Believe it or not, there are a lot of mysteries around cloth diaper closure types. Like, for example, why does the Velcro® extend past the end of the diaper cover's 'wings'? Why do some cloth diapers have two rows of snaps instead of just one?
In this four-part series, we’ll explore the different options for fastening cloth diapers and diaper covers, and answer some of questions you may have about them. At the end of the series, we’ll reveal our favourite closure type, and tell you why we picked it.
First up: hook-and-loop.
Hook-and-loop, AKA, the closure type for speedy fastening and fit
A hook-and-loop closure is a type of Velcro closure. The reason we call it ‘hook-and-loop’ is because Velcro is a registered trademark, and most cloth diaper covers use a couple of other brand names that are a bit softer, called ‘Touchtape’ and 'Aplix'. By 'softer', we just mean that the backing part is a little less rigid, so you get a more flexible feel that's more along the lines of what you'd expect to put on your baby.
With a hook-and-loop cover, the scratchy, hook part is attached to the cloth diaper cover on either side (called ‘wings’), while the softer part is on the abdominal area. The main benefit of hook-and-loop closures is that they’re quick to fasten, which is advantageous for particularly squirmy babies.
Aside from the ease-factor, hook-and-loop cloth diapers and covers have a few quirky details that can be a little confusing. Here they are, explained:
- Wing extenders. You might notice that on some diaper covers, the hook-and-loop on either wing extends past the fabric wing edges. From our observations, the purpose of these extensions seems to be to allow the cover's wings to lie nice and flat. Without the hook-and-loop extensions, the fabric on the wings tends to fold back towards the sides of the diaper cover and bunch up. The bunching can lead to the wings getting caught on clothing and accidentally undoing themselves, so best to have those extensions in place to reduce that risk.
- Skinny baby extensions. These are a sub-feature of the wing extenders we described earlier. The skinny baby extension is an extra piece of the soft, loop side of hook-and-loop sewn to outside of one wing extender, and a hook piece attached to the outside of the other wing extender. The idea here is that they fasten to each other, creating a nice tight abdominal fit that might be required if your baby is quite slim. We have found these to be most useful on newborn diaper covers, where tiny babies often wear a cover that is a little too big for them at the start.
- Laundry tabs. These are a super-handy feature. Some cloth diapers and diaper covers include a piece of soft, loop-sided piece of hook-and-loop on the inside of each wing, usually adjacent the hook-sided piece (which is also on the inside of the cover). When laundry time comes, you fasten the wings to the laundry tabs so that the hook-and-loop doesn’t snag on other items in the wash.
- Wide front panel. What makes a cloth diaper or cover even more easy to fasten is having a wide front panel (top to bottom). You'll see some diaper covers with 2-3" width front panel. This gives you a nice ‘deck’ to hook the cover’s wings to. You can fasten at lots of different angles and heights, allowing you to get a really custom fit.
To sum up, hook-and-loop is really easy to fasten and gives you a great, versatile fit. It might snag in the wash but that's overcome with the laundry tabs.
Stay tuned for the next installment: Snaps!