Monday, 26 January 2015

Cloth Diapering Terminology for Newbies

Cloth Diapering Terminology

Like many things, the cloth diaper world tends to have its own jargon and terminology. It can be a bit intimidating for newcomers to understand what's meant by some of these words. This list will help you find your way around and know exactly what you're getting.
AI2: Stands for All-in-Twos. It is a type of diaper which has an absorbent insert attached to the inside of the diaper with snaps. The insert is removable for washing.

Aplix: This is a velcro closure. It is also sometimes called a Hook & Look closure. Some say aplix is softer and more durable than regular velcro.

Cover/Diaper Cover: A diaper cover is typically made of plastic, vinyl, waterproof polyester and more recently wool. Covers are needed with pre-folds, fitted diapers and flats to keep moisture contained.

Doubling: Adding a second insert to the original insert for heavy wetter or overnight use. Often bamboo or hemp inserts are used to double. This provides extra absorbency without adding extra bulk to the diaper.

Fitted Diaper: A diaper designed to fit baby tightly and snugly. Does not need a safety pin or special closure like a Snappi but does need a diaper cover to contain moisture. They often come in different sizes for an even better fit.
Flat: Flat diapers are just that...flat. They do not have the thicker center like the diapers we often use as burp clothes. They are about the size of a receiving blanket which allows many types of folds to provide absorbency. Flats are the most cost effective of cloth diapering and are great for situations where you have to hand wash, such as travel. You do need a diaper cover to contain wetness.

Gusset/Double Gusset: An extra row of elastic that stands as an extra layer of protection to help contain diaper messes. Gussets can be internal and made from the same material as the internal lining of the diaper or external and finished like the leg elastic.

Hip Snaps: Snaps located at the baby's hip to prevent wing droop.

Insert: I rectangular shaped piece of cloth that is inserted into the pocket of pocket style diapers. Inserts can be made from a variety of materials. Each material affects absorbency and thickness. Some insert materials are safe to use against baby's skin and others are not. Inserts can be stacked to increase absorbency. Microfiber, hemp and bamboo are popular types of inserts.

Laundry Tabs: A place to secure the velcro/aplix to before laundering to prevent the velcro from sticking to other diapers.

Microfiber: a synthetic material that inserts can be made from. Microfiber tends to be very absorbent and absorbs the quickest but should not be placed into direct contact with your baby’s skin as it could cause an irritation.

Minky: Super soft & velvet type fabric used for the outside of cloth diapers.

One-size: A diaper that adjusts to fit of variety of babies both shape, size and weight by either adjusting snaps, elastic or snaps. Used to grow with baby from about 8 lbs-35+ depending on manufacturer. Keep in mind that one-size diaper sizing from the manufacturer may not be what you find to be true.

Pail Liner/Diaper Pail Liner: A reusable cloth liner for a diaper pail that stores soiled diapers until wash day. These bags get washed along with diapers on wash day. Some have a zippered bottom to allow easy release of soiled diapers into the washing machine without having to touch them. These bags are lined with waterproof material to keep the pail clean.

Pocket: Pocket style diapers have an opening between the outer shell and the inner layer that touches the baby's skin. This pocket is where inserts are "stuffed".

Pre-fold: These are the diapers that you often see turned into burb clothes. They are different from flats because they have the thicker absorbent middle. These are also very cost effective. They require a pin, "snappi" or fastening system to secure them as well as a cover to keep wetness contained. Pre-folds can also be used as an insert by folding the outer and inner layers together.

PUL: stands for polyurethane laminate which is used to waterproof diapers or diaper covers.

Reusable Wipes: Pieces of cloth typically micro-terry, hemp, bamboo or flannel. To use you moisten the wipes with solution and when soiled wash along with cloth diapers.

Snappi: A brand name diaper fastener that fastens without the use of pins.

Stash: A collection of cloth diapers (like how many you have in your home). 

Stripping: A way to remove build up on cloth diapers.

Suede Cloth: A polyester fabric blend that does not pill like microfleece. Since it is woven tighter than microfiber it also has less stains.

Trim: Implies the thickness of the diaper. Cloth diapers are not as slim as disposables but there are things that affect the thickness of the diaper such as insert types. This is how the term diaper "fluff" or "fluffy" bum as come into diapering vocab.

Wet Bag: A small reusable zippered bag with a waterproof compartment used to hold soiled diapers when out and about preventing wetness from wicking to other items in the diaper bag.

Wicking: The transfer of moisture from one surface to another.
Wing Droop: Wing droop is what happens when the extra tabs on your cloth diapers are not in use and comes out through the legs or up the stomach. It is mostly seen when the diaper is on the smallest setting and does not have hip snaps. Wing Droop can lead to the diaper not fitting properly which causes leaks.

What are Modern Cloth Diaper (MCDs)?

