All-in-one’s: Stash Nirvana

We’ve gone through all the types of diapers that need separate waterproof covers – flatfold, prefold, contour, and fitted diapers.  Now I’m going to talk about the 3 kinds that don’t need separate covers: All-in-one’s, All-in-two’s, and Pocket diapers.  That’s it, only three.  All the other names you hear tossed around, like “sleeve diapers” and “hybrid diapers ” are going to fall in one of those three types.  (A sleeve diaper is a pocket diaper that has an opening on both ends, and the word “hybrid” used before “diaper” can pretty much mean whatever the manufacturer wants it to.  More on that later.)

So today we’ll talk about the all-in-one diaper.  To me, and for many people, the all-in-one, or AIO for short, is just about the most perfect diaper you can imagine.  You use it exactly like a disposable: fasten on the baby, when it’s dirty, take off and wash.  Nothing to stuff, fold, or put together.  Simple.  Easy.  It sounds fantastic, right?  Okay, why wouldn’t everyone use AIO’s?  The main reason is price.  While prefolds run $2-4 per diaper (plus cover), contours about $7, fitteds from $10-20, and pocket diapers from $13-18, AIO’s generally cost between $20-25 per diaper. 

For those who have been blessed with a flexible budget, or plan on using cloth diapers for more than one child, or whose lives are so busy they know that nothing but the easiest cloth diapering system will actually get USED, the benefits of AIOs can outweigh the price difference.  After all, if you’re just going to stick your cloth in a drawer and use disposables, it ends up being much cheaper in the long run to spend a little extra on getting cloth diapers that are going to do the job you need.  This advice applies to diapers that are so complicated you won’t use them, AND to AIO’s that aren’t absorbent enough, by the way.   With that in mind, you’ll want to know how to choose the BEST aio’s for you.  Here are some of our favorites:

BumGenius Organic one-size AIO, also called the Elemental. 

This is a one-size aio that will fit babies from 8 (or 10 – depends on how fat their legs are) to 35 lbs.  I really like the one-size feature for aio’s in particular, because it allows you to get use out of your diaper investment for the full 2-3 years your child is in diapers.  The absorbent part  of this diaper is made of 6 layers of soft, thick, organic cotton knit.  It is surprisingly trim, and surprisingly absorbent.  We really like this diaper around here for three reasons:

1. It’s very trim and fits well under clothes.                                         

2. Cotton holds up well for use with multiple children.

3. Snap closures instead of velcro prevent our babies from being unexpectedly naked!

The downsides: Because it’s made with natural fibers, this diaper will take a little longer to dry.  I find that after going through the high spin cycle on our HE washer, they still take 45-50 minutes in our dryer to be ready to put back in the changing table drawer.  Also, I do miss the bright colors and prints that other brands have.

Mommys Touch AIO

This is a one-size AIO (seeing a trend here?  We like one-size!) that will fit babies from 8 (or 10, depending on how fat their legs are) to 35 lbs.  Mommys Touch also makes extender tabs that you can use to extend the size range of your Mommys Touch diapers even further.  The outside is made of soft, waterproof PUL and comes in a bunch of colors and prints.  These are FUN diapers!  You can choose between snap and velcro closures, which is nice.  We like snaps at home but send velcro to Mother’s Day Out since the teachers find velcro more familiar.  The inner diaper has two absorbent parts, one sewn in at the back and one that snaps in at the front.  For the smaller size baby, you would remove the front snap-in part and fold down the front.  The absorbency comes from microfiber (yes, the same kind you use to dry off your car) and is topped with soft fleece, because you don’t want microfiber against your baby’s skin.  The fleece acts as a stay-dry layer, wicking moisture away from your baby’s skin.  Mommys Touch AIOs are the fastest drying AIO I’ve seen.  Microfiber is fluffier and less dense than cotton, so it dries faster, plus, since the absorbent pad is only sewn in at one end, it can move around freely in the dryer and dry faster that way.  One more unique feature of the Mommys Touch AIO diapers is that a Green Acre Designs hemp doubler can be snapped under the stay-dry layer for added absorbency.  But, since it’s only snapped down at either end and can still move freely in the middle, there’s no need to un=snap it before washing and re-snap it afterwards, which makes for a very nice, very easy nighttime diaper.  One word of advice, when purchasing these diapers, make sure you check whether you’re buying the AIO or the pocket diaper.  Mommys Touch makes both kinds, and they look the same from the outside. 

