When it comes to cloth diapering, it’s a world of confusion! Especially when deciding what cloth diaper inserts your should use. There are so many options! Doubles, minky, bamboo, microfiber… With so many options, how do you know which diaper insert will meet your expectations?
To cloth diaper your baby you need a crash course in cloth diaper inserts alone when you’re a newbie to the cloth diapering world. Thankfully I’ve got you covered! Let’s take a look at all your absorbency and fabric options so you can decide the best choice for you and your baby!
Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you click on them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.
Choices For Cloth Diaper Inserts
Microfiber Cloth Diaper Inserts
First, we start with microfiber. While it’s synthetic made of polyester and other materials it has grown in popularity since it’s creation because of it’s absorbency. Many people use microfiber soakers because they absorb more than cotton. On top of being highly absorbent and a great replacement for cotton inserts, especially for nighttime use, microfiber cloth diaper inserts do have their downfalls though.
Microfiber CANNOT be placed against a baby’s skin because of its high absorbency. While it whisks moisture away from baby’s skin, placing it directly against the skin will cause skin irritation and rubbing that can be uncomfortable and over time, painful. That is why all microfiber soaker inserts are only used in a pocket-style cloth diaper.
Some parents also complain that microfiber inserts tend to hold onto urine smells even after washing and drying. I have not noticed this myself with the microfiber inserts, but I prefer to use bamboo and only use the microfiber in a pocket-style cloth diaper as a doubler combined with the bamboo insert.
While microfiber does absorb more than cotton, it does act like a sponge that pulls liquid away from skin. But if too much liquid is absorbed the microfiber insert will leak when squished. I haven not noticed this personally, but I will say this is a major problem!
Many times microfiber inserts can be purchased in a bundle deal with pocket-style diapers. Even though I purchsed mine like this, I still ordered a bundle of bamboo inserts. I will warn you that the microfiber inserts that come with pocket diapers in a bundle deal are very thin. If you choose to use microfiber inserts, I highly suggest to get more absorbent and thicker inserts.
Related Articles: The Best Cloth Diapers For Large Toddlers
Cotton was for years considered the “gold standard” for cloth diaper inserts. It’s an all natural material that can rest against baby’s skin while still whisking moisture away. Cotton is typically used as a prefold or flat option for an insert all all types and styles of cloth diapers. It’s inexpensive and perfect for light to moderate wetting. However, it does not do the job for heavy wetters!
One con cotton cloth diaper inserts have is that they are extremely bulky. But even though with all that extra bulk, they still lack the absorbency they should.
I’ll admit, I love bamboo inserts! I use them every day in a pocket-style diaper instead of the microfiber inserts the diapers came with. One bamboo insert is extremely absorbent and there are rarely any leaks with bamboo. Bamboo also works well for heavy wetting and nighttime use. You can even double two bamboo inserts together to have your baby make it through the night without any leaks.
The best benefit bamboo can give you is they become more absorbent with time. Yes, the more you wash them, the higher their absorbency will be! Although I rave about bamboo inserts because of my own personal experience, there are a few downfalls.
For one, bamboo is one of the more expensive options for cloth diaper inserts. Second, while it is very absorbent bamboo does take a while to soak up pee. Therefore, if your baby pees a lot in a short time the bamboo insert will not soak up quickly which could lead to a possible rash. But if you are on top of keeping up on baby diaper changes, rashes wont’ be a problem for you!
Hemp inserts are made of a mixture of hemp and cotton to form a great combination of softness for baby’s skin matched with increased absorbency. Both bamboo and hemp share the similarities of being slow to soak up pee and being expensive. While bamboo falls in the mid-range for cloth diaper inserts, hemp tends to be on the higher end.
Although I have not used hemp myself, there are other parents who love hemp and swear by its absorbency!
Zorb is fairly new to cloth diapering and can be hard to find as well. This new type of insert is a mix of viscose, microfiber, bamboo, and cotton. It’s claimed to have the most absorbency on the market for cloth diaper inserts. It also is claimed to carry less urine smell over time like microfiber tends to do.
You’ve probably heard of minky material used in super soft baby blankets. Well that same material is able to hold and lock moisture away similar to microfiber inserts. But, unlike microfiber it’s not as rough and repels urine smells compared to trapping them. Unfortunately, minky is a synthetic material that CANNOT be placed against baby’s skin due to irritation, so it will need to be stuffed into a pocket diaper.
A new type of cloth diaper on the market is the hybrid model. It combines a cloth diaper “shell” or cover with disposable inserts. These are great for when you’re away from home and don’t wan to carry wet diapers in a wet bag around with you. It’s also perfect if you simply don’t want to deal with the clean up of inserts and cloth diapers, but still want to cloth diaper and reduce your environmental impact.
By now your head is probably spinning with confusion wondering, “What insert should I choose?” I know because it took me so long to decide on a reliable insert. But eventually I decided to order pocket diapers with microfiber inserts and still purchase bamboo because of the added absorbency.
The choice is completely up to you and what every you choose will be a great choice for your baby! Start by looking at different brands and types of inserts that are within your price range to narrow down your decision make with cloth diaper inserts.