A Modern Cloth Diaper (MCD) is a reusable diaper made from natural fibres, man-made materials, or a combination of both. They are made of natural fibre cloth materials includes wool, bamboo & hemp. Man-made materials such as an internal absorbent layer of microfibre towelling or an external waterproof layer of Polyurethane Laminate (PUL) may be used. Polyester fabrics micro-fleece or suede-cloth are often used inside cloth diapers as a "stay-dry" wicking liner because of the non-absorbent properties of those synthetic fibres. Modern cloth diapers come in a host of shapes including all-in-one diapers with waterproof exteriors, fitted diaper with covers and pocket or "stuffable" diapers, which consist of a water-resistant outer shell sewn with an opening for insertion of absorbent material inserts. Modern cloth diapers are one-sized diapers that use snaps on the front rise of the diapers to allow them to grow with your baby.
Types of Modern Cloth Diapers
Times have changed for cloth diapers. Gone are the days of traditional langots, cloth nappies, safety pins, plastic pants & leaks. Today's modern cloth diapers have been redesigned to be as easy to use as disposables. Flushable liners, snap closures, hook & look closures and high-tech fabrics are used to create comfortable and functional diapers that are easy to use. Easy-to-use features and eco-friendly nature of cloth diapers can make them the right choice of parents.There are 10 basic type of cloth diapers. Lets explore in detail each type and how to use each of these.
1. FLATS: Flats are large squares of single-layered fabric that can be folded in a variety of ways. The fabric is usually made of cotton. They require you to fold them into a desired shape, and then fasten on baby and add a cover over the top.
2. PREFOLDS: Prefold diapers are rectangular pieces of cloth folded into three sections. The middle section is the most absorbent layer. Prefolds can be folded around a baby and fastened with stereotypical pins or a snappi, or they can be folded in a trifold and laid inside a cover. You must always use a cover with prefolds. Prefolds are supposed to be a really great diaper for the newborn stage.
3. FITTEDS: Fitted diapers are usually made of cotton, bamboo, hemp or fleece and are very absorbent - but not waterproof. They require some kind of waterproof cover to be used. Fitted diapers are hourglass shaped and do not require folding. They are ready-made to fit your baby's body. Fitteds comes in snaps or velcro closures. Key disadvantages of fitted diapers are that they are not waterproof and are more expensive. Key advantages of fitted diapers are that they are highly absorbent, easy to fasten on baby, and are great at containing messes due to the use of leg elastics. 
4. CONTOURS: Contour Diapers are a cross between Prefolds & Fitteds. They are already shaped, but they require pins or a snappi for closure. They also require a cover. They are shaped like an hourglass. 
5. HYBRIDS: Hybrid diapers are a cross between disposable & cloth diapers. Often, they come with a washable outer cover, and you have the option of using a biodegradable disposable insert or a washable cloth insert. The Hybrid style got its name because the absorbency layers used may be either cloth or disposable. For example, you may choose to use cloth absorbency whenever at home, but use disposable when heading to daycare or travelling. Hybrid system comes in a sized approach and in a one-sized option. Gdiapers are probably the most widely known hybrid diaper system.
6. POCKETS: Pocket diapers are the first true "modern" cloth diapers, and they are very daddy/babysitter-friendly diapers. They require no cover and comes in either a snap or aplix/velcro closure. They are called pocket diapers because each diaper comes with a pocket that must be stuffed with an absorbent insert. Most pocket diapers are lined in either microfleece or microsuede cloth - which are stay-dry materials, meaning that your baby will still feel dry even when he/she is wet because the urine passes through the liner and absorb into the insert that is inside the pocket. Inserts are either Microfiber, cotton, bamboo terry, bamboo charcoal, bamboo cotton or hemp.
7. SLEEVE DIAPER: Sleeve diapers are very-very similar to pockets. They have two openings in the pocket - one on each end. The benefit is that you don't have to unstuff the diaper when it is soiled. You just simply toss the whole thing into the wash, and the washing machine will agitate the insert out. A popular sleeve diaper brand is Thirsties. 
8. ALL-IN-ONES: All-In-One diapers are a premium type and are usually pricier than the other types. The benefit is that there are absolutely no other steps. They require no covers or stuffing. They are all one-piece-Just like a disposable! This fact makes them especially popular with dads, grandparents & sitters. Absorbency layers are sewn inside of an outer waterproof cover. Key disadvantages of AIO diapers includes longer drying time. Key advantages is the sheer simplicity of the design, the trim fit and that they are a good "all around" choice that can be used in almost any situation.
9. ALL-IN-TWOS: All-In-Twos are similar to pocket diapers except that instead of stuffing a pocket, you snap the insert inside the diaper. In AI2s, Insert lies directly against your baby's skin. Insert can be attached with cover with the help of snaps or velcro.
10. DIAPER COVER: The diaper cover consists of an outer waterproof cover and flaps are there inside the cover to hold the insert in place. In diaper cover, insert get tucked under the flaps in the cover and lies directly against the baby's skin. When your baby needs a diaper change, you can just swap out the insert and keep the same cover (Unless the cover gets soiled, in which case you change that too).