Pocket Diapers are the Beloved Workhorses of the Cloth Diapering World
A popular cloth diaper, this style is really easy to use. Each diaper need only be stuffed with an insert and then fastened on your baby. When stuffed prior to use, pocket diapers are grab-and-go in their simplicity. That’s what I like most!
Add a disposable liner for solids, and your diaper routine can be further simplified. Pockets hold a special place in my heart as the first cloth diapers that I tried after starting off with prefolds and covers. These are still my go-to diapers for my toddler, since they’re easy to stuff with double inserts.
What are pocket diapers?
Pocket cloth diapers consist of a waterproof cover sewn onto a layer of fabric, with an empty “pocket” created in between the two layers. This pocket is then stuffed with inserts consisting of various natural or microfiber which have been sewn into an elongated rectangle shape. The diaper is then attached to baby in a similar manner as disposable diapers, using either snaps or hook-and-loop closures.
What are the benefits of pocket diapers?
Compared to other other cloth diaper options, pocket diapers offer greater customizability for the parent and stay-dry comfort for baby. It’s a one-two punch of awesome!
The majority of pocket diapers are sewn with either a micro fleece or micro suede inner layer. This layer draws wetness away from baby and into the absorbent diaper insert.
Many parents like this stay-dry function of pocket diapers because it allows baby a dry feeling similar to disposables. If your baby is sensitive to synthetic fabrics, some manufacturers make a pocket diaper with a natural inner.
In addition to their stay-dry potential, pocket diapers are customizable. The level of absorbency of the diaper can be changed depending on the plurality and fiber choice of the inserts. For example, a microfiber insert is very absorbent and cost-effective. Hemp inserts are more expensive, but are thinner, resulting in less of a fluffy bum. Cotton (easy to wash) and bamboo (thin and ecologically friendly) are also commonly used as inserts.
Drawbacks to Using Pocket Cloth Diapers
Having used pocket style cloth diapers for nearly 10 years, I can say that my two primary concerns are 1) with the difficulty in cleaning microfiber inserts, and 2) having to pull the inserts out in order to wash them.
Pulling out Inserts for Washing
During my early years of cloth diapering my top-loading washing machine easily agitated the inserts out of the diapers during the wash cycle. However, upon switching to a newer model of top-loader in the last couple of years, the inserts no longer climb out of the pockets on their own. Now I have to physically pull the inserts out after the wash cycle.
Some parents prefer to remove the inserts from the pocket before putting them into the diaper pail. I’ll do that with diapers that are merely wet, but if my 2 year old pooped in that diaper, there is no way that I am going to go digging for an insert!
Cleaning Microfiber Inserts
In addition to digging for inserts, I find that microfiber is difficult to get truly clean.
Those grabby, tiny, woven fibers do a great job clinging to moisture. That makes them fantastic as an absorbent layer. However, those same properties work against microfiber when it comes to convincing them that it’s time to let go of all of their catch.
I find that I must always wash my microfiber inserts twice (a big consideration if you don’t own your own washing machine or are trying to conserve water) in order to get them clean. Additionally, I typically strip my diapers a few times a year to help get rid of residual soap residue.
If cleaning microfiber inserts is proving to be a problem, cotton inserts (even pad folded flat diapers) can be used instead. Cotton is much easier to clean. My favorite inserts are actually single layer flat birdseye cotton diapers. They always come out of my washing machine sparkling clean.
Pocket Diapers are a Popular Choice
Pocket diapers are by far the most popular choice for cloth diapering parents. Caregivers love the ability to adjust their absorbency depending on the need, and once stuffed with an insert, it is as easy to use as a disposable (particularly if you opt for hook and loop instead of snap closures).
Dads and grandparents really appreciate their ease of use. If you’re looking for a cloth diaper whose absorbency is easily customized, and you don’t mind pulling out inserts before washing (or you have a washing machine that will agitate them out), then pocket diapers may be a good choice for you. Just keep in mind that you might need to adjust your washing routine to get your microfiber inserts clean, or consider using the cotton variety
How to Use Pocket Diapers
Step-by-step instructions to demystify the use of pocket cloth diapers:
- If using a one-sized pocket diaper, snap the front of the diaper down to the proper size for your baby.
- Stuff insert into the pocket of the diaper by grabbing one end of the insert and sliding your closed hand into the pocket until you reach the end of the enclosure. Release your grasp on the insert and remove your hand from the diaper, leaving the insert inside the pocket.
- Adjust the insert if necessary to allow it to lie flat inside the pocket, and place a disposable liner on top of the inner layer if desired.
- Lay baby on top of the diaper and fasten securely. Make baby giggle. You’e done!
Well Known Pocket Diaper Brands
One of the best known pocket diapers are called Bumgenius diapers. These are the diaper pictured in this article. I have used this brand for several years and they are the best I have found for fit, ease of use, and durability. I’m still using Bumgenius pocket diapers that I’ve had for 5 years (and 3 kiddos ago!).
I prefer the snap versions for durability, as the velcro tends to lose effectiveness after 2 years of heavy use.
No matter which brand you choose, you won’t regret trying out pocket cloth diapers on your little angel!
All photos, unless otherwise attributed, are property of Loving Littles.