Part 1: The Trouble with All In One's February 12 2014

Trouble with AIOs

All In One's are definitely loved by many. They are dubbed "Dad's Favorite" cloth diaper for many reasons, but as with many things that claim an absolute (One-Size, All-In-One, etc.) they all have their pitfalls and can leave something to be desired.

I spend most of my time in our retail store talking to people about cloth diapers and which one might be a good fit for their family. Many people's busy lifestyles these days lead them to initially thinking that All-In-One's (AIOs) are a sure win. After further discussion we usually arrive at the next question.

What's the Difference Between Pockets and All-In-One's?
People are always initially curious why they should pay more for an AIO than a pocket since with both, the entire diaper must be changed every time. My explanation is that pockets are more flexible overall: from adjusting absorbency to easier cleaning since pieces separate.
For some, the thought of stuffing 24 pocket diapers for a newborn seems intimidating and they don't think they will be able to handle it. Some call it "lazy" where others call it "practical" but being realistic about your lifestyle and expectations with cloth diapering are big factors. Many people have dove into a system with unreal expectations and abandoned cloth diapering, as it didn't fit their lifestyle.

Also when comparing the two diapering systems it is helpful to outline the pros and cons of each diaper and the costs and benefits. So here is my list of The Trouble with All In One's so that you know ahead of time what you are getting into with this style of diapering system.

The Trouble with All In Ones

1. Longer Drying Time
Even with flaps, tunnels and moving pieces every AIO takes longer to dry than others. Flap and tunnels help but they still take longer than say a pocket diaper of the same fabric choice.
Consider using wool dryer balls for better air circulation and reduced drying time!

2. Harder to Clean 
Since AIOs do not have as many pieces that separate, water will not penetrate and pass through the layers as well and all of the tidbits will be harder to get out of your diapers. The more variables you add to the mix, the harder you have to work to get your diaper clean. Variables that can give you grief include: hard water, solid foods, sleeping all night (in one diaper).

3. More Care Required More Often 
Especially after solid foods are introduced and waste starts carrying an odor, new challenges are presented for cleaning any diaper, especially AIOs. Most AIOs have features for quick drying (like flaps) but depending on their construction and layout can be difficult to clean out solid waste. Others than have no flaps will take significantly longer to dry and also not rinse as clean and may need to be stripped more often.

4. AIOs don't meet ALL of your needs ALL the time
If you were to buy 24 One-Size AIOs expecting to use them everyday for every diaper change until your child is potty trained you will most likely leave something to be desired.
As newborns, AIOs are great for whenever even though sometimes a bit bulky. As babies get older they can put out a lot of pee at one time and hence your beloved AIO may not hold [all of the] water. As babies get older AIOs tend to be a better "day time" diaper.

5. More Wear and Tear 
AIOs are more likely to get washed in a machine and dried in a dryer every time. With that in mind hook and loop options for AIOs need to be looked at with caution. They WILL give out, its just a matter of when.
Elastics in diapers will last longer if you use a low to medium settings on your dryer to save your elastics!
Natural fibers like cotton tend to get holes the more they are laundered, be aware of this fact when looking into a diaper system and your diaper routines.

What are your concerns or experiences with All In One Cloth Diapers? Which features help make the experience better and more manageable?