Cloth diapering your little one is simple, but the options can be overwhelming. The Changing Table has been teaching cloth diapering classes since 2009. Visit our various blog posts for expert tips and tricks. Attend our cloth diapering classes for hands on instruction and one on one discussions.
What is an all-in-one diaper (also referred to as an AIO)?
An AIO can be sized or one size (OS). The primary characteristic of a reusable diaper that makes it an AIO is that it is all one piece and is meant to be used one time between washing. The insert (absorbent piece) is attached to the diaper in some way. The outside of the diaper is a waterproof cover.
- The insert can be sewn in as in the Rumparooz Lil Joey. Notice the inside diaper photo (top left corner); the diaper is all one piece. The center of the diaper is layers of absorbent microfiber sewn into the outer waterproof shell. This type of AIO is most similar cosmetically to a disposable diaper. Years ago, most AIOs were made this way. This design is convenient but can take longer to dry than other styles.
2. The insert can be sewn at one or both sides. Notice the absorbent inserts in the bumGenius Freetime pictured left. This diaper has two inserts that lay on top of each other. Each is sewn at one end. They flap open in the washer and dryer and allow for easier wash and faster dry time as well as the option to add additional absorbency. Similar AIOs include the bumGenius Elemental (one insert sewn at both ends but open in the middle), and the Thirsties Natural AIO (two inserts sewn together at one end.)
3. The insert can be attached with snaps as is in diapers such as
the Bottombumpers OS AIO. Snap-in inserts are typically found in diapers made of natural fiber. This design allows you to unsnap the insert before washing and drying which protects the fibers from rapid wear. The inserts are NOT meant to be unsnapped and replaced with a new insert as in an all-in-two design.
Benefits of an AIO.
All-in-ones are easy to use. They are the most similar to a disposable option in design and are an easy transition from disposable to reusable diapering. All-in-ones can go straight from the baby’s bottom, to the washer, dryer and back on baby’s bottom. There are no inserts to stuff as in a pocket diaper or other pieces to assemble as in an all-in-two. The exception would be to resnap the inserts into the shells for diapers such as option 3 above. This is also a great, simple option for daycare and babysitters.
Disadvantages of an AIO.
All-in-ones can take longer to dry. Years ago, all AIOs were made such as option 1 above. They did take longer to dry. Now, most AIOs are made more like option 2 and 3. These typically dry fairly quickly but can take longer to dry on the sides where they are sewn to the outer shell. AIOs can also sometimes be more expensive. This is not always the case, but many AIOs are made from cotton, bamboo or hemp which are naturally a little higher in price than synthetics.
In our family, AIOs were our go to diaper. It is not the first type of diaper we tried, but it was the last type we used. My husband appreciated being able to take a diaper straight from the drier and put it on baby without having to think about matching inserts to covers.
What is your favorite type of diaper?
Elizabeth has diapered three children (one in disposables and two in cloth), collectively using over 60 brands of cloth diapers and is familiar with many more due to her work with Cloth Diaper Oklahoma. Elizabeth is on the Board of Directors for the Real Diaper Association, a national non-profit dedicated to the support and use of real diapers. She has been teaching cloth diaper classes to hundreds of Oklahoma families since 2009.