Tiffany & Tot

Bringing love and comfort through sustainable handmade items, while supporting other Canadian small businesses, located in New Brunsick, Canada.

Diaper Styles – Pros and Cons

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While many people seem to be most familiar with pocket diapers, there are a number of other options out there. Before I started sewing diapers for my son I looked into a number of options, thought about how to take the best elements of different designs and eliminate possible downsides, so much so I was even dreaming about diaper styles! (I’m not exaggerating. That actually happened on more than one occasion. And yes, I really am that cool!)

As with most things, there are pros and cons to each style. Personally, I feel like Wipeable covers are the most practical, followed by pockets, though everyone’s needs and priorities are different. These are taken from my own thoughts on the subject after agonizing over what to sew for my son, as well as problems and benefits I’ve seen others have, whether in Facebook groups I’m a part of, or from my own customers.

Wipeable Diapers* (A Tiffany & Tot Original)

side by side wipeable hearts diaper

T&T Wipeable Diaper Cover

This is my personal preference with some of the most practical features, and the diaper pattern is my own.

It’s called “Wipeable” because it’s completely constructed of PUL. This means that if the baby has only peed, it’s easy to wipe down with a cloth and reuse between washes. One feature of my design that is different from what I’ve seen elsewhere is that the elastic along the edge of the back flap (in the diapers I sell) matches the elastic that snugs along the baby’s back, meaning it holds the insert in nicely without it falling out. This is especially helpful with a squirmy baby!

Pros:

  • money
    • can be reused between washes, meaning you need fewer covers overall
    • moderate sewing time, meaning they cost less in the first place
    • absorbency can be tailored to exactly what you want, meaning you can purchase inexpensive options that work well
  • wash routine
    • fairly quick to put together (laying in an insert rather than stuffing)
    • the insert doesn’t need to be pulled out after it’s soiled as it is already mostly exposed and will come out on it’s own in the wash very easily
    • dry very quickly (all PUL)
    • it’s easier for inserts to come clean because they’re separate from the diaper (so you’re not trying to wash too many layers at once)
    • inserts are interchangeable, meaning you don’t need to hunt for the “right” ones
  • construction
    • it’s easy to add an extra insert for a heavy wetter or for overnight use

Cons:

  • wash routine
    • the insert isn’t attached, which means that it needs to be placed in separately after washing (quick, but still an extra step)
  • only moderately user friendly – they’re very easy to use, but may look confusing if you’ve never seen one, so if you’re leaving the baby with a sitter they may not know how to use it

Pocket Diapers

T&T Pocket Diaper

These are probably the style of diaper that are the most commonly used and known, and they are a style I am currently selling by custom order, though I don’t often keep them in stock. As the name suggests, they have an inner pocket that you would slide the insert into. They can be lined with a variety of fabrics, however at this time I only keep athletic wicking jersey in stock for lining – it’s 100% polyester, and is a stay-dry feeling fabric.

Pros:

  • money
    • moderate sewing time, meaning they’re less expensive than some other options
    • absorbency can be tailored to exactly what you want, meaning you can purchase inexpensive insert options
  • wash routine
    • if the inner layer is 100% polyester, the covers dry fairly quickly
    • it’s easier for inserts to come clean because they’re separate from the diaper (so you’re not trying to wash too many layers at once)
    • inserts are interchangeable, meaning you don’t need to hunt for the “right” ones
  • construction
    • it’s easy to add an extra insert for a heavy wetter or for overnight use
  • moderately user friendly if prestuffed – if you’re leaving the diapers all ready to go they’re fairly easy for a sitter, but even stuffing could throw some the first time

Cons:

  • money
    • need to be washed after every use so you need more overall
  • wash routine
    • the inserts need to be taken out of the pockets before being washed to ensure they’ll come clean
    • the inserts need to be put back into the pockets after they’re washed and dried

All In One (AIO)

These diapers I do not currently sell, though I would be open to looking into it for a custom order. They are all one piece, meaning that they do not need an insert to be added after washing (unless you have a very heavy wetter), and they are very user friendly, however they tend to also be the most expensive. Depending on construction, the style can still vary quite a bit, which can impact pros and cons. I have not tried this style personally, so my experience is limited to what I’ve learned from others.

