Inserts/boosters are the absorant part of the nappy used in pocket nappies or ai2 (all in two), can also be used to boost absorancy of ai1 (all in one) nappies.
There are 5 main types of inserts, microfiber, cotton, bamboo and hemp. All have their pros and cons
• Microfibre is man-made fibers and cannot go directly against babies bum. Microfibre has very fast absorbancy but prone is to compression leaks, think of a washing up sponge. Microfibre is one of the fastest drying inserts.
• Charcoal/microfiber mix is again fast to absorb and fast to dry. The charcoal helps to contain smells and reduce staining.
• Cotton is a natural fibre, still quite fast to absorb but less likely to have compression leaks unlike Microfibre. Slower to dry than Microfibre but still fairly quick drying time.
• Bamboo is made from natural fibres, has a medium drying time and is slower to absorb than cotton and microfiber. Bamboo holds it shape very well even after washing and is less likely to shrink. One of the more popular choices of inserts and also one of the most sustainable choices as bamboo grows fairly quick.
• Hemp is made from natural fibres, is slow to absorb and slow to dry but very sustainable. Hemp does takes up to 10 washes to reach maximum absorbency, so be sure to pair with another booster such as bamboo until then to prevent leaks. Once it’s been washed enough Hemp is extremely thirsty. Hemp is likely to shrink so when you take it out the washing machine give the inserts a stretch and pull before they dry.
• Natural fibre inserts can get quite rough, if you rub them together it releases the fibres and makes them soft again alternatively you can tumble dry on low but it's not recommended to do this regularly
There is no right or wrong way with what combination of inserts to use. Below I have provided some examples of combinations
• Microfibre on top and hemp underneath
This is a great combination for flooding (when baby/toddler does a big wee) as the Microfibre catches all the wee quickly and then the hemp underneath starts slowly catching the overflow so will prevent any leaks
• Bamboo and hemp: great for heavy wetters as they are slow to absorb but also hold alot of wee they are also the most sustainable choices of inserts.
• Cotton and bamboo: great for heavy wetters, the cotton absorbs fast but less likely to have compression leaks and the bamboo is a great booster catching more wee as slower to absorb
One the most popular combinations you will find that come with nappies are inserts that are a bamboo and Microfibre mix. Some people will still use an additional bamboo or hemp booster to catch any compression leaks from the microfibre