pockets with different inserts 

Pocket cloth diapers are a popular choice among families getting their feet wet in the cloth diaper arena. One of the reasons for this is because once their stuffed they work much like a disposable diaper- easy on, easy off. These diapers consist of a waterproof shell usually lined with a non-absorbing microfleece or similiar fabric. There is an opening, usually at the back of the diaper where an absorbent insert can be placed inside. 

Pocket diapers are often sold with the inserts included. Depending on your needs, you can stuff your pockets with a combination of inserts or switch them out for a completely different material all together! That's the beauty of pockets... you can stuff them with whatever you wish! 


Many pockets come with two microfiber inserts, a newborn size and a larger one-size insert. Once baby has outgrown the newborn insert, it can be used in combination with the one-size insert for extra absorbency at nighttime or for heavy wetters. Most babies who have outgrown their newborn inserts do fine using the one size insert by itself for day to day use.


The reason why microfiber is often chosen as the stock insert is because it is very absorbent and inexpensive so it doesn't jack up the cost of the diaper. However, there are a few reasons why someone might want to swap out their microfiber inserts for another material. Because of the structure of the individual strands that make up microfiber material, they tend to be prone to build up over time, which can lead to a little something known as microfiber stink. Whether or not you'll have trouble with microfiber can depend on different factors... your water type, your washer type, how much or little detergent and/or water you're using...    


That said, not everyone will have trouble with microfiber, and some love it. For those who do have trouble with it, a good stripping and wash routine tweeking can help keep potential issue with microfiber at bay. But if you ARE having issues with microfiber and you're thinking about giving up on your pockets, you have other options!



 hemp insert


For heavy wetters, hemp inserts are a great choice. Although being very trim, hemp absorbs a lot! It also has a lower impact on the enviroment than other types of materials, not requiring the need for pesticides or heavy watering. It has a bit of a rougher texture than other inserts, but can still be used against baby's skin. It is often blending with cotton to make it softer. 


Hemp can be used alone or in combination with microfiber. Microfiber absorbs quickly, like a sponge, but when oversaturated compression leaks can occur. The pressure from your baby sitting on a soaked insert can squish liquid out. If you're having this issue, try placing hemp underneath the microfiber insert inside your pocket. The microfiber quickly absorbs wetness and pulls it down to the hemp insert below for slower, but more long term absorbency without adding a lot of bulk.

rayon from bamboo insert

Rayon from bamboo is another great option for heavy wetters. It is relatively trim and very absorbent. You may have heard rayon from bamboo being referred to as a "natural" fabric, but the kind used in cloth diaper inserts is not really natural. Like hemp, bamboo grows quickly with little to no pesticides and without the need for heavy watering, but to make it into fabric, it is heavily processed. It's essentially a synthetic fiber (rayon) made from bamboo. Inserts or prefolds made with rayon from bamboo are typically very soft to the touch and can be used against baby's skin. Like hemp, bamboo rayon can also be used in combination with microfiber to add more absorbency. It's a great option for overnights!


trifolded prefold


For those having issues with buildup on synthetic inserts, natural fibers may be a good solution. Unlike microfiber, cotton fibers are smooth, making them less likely to trap detergent or minerals from hard water which can cause trouble with leaking and stink. A cotton prefold can be tri-folded and stuffed into a pocket diaper like an insert. Because prefolds quilt up after being washed, they tend to have a sort of bumpy appearance to them, which you may notice when stuffed in a pocket, but it doesn't effect its function. Some prefolds are blended with hemp or bamboo to make them even more absorbent, making them a great option for nighttime and heavy wetters.


padfolded flat

Like a tri-folded prefold, a pad-folded flat is a great option for those having issues with buildup. Because flats are only one layer of usually cotton fabric they wash very easily! They can even be washed easily by hand and dry quickly, making flats a great option for those without access to a washer and dryer. Unlike a tri-folded prefold, a pad-folded flat will have a smooth appearance inside a pocket.

Just because it comes with that particular insert doesn't mean your stuck with it. Basically, if it absorbs, you can stuff it in a pocket!



Stephanie Beck is a busy mama of four. She enjoys being outdoors and spending time with her family. Stephanie started her blog, Apron Strings Attached, because she wanted to share her experiences with raising kids, breastfeeding struggles and success, and cloth diapering. She now enjoys blogging about life in cloth diapers for TGN.

*Although I am compensated for my time writing, all opinions are 100% my own.

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What's in your pocket???