In this article, we will explain the main features, advantages, and disadvantages of pocket diapers and diaper covers, and help you decide which one is right for you and your baby.
If you are new to cloth diapering, you may be overwhelmed by the different types and styles of diapers available. One of the most common questions that parents have is: what is the difference between pocket diapers and diaper covers? And which one should you choose for your baby?
What is a Pocket Diaper?
Pocket diapers are a type of cloth diaper that consists of two layers: an outer layer of water-resistant fabric (usually PUL or TPU) and an inner layer of stay-dry fabric (usually microfleece, microsuede, or athletic wicking jersey). The inner layer has one or two openings at the front and/or back of the diaper, creating a pocket between the two layers.
This pocket is where you insert absorbent materials, such as microfiber, cotton, bamboo, hemp, or charcoal bamboo inserts. You can customize the absorbency of your pocket diaper by using different types and numbers of inserts.
Pocket diapers are usually fastened with snaps or hook-and-loop (Velcro) closures. They come in different sizes (newborn, small, medium, large) or one-size (adjustable with snaps) to fit babies from birth to potty training.
What is a Diaper Cover?
Diaper covers are a type of cloth diaper that consists of only one layer: an outer layer of water-resistant fabric (usually PUL or TPU). Diaper covers do not have any absorbent materials attached to them.
Instead, they are used to cover other absorbent diapers, such as fitted diapers, prefolds, flats, or contour diapers. You can also use inserts or pads inside the diaper cover, but they are not secured in place like in pocket diapers.
Diaper covers are usually fastened with snaps or hook-and-loop (Velcro) closures. They come in different sizes (newborn, small, medium, large) or one-size (adjustable with snaps) to fit babies from birth to potty training.
Our Carriage Boutique diaper covers are made of soft and durable fabric, with ruffles that add a touch of flair and fun. They come in different colors and sizes, to suit your baby's style and comfort.
Whether you need a diaper cover for a dress, a skirt, or just for fun, Carriage Boutique Ruffle Diaper Covers are the perfect choice.
What are the Pros and Cons of Pocket Diapers?
Pocket diapers have some advantages and disadvantages compared to diaper covers. Here are some of them:
• Pocket diapers have a stay-dry layer that wicks away moisture from your baby's skin, preventing rashes and irritation.
• Allows you to customize the absorbency of your diaper by using different types and numbers of inserts. You can also mix and match natural and synthetic fibers to get the best performance.
• Easy to use and change. You just need to stuff the insert into the pocket and put the diaper on your baby. There is no need to fold or pin anything.
• More convenient for daycare providers or babysitters who may not be familiar with cloth diapering. They are similar to disposable diapers in terms of ease of use.
• Requires more work before and after use. You need to stuff the insert into the pocket before use and remove it before washing. This can be time-consuming and messy.
• It needs to be washed after every use. You cannot reuse the same pocket diaper without washing it first, even if it is only wet.
• May be prone to leaks if they are not stuffed properly or if the insert shifts inside the pocket.
• Pocket diapers may be bulky on your baby, especially if you use multiple inserts for extra absorbency.
What are the Pros and Cons of Diaper Cover?
Diaper covers also have some advantages and disadvantages compared to pocket diapers. Here are some of them:
• Diaper covers are more economical than pocket diapers. You can reuse the same diaper cover multiple times before washing it, as long as it is not soiled. You only need to change the absorbent diaper underneath.
• More versatile than pocket diapers. You can use them with any type of absorbent diaper, such as fitted diapers, prefolds, flats, or contour diapers. You can also use different types of fabrics and folds to suit your baby's needs.
• More breathable than pocket diapers. They allow more air circulation around your baby's skin, reducing the risk of rashes and irritation.
• Diaper covers are less bulky than pocket diapers. They do not add any extra thickness to your baby's diaper.
• Diaper covers do not have a stay-dry layer that wicks away moisture from your baby's skin. You need to use a separate liner or a stay-dry fabric on top of your absorbent diaper if you want this feature.
• It may be harder to use and change than pocket diapers. You need to fold or pin your absorbent diaper before putting it inside the cover. You also need to make sure that the absorbent diaper is completely tucked inside the cover to prevent leaks.
• It may be less convenient for daycare providers or babysitters who may not be familiar with cloth diapering. They may require more skill and practice to use properly.
• It may not be as cute or colorful as pocket diapers. They usually have solid colors or simple prints, while pocket diapers have more variety and designs.
Which One Should You Choose?
There is no definitive answer to which type of cloth diaper is better than the other. It depends on your personal preference, budget, lifestyle, and baby's needs. You may also want to try both types and see which one works best for you and your baby.
Here are some factors that may help you decide:
• If you want a stay-dry layer that keeps your baby's skin dry and comfortable, you may prefer pocket diapers.
• If you want to customize the absorbency of your diaper by using different types and numbers of inserts, you may prefer pocket diapers.
• If you want an easy-to-use and change diaper that is similar to disposable diapers, you may prefer pocket diapers.
• If you want a more economical and eco-friendly diaper that can be reused multiple times before washing, you may prefer diaper covers.
• If you want a more versatile and breathable diaper that can be used with any type of absorbent diaper, you may prefer diaper covers.
• If you want a less bulky and more trim-fitting diaper that does not add any extra thickness to your baby's diaper, you may prefer diaper covers.
Read our blog about 11 Essential Items for a Stress-Free Baby Diaper Change.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pocket Diapers and Diaper Covers (FAQs)
How Many Diaper Covers Do I Need?
