Choosing an Insert

‘Inserts’ is what we call the absorbent part of the cloth diaper, because it is inserted into the waterproof shell. All inserts can be used in all types of diaper shells — you don’t have to match the right insert with the right diaper shell (although a lot of people do, because matchy-matchy is satisfying).

To prepare a diaper for use, you basically have to...

  1. Snap down the rise snaps until they fit your baby
  2. Fold the insert until it fits inside the diaper (put the thicker part at the front, because that’s where baby will wee!)
  3. Put the insert inside the diaper.
  4. Done!

Typical Types of Inserts

Insert: A long, rectangular, multi-layered cloth that fits the width of the diaper. You often will have to fold the insert because it is longer than the diaper.


Flat: A square, single-layer cloth. You can either fold the flat into a rectangle that fits your diaper (we call this ‘padfold’), or you can fold it in fancy cloth origami shapes and wrap it around your baby’s bum (think of the nappies your grandma used).

Trifold / Prefold
: A square, multi-layered cloth. The name ‘trifold’ comes from the fact that you have to fold it 3 times before it will fit the width of the diaper. The name ‘prefold’ comes from the fact that the prefold is essentially a flat that has been folded into a smaller square and then stitched together. Trifolds and prefolds are REALLY similar, just that prefolds are usually thicker and softer.

: This is actually just a regular insert, but it’s thinner and smaller in size. You aren’t supposed to use it alone in the diaper - you’re supposed to add it to other inserts already in the diaper to give the diaper a boost in absorbency. Most people don’t need to use the boosters until their child is older and peeing more.

Back to Top

Choosing a shell

Using the cloth diaper