Cloth Diaper Inserts 101
What are Diaper Inserts?
Diaper inserts are used to absorb the liquid in a pocket diaper like Fuzzi Bunz. They are made from a variety of materials and offer a convenient way to not only stuff the diaper’s pocket but also to adjust the absorbency needed.
The pocket of a diaper like Fuzzi Bunz can generally handle up to 3 inserts, which provides quite of bit of absorbency.
There are many brands of inserts that are made from various types of materials. The Microterry Soaker by Nurtured Family and Blueberry Microterry inserts are made from 3 layers of soft and fluffy microterry. The fabric is similar to that of a plush bath towel. Hemparoo Joey Bunz is made from all-natural hemp, which is unbleached and naturally anti-microbial.
We recommend the Microterry Soaker by Nurtured Family. They are also fluffy, soft, and dry quickly. Another benefit is that they do not cause pilling on the fleece-like natural fiber products can. If you know you have a heavy wetter we would definitely recommend that you go with these.
What are Doublers?
A doubler is a little thinner than an insert and is designed to supplement an insert during long excursions or overnight. However, they are not as absorbent as an insert.
The Microterry Doubler by FuzziBunz is made from 3 layers of soft and fluffy microterry and is the same physical size as the small microterry inserts – just thinner. If you’re interested in taking a closer look at them, you can find this microterry doubler on Amazon here.
Some cloth parents prefer to use doublers for more absorption while others prefer to just use an extra insert. It really depends on your individual needs.
The table below highlights some of the key differences between the inserts we tested. Every effort has been made to provide an objective and real-world measurement of their absorbency and not a contrived number.
The inserts would all hold more, and look even more impressive if we measured them in a supersaturated state. Read the comments below the table for more information about our approach.
3-Layer Microterry (Polyester)
3-Layer Microterry (Polyester)
|Hemparoo Joey Bunz|
Natural Unbleached Hemp
* This is based solely on data taken by Your Cloth Diaper using the following procedure. The data shown were taken using the large size of the Joey Bunz and the regular sizes of the Blueberry and Microterry Soaker inserts. For the small sizes of each of these inserts, the absorbency decreases by roughly 25% from the figures shown here.
- Take a new insert, wash it, and dry it.
- Weigh it on a precise scale (5 gram accuracy is what we used).
- Soak the insert in 4 cups of water for 1 minute.
- Hang over a hanger for 15 minutes to allow excess to drip off.
- Weigh the insert and then subtract its dry weight.
- Determine water content (1 fluid ounce of water weighs 30 grams).
How many do I need?
The number of inserts you need will depend upon which insert you choose and how heavy of a wetter your child is. For each daytime diaper, you will generally need to have one microterry insert in the diaper.
For overnight or extended outings we find that 2 microterry inserts are generally more than adequate. If your child nurses or drinks a lot during a particular time of the day, then that may be a good time to double up inserts or use a doubler with an insert.
A good rule of thumb is to have 6 microterry inserts for every 5 diapers. This allows you a sufficient quantity to double up the inserts when you need to. Of course, you may also choose to use a doubler instead of an extra insert if you want a bit more absorbency but not the bulk of another full insert.
You will generally need twice as many JoeyBunz as you would microterry inserts as they are half as absorbent.
If your interested in reading more about FuzziBunz mentioned in this article, be sure to read our Fuzzi Bunz Complete Guide.
Choosing the Right Cloth Diaper Insert
If you have decided to use cloth diapers, welcome to the club and good for you! You have probably spent hours looking at all the adorable prints and designs out there for cloth diapers. When you are choosing your cloth diapers, you must make sure that you select the right insert. Choosing the right insert is imperative to keep your child dry and to ensure the longevity of the cloth diapers.
Styles of Cloth Inserts
There are many different cloth diaper inserts. Inserts are a separate piece from the diaper itself. This makes for easy cleaning. The way the insert is placed depends on the style of diaper.
