Intro to Inserts
Inserts were very confusing and foreign to me when I first started cloth diapering. I wasn’t quite sure where to begin, and like many, I invested a lot of money into microfiber inserts that only lasted my heavy wetter a few weeks! Around one month old, my son needed a little more absorption. I began doubling, or even tripling, my microfiber inserts into a single pocket diaper. As you can imagine, this became incredibly bulky on my newborn baby! It also upped my laundry quite a bit since I was using 2-3x the inserts I was when I first started. I did lots of research and came across some amazing solutions that worked great for my baby!
Firstly, every baby is different. Some babies can use microfiber the entire time they are in diapers with no issues! For MOST children, this is not the case. After trying microfiber I bought some bamboo/microfiber inserts. I thought these were pure bamboo when I purchased these (learn from me, always read the description carefully before purchasing anything off of the internet.) These definitely worked better than pure microfiber, but still weren’t cutting it for night time diapers. If you’re looking for some cheap, daytime inserts these really do work well! These particular inserts are 2 layers of microfiber sandwiched between 2 layers of bamboo.
After trying the bamboo/microfiber, I discovered the world of bamboo/cotton/hemp inserts. I was instantly hooked! Once I started TUSH, I knew I wanted to share these with my customers. These inserts are four layers of a bamboo/cotton blend stacked on top of 2 layers hemp/cotton. I also fell in love with waffle inserts! (These are extremely new and are only being sold by a few companies at the moment so I’m so excited to share them with you!)
I know that was a lot of talk about different materials, and it can definitely be confusing. Why do some inserts work better than others? Let’s break it down a little bit. It all comes down to absorbency speed and capacity! A material's absorbency capacity is how much liquid that material is able to hold.
Most absorbent -> hemp -> bamboo -> cotton -> microfiber/bamboo charcoal -> Least absorbent
Obviously you want to go for the most absorbent right? Of course you need something that will hold a lot of liquid, and therefore last longer. The issue is, a pure hemp insert is prone to leaking. But why? Absorbency speed:
fastest absorber -> microfiber/charcoal bamboo -> cotton -> bamboo -> hemp -> slowest absorber
Absorbency speed is how fast a material soaks up liquid. Even though hemp and bamboo hold a lot of liquid, they take longer to absorb that liquid. If it isn't absorbed fast enough, then it will leak right out of your diapers.
So pure microfiber can cause leaking issues. Pure hemp can cause leaking issues. How do you combat this? You find the right balance!
To get that perfect absorbency speed AND capacity, you need to first learn how to balance your materials. As you read in the last section, going with only one extreme or the other usually doesn't cut it. Balancing the materials you use for your absorption is the secret to great success and minimal leaks while cloth diapering. Our 6-layer bamboo/cotton/hemp inserts are a great example of balancing material. On the top, you have 4-layers of a bamboo/cotton blend. The cotton is a fairly quick absorber so it will catch that liquid right as it comes. The bamboo and hemp do the rest of the work. While it takes these two longer to absorb that liquid, they are able to hold so much more! This is why we've place 2-layers of bamboo/hemp at the bottom of these inserts. You have a perfect balance of absorbency speed and capacity! These inserts hold lots and lots making them perfect for night time diapers. Do you have an impressively heavy wetter? Try doubling up inserts! These inserts paired with a microfiber or bamboo/microfiber makes for a very heavy duty diaper. We use this combo at night and we have never had a single leak!
Our waffle inserts are also a great example of balance. On the outside, a soft cotton material. On the inside, two layers of bamboo/cotton. These are very slim and so comfy for baby. This material can be placed right against baby's skin if needed. While it doesn't hold as much as our 6-layer bamboo/cotton/hemp inserts, these are still very absorbent. These work great for daytime diapers. When paired with another insert these would work awesome at night as well!
Do you already have inserts and aren't looking to purchase more? No worries! Using what you just learned, find a good balance with the materials you already have. Stack those fast absorbing materials on top of your most absorbent materials and you're good to go!
Looking to Save Some Cash?
Flower sack towels are going to be your absolute best friend. These super absorbent towels can easily be found in lots of stores and online! These are decently sized, but very thin, towels made of 100% cotton. These can be "pad folded" and used as inserts to a pocket diaper or placed inside of a waterproof cover. They can also be used as flats and wrapped around baby using any method you prefer! Being pure cotton, they have a pretty good balance of absorbency speed and capacity. Wrapping a flower sack towel around an insert is also a great night time diaper trick! These are extremely budget friendly and work great for lots of people. I personally use these quite a bit and they work great for my heavy wetter!
In summary, every child is different. It is a lot of trial and error when it comes to cloth diapering. I definitely recommend trying out different materials before investing too much into one kind of insert! I really hope you found this helpful. I am still very much learning myself, but if you ever need any help, I am always just an email or facebook message away!