Diaper Reviews, Types of Diapers

What Is a Hybrid Cloth Diaper? Simple Cloth Diapers for On-the-Go Families

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You may have heard about hybrid cloth diaper systems–maybe you have seen the Flips or G Diapers or any other brand. You may have run the numbers and found that it might save you a few bucks compared to other cloth diapers. But what is a hybrid cloth diaper?

A hybrid is a type of “all in two” diaper. There are many options for hybrid diapers, and not all of them are the same. But I will start with this:

A Mix between Cloth and Disposable

Some hybrid systems offer a cloth shell with disposable inserts. For families very worried about cleaning poop off cloth diapers, this could be a compromise. For the most part, the poop will be on the insert and can be thrown away or flushed, but it’s possible it could get on the shell and need to be wiped off. However, the material of the shell makes for an easy-to-clean surface if that does happen.


G Diapers are a common cloth-disposable hybrid. Their inserts can be composted (wet only) or flushed, so this can help with keeping waste down. They are a great option for the family that wants the convenience of disposables but wants to reduce their footprint. The downside is the inserts can cost just as much as disposable diapers, so this isn’t the most cost-effective system. It all just comes back to your reasons for cloth diapering–if cost savings isn’t your main motivation, then a system like G Diapers may be right for your family!

Both Cloth and Disposable Inserts

bumgenius-flip-diaperSome hybrid diaper systems, such as Flips by bumGenius, have both disposable and reusable insert options. This can be an extremely convenient system because you can use cloth inserts at home but disposable inserts if you are traveling, or you could send disposable inserts to daycare if needed. The Flips disposable inserts can also fit in several different brand diaper shells. As with the gDiapers, the Flips disposable inserts aren’t any cheaper than disposable diapers. But the fact that the diaper is designed to be used with both reusable and disposable inserts means that this does have the potential to be a convenient and cost-effective system.

Flips reusable inserts have three options: stay-dry option with microfiber and suede covering (extra important to make sure you lay the insert in the diaper with the suede facing up as microfiber can pull moisture from baby’s skin if it touches it directly), an organic cotton option, and a trainer option for when baby starts to work on potty training.

What I love about the Flips system is that it is super trim fitting. Flips were one of the first one-size diapers that successfully worked on my 7 lb newborn. Due to the trim fit, they were able to grip his chicken legs adequately. The only downside to using Flips with a newborn is they tend to poop a lot, which means you will go through a lot of covers! No big deal if you have enough covers or can throw in a load of laundry, though.

Grovia also has a popular hybrid system that allows you to choose between cloth or biodegradable disposable inserts. Grovia is a brand with a fabulous reputation for quality and satisfaction. I’ve never heard anyone say they don’t love their Grovia diapers!

grovia-hybrid-diapers

All Cloth Hybrids (All in Twos)

Some hybrid/all in two systems are 100% cloth. They are easy to use and cost-effective, just requiring a new insert in the shell each time you change your baby (and also swapping out the shell when the baby poops). The perk to this type of system is that even though the inserts are reusable, the poop removal has the potential to be an easier process when you can take the insert out and just deal with it on that instead of the whole diaper.

All cloth hybrid systems operate similar to the prefold/cover model, but there is no folding or wrapping cloths around the baby. You just lay the insert in the shell (some even have a spot to snap them in) and put it on like a regular diaper. They’re very slick!best-bottoms-diapers

Best Bottom diapers are one of the most popular all cloth hybrid systems. It features a double-gusset leg hole, which gives you an extra snug fit around the legs. It features several different insert options depending on what’s important to you in an insert (absorbency, natural vs. synthetic material, etc). Many people claim that Best Bottoms virtually never leak or have poop escape. The double gussets and firm elastic do a great job of containing any messes.

Pro/Cons Summary of Hybrids

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • All Cloth hybrids can be an extremely cost-effective system compared to pockets and all in ones.
  • Having the option of biodegradable disposable inserts makes using your cloth shells while traveling or at daycare much more convenient without using a traditional disposable.

Cons:

  • Even with a disposable insert in the diaper, the poop might get all over the shell and you’ll need to clean it anyway (if you are using the disposable inserts to avoid poop).
  • One extra step than an all in one (but otherwise it’s roughly the same amount of work as a pocket, and less work than prefolds or flats).
  • Even though you aren’t supposed to have to switch covers when you’re only changing a pee diaper, sometimes the insert is just too saturated and it’s hard to imagine that you would reuse that cover.

Try out a Hybrid System!

The cons of this type of system are pretty minor in my opinion. I have enjoyed the hybrid diapers I own. Like I said earlier in the post, it’s due to the trim fit that I was able to use these almost right away with my newborn. They are very versatile and dependable diapers from birth through potty training.

hybrid-diapers

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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8 Comments

  1. I love my cloth diapers and will never use disposables (except for the first week…newborn black poop is no joke!)! My stash is primarily Grovia shells and inserts but I have a couple AIOs that people have gave me as well.  I have only had a few leaks at night and I remedied that by adding a booster or a prefold.  The other diapers I have are bestbottom shells.  I don’t have any inserts for them and my Grovia are not compatible snaps.  However, I use a prefold or flat or even just throw a Grovia liner in and they work.  They never leak and I love the double gusset.  My 20 pound LO has a little pot belly though and they are becoming small.  Great article! Thank you for all the info and awesome links so that this cloth mama can continue her cloth addiction…lets be honest if you use cloth you love them! 

    Kara

    1. Holly Lee says:

      Awesome, Kara! Sounds like you have found the perfect diapers for you! Love it!

  2. Babsie Wagner says:

    This really makes me mad because when my boys were babies, I used cloth diapers, but they did not have anything cool like this.  Just the plain Jane white diapers, but I have to say I soaked them in detergent and bleach and they came out pure white.  I don’t know how that process would work with these diapers.It was so much less expensive to do the cloth diapers.  I used the Pampers for my daughters, and it cost a fortune.Babs

    1. Holly Lee says:

      Hi Babs! Yes, not as much bright white bleaching with diapers nowadays! But I’ve found as long as they get washed every 2-3 days, they don’t stain at all! Staining can happen once they have been sitting around for two long.

  3. CircleUB says:

    This brings me back in time, but during those times we washed it and re-used. The  upgraded version is very helpful in decreasing the chances of touching the poop.  Not only is it good for babies but it’s organic, which is the best choice we want for the babies. I love your topic. It’s great knowing where we can order from.

    1. Holly Lee says:

      Thank you! Yes, I agree that in so many ways, they are better for babies. 🙂

  4. Hey Holly, nice post. I like your descriptions with Cloth and Disposable diapers; this is definitely something that’s good for all first time parents. I wish this was around when my wife got pregnant with my little boy. Your post is a shining light for parents that have children that are potty training because the inserts are great and it is cost effective because they can help people save money on pull-ups. Great job!

    1. Holly Lee says:

      Thanks so much R.J.!

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