If any of you have talked to your mothers, grandmothers, or anyone from the older generation, you will find that their conception of cloth diapers is pretty much limited to prefolds, pins, and rubber pants. I have such fun showing pocket diapers to expectant grandmothers who come into our store, because most have never seen such a diaper! This is because pocket diapers were invented only 10 years ago.
A pocket diaper is a new spin on the all-in-one, designed to address common AIO problems of long drying time and lack of absorbency.
Anatomy of a Pocket Diaper:
A pocket diaper has waterproof outer fabric and (usually) stay-dry inner fabric. They are sewn together with leg elastic and some kind of waist fastener (usually velcro or snaps). There is a space, usually in the back of the diaper, where the two layers are NOT sewn together but are left open to make a POCKET opening between the layers. By itself, this diaper is not absorbent, but when you put one or more absorbent INSERTS into the pocket opening, the diaper is absorbent. At this point you can put it on in one piece, just like an all-in-one. (In fact, the teachers at my youngest daughter’s mothers day out think the pocket diapers I send her with ARE all-in-one’s. I don’t want to scare them with anything complicated, so I’ve never told them the inserts come out.)
Why Would Anyone Choose a Pocket Diaper Over an All-in-one?
When putting the diaper on, a pocket is just like an AIO. The difference comes in the washing/drying/folding. Before washing, most pocket diapers will need to have their inserts removed. Just pull it out from the pocket opening and drop the now-unstuffed diaper in your diaper pail along with the insert. Some brands of pocket diapers, including Mommys Touch, Thirsties Duo Diaper, and Tweedle Bugs, are self-unstuffing, so you don’t have to do anything. Just drop the entire diaper in the wash and the agitation of the wash cycle will cause it to unstuff itself. When looking at a pocket diaper, check to see if it has pocket openings on both the front and the back of the diaper or only one. If it has two openings, it will unstuff itself in the wash. If you (or daddy) forgets to unstuff a regular pocket diaper before washing, the insert will bunch up at the front of the diaper. If this happens I usually unstuff it and wash it one more time to make sure it gets all the way clean, so you can see why I really prefer my diapers to unstuff themselves!
The removable inserts have to benefits in the laundry: they are able to get cleaner faster than an AIO, and they dry much more quickly. The trade-off to this convenience is that when the diapers come out of the dryer (or off the clothes line), you will need to re-stuff each diaper before putting it back on your changing table.
One other benefit to pocket diapers is that unlike an AIO, you can customize the absorbency. As your baby grows you can use larger inserts, or double-stuff the pocket diaper with two inserts. Sometimes people will even triple-stuff them at night time, or use a super-absorbent hemp insert along with the microfiber one.