Cloth Nappy

All-In-Two Cloth Diapers: The Definitive Guide (2021)

All-in-two cloth diapers are a style of cloth diapering that, as the name implies, is a two-piece system. They consist of an outer layer and a soaker pad. The soaker pad typically snaps into the shell, making the complete diaper. All-in-Two diapers are also known as hybrids or AI2s.

What Are All-in-Two Cloth Diapers?

All-in-two cloth diapers, hybrid diapers, or AI2 cloth diapers are two-piece cloth diapers that consist of two layers. The outer layer is called the shell and is made from water-resistant fabric, the inner layer is called the soaker, and it is the absorbent layer of the diaper.

They are referred to as hybrid cloth diapers because they combine the all-in-one style and the prefold diaper. The soaker or insert typically snaps into place to prevent bunching or to stop it from moving around. The inserts are similar to the style used for pocket diapers and can be made from bamboo, hemp, cotton, or microfleece.

A pure hybrid diaper uses a prefold diaper fastened into place and a waterproof diaper cover.

Because of the popularity of the all-in-two cloth diaper, many diaper manufacturers produce them, and they come in a variety of fabrics and colors.

Are Hybrid Diapers Better than Disposable Diapers?

Cloth diaper people will likely argue that any cloth diaper is better than disposables. And AI2 diapers are one of the more cost-effective cloth diapers, making them a popular choice. However, some people choose to use a disposable cloth diaper insert, making them more comparable to disposable diapers.

Some disposable diaper inserts for cloth diapers are not biodegradable nor flushable, which means they are just as bad for the environment as disposable diapers. However, some companies have also become making biodegradable disposable diapers; even the disposables that are only 75% biodegradable are better than regular disposable diapers and inserts.

If you decide to hybrid cloth diapers and use prefolds or snap-in inserts, they are much more environmentally friendly than the disposable insert option or even biodegradable disposable diapers.

All-in-One Vs. All-in-Two Cloth Diapers

If you are trying to decide AIO vs. AI2, there are a few things to consider. First, when it comes to convenience, all-in-ones are as simple as it gets. They are a complete one-piece system that goes and off your baby with ease. The downside is that all-in-ones are the most expensive style of cloth diaper.

One of the most significant benefits of all-in-two diapers is that you can reuse the shell several times before washing. So while on paper, the cost of an all-in-two cloth diaper is comparable to that of an all-in-two, you will need about half the amount of shells which cuts down on the cost considerably. 

Because a hybrid cloth diaper is two pieces, it is thinner, washes more thoroughly, and dries quicker than an all-in-one diaper.

For Whom are All-in-Two Cloth Diapers Best for?

An AI2 cloth diaper is a perfect solution for people who want to use cloth diapers but may need a less expensive alternative. They are relatively simple to use but may be best suited for people who have experience with cloth diapers. 

For people who want to cut down on laundry, using AI2 diapers with disposable inserts might be the way to go. Since the outer shell is reusable and you can attach disposable inserts, you may only go through two or three covers a day, significantly cutting back on the laundry some cloth diaper parents have.

You may also be able to convince a child care center to use all-in-2 cloth diapers with disposable inserts. Providers can quickly dispose of the insert like a disposable diaper and place the shell (if soiled) into a wet bag for parents to take home and wash.

What Materials Are Used in All-in-Two Cloth Diapers?

In addition to being hybrid in style, a hybrid cloth diaper is usually a hybrid of materials as well! The outer layer of a hybrid diaper usually consists of a knit fabric. 

The next layer is a polyester fleece to make them water-resistant, and then finally the inner layer, consisting of a soft fabric such as bamboo or cotton. 

These three layers combined mean that when you properly place a diaper insert your baby’s bottom, and the diaper shell should stay dry when the diaper is wet or soiled. The polyester fleece works not only to wick moisture away but also helps to keep your baby’s bottom dry.

In the traditional cloth diaper hybrid, you would use a prefold or flat diaper that usually consists of organic or birdseye cotton and then place the outer shell on top. Some two-in-one cloth diapers use inserts that snap into place, creating the absorbency zone. These inserts are commonly made from hemp, bamboo, cotton, or microfleece. Often you will find blends of these fabrics that create maximum softness and absorbency.

How Much Do All-in-Two Cloth Diapers Cost?

Since there are several different styles of all-in-2 diapers, startup costs for this style of cloth diaper vary widely. GroVia has an extensive line of patterns and designs for all-in-two diaper covers that cost roughly $18 each.  The snap-in soaker pieces from GroVia cost between $18-$21 for a set of two. On average, you should expect to use three soakers for every one cover.

If you use prefolds as inserts, a 10-pack of birdseye cotton prefolds will cost you only about $15. However, you will still need to purchase liners and diaper fasteners to use under the hybrid shell.

Disposable hybrid diaper liners will cost you about $15-$25 for a pack of 50 and can typically be used with any brand of hybrid diaper shell. You should expect to use several packs of disposable liners a week with a baby three months or younger.

Benefits of All-in-Two Diapers

All-in-two diapers marry the convenience of disposables and comfort of cloth diapers for some. Using a disposable insert makes hybrids a more realistic option for some people who want to cloth diapers but aren’t ready to go all in.

Several different brands make hybrid diapers, and since they all function basically the same way, you could mix and match liners and shells if desired. In addition, the ability to flip flop between brands is beneficial if you run out of your favorite liner or it is out of stock.

More and more companies, such as GroVia, are making biodegradable hybrid liners, making them even more environmentally friendly. 

Even if you choose to use washable inserts, hybrids wash and dry quickly because the pieces are separated before washing.

Downsides of All-in-Two Cloth Diapers

The cost of hybrid diapers puts some people off at first. The shells can seem expensive when you consider you will need roughly half a dozen to ten to get started. Many people choose cloth diapering so that they don’t have regular diapering costs; if you use disposable inserts, you will still be spending roughly $200-$300 a month to purchase them with a newborn.

All-in-twos can make cleaning up poop a bit messy, especially if your baby has a big explosion and the poop goes onto the liner. Additionally, inserts can also move around, even when snapped into place, causing leaks. 

Some people don’t like the two-piece system and think it is complicated at times, especially when you have a wiggly baby or a big mess.

Hybrids also tend to be the least absorbent style of cloth diaper, so they are not the best choice as an overnight diaper, although you could try adding an extra soaker pad.

How to Use All-in-Two Cloth Diapers?

An all-in-two cloth diaper requires you to attach the inner absorbent layer to the water-resistant outer shell. In the case of reusable or washable inserts, they typically snap into place at the top and bottom of the diaper. If you are using disposable inserts, they typically attach with an adhesive strip.

It is recommended to have a few preassembled because even though you can reuse a shell a few times, you don’t always know what you will find once you open your baby’s diaper. Also, if they have a nasty blowout or have soaked into the shell, having a clean diaper ready to go will make the diaper change much smoother. 

Even if you can use the shell again, some parents prefer not to try to reassemble the diaper while they have a squirmy baby on the changing table. Instead, they will alternate between two or three covers throughout the day.

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