I had heard of pocket diapers but had never really given them much thought. I was just looking for the least expensive route for diapering. One day, however, I was thinking about how nice it would be if I could somehow attach the stay dry liners to the diaper to make diaper changing a little simpler. That's when it dawned on me, "I bet that's the point of pocket diapers...I bet the inner fabric is fleece!" I went and did a Google search of the brand of pocket diapers I'd heard of, and discovered that the inner lining was indeed fleece, expressly for the purpose of keeping baby dry and rash free! Suddenly it made so much sense. I ordered a couple to try out and since then I have gradually begun to prefer pocket diapers for daytime use, both for their ease of use and trimmer fit than prefolds and covers.
Most pocket diapers have an inner layer of fleece or some other fabric that wicks moisture away from baby, but not always, and you can have an "all in one" with a stay dry inner layer as well, so what is the point of the pocket diaper aside from the stay dry aspect?
Here are the benefits of pocket diapers in my experience:
1. As I already mentioned, if the inner layer is fleece, I enjoy not having to grab my stay dry liner and put it on separately.
2. I like to preserve my PUL. I wash my covers with the diapers usually, but try to let them hang dry as much as possible to help extend their life. I like being able to machine dry the thick absorbent inserts or soakers, but just hang the quick drying outer shell of the PUL and inner liner. This also helps extend the life of any aplix on the outer shell as well. With an all in one diaper, needless to say it's all attached and must all be washed and dried together.
3. In the same vein, I like to be able to put the inserts and soakers through more rigorous washing. With a pocket diaper, though it may still require stripping from time to time for the inner layer of fabric, for the most part the inserts are the part that may begin to hold the most odor and need more frequent stripping or more rigorous washing. PUL can be damaged by a variety of cleaning agents that can be useful in cleaning inserts from time to time. In these cases you can just keep the PUL out for those extra washes.
4. I also like the fact that you can add additional stuffing to a pocket diaper without covering up the inside stay dry liner! You can make them as absorbent as you need them to be, or on the other hand you can keep them as trim as you'd like depending on the type of insert that you use! I like switching up inserts, or using something totally different for stuffing! If you have a favorite kind of insert, you can usually use it with any kind of pocket diaper. You can even use flats, prefolds, flannel receiving blankets, or even t-shirts, or anything absorbent that you can fold and stuff into a pocket diaper for an extra boost or in place of an insert!
For all of these reasons, and the fact that there are so many great styles available in so many fun colors, pocket diaper have become my favorite daytime diaper! I prefer wool for nights and when a rash threatens to break out, but I like pockets for regular day to day use! Some people like to combine pockets and wool for nighttime. You can stuff the pocket all you want and then cover with a wool cover. That way, just in case all the stuffing becomes saturated, the wool will catch any "overflow." I have a heavy wetter and haven't found this necessary, but I know some parents have! It would definitely be a no leak solution!
Do you prefer pocket diapers? If so, what are some additional benefits of using them?