Which booster is right for your baby? - Baba+Boo

Which booster is right for your baby?

Nappies should be - and are - simple. And that includes booster and insert combinations. Right now, we’re seeing daily questions, worries and some interesting ‘advice’ floating about the internet regarding boosters and inserts. And lots of the discussion focuses on the latest way to fail as a parent - putting the ‘wrong’ insert next to your baby’s bum.


To start at the beginning, inserts are the absorbent part of the cloth nappy. They sit inside the pocket of the nappy. Inserts and boosters are exactly the same -  it’s just two names for the one thing. They come in a few different materials, all of which act in a slightly different way, but basically do one thing - absorb wee.

At Baba+Boo, all our nappies include two bamboo mix inserts - and for most children that is all you will ever need in a day time nappy. Simple.

However, there are a few occasions when your bamboo just isn't cutting it:

  • The boosters are soaked through, so you need to change the nappy more frequently than you would like.

  • You're using your nappies at night. (There are some families who only need bamboo inserts at night, but these are a minority.)

  • You have a toddler who is near to potty training.

So what's the difference between the types of insert?

Bamboo Mix

Bamboo mix boosters are our 'go to' booster - they're what you'll get as standard when you buy any of our newborn or one size nappies. Bamboo are quick to absorb and hold a fair bit of liquid, despite their slim size - so all in all, the perfect day time insert for most babies.


Charcoal are often a go-to for night time nappies or super-wetters.

Our charcoal boosters are made with two layers of charcoal bamboo fleece and three layers of bamboo, which makes them super-absorbent AND super-slim.


The first time you use hemp can be a 'where have you been all my life?' moment. Thin and juicy is a pretty accurate description! Their fantastic absorbency makes them a firm favourite for night time nappies. They’re not as fast to dry as charcoal - they take about the same amount of time as bamboo. They are also useful when toddlers get near potty training and hold their wee for longer, as they absorb quickly.

You can read a full product review of our hemp boosters here: Hemp inserts, you're my new best friend. Buy now here.

Slim Bamboo Inserts

Sometimes your little one might need an insert that is a bit slimmer because the thicker inserts are compromising fit. If that is the case, then these are the inserts for you.  Made from two layers of bamboo, Bamboo Boosters are super slim and super soft too. They will provide an absorbent backup to other inserts without adding bulk.


Night time - what’s the right booster combination?

Unfortunately, there is no ‘right’ answer. There is a myth that you can’t use pocket nappies overnight - the vast majority of Baba+Boo parents will tell you that is tosh. But getting the right combination for your baby is trial and error. For night time we would say:

  • Combinations that include hemp or charcoal are most likely to be successful.

  • We don’t recommend using more than three boosters - if you can’t find a combination of hemp, bamboo and charcoal that works then you probably need to look for a different solution.

  • The Axel technique - where you wrap one insert around the other - is a little piece of genius. It’s especially effective for boys - for girls simply move the wrapped booster so it’s nearer the middle.

    One insert or two?

    When your baby is teeny tiny, you will normally only need to use one insert, which should last up to four hours. Once your baby starts to grow and you find the nappy is not lasting as long, it's time to add the other insert.

    It sounds odd, but using two inserts when baby is small can cause leaks - it makes the nappy too big for baby, so you can’t get a good fit around the legs.

    ‘Closest to the bum’ - myth or reality?

    All of a sudden, it seems like putting the ‘wrong’ booster next to the bum has become a Parenting Faux Pas Extraordinaire.

    The reality is that unless you are struggling with ‘flood’ leaks (or you’re a nappy librarian!), then this really isn’t something you need to be thinking about.

    Flood leaks

    There comes a time when your little one stops weeing on you every time you change his nappy. (Honestly.) The time arrives when your toddler begins to hold their wee, and then let it all out in one big flood. Bamboo will deal with this in most cases, but if it’s not quite cutting it then it’s worth trying The Axel - and/or putting a hemp booster ‘closest to the bum’. (Our ‘hemp’ boosters are a mix of hemp and quick absorbing organic cotton.) Signs of flooding are:

    • Age (bladder muscles mature between 18 months and three years).

    • You’re getting leaks - and big ones at that - even when the inserts are not soaked through

    • You’re pretty confident it isn’t a fit issue.

    What about liners?

    Liners sit on the top of the nappy (not in the pocket) and catch any poo. This makes cleaning easier and protects your nappy from stains. Fleece liners do help pull moisture away from baby and help with speed of absorption - but we’ve designed our nappies to include a layer of supersoft fleece that achieves this effect. Our biodegradable, disposable liners are great for out and about.

    Mix and match

    Many parents will always use the two bamboo boosters provided and never have any problems. However, all babies are different so finding the right combination for you can be trial and error. Mixing boosters is often the sweet spot - for instance one bamboo with one or two hemp at night; or wrapping a bamboo insert around a charcoal insert for night time. Our Mixed Booster Bundle is a great way to try out different combinations.

    We have a brilliant group of cloth nappy mad parents on our Facebook Hangout. If you have any questions about boosting nappies, ask there and you will get a ton of advice.

    *This post was originally written in May 2017 and updated in May 2020.

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    Hi Sangeetha, We don’t do this because, odd as it sounds, capacity in ml isn’t a good measure of a booster. Different materials react in different ways and different children wee in different ways (eg some boosters absorb quickly, some slowly) so boosters with the same capacity will act totally differently, even if they have the same ‘on paper’ capacity. And that’s not even getting into how absorbency increases and decreases with pre-washing etc! Hope that helps.


    would be good if you mention the capacity in ml of each booster.

    sangeetha desu

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