Every cloth diaper needs two components. An absorbent component, and a waterproof component. You need the absorbent part to soak up the pee and (to a lesser extent) poop. And you need a waterproof component on the outside to keep leaks from happening. Some types of diapers have both components built into a single diaper, and some diapers don’t.
There are about a bajillion different brands of cloth diapers, but there are really only a few different types. I like to break cloth diapers into two categories…because I think it’s easier for a parent to make a decision about cloth diapering if you think about it like this. There are one step diaper changes, and there are two step diaper changes.
What I mean by this is that with a one step change there is only one item you will have to put on baby when you replace their dirty diaper.
With a two step change you will have to put two items on the baby. You will need to choose both a type of diaper (absorb part) and a type of cover (water-proof part).
One step changes:
Two step changes:
- Absorbent components (Diapers)
- Waterproof components (covers)
- Wrap Covers
- Wool Soakers
- Plastic pants
So as you are making your decision about the TYPE of cloth diapers to purchase for your baby, consider how important it is for you to have a one step versus a two step diaper change. I think that for parents coming from disposable diapers it can sometimes seem more important as you may already feel overwhelmed with the idea of all the extra laundry. However, remember that many times choosing the one-step change diapers will require a higher price tag.
Also, some parents find one-step diaper changes more work on the laundry end. Because the entire diaper needs to be laundered after each use. However with a two-step change system, if the cover does not get soiled it can be allowed to air dry and be used again. This cuts down on the number of items that need to be purchased, and on the amount of laundry to be done.