Cloth Diaper Choices: Sized or One Size Cloth Diapers

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cloth diaper choices

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Deciding to cloth diaper your baby is a wonderful choice for your kiddo, the environment, and your household budget. Many first time cloth diapering parents get overwhelm with all the cloth diapering options out there. We get it, there are A LOT of options to consider when starting to build your cloth diaper stash. What style or type of cloth diaper do you prefer? Do you like diapers with snap closure, hook and loop closure, or do you want a mixed stash? What cloth diaper brand(s) is the best fit for your preferences and your budget? In this “Cloth Diaper Choices” post we’re going to look at one size and sized cloth diapers.

One Size Cloth Diapers

Sizing can be tricky, especially with baby products. Anyone whose done a little baby clothes shopping will attest to that. Cloth diaper companies give their products approximate weight ranges. One size (OS) cloth diapers are designed to fit most babies from “birth to potty.” Here are the weight ranges for some cloth diaper brands’ one size cloth diapers.

one size cloth diaper weight range

As you can see the weight ranges of OS cloth diapers are fairly similar. How can one diaper fit an 8lbs infant and a 40lbs toddler? Cloth diapers are adjusted for size at the waist and by the rise setting.

cloth diaper sizing

Pros & Cons

One of the drawbacks to one size diapers is that you may have to compromise on fit especially at the extremes of the weight range. OS diapers tend to be bulky on babies at the bottom of their weight range. A good OS cloth diaper should be adjusted small enough at the waist and small enough on the diaper’s rise in front that you can secure the diaper on an infant without any gapping at the waist or on the legs. Now truth be told most one size diapers do not actually fit most newborns, on average newborns weigh 7.5lbs. Both my sister and my babies were on the smaller end and one sized diapers did not fit well until our kiddos were about two months old. (The one exception being SoftBums because they have a unique sizing system.) softbum cloth diaper fit

At the top of the weight range OS diapers often need inserts added to the diaper to meet the absorbency needs of kiddos at the top of the weight range

One size cloth diapering systems tend to be the most popular diapering option especially for all in one and pocket style diapers. Back in the day you saw a lot of sized cloth diapers, but the market demands now tend towards OS cloth diapers. Despite compromising a bit on fit and absorbency, with a one size cloth diapering system you are getting a lot of bang for you buck.

BabyKicks One Size Pocket Diaper

BabyKicks One Size Pocket Diaper

If you find a cloth diaper brand that works well for your baby’s overall size and shape an OS system can save you a lot of money. Once your babe’s grown into their OS diaper you only need one set of cloth diapers. Simply adjust your one size diaper’s rise and waist setting as baby grows and you’re good to go!

Sized Cloth Diapers

Sized cloth diapers have narrower weight ranges and are designed to offer an excellent custom fit.

Pros & Cons

Using a sized cloth diapering system will require that you buy more than one set of diapers which is a drawback for some. People that love their sized cloth diapers say the custom fit is totally worth needing to buy more than one set of diapers. A great custom fit can be especially helpful it you have a baby that is at top or bottom the general one size diapers’ weight ranges. Honestly if you plan on truly cloth diapering birth to potty you’ll probably need more than one set of cloth diapers any way so sized diapers merit some serious consideration.  If you plan on using your cloth diapers on more than one kid, sized cloth diapers are totally worth the investment. Since your stash’s wear and tear is spread between two sets of diapers sized diapers hold up nicely even when using them on multiple kids. Both the Thirsties and AppleCheeks sized cloth diapers above are diaper covers that are to be paired with an insert, prefold, or flat… well AppleCheeks “envelop cover” is a hybrid cover/pocket diaper, but you get my drift.

sized cloth diaper weight ranges

My Take

Back in the day before potty training my son, Triple A, used a couple sized Thirsties AIOs and indeed I loved their fit. Fast forward three years and my current cloth diaper stash consists mostly of one size cloth diapers. I love my one size AIOs, AI2’s, and pocket diapers. Since my daughter, Little Girl, is well, little, I look for brands that make trim one size cloth diapers. An important feature I also look for when buying OS cloth diapers is something to help prevent wing drooping. Since my kiddo is going to wear an OS diaper longer than a sized diaper I also am picky about quality of construction and durability. Not being the crafty type I have no interest in replacing leg elastics or hook & loop.

sized cloth diaper

Top right image courtesy of

Truth be told, I find OS diaper covers to be annoyingly bulky at the low end of the weight range; especially on my petite kiddos. If an OS diaper cover fits nicely at the low end of the weight range I find it doesn’t work well at the higher end of the weight range. This limits what you can use under your diaper cover. For example, with my toddlers at night I prefer using fitted cloth diapers. Some one size diaper covers do not have enough material to completely cover a fitted diaper. Also on average diaper covers are the least expensive type of cloth diaper especially when paired with prefolds / flats.

As with all cloth diaper choices, one size verses sized cloth diapers come down to your specific needs. You want to consider fit, function, and cost. Here at First Time Mom we’re here to help you navigate all your parenting firsts so don’t be afraid to dive in and to cloth diaper your baby. With the right resources, cloth diapering is one parenting decision you won’t regret. Happy cloth diapering!



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Wife, work at home mom, and bassoonist, Laura Ankrum lives in Iowa City, Iowa. Prior to the arrival of her two children Laura taught elementary music and band in the Boston area. Now her home is her classroom and music studio. Laura is passionate about education, encouraging other moms, and eco-friendly living. She is the social media coordinator at Thirsties Inc.