Defining cloth diaper insert textiles and how they differ.

If you use pocket diapers the options for stuffing your diapers are pretty extensive. I’ve found with my own personal experience that if a fabric absorbs a liquid then you can stuff it into your pocket diaper. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good idea to stuff if in your pocket but that’s why we have common sense, right?

I don’t know about you but the fabric options that are out there often confuse me. I took it upon myself to figure out what was up with hemp, why so many pocket diaper retailers use microfiber and why would anyone choose bamboo fabric for an insert! I learned a lot and now you get to share in my new found knowledge. So sit back, grab a cup of joe (or tea or water or Diet Coke) and enter into the world of three popular insert fabrics with me.

Hemp:

The reason one would choose hemp is because it is a completely natural fiber that is also antimicrobial. It is incredibly trim but man can it load up on liquids. When my son was sleeping through the night (12 hours through the night) I stuffed his nighttime diaper with a hemp insert in between a microfiber insert and doubler. I had been having leaking issues and that little hemp insert did the trick!

Bamboo:

Bamboo is another all natural fabric that is known for its absorbency. I have one bamboo insert and let me tell you, it takes forever to dry! Man can it hold a lot of fluid though! Some find bamboo soft to the touch.

Microfiber:

Microfiber is a very popular fabric for pocket diaper inserts. Made from synthetic material, microfiber pulls in and holds a ton of liquid and is able to dry quickly. That cannot be said for hemp or bamboo – the drying time for both kinds of fabric is very long. The reason one wouldn’t choose to use microfiber is because it is not a natural fabric.

Really, my experience has been that the longer an insert takes to dry the more absorbent it is. I think it’s also wise to have a variety of the three above in your stash. I like hemp because it’s trim. I like bamboo because it DOES absorb so much. I like microfiber for the cost. What about you?

Elizabeth (aka Bert) Anderson married her college sweetheart in 2005, and started her journey into motherhood in 2008 with the birth of her son.  She started blogging in 2009 as a way to keep track of her thoughts on being a first time mom, especially her struggle with postpartum depression, and as a way of reaching out to other moms who are struggling with the same things.  This June, Bert had another first in her motherhood travels – a little girl!  Even though she’s newly a mother of two, Bert maintains that no matter how many children you have you will always be a “first time mom” because there’s a first time for everything!  Visit her blog, at FTM. Bert is a contributor for She Thinks Media.

Jalie Diaper Pattern

This pattern has several types of diapers in size newborn to X-Large.

I love to sew.  I learned how to sew in high school in home ec, where the teacher was one of the students mothers who had a passion for sewing, and shared that enthusiasm with the kids.  I sewed alot of my daughters clothing (she is now 22), and then later turned to quilting.  Now, I am sewing inserts, diaper bags, and diaper accessories.  I have not actually made alot of diapers though.  I have bought alot of diaper patterns though, and I plan to try and sew each and everyone one of them :)

My first one I loved so much, I had to stock it for the DIY section of the store.  It is the pattern by Jalie and it is great value.  It includes patterns for a pocket, AIO, fitted and cover.  I have tried out the pocket in this pattern so far.  I took the plunge after I saw how easy it was with the videos that Jalie had posted on youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/user/jaliepatterns

You can find most if not all of what you need to make the diapers from this pattern from the DIY section of Nappy Shoppe.

Braden wearing his Jalie pocket Diaper.

I made the pocket diaper using 2mm PUL and Microchamois.  I use the elastic that I stock in the store and I used the pre-made tabs on most of the diapers I made.  One or two of them, I cut the tabs to shape because I wanted to try out some of the coloured aplix I had on hand.  Following along with the video really helped.  I put it on my phone beside the sewing machine and paused while I did each step. 

The end result was a pocket diaper that has been in Braden’s stash for coming up a year.  I like to use it at night as it is a good sized pocket and I can fit around 3 hemp and microfiber G-Flappers in it. 

Using 2mm PUL, Microchamois, premade tabs and aplix, and elastic from the DIY section of the store.

This pattern makes cloth diapering very affordable if you have the time and the skills to put into it.  In my opinion an absolute beginner sewer may find this challenging, but if you have some good basic sewing skills, you should be able to follow this pattern and video just fine.  It helps to be familiar with your machine.  The first diaper I sewed, the thread kept breaking as I was putting in the leg elastic.  It turns out the timing was off, and the making of this diaper made this issue come to the fore, so I took the machine in to be serviced, and subsequent diapers went together without a hitch.

Rylan, at 5 pounds in the newborn pocket.

