Cloth Diaper Types
All-in-one (or AIO) diapers are a one-piece reusable diaper with the absorbent material sewn right to the waterproof cover, making them the most similar to disposable diapers. They are easy to use and often the most popular with daddies and daycares. One drawback is that since you have to throw in the whole diaper in the wash, insert and all, with every change, it is slightly more laundry to do.
All-in-two (AI2) or hybrid diapers are a two-piece diaper system with a removable absorbent insert that lays in or attaches to a waterproof cover. When the insert is wet, simply toss in the diaper pail and replace with a new one. The cover can be reused until soiled. Some systems like Charlie Banana can also be paired with disposable inserts that are handy when out and about.
Pocket diapers are another two-piece system where the absorbent insert is placed into a pocket opening within the waterproof cover. The top layer of the pocket is a stay-dry fabric, usually micro fleece or microsuede, that allows moisture to pass through so that it keeps baby feeling dry. Once stuffed, pocket diapers resemble all-in-ones but allow you to customize inserts or add absorbency for naps & overnight.
One size diapers are designed to grow with your baby and can be adjusted to fit from 8-35lbs. Snaps or adjustable elastics are used to adjust the diaper's rise and leg openings to give baby a perfect fit as they grow. Some one sizes may not fit newborns as well as sized diapers, especially if they are preemies or newborns that tend to be smaller than 7 or 8lbs.
Fitted and Flats
Fitted and flat diapers are shaped like a typical diaper, are made from absorbent material, and fastened with snaps or aplix. They are very breathable but require a cover to make them waterproof. Flats are also handy in that they are multi-purpose because of their size and can be used as receiving blankets, burp cloths, or for general cleaning.
Prefolds are rectangular diapers made of absorbent fabric divided into thirds, with more layers in the middle third where the most absorbency is required. They can be folded and fastened with diaper pins or a Snappi, and require a cover to be waterproof. Alternatively, the prefold can simply be folded into thirds and placed inside the cover.
Covers are used over a fitted or prefold diaper to make the system waterproof. Covers are usually made from synthetic polyurethane laminate (PUL) or thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), or can also be made from fleece or lanolized wool.