Which Diaper System Should I Choose?

There are so many kinds of cloth diapers out there, it can be difficult to choose which system will work best for your family. You research and research and finally decide, Yes! I will cloth diaper my children. Then, you are faced with which diapers to buy! It can be overwhelming trying to figure out the pros and cons of each system, especially since you’ll be pulling from individual diaper reviews and diaper sites. I often get asked why I chose what I chose, why I like my diapers, and would I choose again the same way if I had to do it all over again. Well, here is an overview of different styles of cloth diapers and what I think is nice about them and what I think is awful about them.

Prefolds (or flats) & Covers

+ They are the cheapest system available.

+ They provide a level of excitement, providing the daily challenge of achieving that perfect fold.

+ Dry quickly.

– They are the most intimidating system, especially to husbands and child care providers.

– Pins or snappis are usually required. (I have a personal aversion to pins and snappis.)

– Can be difficult to get the absorbency just right.

– Often bulky.

– Can be difficult to get on a squirmy baby or toddler.

– Sizes are usually needed. (There are a few kinds that offer one size covers. Econobum is the main one that comes to mind.)

Fitteds and Covers


+ Cute and often trim.

+ Great for containing messes. (Really great fro holding in newborn poo!)

+ Very absorbent and usually require little “fiddling” to get absorbency right.

+ Easier to use.

+ Can easily use all natural fibers only.

+ Can make yourself or buy from a work at home mom.

+/- Can be the most expensive system or a very affordable system depending on your personal choices.

– The most addictive cloth diapering system. (Yes, cloth diapers can be addictive.)

– More difficult to adjust absorbency if the absorbency isn’t right for your little one from the start.

– Take more time to dry.

– Usually need various sizes. (There are a few brands that offer a One Size fitted diaper and you can find One Size covers.)

Pocket Diapers


+ Easy to use.

+ Most common type of One Size diapers.

+ Dry quickly.

+ Easy to adjust absorbency.

+ Only require one diaper “layer.” No extra cover is needed.

– Require “assembly” of diapers after each wash.

– Usually made of man made fibers.

– Can be expensive, depending on the diaper you choose.

All-In-One Diapers


+ Easy to use. Easy for you. Easy for husbands. Easy for child care providers.

+ No assembly required. Ready straight from the wash.

+ Only one diaper “layer” is needed. No extra cover necessary.

– Can take quite a while to dry.

– More difficult to adjust absorbency if you need to.

– Can be quite expensive.

All-In-Two Diapers


+ Fairly easy to use.

+ Dry faster than all-in-ones.

+ Theoretically, you can reuse the outer cover, meaning you’ll have less diaper laundry and less cost.

– Not a good system for babies with loose poo. (The poo contaminates the cover, eliminating the chance of reusing it.)

– Require “assembly” before use.

What to do with all this information?

Well, I looked at everything and narrowed down the most important for me. I knew I would be drying my diapers in my dryer, so I’d want something that dried quickly. I knew I needed something that would work immediately without a lot of trial and error. The Pastor was barely on board with cloth diapering, so I needed it to work and be easy for him. I wanted a one size solution, since I have multiple children in diapers at one time, I didn’t want to have to separate and keep several different sizes out all the time. I just needed one stash for all the children I was diapering (except newborns). I did not want to use snappis or pins.

So, with all that information, I chose to buy one size pocket diapers. They worked without any playing around with them. They were easy to use. The only real downside for my family is that I have to assemble them when they come out of the dryer and that takes time.

I have since used every other system, except prefolds. I can say, I can find things I like and don’t like about them all. If I had to do it over again, I would have bought less variety and tried to stick with one brand. (Having a bazillion brands makes it difficult when you are assembling your diapers. It also makes it difficult on care providers to switch from one brand to another, when they aren’t really comfortable with my diapers to begin with.) I love fitteds and covers for the newborn stage! I really dislike all-in-twos.

So, what should I choose?

That is up to you. You shouldn’t feel like you have to choose just one system. I knew that in the beginning, it would make it easier for The Pastor if I only had one system. But many families use on system at home and one system while out. Or one system during the day and another at night. Choosing an easier system at first will make your transition into cloth easier. (Some people find prefolds very frustrating and quit cloth diapering because of these frustrations.) It is up to you!

A note about one size diapers: I often find that I would have probably liked sized diapers, too. There are several brands of one size diapers that require internal adjustment of either the diaper or the insert, that defeat my “one stash” goal. Also, diapers don’t last forever, so with one size diapers now on their third bum, I find they get very worn out. It might have been just the same to buy the various sizes and end up with more diapers, lasting longer. As it is, I must replace my diapers when they’ve had enough. I once thought one size diapers would save me money, and if I had one child, they would. But since I’ve now cloth diapered 3, I find that I would have spent the same, either way.

Happy Diapering!!! (You can check out my reviews of each of my diapers in the “Off The Bum” category.)