The number of diaper covers you need depends on a few factors, including your baby's age, how often you plan to do laundry, and your diapering preferences. Here are some general guidelines to help you determine how many diaper covers you might need:
- Newborn Stage (0-3 months): Newborns typically go through more diaper changes in a day, so you may need more covers during this stage. Having 6-8 covers is a good starting point.
- Infant Stage (3-12 months): As your baby grows, you may need fewer diaper changes per day. You can often get by with 4-6 covers during this stage.
- Toddler Stage (12+ months): Once your baby becomes a toddler and their diaper changes become less frequent, you may only need 3-4 covers.
- Frequency of Laundry: The number of covers you need will also depend on how often you plan to do laundry. If you're washing diapers every day, you can get by with fewer covers. If you prefer to wash diapers every 2-3 days, you'll need more covers to ensure you have enough in between washes.
- Type of Covers: Some diaper covers are designed to be more durable and can be wiped clean and reused without washing between changes. Others may need to be washed after every use. The type of cover you choose will also affect how many you need.
- Backup Covers: It's always a good idea to have a few extra covers as backups in case some are in the wash or if you run into any issues with a particular cover.
In summary, having a total of 6-8 diaper covers is a good starting point for most families. You can adjust the number based on your baby's age, laundry frequency, and personal preferences. It's important to have enough covers to ensure you can maintain a consistent diapering routine while allowing for some in the wash and as backups.
Do You Change the Diaper Cover Every Time?
Whether or not you change the diaper cover every time you change a diaper depends on the type of diaper cover, you're using and your personal preference. There are two common approaches:
- Change the Cover Every Time: With this method, you change both the diaper and the cover with every diaper change. This is often the case with disposable diapers and some types of cloth diapers. It ensures a fresh cover for each change, and it can be particularly important if the cover has become soiled or wet. This approach may require having more covers on hand.
- Reuse the Cover Multiple Times: Some cloth diapering systems, like pocket diapers and all-in-two (AI2) diapers, allow you to reuse the cover multiple times before it needs changing. In this case, you only change the absorbent insert or prefold inside the cover during each diaper change. As long as the cover isn't soiled or excessively wet, you can typically use it for several diaper changes before it requires changing.
The decision to change the cover every time or reuse it depends on your comfort level, the condition of the cover, and your chosen diapering system.
Reusing covers can be more cost-effective and environmentally friendly, but it requires more careful monitoring and maintenance to prevent leaks and ensure your baby stays dry.
If you choose to reuse covers, always be sure to check for any signs of soiling, odor, or moisture and change the cover if necessary to prevent rashes or discomfort for your baby.
How Long Do Pocket Diapers Last?
The lifespan of pocket diapers can vary depending on several factors, including the quality of the diapers, how well they are cared for, and how frequently they are used.
In general, pocket diapers can last through multiple children if they are well-maintained. Here are some factors to consider when estimating the longevity of pocket diapers:
- Quality of Materials: The durability of pocket diapers largely depends on the quality of the materials and construction. High-quality pocket diapers made with sturdy materials and strong stitching are more likely to last longer than cheaper alternatives.
- Frequency of Use: If you use pocket diapers full-time, they will experience more wear and tear compared to part-time or occasional use. Diapers used daily will typically show signs of wear sooner than those used less frequently.
- Care and Maintenance: Proper care and maintenance play a significant role in extending the lifespan of pocket diapers. Follow the manufacturer's care instructions carefully, and avoid using harsh detergents, bleach, or fabric softeners, as these can damage the diaper's materials. Regularly cleaning and drying the diapers in a way that preserves their integrity can make them last longer.
- Rotation of Diapers: If you have a larger stash of pocket diapers and rotate their use, each diaper will experience less frequent use and, therefore, less wear and tear. This can help extend the overall lifespan of your diaper collection.
- Child's Growth and Potty Training: As your child grows and eventually starts potty training, the diapers may experience different types of wear. Diapers may fit differently or have different wear patterns depending on the age and development stage of your child.
- Storage Conditions: Proper storage when not in use can also impact the lifespan of pocket diapers. Store them in a dry place and avoid extreme temperatures and exposure to direct sunlight, as these factors can lead to deterioration of materials over time.
While some pocket diapers may last through one child and be used for a second or even a third child, it's important to note that wear and tear can vary from one diaper to another within the same brand and style. Some may show signs of wear sooner than others, and you may need to replace or repair individual diapers over time.
Ultimately, the lifespan of pocket diapers can vary, but with proper care and attention to the factors mentioned above, you can maximize their longevity and get the most value out of your investment.
Pocket diapers and diaper covers are two popular types of cloth diapers that have their own pros and cons. The main difference between them is the presence or absence of a lining that creates a pocket for inserts.
Pocket diapers have a stay-dry lining that wicks away moisture from your baby's skin, while diaper covers do not have any lining and need to be used with other absorbent diapers. Both types need absorbent inserts to be put inside them, and both are water-resistant.
Pocket diapers are more convenient, customizable, and comfortable for your baby, but they also require more work, washing, and money. Diaper covers are more economical, versatile, and breathable for your baby, but they also require more skill, folding, and liners.
The choice between pocket diapers and diaper covers depends on your personal preference, budget, lifestyle, and baby's needs. You may also want to try both types and see which one works best for you and your baby
We hope this article has helped you understand the difference between pocket diapers and diaper covers, and how to choose the right one for you.