Pros:

  • wash routine
    • as they are all one piece, depending on construction they can be put directly in the wash without needing to take out inserts (unless the absorbent pieces are flaps that tuck into a pocket)
    • when dry, depending on construction, they may not need to be “readied” for the baby (unless the absorbent pieces are flaps that tuck into a pocket)
  • by far the most user friendly – this is the easiest to leave with a sitter, no assembly required

Cons:

  • money
    • need to be washed after every use so you need more overall
    • longer sewing time means they cost more to make
    • they include the absorbency in the diaper, meaning you’re paying for the cover, construction, and absorbent fabric (without the option of using inserts that are cheaper or that you may have already)
  • wash routine
    • depending on construction, they can be more difficult to clean effectively if there are too many layers together in one place
    • depending on the style, they tend to take a very long time to dry
  • construction
    • depending on the style, it can be difficult to add an extra insert for a heavy wetter or for overnight use (unless the absorbent pieces are flaps that tuck into a pocket, then there may be room to squeeze in an insert)

All In Two (Ai2)

T&T Ai2

These are a style I have sold in the past, and I would be open to selling again through custom orders, though I no longer keep them in stock. They are very similar to the AIO diaper, these have inserts that are snapped to the back of the diaper. Depending on construction, the style can still vary quite a bit, which can impact pros and cons.

If it weren’t for the fact that absorbent fabric is so expensive in Canada, I likely would have made quite a few of these for my son. But I ultimately found them too expensive to construct (compared to wipeable covers or pocket diapers combined with flour sack towels or receiving blankets).

Pros:

  • wash routine
    • can be put directly in the wash
    • moderate drying time, depending on the construction of the absorbent piece(s)
    • very little assembly required (if any), as snaps may stay snapped in the wash
  • fairly user friendly, though maybe slightly less so than an AIO – still a great option for a sitter, though if the snaps will unsnap in the wash they could still cause some confusion

Cons:

  • money
    • need to be washed after every use so you need more overall
    • longer sewing time means they cost more to make
    • they include the absorbency in the diaper, meaning you’re paying for the cover, construction, and absorbent fabric (without the option of using inserts that are cheaper or that you may have already)
  • construction
    • depending on the style, it can be difficult to add an extra insert for a heavy wetter or for overnight use
    • unless you have multiple of the same style, made by the same person, if the inserts snap in place they may only snap properly into the cover they came with, meaning that you’d need to hunt through the laundry to match the right pieces together

Fitted

This is the first style I tried for my son before purchasing fabric. A fitted diaper is basically a diaper that is completely constructed of absorbent fabric. Inserts don’t need to be added (unless you have a very heavy wetter), but they do not have anything on the outside to make them water resistant or water proof. This means that you still need to cover it with a diaper cover, or soaker shorts. I am open to sewing fitteds in custom orders, however I find they are the most cost effective (and heartwarming) when they’re made from upcycled 100% cotton tee shirts that belonged to loved ones.

Pros:

  • money
    • moderate sewing time, meaning they’re less expensive than some other options
  • wash routine
    • can be put directly into the wash
    • no assembly required after drying

Cons:

  • money
    • need to be washed after every use so you need more overall
    • they aren’t water resistant or water proof, so you still need a diaper cover or soaker shorts to go on over the fitted diaper
  • wash routine
    • depending on construction, they can be more difficult to clean effectively if there are too many layers together in one place
    • they tend to take a long time to dry
  •  construction
    • depending on the style, it can be difficult to add an extra insert for a heavy wetter or for overnight use
  • while the fitted itself is fairly user friendly, it would be easy for a sitter to forget a cover, so it could still cause issues

Prefold

This is an older style, where you have a large piece of absorbent fabric that you fold into a diaper shape and attach. Some people do still use pins, but there also products available to hold the fabric in place without a pin (similar to the metal clasp that holds an ankle or knee wrap in place, but made from plastic and rubber). I have not tried this style personally, so my experience is limited to what I’ve learned from others, and there are likely many more pros and cons that I’m not aware of.

Pros:

  • wash routine
    • would come clean very easily in the wash because they’re made from a single layer of fabric
    • would dry very quickly because they’re made from a single layer of fabric

Cons:

  • money
    • need to be washed after every use so you need more overall
    • they aren’t water resistant or water proof, so you still need a diaper cover or soaker shorts to go on over the fitted diaper
  • wash routine
    • would need to be unfolded before putting in the wash
    • would need to be refolded after washing
  • by far the least user friendly – a sitter would likely be unable even to guess at how to use them

So what do you think? Any pros or cons to add?

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One thought on “Diaper Styles – Pros and Cons

  1. Pingback: So many options! Drool bibs edition | Tiffany & Tot

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