Graham Bear Wear Diaper Review

Emery is our first baby to cloth diaper from birth. I knew my one size diaper stash would not fit him at birth. (Though have since tried WAHMies one size diapers and they would have easily fit him from birth.) We decided to go with fitteds and covers. I really like fitteds. They are a great option for newborns. Why? Well, newborns have that runny, explosive poo and the fitteds keep that inside the diaper where it belongs! If ever the poo escapes the fitted, it still remains securely inside the cover. We never had a single poo leak with Emery in fitted diapers. (Disposable diapers always allowed explosive poo leaks with the older two!)

At first, I ordered 6 Graham Bear Wear diapers. They are so trim and so cute! These are extremely well made diapers! She uses Zorb and they are so trim because of that. These also have a snap down in the front to protect the umbilical stump. Graham Bear Wear diapers have cotton velour interior (often hand dyed to match the outer fabric you choose). The outer is the cotton of your choice. She has so many lovely fabric choices! I have no two Graham Bear Wear diapers that are alike! Talk about fun! And each diaper comes with a matching liner!

After Emery was born, I ordered 6 more because they were such great diapers! The Pastor even liked these diapers, though he was initially very hesitant about fitteds and covers.

You do need a cover, since fitted diapers are not waterproof. Graham Bear Wear diapers easily fit my 6 lb. 13 oz. boy and would have easily fit my firstborn (5 lbs. 2 oz. at birth).  These easily fit under a Prowrap newborn diaper cover. These fit Emery until he was about 11 lbs. and ready for our one size diaper stash!

Photot of a Graham Bear Wear Newborn fitted diaper beside a bumGenius one size oraganic all-in-one to show you the size. The Graham Bear Wear diaper is set on its “medium” setting. The bumGenius diaper is as small as it gets.

A side by side comparison of a Graham Bear Wear Newborn Fitted Diaper with a Nanipoo Fitted Diaper.

Would I recommend Graham Bear Wear fitted newborn diapers? Absolutely! And I do! These are my favorite newborn fitted diaper! They are still in excellent condition after one newborn. I bought them for $50 for 6. Talk about a great deal! The only downfall is that you may not get as much money back if you plan to sell them once your newborn is out of them. Graham Bear Wear is a relatively new shop, so the word is not quite out there about what wonderful diapers they are. I am keeping mine! Hopefully I will get to use them again!

My newborn diaper stash.

Nancie was easy to work with. She made and shipped my diapers quickly! She even threw in a couple velour wipes with one of my orders! (And those are lovely if you are in the market for cloth wipes and don’t make your own!) She had so many cute and fun fabrics to choose from and hand dyed the velour to match many of my diapers.

**UPDATE: While I still adore my Graham Bear Wear diapers, it appears that they are no longer around. Which means that NONE of my newborn diaper making folks are in business anymore. If you come across them on diaperswappers, know they are awesome diapers. But it looks like for the time being, you can’t get GBWs.**

***UPDATE: She’s back! You can get them on Etsy again! Yay!***

Nanipoo Fitted Diapers

When deciding how to cloth diaper a newborn, I settled on fitted with covers. I knew none of my one size diapers would fit my little bitty babies. (Though since then have tried out WAHMies one size cloth diapers, and they would have fit my little bitty boy.) I had heard such lovely things about Nanipoos, so I thought I would order some and give them a try. I ordered 6 custom newborn size Nanipoos. There was a slight delay with getting them, since the sweet lady that makes them lost her husband the day after I ordered. But she was lovely to work with and kept in contact, even during such a difficult time. I appreciated that and waited on my diapers. They arrived the week Emery was born, so I had them in time!

These diapers do require a cover since they are not waterproof. Nanipoos have snaps and an umbilical scoop in the front to protect baby’s little bebo. (If you haven’t read the Belly Button Book by Sandra Boynton to your little ones, you should. It is cute.) They easily fit my 6 lb. 13 oz. newborn. I imagine they would have even fit my first and she was 5 lbs. 2 oz. at birth! These work really well with Newborn Prowrap covers. Nanipoos are a bit more fluffy that my Graham Bear Wear diapers, but they work well! These easily fit until Emery was about 11 lbs. and big enough for most one size diapers.

Side by side comparison of a Graham Bear Wear Newborn Fitted and a Nanipoo (on right).

Side by side comparison of a Nanipoo Newborn Fitted Diaper and a bumGenius One Size Organic All-in-one (on smallest setting).

The interior is a nice cotton velour (think Swaddlebees) and the outside is the fabric of your choice. If you choose knit fabrics, your diapers will have a bit more stretch and fit a little longer. If you choose a woven cotton, your diaper will have a bit less stretch, but will fit until about 10 lbs. still. They take a little longer to dry than a pocket diaper or a Graham Bear Wear Fitted diaper because they are a little more bulky. (Usually 2 and a half cycles in the dryer.)

Would I recommend Nanipoos? Absolutely! They are very affordable ($8.50 a diaper) and very well made! These held up well and will hold up to use on more than one child. You can also resell these on DiaperSwappers.com and usually get $5 (sometimes $6) a diaper back! I chose to keep mine since we are hopefully not done having children yet. (We’ll see what the Lord has in store for us.)

My Newborn diaper stash.