Baby diaper covers and wraps are made of waterproof material. They
are used with diapers that are not
waterproof on their own, such as flats, prefolds, and fitteds. There are a lot of baby diaper
cover options you can choose from, and we'll highlight some of our
favorite reliable choices for covers below.
Prefolds or fitted diapers, combined with a baby diaper cover of your choice, are a flexible and economical diapering system. Please note, you do not need covers for pockets and all-in-one diapers, since they already have a waterproof outer.
My favorite cover type is the wrap, which has velcro or snap closures on the front. You don't need to use a Snappi or pins with a cover (you can if you want, though) if you're using pre-folds, you can simply fold them into thirds, and lay them inside the cover and do it up.
Single layer PUL wraps can be reused between washes - just wipe it clean and hang it to dry near your change table so it's ready for the next diaper change.
Diapers must be fastened onto baby before a pull-on baby diaper cover can be used. Fitted diapers or prefolds with snappis work best.
Pull-ons make for quick diaper changes with your mobile baby, but can make for messy diaper changes if your little one has a runny poopy diaper. Most wool covers are pull-on style, and fleece is another option. Waterproof nylon and vinyl pull-on pants are a very affordable cover option.
You don't need to limit yourself to just one type of cover, but keep in mind when choosing a baby diaper cover:
It depends on how often you plan to do laundry and how old your baby is.
Most parents find that 6-8 is best for a newborn. For older infants,
4-6 is usually enough, and by the time you get to toddler age (when
babies are eating solid foods!) you can get away with only 2-3 diaper
For wool, you can usually manage with a few less, since it doesn't need to be washed as frequently. You should plan for 3-4 for full-time use, and 2 if you will only use wool for night-time diapering.
It's really up to you! In a great blog post on The Cloth Diaper Whisperer,
writer Tammy goes through the benefits and disadvantages of both. I
completely agree with her thoughts that there is a time and a place for
both, but never does the question become more relevant than when baby
becomes more active. As Tammy points out, the biggest dilemma at that
point is "do I choose snaps so that the baby can't get the diaper off or
do I choose Velcro so I can get the diaper on?" I encourage you to
click on the link to read the whole article if you are unsure of which
And to clear up any confusion, hook and loop and aplix are other names for Velcro-like materials.
If you're trying to decide whether to buy sized or one-size baby diaper covers, consider the following topics:
You may notice as you compare cloth baby diaper covers that some come
with gussets, while others do not. What exactly is a gusset, you may be
asking? It's hard to explain, but SoGreenBaby.com, a retailer in
Toronto, ON, does a great job saying, "gussets are that little piece of
fabric that hugs your baby's leg, just inside the diaper leghole".
Especially effective for newborns and skinny babies, gussets will help
you keep outfits clean!
My own first experience with gussets was with the Rumparooz pocket diaper, and later with our first Bummis Super Brite baby diaper cover, which we received from a friend who had used diaper service. I love gussets in diapers - they help contain the messiest of diapers, especially from newborn babies!
Wool covers are not waterproof, but they are very absorbent. Wool
can absorb up to 40% of its weight in liquid. It has antibacterial
properties that allow it to suppress odors.
While you can find wool wraps, most are pull-on covers. Wool covers are often called wool soakers, and sometimes you will see them referred to as shorties, since they are like little shorts. You may also see wool longies - these are like a pair of pants that can be used as a combination diaper cover. You can find lots of wool covers on Etsy, where many are handknit or made out of "upcycled" wool sweaters.
If you want to save money, you might even want to make your own baby diaper covers with thrift store wool sweaters - just be sure to buy 100% wool or it won't offer the same level of absorption. Check out our Cloth Diaper Patterns article for a link to free patterns for wool covers, such as the one from Katrina's.
Not just for winter!
Wool will keep baby comfortable no matter the conditions, because it is very breathable, helping with temperature regulation of the body. Wool is a great solution for summer too, because it allows for air circulation and will keep baby cool, even when wet.
Caring for Wool
Wool care can seem a bit mysterious and it can even be a bit intimidating. Since wool doesn't retain odors, you can wait 2-3 weeks between washes unless they become soiled. It's best to follow the manufacturer's instructions for washing, but here are some basics for you.
Since wool shrinks, most wool covers should be hand washed in lukewarm
water. You can use baby shampoo or a wool wash such as Eucalan Wool
Wash. Simply soak the cover for 10 minutes. Do not rub it or wring it
out. Then roll it in a towel to remove extra water, and repeat with
clean water. Then lay it flat to dry so it doesn't stretch.
You should lanolize your diaper covers before the first use. Lanolin will extend the lifespan of your wool diaper covers and enhance their performance too! To lanolize, simply dissolve 1/8 tsp of lanolin (the same stuff that works awesome for breast-feeding moms!) in hot water, and add to the last rinse every 10-12 wears.
For more details, here are few great wool tutorials:
Bummis Super Whisper Wrap:
Bummis Super Brite
Flip One-Size Cloth Diaper Cover
Flip (left) vs. Wolbybug (right) cover
Wolbybug One-Size Diaper Cover
Econobum One-Size Diaper Wrap
Sweet Pea One-Size Diaper Cover
Stacinator Fleece Wrap (discontinued)
There are lots of brands of wool baby diaper covers. We've
highlighted 3 below to give you a flavour a wrap, a light-weight cover,
and a heavier cover, perfect for overnight. Some manufacturers also
offer longies (covers with long legs).
Sugar Peas Wool Diaper Wrap
Kissaluv's Wool Diaper Cover
Aristocrats Wool Diaper Cover
Dappi Nylon Pants
Bummis Whisper Pant Nylon Cover
Thanks to new fabrics and choices of design, the rubber pants used by our parents and grand parents are a thing of the past! With so many options for diaper covers, whether you decide to go with sized or one-size, and easy-care PUL or another fiber option, there are lots of great choices to keep your baby dry and happy!
Disclosure: The opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own, and your experience with the product may differ from mine. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. This article contains affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” For more information, see our Disclaimer and Copyright.