Lets talk Pocket Diapers, shall we?
As I mentioned in my Types of Cloth Diapers post, we will mainly be using pocket diapers. So here is an up close look at what a pocket diaper looks like and how it works.
Here is a picture of the components of a pocket diaper. From left to right: the diaper shell itself and two inserts.
The diaper shell is made of a waterproof outer layer, usually a material called PUL (Polyurethane laminate), and a micro-fleece inner layer. There is a pocket opening (usually in the back) where the inserts are stuffed in.
To use a pocket diaper, you choose if you want one or two (or more I guess) inserts used based on how much absorbency you need. You then stuff the inserts into the pocket openings located (usually) at the back of the diaper. Some diapers have a flap over the pocket openings like these pictured.
Here you can see the inserts being inserted into the pocket opening. When the diaper gets dirty, you pull the inserts out and throw both the diaper shell and inserts in a diaper pail or wet bag...
You can get sized pocket diapers (ones that come in Small, Medium, Large etc) or One Size (a diaper that can be adjusted in size). We will be using One Size diapers, because you can use them typically from 10 or 12 lbs to 35 lbs or so.
One Size pocket diapers have snaps to adjust the rise (how long the diaper is). Most have 3 or 4 choices for the rise. You snap the rise up for a smaller diaper or leave it unsnapped for the largest setting.
Pocket diapers have either snaps or velcro (also called Aplix) to adjust the waist size.
To wash pocket diapers, you want to make sure they are pulled apart (the diaper shell and the inserts) and then wash them and the pail liner or wet bag together. You would then dry the inserts and preferably line dry the diaper shell. This helps the shell to last longer and stay in better condition. Drying the diapers in the sun helps eliminate stains too. Then for the most ease of use, you would stuff the diapers before putting them away to use.
So thats how a pocket diaper works. I hope this helps you see that cloth diapers are not crazy and out there, and are really not that different than a disposable. They are the same shape, similar size, and work in the same manner. Its just what you do with them afterwards that changes things.