My friend Ashley has made a few diapers from this pattern too.  She started out in my sewing room trying out the pattern, but loved the pattern so had to get her own :)  She even made some of the newborn size ones, and they work great on her newborn.

She also made the largest size for her older son who is 30 pounds and it was big on him, so if you have a larger baby, this pattern will cover that size too.

Snaps vs Aplix

In the end it comes down to personal preference, rather than which is best, for snaps or aplix on diapers.  (Aplix is like velcro but better for diaper applications).

I have both aplix and snap diapers in Braden’s stash and this is what I have observed with the two types of closures.  Oh and both are way better than nappy/diaper pins!

A snap closing diaper - Rump-a-Rooz

A snap closing diaper - Rump-a-Rooz

Snaps don’t form a diaper train in the washer and dryer.  Diaper train you say?  What is that?  It is what I call the tangled mess that gets made of diapers with aplix closures when they stick to themselves, other diapers, wipes or anything else they can grab on to.  While most of Braden’s aplix diapers have “laundry tabs” to stick the aplix to, somehow some of them never stick to the tabs, but manage to stick to everything else just fine.  The train forms more readily in the dryer than the washing machine I find.  So during the summer when I line dry, I don’t have a super big problem with it.

Aplix is easier to use for many, especially casual caregivers and many dads.  This includes my husband.  He far prefers being left to watch his son with aplix closing diapers.  They are more like disposables to close.  So if you have a resistant spouse, grandparent etc to cloth diapering, aplix is in my opinion far easier for them to use.

Aplix diaper versions of the same diaper often are priced cheaper.  This is true for several of the brands I stock.  It seems alot of diaper companies price their snap versions a buck or two higher than their aplix versions.

Snap closing diapers are harder for tots to pull off.  It is very easy for a determined toddler to rip off many brands of diaper using aplix closures.  So many parents like using snaps because it is tougher for them to undo.  Although I have heard of some very dexterous tots who can master the snap too :)

Aplix Closing Diaper - Rump-A-Rooz

Aplix Closing Diaper - Rump-A-Rooz

Aplix is not as long wearing as snaps.  Aplix gets gunk in it, it curls and eventually just wears out.  I have replaced quite a bit of aplix on diapers but next to no snaps.  Snaps will last longer than the diaper fabrics themselves will.

And a final observation.  Snap diapers make my very ticklish son giggle and squirm when I do them up!  Because I need to put a finger underneath the flap of the diaper, it tickles my son’s tummy and sometimes he giggles and squirms so much its tough to do up his diaper!

As to which do I prefer personally?  Well I have not really decided either way.  I have both in Braden’s stash and I will continue to buy both.  I know that with some brands of diapers where you can choose the closure, I have found I prefer one snap closing type over another.  For instance, Rump-a-rooz, I like their snap closing version better than their aplix closing version.  They seem to fit on Braden better.  Same with the bum genius organic all in one diaper.  The snap closing one is nicer than the aplix closing one.  They no longer make the aplix closing version though.

So tell me, which one do YOU prefer.  Please post a comment. I am curious as to what others think.

Microfiber Terry

Microfiber terry fabric is great at absorbing pee! Surely not it’s inventors thinking on inventing it, but it does a great job of it. I started out with microfiber towels I got in the auto section at Walmart. They were cheap and it was a great way to get started.

I have since discovered the quality of these towels is not high. They are very thin, and it took several to do the “job” with Braden. The used ones were used in microfiber pads for my swiffer wet jet mop. I now buy high quality microfiber terry on the roll. And it is not a small roll that it comes in. Its the biggest one I get at 90 odd yards. Too big to get up the stairs when it first arrives.

So while the microfiber towels from Walmart are no longer an option in diapers for me, I did go back to get more for use in the kitchen. We do not use paper towel for clean up, and the microfiber towels do a great job cleaning the kitchen. A roll of paper towel lasts a long time in this household, it only gets used for cooking and by house guests ignorant of our efforts not to waste resources :)

Microfiber inserts on their own do not work that great with my son, but coupled with hemp fleece or bamboo fleece, they work great. They do the quick work of absorbing pee, and the fleece does the job of holding it.

There are a couple of drawbacks to microfiber besides not being a great solo act:

a) Do not put it directly against baby’s skin. It will dry out their skin as it does such a great job of pulling moisture into it. So use a protective fabric over the top like a g-liner.
b) It is prone to detergent build up more easily than other fabrics which causes it to get stinky. So inserts made of microfiber may require stripping every now and then.

I sell quite a few inserts that feature microfiber, and I also sell it by the yard. If you are sewing with it, be aware that it generates A LOT of lint, so you will need to clean your machine often. I take my serger in every month to be cleaned professionally.