If your cloth diaper has a snap-in, the insert will snap into place. If your diaper has a pocket, you will need to slide the insert in place. If your diaper does not have a pocket or snapping area, the insert will just lay inside of the diaper.
You can choose from the following styles of cloth diaper inserts:
- Prefold. This insert will be folded and sewn into the diaper shape.
- Flat. This will be a large square of fabric that you place inside the diaper. This style allows for easy stuffing inside the cloth diaper itself.
- Pad. The pad style has several different layers of fabric that fit inside the diaper.
- Trifold. This type of cloth diaper insert is a wider style that has to be folded into thirds before being placed inside the diaper.
- Petal-style. This is two or more inserts that are sewn together at one end. This helps to double up on protection from leaks.
- Snake style. A snake style insert allows for customization of extra absorbency. If you have a heavy wetter, this may be your best option.
So which diaper insert style should you choose? Any of the above will be great for your baby. You will need to find the one that you are most comfortable with. Remember to take into consideration what style of cloth diaper you have. IF you choose a diaper without a pocket insert, you will want to steer clear of an insert like microfiber. If you are worried about leaks, you need to make sure that you choose an option that is absorbent and will work well.
The Inside of a Cloth Diaper Insert
Cloth diaper inserts for babies can be made out of a variety of different materials. The four primary materials that you will see are hemp, cotton, bamboo, and microfiber. There are pros and cons to each type of insert, so you will need to make sure that you choose the insert that will work best for your needs.
Microfiber. Microfiber is the most economical choice for diaper inserts. It absorbs liquids quickly, allowing for quick drying. The downside to microfiber cloth diaper inserts is that they tend to flatten over time. Once the insert becomes flat, leaks can happen. Microfiber has also been known to hold smells in, even with frequent and proper washing. If you use microfiber inserts, make sure that they do not have direct contact with your baby’s skin. Due to the moisture-wicking abilities of this fabric, it can dry your baby’s skin and cause a rash.
Cotton. Cotton inserts are an economical option that can be found in organic varieties. Cotton inserts are typically known by the names of terry, jersey, flannel, or French terry. These diaper inserts are great for those babies that are heavy wetters. The downside to cotton cloth diaper inserts is that it is slower to absorb wetness and can be bulky to wear.
Bamboo. This option can be a pricey choice. It is often thought of as a natural filler, but the truth is that bamboo is processed with chemicals that may not be environmentally friendly. Bamboo inserts are soft and absorbent. It is known to quick moisture way quicker than cotton.
Hemp. Hemp cloth diaper inserts are a true, environmentally friendly option. It is, however, a premium insert material, and the price will reflect that. Hemp holds the most liquid and takes the longest to dry. Hemp is a popular choice among those that are environmentally conscious. It is one of the few options that allow you to diaper your baby is completely all-natural materials.
Other Insert Materials
There are other types of insert materials that you may want to take into consideration.
Zorb. This is a highly absorbent material that is a mix of both manufactured fibers and all-natural fiber. Zorb must be used between two layers of fabric as it will pile if used any other way. This type of diaper insert is more expensive than most insert materials.
Minky. An insert made with minky is made from a polyester that simulates microfiber. This style can be used right up against a baby’s skin with no rashes to worry about. The downside to this type of insert is that it is more expensive than other varieties.
Velour. Velour inserts are created out of cotton or a mixture of cotton and bamboo. It is more breathable than the minky option.
Properly Using Your Inserts
Once you have chosen the cloth diaper inserts that you want to use for your baby, you will need to read up on their care. Each type of insert will require its own attention.
For example, if you choose a natural fiber insert, you will need to prep the diaper insert. To prep the insert, you will need to wash it several times before use. This will help to remove waxes and natural oils that will prevent the absorption of liquid. You will want to wash them at least five times before use. For other inserts, read up on the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that you properly clean and care for the inserts.
Choosing the best cloth diaper inserts will depend on what your budget is, whether or not you have a heavy wetter, and your personal preference when it comes to natural or synthetic fibers. Take your time to determine the right diaper insert for you and your baby.