) or Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU).

The insert is essentially a cloth pad (of many layers) which is inserted/snapped on or stitched to the diaper shell and is what absorbs all the pee and contains the poop. These are available in a variety of types (fabrics) and the absorbency varies accordingly.

Most cloth diapers come in one size and can be used from birth to potty training. However, there are also newborn sizes and sized diapers available in certain brands. So to say that you are spoilt for choice would be an understatement.

Read on to know more about the types of cloth diapers that I have used predominantly in the last 9+ months.

1. FLATS: As the name suggests, it is any flat piece of cloth that is folded and fastened with the help of a snappi/diaper pin. These need to be changed after every pee as they do not really hold much. Flats are best suited for a newborn (or at least that’s what I did). Any square piece of cloth can be used as a flat – saree pieces, muslin squares, terry towels, flour sack towels, to name a few.


Flats (pictured here is a terry towel)

2. PREFOLDS: Prefolds are rectangular flats with an absorbent layer already sewn in. These hold a couple of more pees than what a flat diaper would (depending on the number of layers sewn in).



Both flats and prefolds can be padfolded (trifolded) to get the shape of an insert so that you can just lay them inside a pocket diaper or a diaper cover without bothering with snappies, diaper pins etc.

3. POCKET DIAPERS: Pocket diapers are diapers with a pocket opening in them where you can put the insert. their outer layer is PUL/TPU and inner maybe stay dry (microfleece, microsuede, etc.) or made of a natural fibre (non stay dry) (like bamboo cotton, charcoal bamboo etc.)


Pocket Diaper with a pocketb opening for placing the insert and a microfleece inner

4. All-In-Ones (AIOs): AIOs are diapers with inserts sewn in already. They have a PUL/TPU outer and the inner can be of a variety of fabrics like organic cotton, microfibre topped with microsuede or microfleece etc.


AIO with a sewn in organic cotton snake insert and inner

5. All-In-Twos or Hybrids: These are diapers shells with snap on inserts. Their outer is also made of PUL/TPU and inner again varies.


Hybrid shell with a snap-on insert (AI2)

6. FITTED DIAPERS: These are shaped diapers (much like ‘sposies) and are not waterproof. Since these are usually made with natural fabrics like cotton, hemp, etc. these absorb a lot of pee (and the elastic arounf the legs help contain poop) and are hence used as an overnight solution by many. Put on a waterproof cover on top and you are good to go out in them too. Use them as is and you are summer ready.

Fitted diaper with a cotton outer and snap on snake insert

7. DIAPER COVERS: Diaper covers are waterproof covers (again made of PUL/TPU) that you can use on top of Fitteds or with padfolded flats or prefolds or with any insert of your choice.




These are the types of diapers I have used and  are what has worked for us. I use flats, prefolds and fitteds in the mornings (and consider this diaper free time. :P) and use the other types when we go out, for night time etc. After months of experimentation, our diaper stash now predominantly consists of AIOs and some AI2s.

I know all the terms can be overwhelming and may even make you recosnider your decision of going the cloth way, but trust me, you will not regret it once you start using cloth more and get a hang of it all.

More on inserts and boosters in the next post.


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