I am hopeful that this considering cloth series is somewhat helpful for those navigating the diaper scene. I must admit, there are many terms to learn and lots of shorthand in the diaper community. I do not even want to get into how long it took me to figure out what the term "sposies" meant. Its embarrassing in hindsight. But, my mistakes might just be your gain! One category I heard a lot about but about which I had no firsthand knowledge is the AIO, or all in one diaper. So, for this installment we will get down and dirty with some AIO deets.
All in One diapers are just what they say, one item that stands alone with no additional pieces or parts required to do the job...
And, that was a great day's work ... Hope that is everything you needed!
Its difficult to know if you enjoyed that little joke, so I will assume you laughed so hard you dropped your phone and needed to get a quick drink, so, welcome back! Glad to hear you are staying hydrated.
AIO's can be a bit more complicated and there is a range of products that fall into the AIO category. The variation in diapers includes the material used for the waterproof layer, the absorbent layer, and the fastener. Waterproof layers are typically made from laminated fabrics like PUL or TPU, though some prefer a thick wool. The absorbent layers are attached to the waterproof layer and are not removed for washing. These layers can be made from natural or synthetic fibers and have a range of absorbency from daytime to overnight. They can include snap in options for additional absorbency or fold out portions for customization of the placement of material. Fasteners can be pins, snaps, or hook and loop. I suppose there may be other types out there, but I have not run across any. Some AIO's are one size, meaning they fit from birth to potty training (typically 8-35lbs), but many are made by size premie to toddler. Each size is meant to cover a range of 7-10lbs, and would thus need replaced 3-4 times from birth to potty training. Because AIOs are a one piece diaper the sizes reflect the level of absorbency usually needed and which will fit without too much bulk for each weight range. If you like the idea of a slim fit diaper, AIO's will likely be on your radar. Keep in mind that a stash of AIO's is usually 24-30 diapers because the entire diaper is washed after each diaper change and you may want to hang dry them to preserve the waterproof layer.
When shopping AIO's, you may want to try a few types out before investing in a full stash of them. As you look at all in ones you may also note a disturbing issue, some companies call their diapers all in ones, but they are not in fact all in one, which is just a lie, and I apologize for them and encourage you to not judge all diapers by the shortcomings of a few.
First, and foremost, there are the China Cheapies. These are the diapers you see all over Amazon.com and similar sales sites. These diapers are a thin layer of plastic pant PUL sewn to an absorbent layer (most likely microfiber based), and finished with a line of hook and loop fastener (velcro). These babies get a bad name because they lack the durability and natural fibers that their expensive counterparts laude as important. They will run you about $5 a piece and are good enough to get you from one size to the next (6-12 months). The most common issue with these is de-lamination of the PUL causing them to leak straight through the material.
Next on the ladder of diapers is the mainstream AIO, which are marketed as the perfect option for those who like the ease of disposable diapers. These diapers are usually of a similar quality as the cheapies, but they have better marketing and cost around $12 each. If you are standing in Target looking at an AIO two pack for $25, you have found the mainstream diapers of which I speak. Do what you want, save a bit of cash, just be aware they have the same estimated life of 6-12 months and low to no resale value.
The big difference as we venture onward is the use of natural fibers and more durable TPU. Natural fibers include cotton, bamboo, and hemp. The step up to these diapers brings a higher level of absorbency and usually a better fit. The more durable waterproof layer can also be soft to the touch and is often a delightful pattern. The use of snaps rather than hook and loop are also part of the appeal.
A one size all in one diaper with natural fibers, snaps, and soft TPU will last you from birth to potty training with regular washing for $25-30 a piece (Sweet Pea AIO). If you opt for sized all in one diapers they are anywhere from $18-30 per diaper and have excellent resale value when you move on to the next size. The higher quality brushed bamboo interior, soft exterior, double gusseted, snap closure models may run a bit more per diaper, and may also make you contemplate your own choices in undergarment material.
All diapers need to be washed and dried before they can be reapplied to a baby butt. AIO's present their own challenges in this area. While shaking out poop and rinsing are pretty easy with just one piece, getting them super clean and dry requires a bit more forethought. The diapers need to agitate well enough to work any urine, fecal, and detergent residue completely out of the absorbent material, even the part next to the waterproof layer, which may require investigation into the appropriate water level and detergent amount. Drying them is also a bit of a process as most manufacturers recommend hang drying waterproof materials to protect their efficiency. This will require more time/effort per wash, as well as the number of diapers needed in your stash. In addition to the decision of hang drying vs. machine drying, there is also the conundrum of whether to sun the diapers. Sunning can help bleach any stains and dry the absorbent layer, but can also fade the pattern on the waterproof layer, so hanging with the absorbent layer facing up is often preferred. Hanging in this manner can have adverse effects on your leg gussets, so you need to choose your battles.
The big, flashing, amazing advantage of the all in one is its ease of use relative to the folding, pairing, and adjusting of multiple piece diaper systems. If you can use a disposable diaper you can handle an all in one. They are fantastic for childcare/sitter use as you can easily remove a dirty diaper from the child, fold it, and send it home in a wet bag, and quickly strap on a clean diaper. If quick diaper changes are your goal, you cannot beat a sized all in one diaper.
The last point I want to make about AIO's is that there is a large market of handmade diapers available as well. These small batch creations often include one of a kind styling and many budding entrepreneurs offer personal touches that you just do not find in mass produced diapers. If you have the resources and want something no one else has, I recommend finding one of these small businesses and grabbing a diaper or two to see if they are exactly what you need. I will caution you before you head on over to Etsy or other sites though, be sure you have the resources available, if not, the adorable options may haunt your dreams and you just might sell off everything you own in order to afford them all.
If you have any questions about cloth diaper options out there, we are here to help.
If you aren't ready to trust me with your probs, you can also view some AIO reviews below:
Real Simple Mama
Dirty Diaper Laundry
Baby Gear Lab
Zephyr Hill (newborn aio)
I am a highly opinionated and sassy mother of three and wife to one. I hope you enjoy reading about my efforts to tackle the infuriating obstacles of life using straight talk and humor. If I say it, I mean it, or maybe I am being sarcastic. I like to focus on topics from my everyday life: parenting, cooking, crocheting, and a whole list of other things that inspire my rage.