A Lil about our Cloth Diaper Inserts

Charcoal? Bamboo? Cotton? What’s the difference between Lilhelper.ca’s Cloth Diaper Inserts?

A lot, actually.

Welcome to another edition of the randomly appearing…..

….Tales from Lil Helper Customer Delight Email Pile…

I see notes like these every day (well, almost every day).




Charcoal Inserts

Close-Up of a Charcoal Insert
Close-Up of a Charcoal Insert

We first introduced the Charcoal diapers as a response to babies with horrible diaper rash. While all the inserts have their merits, when it comes to wicking moisture away from a suffering baby’s bum, Charcoal is what you need.

Charcoal wicks. They are designed to be changed frequently, to help your poor rashed baby recover as quickly as possible. And with diligent use of our Charcoal inserts, that should be in about two days.

Bamboo and Cotton Inserts

Close-Up of a Cotton Insert
Close-Up of a Cotton Insert

And you thought we just did Bamboo , right? Nope! Cotton inserts are alive and well here at Lil Helper.

The Cotton inserts are made with two outer layers of unbleached cotton. Interior layers (three of them) are micro fleece. Combined, these Cotton inserts will suck up at least 180 mL.

The Bamboo inserts are similarly made. Outer layers of bamboo, inner layers of micro fleece.

Close-Up of a Bamboo Insert
Close-Up of a Bamboo Insert

What’s the difference? For these two inserts, it’s ultimately a question of personal choice. Some prefer Bamboo, others, Cotton. Some find one softer than the other. Some prefer Bamboo because it grows like crazy and is an environmentally friendly fibre. For some, bamboo is the new Cotton.

Others are more comfortable with a fiber they grew up on: Cotton. Breathable. Absorbent. Quick to dry.

When it comes to absorbency, both are winners.

When to Use Which Cloth Diaper Insert

One of the biggest “leak” problems that comes the way of the Lil Helper Customer Delight Service is the issue of leaking Charcoal diapers—usually from the legs and tummies. If it’s coming from the middle of the diaper, that may be another issue. Generally people are surprised the Charcoal diapers “leaked” when the inserts don’t feel “full”. The fact is, they aren’t “full” in the literal sense. They’ve done their job, but it’s the wicking job, not the absorbing job you were possibly expecting.

This may leave you asking, if we don’t have rash issues, why would we use charcoal? The simple fact is that at some point in time, nearly every baby experiences some sort of rash, whether due to diapering issues, illness, or just having eaten something very acidic. So let’s tackle rash first.


Baby with a burning bum? You want Charcoal
Baby with a burning bum? You want Charcoal

It bears repeating: the big thing to remember about using Charcoal inserts over Cotton or Bamboo inserts is the wicking. The Charcoal  inserts are specifically designed to pull moisture away from your baby.

That means more frequent changing (the inserts also aren’t as thick as Bamboo or Cotton) because the wicked moisture will naturally comes to rest on the inside cover of the diaper… and eventually wick to the edges and voila! The diaper “leaks.”

What you need to know: Use Charcoal for rashes, when you need that wicking, and remember to change your baby more frequently.

Heavy Wetters

There are a few choices here. Both the Cotton and Bamboo inserts are thirsty thirsty thirsty. You want Bamboo or Cotton inserts to use as “soakers”.

For heavy wetters (who may rash or just want to get through a nap without feeling wet), consider a combination of the smaller Charcoal insert on top of a Bamboo or Cotton larger insert. I cleverly call this “The Combo” (alright, not terribly clever, but very functional!).

The moisture will be wicked away by the Charcoal, to the absorbent Cotton or Bamboo insert, thus minimizing the opportunity for leaking/wicking to the edges of the diaper.

Overnight / Naps

Overnight Insert
Lil Helper Overnight Insert (diaper shell sold separately)

Try our Overnight inserts which NOT ONLY are Charcoal (to wick away, so your baby doesn’t feel wet at night) but ALSO they have extra absorbency layers within the covers. The bottom of the larger insert is lined with waterproof PUL, which means there’s little or no wicking to the edges of the diaper, therefore out the legs or up the tummy.


To cloth diaper or not cloth diaper the Newborn, that is the question.

And the answer is “yes, it CAN and HAS been done.” I cloth diapered my guys from day one (and the first day one, I had NO laundry facilities). So it’s doable. That doesn’t mean you need feel guilty if you didn’t, can’t, or won’t. We don’t thrive on guilt here. I’m just letting you know it’s possible. I have seen, personally, 7-pounders rock our diapers. Oops, here’s one now.

Newborn S.J. in his Lil Helpers
Newborn S.J. in his Lil Helpers

While some babies don’t mind the bulk of two inserts, other do. It’s personal choice, really. If you use one insert (the smaller), please be prepared to change your baby very frequently. Those sweet little creatures are Nature’s Perfect Fountains.

For absorbency, you can’t beat Cotton or Bamboo. For rashing, you want some Charcoal. Because the Charcoal insert is somewhat less bulky than Cotton or Bamboo, you may get away with “The Combo” for a newborn. You baby and the Charcoal will “feel” dry though, so check the lower Bamboo or Cotton insert to see if it’s time for a change.

Have any questions, or something to add? Drop us a comment or email us at delight <at> lilhelper <dot> ca.

And last but NOT least… a video of our Chief Doo Doo Office (well, his email signature reads “Chief of Everything Officer”) Mohammed Gandhi, showing and telling a bit about what’s in Lil Helper’s inserts.

WARNING: Those of you who are sleepy may miss some good stuff. Just sayin’…. We like to have fun here.