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What Is The Best Insert For Cloth Diapers?

What Is The Best Insert For Cloth Diapers?

There are as many cloth diaper inserts as there are snowflakes in a blizzard storm. Well, not really. It just seems like it. With so many options, how do you pick as a new cloth diapering parent? What is the best insert for cloth diapers?

Hemp and bamboo inserts are the most absorbent inserts for cloth diapers. Microfiber inserts and cotton inserts don’t absorb as much, but they absorb faster. They are also more budget-friendly.

There isn’t one superstar insert, rather there is a best insert for your lifestyle. Inserts also love to be mixed and matched. Just like a fruit salad, inserts actually work better in combination with each other. An insert stash that can do it all includes a variety of fabric types.

The Best Insert for Cloth Diapers

The “best” insert depends on what you’re looking for and your budget. The Bentley of cloth diaper inserts is hemp. It’s soft, very absorbent, environmentally friendly, and super trim for baby’s diaper. These inserts are also expensive and slow to absorb. If you are going to cloth diaper multiple babies, this investment might be worth it.

To find the inserts that will work the best for you, first consider what you are looking for. Are you starting your cloth diaper journey from the newborn stage? Is your baby already walking? Each stage has different requirements. Younger babies may not be in their diapers long enough to need multiple layers. Older sleeping babies will only make it through the night with special nighttime inserts.

Consider these needs to help you determine your “best” insert:

* Type of diaper used: pocket diaper, diaper cover, etc.
* Multiple children
* Newborn or almost toddler
* Budget
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What is the most absorbent cloth diaper insert?

The most popular cloth diaper inserts: hemp, bamboo, cotton, and microfiber are each stars in their own right. When it comes to absorbency, there are 2 things you should consider:

1. The total amount of liquids an insert can hold.
2. How fast an insert can absorb liquids.

Older babies usually wear one diaper throughout the night and need to store a greater amount of liquids. A couple of nights waking up to a crying baby with a soggy bottom is enough to make you question cloth diapers. You really just need the right insert in the right combination.

Babies that are older, or who sleep in one diaper overnight benefit from inserts that are made from bamboo or hemp. These inserts are the best at storing large amounts of liquids. They are great for younger babies too, but they won’t really use them to their full potential because they get changed so frequently.

Hemp inserts hold the most liquid.

Hemp inserts, in particular, absorb about 8 times more liquid than pure cotton. These workhorses should be on the top of your list if you have a baby that sleeps through the night. Hemp inserts are incredibly trim for the amount they soak up. Your small baby will find it easier to move in these.

These inserts are pricier than cotton or microfiber, so many parents mainly use these at night. Another thing to note is that while they can hold a lot, it takes hemp longer to initially soak up moisture. In fact, most “hemp” inserts are a hemp and cotton mix. Microfiber or all-cotton inserts can be paired with your hemp inserts to quickly absorb urine and let it slowly soak into the hemp. Geffen Baby and Thirstie’s make hemp inserts that many parents swear by.

Bamboo inserts are right after hemp in terms of the amount of liquid they can hold. They are a little less pricey and extremely soft. This is another great option.

Microfiber inserts absorb the fastest.

Microfiber is designed to rapidly pick up liquids. If your baby seems to pee their weight in urine, microfiber will be your best friend. Microfiber is unique because the actual fibers that are used to make it are extremely thin. The fibers are split to produce tiny fibers a fraction of the width of your hair. This allows microfiber to have an effective surface area much larger than its actual dimensions.

This insert works well to catch a quick mess. It is unmatched in its ability to speedily soak up moisture. Unfortunately, microfiber is also prone to compression leaks. This is when your baby is sitting or laying on top of a saturated microfiber insert and the force pushes the pee out. It is just as messy as it sounds.

Compression leaks may not be as big of an issue during the day if you change your baby frequently. At nighttime, microfiber has a harder time holding up on its own. Pair it with a natural fiber insert to do the bulk of storing. One thing to keep in mind is that microfiber should not touch baby’s skin directly. Microfiber is very drying. You will need to place a liner on top of the microfiber or stuff it into a pocket diaper.

Cotton also absorbs faster than bamboo or hemp and holds its moisture without as much compression leaking. This is another option if you need an insert to absorb quickly. It’s not as fast as microfiber, however.
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What is the longest-lasting/ most durable insert?

I hear you cloth diapering mama. You want your inserts to last you through all of your future babies. This is a great question to ask. It seems like some cloth diapers retail for $4 while others are for $50. If you invest in pricier diapers, you need to know they will last.

Hemp or bamboo inserts make great long term investments.

Generally, natural fabrics tend to hold up the longest. Instead of outfitting your stash with mostly cheap (but absorbent) microfiber, try hemp, bamboo, or cotton. Hemp and bamboo in particular last long. The fibers in these fabrics are durable and easily cleaned. If cared for, you should be able to reuse them with future babies.

Microfiber just doesn’t hold up over time. The price reflects this. Microfiber is still a worthwhile addition to your stash, but it probably won’t last past the current child you are cloth diapering. The tiny fibers that work so well to absorb liquids also hold on to minerals and funk. Over time you will notice the inserts becoming harder and stinkier. This means their life cycle is coming to an end. Cotton has a longer life but may start to fray if used consistently.
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What is the best insert on a budget?

Microfiber will keep your wallet happy. So will cotton.

The cheapest inserts to buy are microfiber. All cloth diaper retailers sell these because they’re wildly popular. They also come standard with many pocket diapers, all in ones, all in twos, and diaper covers. These economic inserts are ideal if you want to build your stash quickly and don’t want to save up for their more expensive counterparts.

Microfiber could be the best insert for you if you know that you’ll only use them with one baby. By the time your bundle of joy is graduating from diapers, these inserts would just be reaching the end of their life cycle. More expensive inserts will bring your initial investment price up. Parents who are looking to save as much money as possible using cloth diapers opt for these inserts. Babygoal has popular microfiber inserts sold in a 12 pack.

Cotton prefolds are the cheapest option if you pair them with a simple diaper cover. Cotton prefolds are rectangular and folded into thirds for absorbency. If you’re looking for cotton inserts, however, they tend to be much pricier than simple prefolds. Stick to prefolds or flats to keep your price down. Osocozy prefolds are a staple for many parents.


Ask ten different parents what the “best” insert is, and you will get ten different answers. The best insert is one that fits with your budget and diapering needs. Sometimes the best insert is a combination of two working together to better keep your baby dry.