In the past, I’ve indicated that I do have a bit of a bias against “China Cheapies.” Sure, they come in some cute prints, but they’re cheap for a reason. Some people have sworn by the wonders of an Alva Baby insert… but I wasn’t convinced. I decided that the best way to determine how good or not good Alva Baby inserts are is to do an absorbency test.
I try to make my absorbency test experiments as fair, scientific, and unbiased as possible. I start with the dried and prepped inserts. I weigh them dry, then soak them in 4 liters of water for two minutes. After they’ve soaked, I hold them up to drip for 60 seconds. Then I weigh the inserts again. Finally, I gently squeeze the inserts to simulate compression and then weigh a final time. The only area of potential variability is that I’m compressing by hand, so I can’t guarantee that I’m doing the same level of wringing each time.
I do all of my weighing in metric, but convert to imperial. I also do everything by weight because 1 gram = 1 milliliter of water. That makes it a lot easier for me to tell, by volume, how much liquid an insert holds.
Microfiber Alva Baby Insert
A microfiber Alva Baby insert is the standard insert that comes with most Alva Baby diapers. If you order from a co-op, of course, you’ll have different options, including ordering extras and so forth. If, however, you were to order a single microfiber Alva Baby insert from the Alva website, it would cost $1.88.
dry weight: 43 grams
60 second drip weight: 288 grams (245 mL of water, or just over 8.28 ounces)
squeezed weight: 220 grams (177 mL of water, or 5.98 ounces… nearly 3/4 of a cup)
4 Layer Blend Alva Baby Insert
A four layer blend Alva Baby insert is an “upgrade” insert. It is two layers of bamboo on the outside with two layers of microfiber on the inside. To purchase this insert from the Alva Baby website is currently $3.00.
dry weight: 51 grams
60 second drip weight: 282 grams (231 mL of water, or a little over 7.8 ounces)
squeezed weight: 225 grams (174 mL of water, or 5.88 ounces)
3 Layer Bamboo Alva Baby Insert
A three layer bamboo Alva Baby insert is the top tier “upgrade” insert. It’s three layers of 100% bamboo. It seems to be a bamboo rayon. This insert is also currently $3.00 on the AlvaBaby website.
dry weight: 54 grams
60 second drip weight: 245 grams (191 mL of water, or 6.45 ounces)
squeezed weight: 213 grams (159 mL of water, or nearly 5.38 ounces… which is 2/3 of a cup)
In a Nutshell
Sure, some people like the bamboo and blend inserts… but I can’t for the life of me figure out why. They cost more money. They don’t hold as much. And the blend inserts bunch. Personally, if I’m going to use an Alva Baby diaper, I’m going to stick with the microfiber. It, at least, performs as well as other microfiber inserts in that size range.
Do you use Alva Baby inserts? What’s your preference?