Learn the Lingo Episode 2: Cloth Diapers

5 May

First, let me say that I am amazingly blessed to have a wonderful husband who is actually on board with the idea of cloth diapering. (Especially since he is the one who works from home and will be handling the bulk of those cloth diaper changes.)

Second, let me say that I was surprised to find that not only do I know absolutely nothing about cloth diapers, but I can’t even understand cloth diapering forums to learn more! Seriously, here is a no-joke actual posting from a cloth diaper forum:

Um . . . what? OS? Wicking? FB? Aplix? PUL?

So, as with my health insurance quest, I found myself in need of learning another new language – cloth diaperese. Here is my easy-to-understand, illustrated cloth diaper dictionary!

AI2 – all-in-two. This means that there are two parts to your diaper: an absorbent layer and the waterproof cover.

AIO – all-in-one. This means that your cloth diapers are in one piece and don’t require anything else (like inserts) to work. You just put them on the baby and – bam! – you’re cloth diapering. Compare to AI2 and pocket diapers.

Aplix – this is like velcro, but softer. This is used in cloth diapering to keep diapers closed. It’s important that it isn’t actually velcro because the softer material wont’ bother a baby’s skin if it happens to rub against it. This also may be called a hook and loop closure.

CD – no, not compact disk! Cloth diaper or cloth diapering. Example: I am a CDing mom. See, that doesn’t make much sense with “compact disk”! 😛

Contoured diapers – this term applies to the absorbent part of a cloth diaper when it is sold separately from the cover. It is in a shape that is designed to fit around a baby’s body. Countered diapers usually require a cover and the use of fasteners (in the old days, safety pins, in more modern times snappies).

Diaper cover – diaper covers are a waterproof layer that goes on over prefolds, contoured diapers, and flat diapers.

Doubler – this is an additional insert or liner that you can put into a cloth diaper to increase absorbency. These can be very helpful for babies who are heavy wetters or for overnight use.

DSQ – Diaper Service Quality. This term is usually used to refer to prefolds or flats that are of higher quality. The idea is that diaper services put a lot of stress and wear and tear on their diapers, so they have to be of a higher quality than those designed for regular home use.

Fitted diaper – these are very similar to contoured diapers as they are shaped to fit a baby. They usually require a cover, but usually don’t require the use of closures (in the old days, safety pins, in more modern times snappies).

Flat – this is just a flat piece of absorbent fabric. It can be used inside a diaper cover to absorb wetness.

Hybrid diapers – these diapers are part cloth and part disposable. They usually can also be used as completely cloth, if you choose. The part that makes them part disposable is a disposable insert that catches solids (i.e. poop). Many inserts are flushable, so you can just flush it down the toilet so  you don’t have to have poop in your washing machine.

Insert – this goes into an all-in-two or pocket style diaper to absorb fluids. Inserts can be cloth or disposable.

Liners – these are disposable pieces of material that are used to collect solids from a cloth diaper. They are usually flushable and typically used with hybrid diapers.

OS – One Size. Cloth diapers can either come in sizes (usually extra small, small, medium, and large) or they come in a single size that can be expanded as the baby grows. This expansion is usually accomplished by a set of snaps on the front of the diaper.

Pocket diaper – with pocket diapers, there is a pocket that you tuck inserts into. The diaper itself will have an outer layer, which is waterproof and an inner layer which is soft and will actually be against the baby’s skin. In between these two layers, there is a pocket where the insert is placed.

Pre-folds – these are similar to flats, but they already have a thick middle layer attached. They require the use of a diaper cover and some sort of fastener.

PUL – polyurthane laminate. This is the waterproof outer layer on many cloth diapers.

Sized or Perfect Size diapers– these diapers  come in sizes, typically extra small, small, medium, and large. Compare to OS (one size).

Snappi – This is the modern day safety pin – only much better. It is used to hold diapers like pre-folds and flats closed.

Soaker – this is the absorbent layer in a diaper. The term can be used to refer to the part already in a diaper, like in all-in-ones, or can refer to an additional insert.

Stripping – (this is the one Paul has been waiting for!) sadly, this one does not involve any slow-motion removal of clothing. Instead, it refers to the considerably less sexy removal of build-up from diapers. Each diaper manufacturer has their own recommendations about the appropriate way to strip their diapers.

Wicking – this means that the diaper isn’t absorbing liquids (i.e. baby pee) properly any more. As a result the liquids leak out of the diaper at the legs and waist. This problem can be caused by a build-up of things like diaper rash cream on your cloth diapers. The fix? See “Stripping”. (Oh yes, I am sure Paul loves that solution . . . So if you want to convince your husband to cloth diaper, just let him know it involves stripping!)

Most of the other abbreviations out there refer to actual brands of diapers, which will be covered in later posts. (That’s already a lot for one day!)


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