Monday, April 16, 2012

Cloth 101: Pocket Diapers

Let's talk pockets today. Pocket diapers, that is. 

A pocket diaper consists of an inner wicking material that goes against baby's lil bum with an opening for an absorbent insert and an outer waterproof layer. 
There are several stay-dry options for the inner wicking material. Some of the most common are suede cloth, anti-pill fleece, microchamois, and crushed panne.  When baby pees, these materials work by wicking the moisture away from baby, through the material, and pulling the moisture to the insert where it can be absorbed. Below is an open bumGenius diaper. You can see the solid layer of, in this case, soft suede cloth. 

The outer layer can be solid or printed. It can be cotton or polyester.Most often this outer layer is backed with a waterproof layer called PUL, or polyurethane laminate. Another popular option is a layer of blizzard fleece, which acts as a breathable waterproof layer. Neither option are like the rubber pants of decades passed. These are cute, soft, cushy, waterproof diaper covers. Below are some Swaddlebees diapers, examples of both solid and printed PUL fabric (Swaddlebees and Blueberry Diapers are awesome diapers - and they are a local-to-me biz! Awesome!). 
These can snap around baby, or close with hook and loop (think awesome Velcro). 
The last part of the pocket diaper is the insert. These can be made of many, many different materials.
Probably the most common material is microfiber (or MF), which absorbs quickly and is inexpensive. Many. many cloth diapering mamas are perfectly happy with their microfiber inserts. They are pretty easy to care for, you can wash and dry on hot until the cows come home, and they won't shrink. There are a lot of mams, however, (including me) who find microfiber to be, well, 'meh' in the long term. I need more absorbency than I get from one MF insert, but doubling them up gets bulky fast on my super big kiddo. I've also had issues with compression leaks in microfiber. I still have it in my rotation as part of some all-in-one diapers (more on those later), but I no longer stuff my pockets with them.
microfiber inserts
As an alternative to MF, many CDing folks stuff their pockets with cotton prefolds. Just a tri-folded prefold (which is about 16 thirsty layers) stuffed in the pocket works very well and compression leaks are at a minimum. Or you can use a folded up flat diaper as well.
Two more awesome options for inserts are hemp and bamboo. Both are very trim and very absorbent natural fibers. Sometimes I get saucy and add a little hemp to my prefold in a pocket. Below is a pic of some Hemp Babies doublers. Love them!
Most pockets are One Size, meaning the same diaper will fit from (usually) 9ish pounds to (usually) 35ish pounds. This is commonly achieved with a snap-down rise.
The above diapers are the same style. The green is snapped down to fit about a 9lb baby, while the blue has the rise completely unsnapped to fit about a 35lb baby. 

Of course, as with anything, these weight ranges vary by baby. And the same diaper can fit great, then not fit for a while, then fit awesomely again later on your little one. It all depends on their shape.

So, those are pocket diapers in a nutshell. I hope to get a couple pics of some awesome WAHM pockets I have and add them to the post tomorrow.

What shall I talk about next....? All In Ones! 


Lyndell said...

I bought some cloth nappies with pockets, I think I got the bamboo inserts, have you used bamboo?
Also what are these like for newborns? Most people laugh at me for even thinking of using these with a newborn :)

Over from ICLW
Lyndell (

Becky said...

We love our cloth diapers and have been happily cd-ing for almots 19months :) We have a few pockets (mostly that I've gotten free with orders), but primarily use prefolds.

Happy ICLW! #39

Donielle said...

I loved using cds with my little ones! Great to meet another mama who uses them too. :-)

(ICLW #54)

Shelley G said...

@Lyndell (sorry, blogger isn't letting me reply directly to your post) I love bamboo inserts! Bamboo is so trim and absorbent. As far as pockets on a newborn - it's totally personal preference and honestly depends on how big or little your lil squish is. For a newborn, a lot of mamas go with a smaller sized stash and move into OS dipes once baby is 10ish lbs. Either way, you are sure to have way fewer blowouts (like, none!), than you would with disposables.
Plus, nothing cuter than a newborn in fluff! Congrats on your squish!

EmHart said...

I am really glad you found me. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I totally plan to use cloth nappies when I finally get my baby. I am looking forward to exploring your blog further.