February 28th, 2011 by

Intro to Cloth Diaper Series: What Are Sleeve Cloth Diapers?

Welcome to my next installment in my Introduction to Cloth Diaper Series. This week, I am tackling Sleeve Cloth Diapers. Never heard the term before?

A “Sleeve” cloth diaper is basically a pocket diaper but with an opening at the front and back of the diaper. In the best situation, this means the insert should agitate out during the wash cycle.

According to my definition of a pocket diaper in my last installment, a “sleeve” diaper is a pocket, however I felt it deserved its own segment. (The tongue style will also get a stand alone post.)

The most popular sleeve diaper is probably the Smartipants, which I reviewed here. Another example would be the Thirsties Duo Diaper, which I have also reviewed. Both are seen in my video demonstration.

What is wonderful about sleeve cloth diapers is that you get all of the benefits of a pocket (inserts are removed and get cleaner than an AIO, dry times typically fast, inexpensive, customizable absorbency) but without the drawback of having to remove the insert before washing.  Like a pocket, you will still have to stuff it with the insert again before use.

The average pocket diaper is $17.95, a Smartipants will run you $14.95, and a Thirsties Duo Diaper is $18.50. Other sleeve diapers will remain in that range, whereas an AIO can cost closer to $20-25 depending on the brand.

Sleeve diapers make great diaper bag diapers, because while out you can skip un-stuffing the pocket before placing it in your wet bag, or worse, after it has been in your wet bag for a few hours and it has “ripened” up a bit.

Sleeve diapers are perfect if you don’t mind the laundry side of cloth diapers (stuffing) but prefer not to touch the dirty inserts.  They are usually trim, are economical, and come in a few brands and varieties to suit most consumers’ tastes.  It’s like an All-in-One and Pocket had a hybrid baby, not to be confused with hybrid diapers – that is another installment!

Smartipants are only sold through their website (they stopped selling in retail outlets a few months ago as best I can tell).  You can find Thirsties Duo Diaper at my affiliate, Kelly’s Closet, and many other cloth diaper stores!

Any questions on sleeve diapers, or other cloth diaper inquiries, leave a comment.  Also, if you have a topic you want to be covered in the series let me know!

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