So I finally made the decision. We were just talking liners, doublers, inserts, and their fabrics today. I was thinking about it and fabric choice here can be not only daunting, but overwhelming in and of itself. I’m going to try to keep it simple and to the point, but we’ll see how that goes.
Inserts, Doublers, and Liners
Doublers are thick pads you can use for extra absorbency in your diapers. You can use them on top of a diaper if you are already using pockets.
Liners are usually thin rectangular pads that go between a baby’s rear and the diaper. Some parents use them to make cleaning the poo out a little easier. They’re nice. You can make them for cheap out of a soft cotton and they are washable. Or you can get the flushable variety. It adds a bit to your cost, but can make it easier depending on your preference. Liners are also convenient when you use diaper cream as they can cause buildup and extra washing on your diapers.
This is a good time to note that you should read the instructions that come with your diapers before using any creams. There are some fabrics that rash cream can ruin. I haven’t personally run into this, but according to most of the books it is a thing.
Inserts are a layer of absorbency that is put inside of a pocket diaper. These are also called soakers. They can be made out of several different types of fabrics….which is our next topic.
So you’re going to hear a lot of fabric terms tossed around when looking at diapers and their soakers, inserts, doublers, liners, etc. Here are the ones you’ll run across most often.
Synthetic fabrics: They are excellent at keeping baby dry.
Organic: These are fabrics that are not treated with chemicals.
Bamboo: This soft and luxurious feeling fabric is both breathable and absorbent. It’s considered eco friendly due to the quick growing plant it is harvested from and doesn’t involve many (if any) insecticides to grow.
Cotton: It is a soft comfy fabric but some eco friendly moms take issue with the way it is grown and processed. It gets a bad rap, but honestly, we all have cotton in our lives and it’s still not as toxic as some of the stuff in our disposable diapers.
Organic Cotton: This cotton is grown with a lesser eco impact than regular cotton, but essentially feels the same. If you are worried about your baby being exposed to anything from regular cotton, but still want cotton, this is your choice.
PUL: Polyurethane laminated fabric. Essentially it is a fabric with waterproof backing. This is what you would want to make your wet bags out of. PUL is what is on the outside of many decorative cloth diapers (though not all). Essentially, the water doesn’t go through the fabric to get you wet, unless your wee one is leaking out around her legs at the elastic.
Wool: Wool is used in inserts, covers, and liners. Some parents like it some don’t. It will keep a baby warm and dry, but you have to be careful on the type you buy and some babies have trouble with reactions to the skin with wool. Not to mention that you have to be far more careful when washing this fabric.
Hemp: This durable fabric is known for being ultra absorbent and antimicrobial. Some parents swear that it can protect your child’s rear from fungus and bacteria. It’s also eco friendly and does not require pesticides to produce. It can both breathe and keep a baby’s bum warm in the winter. It’s not cute, but it is one of the fabrics with the most function. It only comes in its natural color. Definitely great for inserts though.
Micro Terry: You’ll see this a lot. It’s cheap and absorbent without the bulk of cotton (it takes a ton of layers of cotton to absorb pee). Most pocket diapers come with these so this is what we’ve been using though I do have some homemade wool inserts and liners. You just can’t use it as a liner. It’s so absorbent that it will pull out the skin’s natural oils. This will lead to chafing and irritation.
Polar Fleece: Most internal layers of diapers are made of this. It wicks away moisture from the skin. this means that it lets the urine through to the pad while keeping baby’s bum dry. This is part of the reason why we love our cloth diapers. With disposables we were changing diapers every time Freya got the tiniest bit wet (because it would irritate the rash caused by the same issue). Now we don’t have to change her right away and we get more out of each diaper before she even feels wet. And trust me….she lets us know when she’s wet.
Sherpa Terry: This is the fabric you find in linens and towels. You’ll also occasionally hear this word with cloth diapers though mostly in inserts.
Honestly, the best thing to do is test out a few types in the store and see what works best for you. Personally we’ve found that the One Size pockets works best for us. We have occasionally used a liner though it doesn’t really seem to make poopies any easier. Our inserts are micro fiber. My liners are cheap flannel. But take a look and figure out what will work best for you. Please don’t assume. I did that which led to making six diapers that not only cost me more to make, but that we only use as backups. I love that I did it myself, but they still aren’t as functional for us as what we later bought.
I’ll leave you with this poem from a Mom who wrote in to Changing Diapers….my book source for this post.
L- Leakpoof (mostly)
O One Size
P- Penny Pinching
E- Eco Friendly
R- Rash Free