Sunday, March 20, 2011

All About Diaper Covers

What is a Diaper Cover?

A Diaper cover is simply an outer shell that you put on over top of non-waterproof diapers such as prefolds, flats, fitteds, and some people even put them on over top of disposable diapers for nap or nighttime protection.

What are Diaper Covers Made from?

There are three main diaper cover fabrics: wool, fleece, or PUL (Polyester Urethane Laminate).  There are also other variations of diaper covers, but these are the main three.  You can buy any of these kinds of covers from many large retailers, but there is also a very large amount of WAHM’s making diaper covers, as well as you may be able to make them yourself!

Since some covers are so bulky, what do I do in Winter or colder weather?

There are a few options.  First, most PUL covers (even with a fitted, etc under) are still trim enough to fit under most clothing or you may have to size up.  With fleece and wool covers, you may be able to fit clothes by sizing up or you may have to find an alternate clothing option.  You can buy wool and fleece longies and shorties.  Instead of being just a diaper cover, the wool or fleece is designed into a pair of shorts or a pair of pants.  This way, legs are warm and you are not wrestling to get your child into the cover and then a pair of pants on top of that!  Other ideas are leg warmers such as Babylegs!  These are just simply leg warmers that fit from ankle to thigh keeping baby legs warm but not interfering with the diaper or cover!

Why would I choose one Fabric over another?

It all comes down to what you want.  Each cover comes with its own set of pros and cons and it is up to you to decide which works best for you, your baby, and anyone that may be caring for baby.

Wool Covers  - This cover is made entirely of Wool.  When lanolized properly, this cover becomes waterproof.  However, if your wool is in need of lanolizing or your child is an extremely heavy wetter, anything that the wool cannot repel, will be absorbed.  Wool magically can absorb up to 30% of its weight in water before it even feels wet.  For this reason, many parents chose wool for a night time solution because their children feel dry longer and can sleep longer without being changed.  That being said, with enough moisture or pressure, this cover will wick and eventually leak but usually this only happens if the cover is left on for FAR too long or has something pressing up against it.


Wool is naturally anti-bacterial
Practically Bullet Proof as a nighttime diaper cover
The most repellent/absorbent of the diaper covers
Does not need to be washed as often
Does not need to be lanolized with every use
Wool is Breathable, so diaper rash will be to a minimum
Can easily be made by you, Grandma, or a friend


The Most expensive of the diaper cover choices (if bought retail)
Does have a different wash/care routine and cannot be washed with other diapers
Very Bulky
Can be difficult to find clothes to fit over
Can wick/leak if left on baby for long periods of time or there is pressure/moisture on the cover.

Fleece Covers – These covers are made mostly or entirely of fleece.  Can be made from different kinds of fleece and may be combined with bamboo, hemp, PUL, etc.  Washing fleece covers is up to you.  You can hand wash or you can toss them in with your other diaper laundry.  Same with drying, you can line dry or you can toss in the dryer with your diaper laundry.  It is completely up to you!  However, hand washing and line drying will elongate the life of your fleece as well as cut down on pilling (for some pilling fleece).  Depending on the fleece your cover is made from, you may or may not feel wetness.  The intent of fleece covers is to wick moisture away from baby.  Some covers are only 1 layer thick and obviously will not hold as much and will feel wet sooner.  However, some fleece is thicker/more absorbent and some covers are made of 2-3 layers of fleece.  While the fleece itself does not absorb much liquid (it may absorb some depending on the fabric content) it will wick moisture away from baby, to the outer surface, and dry/evaporate.


Quick Drying
Extremely Breathable
Very Lightweight
Very Soft and cuddly on baby
Wicks moisture away
A great night time solution for many parents
Very easy to care for


Has to be washed after every use
Can wick/leak if left on baby for long periods of time or there is pressure/moisture on the cover.

PUL Covers –  These covers are at least in part made of Polyester Urethane Laminate.  Some covers are made just of this and some have an outer layer of cotton or other fabric (this is usually just to have more fun/cute prints or colors).  Washing for these covers is a cinch.  With these covers, you can simply wipe them out between uses and only wash if seriously soiled.  The laminate provides a complete waterproof barrier to contain leaks but also makes soil and wetness wipe right off and dry in an instant.  Once in a while, or when the cover gets soiled, you do need to wash.  Simply toss the cover in with your other diaper laundry and tumble dry.  The dryer actually works to fuse the PUL back together making the cover waterproof again, so this is good to do once in a while.  Also, PUL covers offer the most versatility of all the cover choices.  PUL covers can come in sizes or One-Size and can have snap or aplix closure as well as many other features.


Most commonly used Cover
Does not have to be washed between uses, most can simply be wiped and reused
Completely Waterproof
Very Trim
More adjustable
Usually cheaper than Fleece or Wool (wool especially)
Do not need as many to complete diaper stash as you can wipe and reuse


Made from Synthetic Materials
Not as Breathable as Wool or Fleece

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