Updated: May 3, 2020
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Is it an insert or a booster? It's all very confusing, they look similar, they do similar things but are called different things.
In short, these are what go inside a Pocket Nappy or snap into an All in Two to make it absorbent. Inserts tend to be the biggest in size of because they need to hold the most, they are the sole absorbency feature in these nappy types.
Some brands will include the inserts when you are purchasing the shell, others allow you to purchase the shell and inserts separately. With this, I prefer the latter, in the beginning so I could choose the insert which best suited us and now because I have plenty of inserts (and nappies) so I’m only really buying for the prints.
Very similar to inserts although often smaller because they are designed to offer additional absorbency rather than be the sole wee catcher . Boosters and inserts can be used interchangeably but you may find some inserts too big to be used as a booster and vice versa.
With both, you generally find four main fabrics to choose from:
Generally speaking, bamboo and hemp are the most absorbent but can be slow to absorb. Although don’t be fooled by appearances and always check the make-up of the booster/insert because they are often cut with cotton or microfibre meaning not all are created equal.
Cotton and microfibre absorb nice and quickly but don't always hold as much. Equally, there are some magic microfibre inserts out there that will stand up to some bamboo or hemp ones.
I’ve mentioned the absorption speeds for good reason, some parents of older babies can find that they are getting leaks but the whole of the insert isn’t damp. This is known as a flood, as your child grows they learn to hold their wees like we do and let them out in one go, some of the slower to absorb fabrics can’t keep up and it will escape out the sides of the nappy.
Why am I telling you about leaks in a post about inserts and boosters? Because this is where I love cloth nappies, most often the answer to most leaks isn’t buying all new nappies but by making small tweaks to the inserts and/or boosters.
If you are finding you need to add extra boosters to a nappy to prevent leaks, or to make it last longer, consider the advice above. For longevity, add a bamboo or hemp booster, to prevent flooding, add cotton or microfibre. Always add your quickest absorbing booster on top and the most absorbent underneath, although don’t put microfibre right next to the skin (inside a pocket nappy or using a fleece liner in between will be fine).