Mommys Touch AIO

Bummis Easy Fit

A new diaper on the scene, the Bummis Easy Fit is an AIO that addresses the problem of drying time.  The absorbency comes from a sewn-in layer of microfiber topped with bamboo terrycloth, a layer which continues past the back of the diaper.  Before use, the extra microfiber/bamboo layer is tucked into a pocket opening in the back of the diaper, but in the wash it unfolds itself.  This way, by the time it gets to the dryer, there is only one layer of absorbency in the diaper itself and the rest is a free-moving flap, causing it to dry quicker.  Also a one-size diaper, the Easy Fit will fit babies 8-35 lbs, and there is also a Tini Fit version that fits smaller babies.  My favorite things about the Easy Fit diaper are the colors (Pomegranate is my fave), and the velcro.  I have NEVER seen velcro this grippy, and after 2 months in our diaper rotation I see no signs of it curling or losing its stickiness!

Bummis Easy Fit Colors

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Flatfold diaper: the old is new again

A flat fold diaper

Recently I have noticed an increase in the number of parents who are a fan of flatfold diapers, or Flats for short.  The ancestor of the prefold, a flat diaper is just a large square of absorbent fabric, usually woven cotton.   Way-back-when, frontier mamas used to use old flour sacks as diapers, folded in much the same way as today’s flatfolds.  In fact, that is where the name “pre-folds” came from, in that they have been “pre-folded” to have extra absorbency down the middle and multiple layers of fabric. 

There are many benefits to using flat diapers, like:

  • Cost – most flat diapers range from $1 – 3 per diaper.  (www.babiesbottomsandmore.com carries Imse Vimse organic flat diapers in a 4-pack for $8.50-10.50 depending on size) http://www.babiesbottomsandmore.com/imse-vimse-organic-flat-diapers.html
  • Extreme versatility – a single flat diaper can be folded different ways to fit a 6-lb newborn or a 35-lb toddler.  For extra absorbency or to use as a diaper doubler in other diapers, just fold the flat diaper into a small rectangle and lay inside another flat diaper.  I have used flat diapers as pocket inserts, burp cloths, and when they get worn out, cleaning rags.
  • Energy savings – Flat diapers are really the only type of cloth diaper that can easily be hand-washed, and the single layer of fabric dries very quickly.  I have a friend who swears that in this Texas heat, by the time she finishes hanging up the last one on her clothes line she can go back to the beginning and start taking them down right away, they’re already dry!

There are also reasons some parents choose not to use flat diapers:

  • They do require quite a bit of folding, which while not difficult, is more work than other kinds of diapers and can be intimidating for other caregivers like babysitters or day care.
  • They will need some kind of diaper fastener, either pins or a Snappi
  • You will need to use a cover with these diapers; they are not self-contained like an all-in-one.

Personally, I enjoy the oragami-like folding of flats and I marvel that it is possible to make a diaper out of a simple piece of cloth.  Curious?  Come by our store and ask to play around with one of our sample flatfold diapers.  We’ll show you how to fold it and let you decide for yourself whether you may want to try flats!

This way of folding is called the "oragami fold"

Contours and Fitted Diapers

Contour Diaper
We’ve gone through the pros and cons of prefolds, so now we come to two more types of diapers that are used with a separate waterproof cover.  (Flat diapers are the fourth type used with a cover, but they deserve their own post complete with folding instructions). 

Contour diapers are like a prefold, but without the folding.  They are already baby-shaped, so you simply lay the baby down on the contour diaper, fold the diaper up around the baby, and put a cover on top.  You can use a Snappi or pins for extra security (I do) but it’s not strictly necessary with a contour.  Contours are slightly easier to use than prefolds, since they don’t require any advance folding, and slightly more expensive than prefolds.  A diaper service quality prefold will cost $1.50-$4 depending on size and quality, while a good contour diaper costs around $7.  Contour diapers are actually my favorite diaper to sew myself.  I like to experiment with different fabrics, maybe something in a cute print on the outside, and super soft cotton fleece or bamboo fabric on the inside to go against the baby’s skin.  When choosing a contour diaper, I prefer ones made out of knit fabric, not woven, because they can stretch to fit baby in a way that woven fabric can’t. 

Fitted diapers are one more step up from contours.  They have elastic around the waist and legs, and some way of fastening the diaper on the baby, usually snaps or velcro.  Fitted diapers, like prefolds and contours, work well with a wrap cover, but they also have some other perks.  For one thing, if you are home with your baby and want to put them in just a fitted diaper with no cover, this is a good way to get more air circulation around baby’s bottom.  The velcro/snaps and elastic make sure the diaper will stay put on an active toddler, even without a cover.  Fitted diapers are also very popular with mama’s who like to use pull-on wool covers.  The elastic around the legs helps contain EVERYTHING, keeping the wool cover cleaner longer, which is important because wool covers have to be hand-washed, so it’s good to keep them clean as long as possible.