Cloth Diaper Lingo

Cloth Diaper LingoI’m not exactly sure at what point in my pregnancy I became interested in cloth diapering, but I do know that for the first few weeks of researching options, the terms and lingo were so confusing! “Prefold” was especially troublesome. Was it something I had to pre-fold before using? How did one fold it, whatever it was?

Cloth diapers practically come with their own language, and it can take some time before you become fluent. So here’s a list of the most common terms you will encounter as you begin to look into cloth.

Diaper Styles.
These are the type of diaper you put on your baby, based on construction and appearance.

  • AIO – All-In-OneThis diaper is the closest to a disposable, since the absorbent material is sewn into the diaper. Some may have the option to add absorbency, some may not, but the basic idea is that everything you need is already sewn into the waterproof shell.
  • AI2 – All-in-two – The same concept as an All-In-One, except that the absorbent material tends to snap into place inside the waterproof shell.
  • Hybrid A waterproof shell plus either reusable or disposable absorbent material.
  • Pocket A diaper with a waterproof outer shell and a lined interior that creates a pocket for holding absorbent material. Most, but not all, come with inserts (see definition below). Probably the most common form of modern cloth diaper on the market.
  • Fitted – A cloth diaper that is not waterproof. This has the shape of a modern cloth diaper and is made entirely of absorbent material. This diaper requires the use of a waterproof cover and is often used as a night time diaper option.
  • Prefold One of the “old fashioned” versions of cloth diapers and what your mother or grandmother will likely think of when you begin to talk about cloth. A flat rectangle of fabric, typically cotton, that has multiple absorbent layers sewn into the middle. This diaper has to be folded and fastened onto baby and requires the use of a waterproof cover. Prefolds are economical and are generally considered among the easiest options to launder.
  • Flat A flat also falls into the “old fashioned” category. Flats are large, single layers of cotton that must be folded and fastened onto baby and require the use of a waterproof cover. They are also economical and extremely easy to launder.
  • Cover A waterproof shell designed to go over absorbent material. Covers have no absorbency and must be paired with a prefold, fitted, or other appropriate insert.

Accessories/additional terms

  • Insert Absorbent material typically designed to be tucked inside of pocket diapers. Can be man-made fiber or natural. Pocket diapers (purchased new) typically come with an insert suited to the diaper, but inserts can be purchased separately for added absorbency or due to preferring a particular fiber.
  • Snappi The modern alternative to diaper pins. These are a stretchy, Y-shaped piece of plastic with grabby “teeth” that are used to fasten prefolds, flats, and closure-less fitteds.
  • Boingo Like a Snappi, they are an alternative to diapers pins, but are two pieces rather than one.
  • Liner A liner is something that is placed between baby and the diaper. Some are disposable (some flushable) and are used to catch poop for easy disposable. Some are fleece and are typically used to keep babies skin dry.
  • PUL – Polyurethane Laminate – This is a waterproof material used to make covers and the outer shell of pocket diapers and All-In-Ones.
  • TPU – Thermoplastic Urethane – Another waterproof material.
  • WAHM – Work At Home Mom – This term is used to describe diapers that are made in a home based business.
  • OS One Size – Diapers typically are either sized, meaning you will buy different sizes as baby grows, or “one size”, meaning that the diaper typically fits a child within a range of 8-35 lbs and grows with baby from birth on.

There are many, many other terms that you will come across as you really dive into the depths of cloth diapers, but as you come to speak the language they all become much easier to understand. Hopefully this helped welcome you into the world of cloth!

Kate Cunha lives in the Pacific NW with her husband and daughter. She’s a huge cloth diaper advocate and just a bit sad that her daughter is currently saying goodbye to their cute fluff.

 

 

Tags: aio, cloth diaper lingo, Cloth Diapers, cover, insert, prefold, pul

2 Responses to “Cloth Diaper Lingo”

  1. Amanda Burrows says:

    This will be very helpful for newbies. The only change I would make is that prefolds (and I assume flats as well) don’t actually HAVE to be attached to the baby (with pins, snappis, or boingos). I simply lay my prefold in the cover. Easy peasy. Wish I’d have known it was an option from the beginning.