Monday, February 17, 2014

Using Pocket Diaper Shells with Flat Diapers #Money Saving tricks

Pocket diapers are a popular choice for the cloth diapering community, but they are also one of the more challenging diaper styles to maintain.  Cloth diapering newcomers are often drawn to the convenience of the typical pocket diaper system: a colorful diaper shell with a "pocket" opening, an absorbent microfiber insert to stuff into the pocket, and a fleece-lined diaper interior to prevent wetness from irritating baby's skin.  What newcomers don't appreciate is that the synthetic fabrics used in many pocket diapers are incredibly difficult to maintain.  Any thin layer of oil (even oils from baby's skin) can create a barrier on the fleece lining and prevent moisture from passing into the absorbent inserts.  Additionally, over-stuffed pocket diapers can create gaps around the legs where moisture rolls out of the diaper before it can be absorbed.  Some babies also urinate too quickly for 100% of the liquid to be absorbed by the diaper.

What if you purchased a large collection of pocket diapers only to discover that they don't work well for your baby?  This was the situation we were faced with when we discovered that pocket diapers did not work well for our second child.  We used our pocket diapers for two years with our first child, but our second child managed to leak out of the pocket diapers very frequently.  I wanted to switch to a new diapering system, but I wanted to make use of what we had to work with.

We began using the pocket diaper shells as covers over flat diapers.  Last spring, I found that pad-folded flat diapers worked very well for our son. The absorbent cotton flat diaper quickly absorbed liquid, flats were very easy to clean, and flats could take some abuse from diaper rash creams.  I folded a flat diaper into our pocket diaper just as we would do with a regular diaper cover.  This worked extremely well.  We had a minimal investment in flat diapers ($17 for a set of 12, from All Things Diapers) and we were able to continue using the pocket diaper shells. 

Flat diaper in a pad fold.  I folded more material towards the front of the diaper since I have a little boy.
You can use your pocket diaper shell for multiple diaper changes or you can replace it at every diaper change. Our daycare requires that we use a new diaper cover at every diaper change.  Each evening, I pad-fold flat diapers into the pocket diaper shells and pack 5-6 diapers to go to daycare.  When the diaper is soiled, the staff reaches for a prepared pocket diaper with a flat folded into the center.  At home we use our pocket diaper shell for several diaper changes before replacing it with a new pocket diaper shell.  When the shell seems to be damp, it is tossed into the wetbag to be laundered.

Flat diaper inside a pocket diaper shell and prepared for use at daycare.
Cloth diapering can be incredibly versatile and easy.  You can get creative with how you use your diapers and save money by trying a new strategy.  Although microfiber is a popular choice, many people are trading their microfiber inserts for cotton prefolds, hemp, or bamboo fabrics.  There are plenty of options for cloth diapering and you can save money by remembering the basics: absorbent fabric + waterproof cover = cloth diaper. 


  1. i did something similar with my thirsties pockets! my son leaked out of them every time. I can use other pockets but dislike stuffing. anyhow I use the inserts separately as doublers and use the shell as a cover over prefolds! brilliance :)

  2. I use my Best Bottom inserts inside my pocket diapers. I have stuffing pockets but love the BB inserts.

  3. Good read! Going to try this out.