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Beginner, Types of Diapers

Cloth Diapering For Beginners – How To Choose Your Diaper Style

The biggest piece of advice most cloth diaper newbies receive is to try out several kinds of diapers before investing in a full diaper stash. I definitely agree with that advice. It’s always good to try something out before you commit fully to it.

However, it’s a good idea to know what direction you would like to go in to help narrow your search, too. You may be able to eliminate a couple of styles of diapers right off the bat because they don’t fit with your overall cloth diapering goals and motivations.

Try out the cloth diaper quiz below to see what your top style is! However, please remember that the quiz is ultimately just for fun or for reassurance–there may be multiple styles of cloth diapers that suit you. Many styles of diapers also help you meet the same goals, so feel free to take the quiz more than once to alter your answers a bit and see what you get!

After taking the quiz, I strongly recommend reading the rest of this article to give you some context for your results. It may help you determine how closely matched you are to your results. There is also a table at the end of this article to help you truly see the differences between different styles.

So how did the quiz identify your top type? It’s based on the factors below!

Identify Your Main Motivation

The very first thing you need to do is identify your main motivation for cloth diapering. Do you want to save as much money as possible? Do you want to reduce waste? Do you want to limit exposure to the chemicals in disposable diapers? Certain diapers will help you more closely meet your biggest goal than others.

If your biggest goal is to save money, style does matter some, but so does brand. Ultimately, prefolds, flats, all-in-twos, and pockets can be the most economical (again, depending on the brand).

But if your main motivation points you towards using only organic natural fibers in your diapers, you might want to avoid pockets and instead consider any of the other styles of diapers that are more commonly made with natural fibers, like fitteds and some all-in-ones.

Again, each brand can vary widely, but the quiz can help give you a direction to start your research in.

Consider Your Lifestyle

Lifestyle is the second most important factor, in my opinion. If you have a hectic life and are worried about keeping up with laundry, you may consider an all-in-two or hybrid style of cloth diaper. However, if your baby will be attending daycare, all-in-ones or pockets may be a better option for you.

If you are a stay-at-home parent, you may have more patience for other styles of diapers, like prefolds or flats. Or maybe not. 🙂 But your lifestyle preferences do make a difference.

Once you have a general idea of what types of diapers you may like, check out my Cloth Diaper Reviews to discover some brands you may want to try.

Settle On A Budget

While the brand of diaper is the most significant factor in the overall cost of the diaper, certain styles of diapers tend to be cheaper than others.

Flats are the cheapest style of diaper with prefolds as a close second. However, certain kinds of pockets aren’t that much more expensive than prefolds, either.

All-in-ones are often the most expensive style, but some fitted diapers aren’t far behind!

All in all, for most budgets you don’t need to totally rule out any style based on price. There are many brands out there that can allow you to try out many styles of diapers that are usually more expensive for a reasonable price.

Try Out A Few Different Styles

You may be certain you’re going to absolutely LOVE a certain type of diaper, but later you find that you don’t enjoy them as you thought. Or you may find that after trying a style of diaper you didn’t think you would like that you actually like the benefits of that style more than you thought.

You may also be set on a certain style or brand and find that it doesn’t fit your baby’s shape well, or that you need more absorbency than that type of diaper can offer. That is hard to predict ahead of time until your baby is here.

You really can’t know the perfect style of diaper for you until you have tried it. You may really think you won’t mind stuffing pockets, but later dread doing it. Alternatively, you may think you need an all-in-one diaper or you won’t stick with cloth diapering, but later find diaper prep not to be as difficult as you thought and that you actually really appreciate the benefits other styles of diapers offer. Some things are hard to predict without experience.

You Can Always Change Later!

Remember that you can always change to a different style of cloth diaper later. There is a market for used diapers on buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook or in other places on the web. You could sell off the ones you don’t like and purchase new ones. You may be out a bit of money, but in the end, it won’t be all that much money, and it will be worth it to find a style that really clicks with you.

Cloth Diaper Style Comparison Chart

Here is a table that can help you compare certain styles of diapers. Remember that some diaper features vary by brand. This table will focus on the average diaper within that style.

 All-in-OnesAll-in-Twos / HybridsPocketsFittedsPrefolds or Flats & CoversDIY/Makeshift Diapers
Average Price ($-$$$$)$$$-$$$$$$-$$$$$-$$$$$$-$$$$$-$$$
Absorbency
(rated 1-4 where 1 is minimal and 4 is high)
32-3343-4n/a (depends)
Ease of Use (rated 1-3 where 1 is easy and 3 has a learning curve)112233
How many changes can you get in one load of laundry? (estimates vary based on type of washer)12-1620-3012-1612-1616-24n/a (depends)

What style of diaper is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!

Holly Lee

I'm Holly and I'm the mom of two awesome young boys. We have been cloth diapering for 5 years. My family and I live in Minnesota with our dog, Ruby, and cat, Gherkin. Outside of Rocking the Cloth, I am also a middle school teacher. Thank you for visiting Rocking the Cloth--feel free to email me at holly@rockingthecloth.com if you have any questions or concerns. I'd love to help!

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2 Comments

  1. Buck says:

    You’ve covered a lot of ground here! Thanks for that. I’ve been looking into using cloth diapers (not for me, but a relative that we help out whenever we can) but I had no idea there was so much information available about them! I read your article twice and I’m relieved that you’ve basically laid everything out and made the info simple to digest.

    Cheers!

    1. Holly Lee says:

      Thanks Buck, glad you found it helpful.

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