How To Make Cloth Diapers Less Bulky

colored cloth diapers

Although disposable diapers are the most common choice for parents, some choose to use cloth diapers instead. After all, they’re a cheaper option and they’re better for the environment as you can reuse them many times. But one issue with them is how they fit your little one. Sometimes they are just too bulky around the waist area. So what can you do about it?

Unfortunately there isn’t a lot you can do unless you change the type of cloth diaper you are using. Many cloth diapers are bulky due all the layers of fabric which make them more absorbent. Without these layers, you would have to change your baby a lot more frequently and the diapers themselves would be prone to leaking. That being said, in this article let’s look at some types of cloth diapers which are better than others, fit your baby easier and don’t look so big around their belly and behind! We’ll also look at why cloth diapers are bulky and what you can do about it.

Related Post: Types Of Diapers

Why are cloth diapers so bulky?

In the main, it’s down to more layers of fabric to make the diapers more absorbent. Disposable diapers contain a chemical called sodium polyacrylate which helps absorb a lot of liquid. When this chemical is dry it is comprised from tiny crystals, which are obviously smaller than the extra layers of fabric you find in cloth diapers. This is the main reason why cloth diapers have to be bigger and bulkier than disposable diapers. But there are other factors too:

Type of cloth diaper

You can certainly opt for less bulky looking cloth diapers if you shop around and look at different types.

  • Prefold diapers: Although these aren’t as absorbent as other types, they’re cheaper and they’re not that bulky.
  • Pocket diapers: These have a waterproof outer covering, dry quickly but they are bulkier and prone to leaking.
  • All-in-one diapers: These are fairly slim looking diapers, but they are more expensive and take longer to dry.
  • Standard cloth diapers: Although this type of diaper dries quickly, they are bulky and you really need to use a waterproof cover with them.
  • Fitted diapers: These can be made from cotton, bamboo, fleece or hemp. They have more of contour or specific shape so they can fit your baby easier. This makes them easy to change, but they are quite expensive and take a while to dry. Some are a little bulky as well.

So if you want slimmer looking cloth diapers, check out some prefold or all-in-one types, and possibly some fitted ones too.

Wrong size

Another reason that cloth diapers can look bulky is that your baby is wearing the wrong size. This happens quite a lot as parents assume with a larger diaper, they can hold more liquid so you won’t need to change your baby as often. However, as the diaper doesn’t fit properly, it’s far easier for leaks to occur which can be a nightmare to deal with. It’s also heavier for your little one to move around at a time when they are learning to crawl or walk.

Also, with cloth diapers in particular, sometimes family members or friends pass them on to each other when their children have outgrown them. Therefore it’s tempting to use them earlier than your really should. Check your baby’s size and weight matches up with the cloth diapers you’re using.


Cloth diapers can often be adjusted with waist or rise snaps. You have to ensure you’re using the right snaps to make the diapers fit properly. Using the wrong ones can make the diaper look big and bulky, as well as increasing the chances of a leak.

Adding boosters to increase absorption

cloth diaper insert

Many modern cloth diapers are designed so you can increase the absorption if you need. This is done by adding boosters which are basically just some small inserts to help the diaper take on more liquid. These inserts are composed of different materials including hemp, bamboo and microfibers. However, the result of using too many of these is a big and bulky looking diaper! So if you want a slimmer looking cloth diaper, you may have to get rid of those boosters and change your baby more often.

Which cloth diapers are the least bulky?

If you’re using the right diaper size, with the right clips or snaps, and you’re not using too many boosters, then changing the type of cloth diaper is the only other thing you can try. Here are some slimmer looking cloth diapers to consider.

Grovia Reusable All In One Snap Baby Cloth Diaper

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These are one of the slimmest cloth diapers you can find, fitting babies between 10 to 35+ lbs, but they are not the cheapest option. However, they are machine washable.

Thirsties Natural One Size All in One Reusable Cloth Diaper

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This is good all in one option which is fairly slim around the waistline and bottom. It’s very absorbent and holds a good amount of liquid, fitting babies from birth until they start potty training.

Kanga Care Lil Joey Newborn All in One AIO Cloth Diaper

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If you want a slim-fit cloth diaper that is specifically designed for newborns then this is a good choice. They are easy to use and very effective against leaks.