Most people get flummoxed by jargon and Cloth Diapering is an area that is rife with it. Read on to decode the CD terminology that you encounter.

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Front view of a cloth diaper

  • The outer cover of the diaper is PUL or TPU. This is fabric which has been treated to gain a waterproof quality. So when used on a diaper it prevents water from the absorbent inner to seep outside. Read more about PUL here
  • Waist tab snaps – the waist tabs are brought up to the front of the diaper and snapped on to this panel here, to give a snug fit around baby’s waist. The diaper must not be too tight so as to dig into the baby’s stomach, nor too loose such that it is gaping. Experts suggest that it must be snug enough to allow one finger to slide along the inside edge of the diaper.
  • Rise settings – you would have heard that diapers come in one-size fits all range, allowing them to be used from newborn to potty training stage. These rise settings help with that. Bring up the row of snaps to snap up to the desired size. This will reduce the length of the diaper. Usually the lowest row of snaps is for newborn size and leaving the rise setting snaps totally open (unsnapped) gives the largest size.
Front view - diaper open and laid flat

Front view – diaper open and laid flat

  • Waist tabs – these are the wing like panels of the diaper which are fixed onto the front of the diaper to hold it in place. See below image:
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Cloth diaper in the position it is fastened on to baby

By adjusting the rise settings and waist tab settings, you can get a range of sizes to suit babies at various stages in their growth stage and sizes of course. For more details on fitting, see this post on My First Cloth Diaper.

This is the inner of a cloth diaper.

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Cloth diaper laid out flat open, to show inner side

This is a pocket diaper with a suede lining.  There can be many variants to this, but I’ve used this particular cloth diaper as it shows most of the other features inside.

  • Suede lining – the introduction of a stay dry lining in diapers revolutionized the cloth diaper industry. The magic of materials like suede and fleece is that they draw away moisture quickly from the baby and onto the absorbent inserts; and yet themselves are stay dry, i.e. baby does not feel wetness. How awesome is that in a cloth diaper that comes with no chemicals?  Inner can be of  various types: suede, fleece, charcoal bamboo (all stay dry and synthetics) or cotton, bamboo, hemp (non stay dry, but natural fabrics) Here are some of the other inner linings that cloth diapers can have. 2016-10-28_16-56-42There are others too. Will save them for a specific post in the future.
  • Leg elastics – these wrap around baby’s thigh once the diaper is fastened on. They hold what goes on inside (think runny newborn poop, teething poop) and prevent leaks. When putting onto baby, the diaper rise and waist settings should be such that there are no gaps at the thighs.
  • Double gussets – if single elastics are not foolproof enough to hold in the business, double gussets do this job well. They at least prevent or delay leaks from out the diaper, even in the worst case of pooplosions. I swear by double gussets and find cleaning them relatively simple too. Double gussets also work well in case of babies who sleep on their side.
  • Tummy leak guard – these are designed to prevent leaks from the front of the diaper, ideal for tummy sleepers.
  • Waist flap – pocket diapers usually come with a flap over the pocket area which covers the pocket hole and also prevents leaks from the back of the diaper.

Depending on the brand and type of diaper, tummy and waist flaps can look like a free piece of suede or PUL stitched in the diaper inner.  But basically their function is to hold it all in. So together, the leg elastics, double gussets, waist and tummy guards all help to prevent leaks no matter what kind of sleeper your baby is.

A cloth diapering system also comes with absorbency in the form of inserts. I’d like to do a detailed post on that, including prep and care instructions, soon.

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