Inserts go into pocket diapers and they are the absorbent core. Certain inserts can also be used inside of diaper covers.
There are a few common materials used for inserts – I’ll list these in order of affordability because I do believe cloth diapering should be as cost effective as possible. I’m also linking to my favorite of each type.
1. Microfiber inserts. Microfiber is a synthetic material and is very absorbent. Most pocket diapers on the market come with a microfiber insert when purchased brand new. The pros to microfiber is that it is affordable and absorbs a lot of liquid. The cons are that it CAN NOT be used against the babies skin (it will dry out the skin and cause rashes) and it doesn’t last quite as long as other inserts (typically 1-1.5 years of use). Also, microfiber can have compression leaks (where pressure against the insert causes liquid to come back out)
2. Bamboo inserts. Bamboo inserts are slightly pricier and come in different types. There’s the type that have bamboo on the outer layers and microfiber interior layers, and pure bamboo. The first type is most common. The perk to bamboo is that it is a natural material with some antimicrobal properties. Also, it can be placed directly against a babies skin so can be used inside or outside of a pocket or in a cover. These inserts typically last longer too 😊
3. Charcoal bamboo is similar to bamboo but has a charcoal/bamboo blended exterior. These inserts work similarly to bamboo inserts with one major pro – they are dark in color so no worries about staining.
4. Cotton inserts. Cotton or organic cotton is a great insert option. Because it is made of natural materials so like bamboo, it is not harmful against the babies skin. It also absorbs a lot of liquid and can be more trim than other insert options. The con is that they don’t absorb as quickly as microfiber, and can be expensive. Cotton is often used as a “doubler” – a thin insert meant to be used with another more absorbent insert to provide extra absorbency.
5. Hemp. Hemp inserts are the most absorbent of all inserts and can typically last through diapering several children. Inserts are sometimes made as a hemp/cotton blend or used with a cotton doubler. Hemp is most widely used as a night time diapering option and is one of the most expensive materials – but you get what you pay for!