Getting started with reusable nappies can seem overwhelming at first, not least because of all the jargon and terminology.
This beginner's guide will help break down some terms and answer some common questions...
What is an insert?
As you can see in the image below, an insert is basically a pad of absorbent material that you place in your nappy. With some nappies they are the sole source of absorbency (e.g. pocket nappies) and with other types of nappy they are used to enhance the absorbency already built-in. To use them you simply put them in the nappy when needed and take them out before you store them for washing.
What is a booster?
A booster is effectively the same as an insert but is often slightly smaller. This is because it’s not meant to provide the main absorption for your nappy, just boost it, hence the name!
Insert types and materials
Inserts and boosters come in a range of shapes and size, this is mostly down to personal preference as the size/shape don't change the function. However, the materials used in cloth nappy inserts does make a significant difference to how they perform! The main materials are Bamboo, Hemp, Cotton and Microfibre. Each has different qualities. The two main qualities people are interested in are the speed of absorbency (i.e. how fast the material absorbs liquid) and how absorbent the material is (i.e. how much liquid it holds). Probably easiest to demonstrate how the different materials compare in the form of an infographic...
Which type of insert is best?
A frequently asked question but can be a hard one to answer, as it depends what you want from your reusable nappies. But generally speaking, the most sought after materials are Bamboo and Hemp, as they combine the most desirable characteristics.
Just a note...
Often an insert/booster will be made out of a combination of materials to enhance what the main material lacks (e.g. Hemp/Cotton combinations). This is usually clearly stated.
However, sometimes it is not stated, or is misleading. For example, the insert is advertised as a premium material like bamboo, but actually they’re full of a much cheaper material like microfibre instead! So always check the composition before buying.