Thursday, February 17, 2011

Listen to Leslie: What exactly are diaper liners and how do you use them?

Today's Listen to Leslie question is a great one!  Diaper terminology can be so confusing.  Inserts and doublers, liners, micrfiber vs/ microfleece, hybrids, pockets, aio's...yeesh!  If you're new to diapering there are surely a lot of interchangeable terms and phrases that can confuse even the most educated consumer.

Question:  I've heard of liners, flushable, washable, and built in liners.  I don't really understand the difference and how they work or whether or not I really need them?  Can you help?

Answer:  Liners can be totally confusing and I definitely understand how their different applications and styles could overwhelm you.  Lets address the different types of liners and frequent issues that arise.
  • Bidegradable/Flushable Liners are similar in feel to a soft tissue paper.  They are often sold in rolls or sheets and you lay them inside your babies diaper in order to help catch some of the soiling and make diaper washing easier.  At the changing you'll take the diaper to the toilet and best case scenario, the poo is mostly stuck to the liner which you can peel off and flush down the toilet.  The diaper will still need washing as usual but may not require as much effort as it would if you hadn't used the liner.
  • Microfleece Liners are similar to the flushable liners but made out of a stay-dry microfleece fabric which will keep baby feeling dry as well as catch the majority of the poo.  The difference is that they do need to be washed.  Since they're heavily soiled many moms wash liners separately, especially if they used a diaper ointment or cream with them.
  • Built in liners are specifically designed to keep baby feeling dry.  In a pocket diaper such as BumGenius or Knickernappies the inside of the diaper IS the liner. The interior of diapers, especially pocket diapers and AIO's, are usually microsuede or microfleece which are synthetic and keep baby feeling dry which helps prevent rashes.
  • No liners?  Some diapers like fitteds or prefolds are simply cotton or bamboo, hemp, etc.  They have no liner and this is where it becomes your choice if you'd like to use one.  You can try diapering without liners but keep a close eye, liners help keep the moisture off the skin and if you see a rash developing then most likely you'll need to invest in some.
  • Does microfiber need a liner?  Since all babies are different this is a tough question.  A lot of moms are able to use diaper covers with microfiber inserts inside and no barrier or liner between the baby and the microfiber, with no problems at all.  However many complain of severe rash or irritation occurring when using microfiber without a stay dry liner.  I suggest that you try this with caution and watch for irritation.  If you already know that your baby has sensitive skin then I would definitely suggest sticking to diapers or inserts that have a stay-dry liner or buy them individually to use as needed.
 I hope this post has been informative and has helped clear up any questions you may have had. Please leave a comment with any future questions you'd like to see addressed in upcoming Listen to Leslie posts.


  1. Flushable liners changed our lives! When we started cloth diapering over 6 years ago, we didn't use them and getting poo off a diaper was messy. We found flushable liners and things couldn't be easier! We absolutely love them! Some brands you can actually wash and reuse the ones that were only pee'd on! Extra money savings!!

  2. We use Fuzzibunz on our 2 year old boy and 2 month old girl. I love love love using flushable liners for the 2 year old. I know about when he will poo and i usually only put a liner in right before that happens. I haven't felt the newborn needed liners but maybe i'll try it!
    I like to believe that cloth diapering helps a parent work harder to help their children potty train. As a cloth diapering parent you just work harder to clean up some messes! It's great motivation to help that potty training along!