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Diaper Types

Below is an overview of two categories of diapers: It has been divided by outer and inner options. 

Diaper Covers 

Covers do not have a stay dry lining or any built in absorbancy. Covers can be used over a cloth diaper or diaper insert. Diaper covers are commonly made from polyurathane laminate, wool, fleece or nylon. Wool & Fleece covers are commonly called 'soakers.'

The "Plastic Pants" used in the 60's-80's are a type of pull on vinyl called PEVA (polyethylene vinyl acetate) Gerber still makes them today.

Covers can be pull-on, have snap, or hook & loop tape.


Pocket Diapers

Pockets (or Sleeve) Diapers have a stay dry lining or but no built in absorbancy. Pockets can be used over a cloth diaper or with a diaper insert that is placed inside of a pocket or sleeve. 

The Outer layer of a Pocket Daper is commonly made from polyurathane laminate (PUL/TPU) or nylon (Ultrex) or PEVA. 

The inside of the diaper (the pocket or sleeve) is lined with a stay dry fabric: suede cloth, fleece, microfleece , athletic wicking fabric are a few examples.

Pocket diapers can have snap or hook & loop tape closures


AI2 and Hybrids

Hybrid or All in Two systems have a cloth outer shell (or diaper cover) and have inserts. Hybrid inserts are usually disposable while AI2 inserts are usually washable, but these terms are used interchanably and care should be made when making a purchase to be sure that you are getting what you expect.

Inserts often snap into place but can also be tucked. AI2 or Hybrid diapers can have snap or hook & loop tape closures


AIO  

All in One Diapers have built in absorbancy with a stay dry outershell. They are most similar to disposables. A booster can be added to an AIO to add absorbancy for heavy wetters. AIO diapers can have snap or hook & loop tape closures


Disposables

"Sposies" are made with Sodium Polyacrylate (SAP)

SAP is used in virtually all disposable diaper brands. Brands that replace SAP with plant based starches and cotton exist be are hard to find. 

Most disposable diapers use either an adhesive tape or a modified hook & loop closure.  

Flats / Flour Sack Towels
Flats are commonly made of cotton, bamboo, hemp or some mixture of the natural fibers. They are a large single layer piece of fabric. 
FSTs are commonly made of 100% cotton. They are a large single layer piece of fabric, sold as a kitchen towel or rag. 
Flats & Flur sack towels can be folded around a baby or into a pad to provide absorbany. Flat/FSTs need to be covered by a cover or placed in a pocket/sleeve to keep clothes and bedding dry. 

Prefold
Prefolds can be made of cotton, bamboo, hemp or some combination of manmade and natural fibers.
A prefold is a square of multi layer fabric that can be wrapped around a baby or be folded into a pad. Each prefold has 3 distinct areas of absorbancy. The outer "columns" are commonly 2 layers and the third center column is multiple layers forming a center pad. Prefolds can be made with and without a stay dry layer. Prefolds need to be covered by a cover or placed in a pocket/sleeve to keep clothes and bedding dry.


Contours
A contour is a fabric diaper that does not have any elastic but is sewn in the shape of a diaper. Contours usually do not have built in closures. Contours need to be covered by a diaper cover.
Fitted
A 'fitted' is a fabric diaper that does have leg and usually back elastic sewn in the shape of a diaper. Fitted diapers can have snap, hook and loop or can be closed using diaper pins. Fitteds need to be covered by a diaper cover.

Inserts
Inserts are multi layer pads that can be hour glass shaped or rectangular.  
Inserts are commonly made of cotton, hemp, bamboo, microfiber or some combination of natural and manmade fabrics.
Inserts can have a stay dry layer in the design for use in covers or AI2 systems.