Mailbox Mondays

Mailbox Mondays 12/27/10 Is there a Diaper English to Regular English Dictionary?

#clothdiapers terminology via @chgdiapers

It’s Mailbox Monday again!  If you have a question you’d like answered in a Mailbox Mondays post, email it to maria at with “Mailbox Mondays” in the subject!

Madeline says:

 Hey Maria,

Thanks so much for your ultra-informative blog! I have so many questions for you! First, I have a question about AI2s. I sorta just don’t get it, maybe because I have a newborn. Is the idea that I could replace the insert like I do when I use a prefold and cover? For example, I have a Bum Essentials AI2 and the cover is lined on the inside with fleece, which gets wet or poopy every time I use it. How could I snap in a new insert and reuse it if the inside is fabric instead of waterproof?

Second, isn’t a Flip diaper just like a fancy prefold and cover system? Where the prefold is replaced by the Stay Dry insert? I loved my prefolds and covers, but thought I’d replace them with Flips as my little guy gets older, since my husband is sorta intimidated by the prefolds. 😉

Third, isn’t every pocket diaper basically an All in Two? I could lay a non-microfiber insert inside my BG 4.0’s instead of stuffing one in the pocket, right?

When I read your posts about making cloth diapers more mainstream, I think that this is one of the problems. There are just too many options and not a ton of consistency for what diapers are called, so people get really overwhelmed. Plus, hardly any diapers come with instructions or suggested uses (like “this diaper is great if you want to be able to customize how much absorbancy you want by adding or removing inserts for day and night”). I won a Sweet Pea AI3 in a giveaway and I was freaked out when I saw how many pieces it had and I have no idea how to use it!



Well first of all, flattery will get you everywhere with me, hee hee.  I’m so glad you find my blog useful!

I learned very quickly that diaper lingo is an entirely different language.  You can’t apply normal English definitions.  Before I’d actually started cloth diapering, I said that I wanted an “all in one” diaper like the Bumgenius 3.0, meaning that I didn’t want a separate cover.  I was corrected that it was not an all in one, but a pocket diaper, and the confusion just grows from there!  I tend to talk in circles with the diaper lingo subject, so hopefully this isn’t too hard to follow!

In my noodle, I think of an all-in two as a diaper with an outer shell, and an insert that doesn’t go inside a pocket (like Doodle Dypes).  I tend to think of one with a wipe-able inner, marketed as being reusable with a fresh insert (disposable or cloth) as a “hybrid.”  (Like Flip, the Best Bottom Diapering System, GroVia and others.)

However, I’ve seen all-in twos referred to as all-in-ones (like the Goodmama One), all-in-threes (if the soaker snaps into two pieces like PLUMP) and who knows what else.  The lines are also being blurred as more companies come out with pocket/AI2 bybrids like the Softbums Omni and the AMP Duo Diaper.

The hybrid/AI2/covers designed to be used with inserts (like Flip) do tend to be trimmer than covers cut to fit over bulkier fitteds.  In my mind, these systems have a few advantages over prefolds and covers.  They are quite trim, and there are “stay dry” options where microfleece touches the baby.  This caused some confusion for my husband with the Softbums, since you have to fold the insert as you put it on, but make sure the microfleece (not microfiber) touches baby.  My son ended up really red after having microfiber directly against his skin.  Still, I think this would be far easier for him to handle than a prefold!

The pocket/AI2 diapers in general are a little trickier to me than the ones that are PUL only. Simply because they would become more easily soiled or wet, having a fabric inner.  I do notice that AI2s marketed as reusable with fresh inserts, but having fabric inners, tend to have wider inserts, that cover more area. 

I had someone tell me that I was wrong to call a diaper with a snap in insert an AI2, that the only true AI2s are the type with the wipeable PUL inner.  This just came from another Mom, not a diaper expert or manufacturer, so I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion!

I don’t see why you couldn’t use any pocket diaper as an AI2, but you’d have to be careful to choose an insert that fits well in the diaper, covering most of the fabric inner, but not so wide as to interfere with the leg elastic.  You’d also have to make sure microfiber didn’t touch the baby of course!

My husband has trouble with the term “fitted.”  I guess he thinks of fitted hats and thinks they are diapers that are sized S, M, L.  Even the term “one size” is confusing, since it really means “one size fits all/most.”

All of this gets even more confusing for a newbie when you then learn that Fitted diapers can have sewn in soakers, lay in, snap in, or pocket soakers!

