Reusable DiapersCredit: Vera KratochvilIf you walk into your local baby store, you may or may not find cloth baby diapers on the shelves. Many big box chain stores do not offer cloth options. Or if they do, the selection may be hidden or crowded out by the supply of disposables for sale.

Most cloth diaper experts recommend that parents try several styles of cloth to discover which ones work for them. This can be difficult if a store offers only one or two styles to choose from. By purchasing cloth diapers from multiple sources, a parent can find a wider selection of choices.

Cloth Diaper Sources

Some very good sources for cloth items include locally owned specialty baby stores, small businesses that specialize in cloth as well as pre-worn diapers available through online classified websites and garage sales.  Some popular cloth diaper companies also list boutiques and baby stores that carry their brands by city and state.

Another good resource that a new parent can use is to check online parenting communities. These communities are filled with parents who have tried cloth. Some may even be looking to sell their gently worn cloth diapers.

Cloth Diaper Styles

As you look over these options, you may be faced with several options for cloth diapers. If you have never considered using cloth baby diapers, you may find the jargon confusing. Here are a few diaper types that you may want to try.

Pocket Cloth Diapers

The manufacturers of cloth diapers make their products in three layers. The outermost layer is composed of a waterproof material to hold moisture in.  The diapers have an inner layer next to the baby’s skin that wicks away moisture. These two layers are sewn together so that they form a pocket. Parents stuff this pocket with absorbent inserts to soak up the moisture. Based on the baby’s needs, a parent can add a single absorbent insert or several. Parents can also add the absorbent material right where the baby needs it (In the center for girls, in the front for boys).

Parents who select pocket diapers can remove the inserts and add more, but continue to use the shell if the baby has a wet diaper that has not been soiled.  Soiled pocket diapers are also easy to wash because the products are thinner than some other types of cloth diapers such as all-in-one diapers.

One Size Cloth Diapers

One size cloth diapers grow with the baby. They may be made with Velcro closures, or have a series of adjustable straps. The legs of these types of diapers may also have adjustable elastic.

The advantage of one size diapers is that parents never have to buy more products for their child as he or she grows. However, parents with larger or smaller children may find that one size diapers do not fit their child well, particularly around the legs.

AI2 Cloth Diapers

AI2  is short for all in two cloth diapers. This style combines the advantages of all in one cloth diapers and pocket diapers (for more on all in one cloth diapers, see this article).  AI2 cloth diapers feature removable inserts just like pocket diapers. But the inserts either lie on top of the shell or snap into place. 

Although this list of cloth diapers is extensive, it is by no means complete. For more diaper choices, refer to this article.