What is a Nappy Booster?

What is a Nappy Booster?

What are nappy boosters?

Reusable nappy boosters are pieces of absorbent fabric layered in or on top of a reusable nappy stack to 'boost' absorbency. 

Note: the following terms generally mean the same thing; Nappy inserts, nappy boosters, booster pads, inserts, diaper doublers, diaper pads.
The above are all pieces of absorbent fabric which can be added to ‘boost’ absorbency in a reusable nappy system.

A critical differentiation between reusable and disposable nappies is that reusables use physics to be effective, and disposables use chemistry. Disposable nappies use super absorbent polymers (SAPs) to absorb the liquid. Reusable nappies, on the other hand, use physics; the more absorptive layers are added (in the form of boosters and inserts) the more absorbent the nappy. This is why some nighttime nappy combinations look huge - there are just lots and lots of layers!

TL;DR - Download our cloth nappy booster pad absorbency cheat sheet! Download here.

What are nappy boosters made from?

Reusable nappy boosters and inserts are available in many different materials, all of which are absorbent. Popular booster fabrics are bamboo, hemp, charcoal, polyester and microfibre. In our experience (we’re been making great nappies since 2004!), natural fabrics like bamboo and hemp make the best boosters. 

Shop our Little Lamb boosters;

Bamboo double layer booster

Bamboo triple layer booster

Bamboo trifold booster (bamboo pocket insert)

Hemp booster

Most absorbent nappy boosters? We believe, after over 20 years in the trade, that bamboo and hemp are the most absorbent boosters.

We generally advise people to avoid boosters made from microfibre as they are prone to compression leaks (leaks when baby is in a compact space like a car seat, or laying down all night in the same spot). 

Are boosters always required in reusable nappies?

No. Boosters/inserts are only *needed* in pocket nappies. If you are using terry nappies, a fitted nappy and wrap system, an all-in-one system or an all-in-two system the nappy generally has enough absorbency for a regular wetter without adding boosters. If the nappy starts to leak, this is when you should investigate whether you need more absorbency, and therefore require some boosters.

Are nappy boosters reusable?

Of course, all nappy boosters are washed and reused, time and again. This saves you money and also helps our environment as less waste is going to landfills. 

Do boosters go inside or outside a nappy?

Usually, boosters go inside the reusable nappy.

If using a pocket nappy, you can fill up the pocket with two or three boosters/inserts. If you still need more absorbency, you can then layer the boosters along the gusset of the reusable nappy, and then place a nappy liner above.

If using a fitted nappy and wrap system, you should put the boosters inside the nappy stack. However, you may find you need more absorbency for night-time; in this case you can add a nappy between the nappy and the wrap! 

Do you need boosters for newborn nappies?

This depends on what type of nappy system you are using. Pocket nappies always need a booster or insert as they are ‘nappy shells’ which require inserts/boosters to become absorbent.


Do you use boosters with terry nappies?

Yes, you can use boosters with terry nappies. In the same way, you’d layer a booster inside the nappy stack, or between the terry nappy and the wrap if the baby is a very heavy wetter.

How many boosters in a pocket nappy?

How many boosters you can use in a pocket nappy depends on how much your baby wee’s and how much room there is inside the ‘pocket’ of the nappy but usually you’d need two or three boosters per nappy. Our LittleLamb pocket nappies are super roomy so you can add two or three boosters easily, and if you run out of room but still require absorbency, you can layer extra boosters along the gusset. 

All Little Lamb onesize pocket nappies come with two bamboo boosters and our sized pocket nappies come with one bamboo insert (unless otherwise specified)

How to soften hard nappy boosters?

Sometimes bamboo boosters can get stiff. We recommend either running the boosters against each other, this friction softens the fibres nicely, or you can put the boosters in the tumble drier for 10 minutes at the end of their drying cycle to fluff up the fibres again. 

If your boosters have not softened up after either of these treatments, they might have detergent build-up so you may need to do a strip wash. This is simply washing the boosters on a regular wash and then repeating the rinse cycle on hot one or two times. 


What are liners and boosters cloth nappy?

Boosters and liners are often confused. Liners are pieces of fabric which catch the poo but let the absorbency through - this is so the baby’s skin can stay dry. Check out this blog post all about nappy liners.

When to use cloth nappy boosters?

When you need to add absorbency to the nappy; the biggest tell-tale sign that you need extra boosting in the nappy is if baby has a well fitted nappy which has started to leak - this is the physics coming into play - the nappy needs more absorbency to be able to keep the liquid from leaking out of the nappy!

You can check out this blog post all about fixing leaking reusable nappies.