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Cloth Diapering - All About Cloth Diaper Inserts

Cloth Diapering - All About Cloth Diaper Inserts

This is part 5 of our series on cloth diapering.

To see the other parts of The Nestery's ongoing series on cloth diapering, go here - 

In this blog, we learn all about cloth diapering inserts, the types of inserts and how to combine them for optimum absorption and dryness, for night and day time diapering.


What are Inserts and what are they made of?

Once you have chosen to cloth diaper, you will hear a lot about inserts.


The inserts are part of the diaper that help the diaper absorb liquids. Depending on the type of diaper, the insert will be an inbuilt part of the diaper and/or a separate part that needs to be "inserted" into the diaper to make it absorbent.


Inserts are typically covered with a layer of feel-dry material such as suede or fleece. These layers allow liquids to pass through to the insert layer while remaining dry themselves. This allows the baby's skin to be dry, while the insert absorbs the liquids. 


Inserts are made of natural and man-made materials and are used alone or in combination to manage absorbency capabilities of cloth diapers. When an additional insert is used to increase the absorbency of the diaper, it is called a booster or a doubler. Boosters and doublers are trimmer and are mostly shaped in an hour glass shape to reduce bulk around the baby's legs.


Where are inserts used?


  • Pocket diapers: In a pocket diaper, the insert(s) go into a "pocket" made of a feel-dry material. The insert(s) is held snugly behind the feel dry layer. This modular system is useful as these diapers and inserts dry quickly in a city with heavy monsoons or intense winters. To see Pocket Diapers at The Nestery, go here -


  • AIO: In an AIO, as the name suggests it's an All-In-One diaper. The insert is sewn into the diaper fully or attached at one end in the form of a tongue. The AIOs with the tongue-type inserts are more adjustable for absorbency and they also dry quickly. The AIOs also come with an additional pocket for additional inserts to increase absorbency and making them ideal night time diapering solutions. To see AIOs at The Nestery, go here -



    What are the different types of inserts?

    • Cotton/Organic cotton: Cotton is a natural fabric that is readily available and has been used as a diapering option traditionally in langots, nappies and other traditional diapering forms. It has great absorbency, but needs multiple layers for it to be truly effective. This might increase the bulk of the diaper.


    • Microfiber: This is the standard insert that comes along with most cloth diapers. It is a synthetic fibre. It is known for its quick absorbency qualities. Microfibre, although very soft, cannot touch the baby's skin as it is a potential irritant. Microfiber inserts are very affordable, but they do not last very long. After a while, microfiber has absorbency issues, stink issues, repelling issues.


    • Bamboo cotton: Bamboo is a natural fibre that has excellent absorbency capabilities. It has better absorbency than cotton or microfiber. Bamboo inserts need a lot of prep or pre-washes before they reach maximum absorbency. They are soft, and they absorb a lot and fast too. Bamboo inserts are long lasting. They are excellent when used as a booster along with other inserts.


    • Charcoal bamboo: Charcoal bamboo is a synthetic fibre made by spinning charcoal on the outside of the bamboo layers. They are black in colour. These inserts are made with microfiber layers sandwiched in between charcoal bamboo layers. These inserts come with 3 layers or 5 layers of microfiber between 2 layers of charcoal bamboo. Charcoal bamboo is a feel-dry material that can be laid against the skin of the baby. Charcoal bamboo inserts are both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal in nature.


    • Hemp: Hemp is a natural fiber. It is the most absorbent out of all the types of inserts discussed in this blog. It requires a lot of "prep" or pre-washes before it reaches maximum absorbency. It absorbs a lot but takes a long while to absorb. As a result, hemp inserts are best used in combination with microfiber or bamboo inserts. Hemp inserts are naturally trim, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Hemp inserts also take the longest to dry and so they are not a great option if you live in a city with an active monsoon or winter.




      Combinations for cloth diapering:

      • Day time diapering is fairly uncomplicated as any type of modern cloth diapers stay dry for up to 3-4 hours. The night time diapering is a bit complicated because you want the convenience of the disposable,i.e. dry baby for 8 hours with cloth diapers. This can be achieved when different inserts are used in combination.
      • Organic cotton inserts with bamboo boosters or bamboo inserts with hemp boosters are great night time solutions for cloth diapering.


      Resources: Cloth Diapering India FB group


      Hope this was useful for all you cloth diapering parents!


      Watch out for our next topic on cloth diapering next week!


      To see the other parts of The Nestery's ongoing series on cloth diapering, go here -


      To shop for cloth diapers at The Nestery, visit our Cloth Diaper Shop here -


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