Diaper terminology is quite confusing.  I think it’s at least partly because of the way cloth has evolved.  If there were only flats, prefolds, contours and fitteds, the name “fitted” would make sense.  None are waterproof, but this one is “fitted” to baby.  Once you add diapers that look the same, but have a water resistant layer, it makes far less sense.

You’re right that the companies don’t always spell out to you why you should choose that particular diaper over another.  I also think the stock photos are often lacking (hence my surprise that the Goodmama “One” was an AI2, not an AIO!)  Of course, I think the solution is reading reviews, especially mine, which always have lots of photos!  😀

So how about you gals?  Do you use AI2s?  How do you like them?  Do you find that you’re able to reuse covers throughout the day?  Were you confused about cloth terminology when you started cloth diapering?

Share on Pinterest
Maria is an aspiring "fit mom" of 3 children, writing about cloth diapers, going green, and her life as a single mom. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development, and other services.
  • December 31, 2010 at 7:30 am

    >Love that you mentioned PLUMP!

  • December 29, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    >Janine, microfiber can be very drying on the baby's skin. If it isn't bothering your little one, I wouldn't worry. My husband folded the softbums stay dry insert backwards once so the microfiber was against my son and in only about two hours, he was fire engine red! But, he's a lot more sensitive!

  • December 29, 2010 at 6:24 am

    >We use pocket dipes as covers with a laid-in insert all the time and have had no problems. We have even put the inserts right against baby without problems – Is there a reason other than possible irritation that microfiber against skin is a bad idea? Just too drying? I usually put a prefold over an insert but I've done it both ways.I love pocket dipes but when it's just me it is a pain to pull the pocket out as I take it off, without getting myself soiled, so that I can get right back to baby. Not to mention having enough to get through a day or more is expensive.

  • December 28, 2010 at 1:18 am

    >AI2s you can't get the miles of that you want to. period. You will pretty much always get poo on the cover, so you might as well stick with prefold/covers/wipeable. I have a softbums that I WANT to love, so bad, but it drives me insane!

  • December 28, 2010 at 12:29 am

    >Totally agree with Madeline… very few online cloth diaper stores do a good job describing various cloth diapers other than what they cut and paste from the original company. I get so frustrated when the stores only post pics directly from the company's website. Maria, you do a great job with your pics and explainations of diapers, love your reviews. The only online store (in my non-extensive research) I've seen that does a good job of really describing their diapers and uses lots of pics of real babies in the diapers they sell is Karen is aweseome…the amount of pictures gives my computer a small heartattack when I visit, but I love how thorough she is with the pros and cons of each style. She even gives recommendations of which styles work well together…i.e. this fitted with this cover, this prefold with that size cover.I recently purchased some AI2s for my daughter for overnight. They work great, but I think I would have a hard time reusing the cover/shell for daytime use…I just can't imagine it not getting wet or stinky.

  • December 28, 2010 at 12:12 am

    >My cloth diapering friend's husband has his own lingo: fitteds are "premade" diapers…he prefers them.I always think of hybrid diapers as ones that you could put a disposable insert in but usually get used as an AI2 (multiple-use-before-washing outer with some type of lay in or snap in soaker).Some AI2 diapers I have seen marketed more like you would still only use the outer shell once before laundering, but people might prefer a snap-in AI2 to a pocket diaper if they didn't like to stuff (for example, if they had big hands).I have used pocket diapers as AI2s before, laying a prefold in a bumGenius. I'm traveling right now and have just the minimum with me. I have just 1 pocket diaper along and sometimes I use it as a pocket but if I'm low on covers I'll use it as a cover with prefolds.

  • December 27, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    >Yep, an AI2 just refers to the fact that it's two parts (not a pocket.) The term "hybrid" gets confusing because it can be liberally applied based on the English meaning (LOL.)Some people think of a hybrid as one that can be used with disposable inserts, some think of them as hybrids when they are a cross between a cover and a diaper, some consider diapers that can be a pocket or Ai2 as a hybrid! Sheesh! Pockets are my favorite too!

  • December 27, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    >I still don't understand the difference between a hybrid and an AI2. It just seems pointless. I think the confusion comes in that the 2 seems to refer to 2 parts, not 2 ways to use the diaper. Correct? This is why I stick with pockets. Adjustable absorbency, easy on/off, minimal opportunities to touch the "elements" and waterproof. No need to get crazy about it.

Leave Your Comment

Your Comment*

Your Name*
Your Webpage