|My collection of wet bags, packed and ready to go.|
I ended up deciding that I'd take our cloth stash, and if using cloth wasn't working out, I'd go out and buy a small pack of disposables and call it a successful try anyway. I figured that once we got there, cloth diapering wouldn't be any extra work than it is at home. My main concern was what we would do for the travel days, as being on the plane with only cloth diapers made me a little nervous. Turns out, I didn't have anything to worry about. I had heard others' accounts of having major blow-outs on the airplane (due, in part, to the pressure changes) and other such horror stories. For that reason, I brought a few disposables along with us in our carry-on, just in case we ran out of clean cloth and needed a back-up.
Leavin' On a Jet Plane
On the morning of our flight, I put Daniel in a cloth diaper, and packed three more in our travel-size wet bag. I also packed a few extra inserts for re-stuffing after pees. I ended up using only one of the extra insert on the plane. I have a wet bag with a dry pocket on the front (Planet Wise brand) which I love. It's incredibly convenient to store the clean diapers, wipes, and rolled-up changing pad in the front pocket, and then just put the dirty diapers in the back pocket. The bag kept me from having to lug the bulkier diaper bag back and forth from the airplane lavatory, too, which was a bonus.
The flight attendants, however, were very helpful. They showed me how to fold down the changing table, even though I already knew how to do it. Several of them also tried to push plastic bags on me for disposing of dirty diapers. It took a lot of convincing for a couple of them to understand that I was using cloth diapers, and that I would absolutely not be throwing them away!
When it was time to change Daniel, I put him in the Ergo and grabbed the wet bag. I thought airplane lavatories felt small when I was pregnant, but they feel much smaller when there are two breathing people in there. The photograph above was taken with my back pressed up against the door as far back as I could go. It was pretty darn tiny! I definitely recommend having a changing pad to put down on the fold-down changing table surface, as you never know what's on those things. If you have a cloth one like ours that can roll up small and fit in your bag—that's even better. As it is, Daniel scooted up above ours so his head was on the table, but it still protected most of him from whatever was left from all the other babies who've been changed there before. (Gross.)
I intentionally dressed Daniel in a onesie with baby leggings, to facilitate diaper changes. I also didn't put any shoes on him, and generally tried to keep the clothing simple, so there was less to mess with throughout the day. I basically just changed his diaper as I usually would when we're away from home, and returned to our seat. It was no big deal—just a little extra cramped in the lavatory compared to a regular public restroom. I didn't end up having to use any disposables on the airplane. Daniel also didn't happen to poop on our travel days, so that made it much easier.
Arrival at Our Destination
|Our diaper-changing station (From top left: stuffed diapers, |
flushable wipes, flushable liners, Bac-Out, laundry supplies,
dirty laundry bag. Middle left: extra inserts, changing pad.
Bottom left: hanging wet bag)
I set up a diaper changing area in the room where Daniel and I were staying with all the things I needed there. I used a large hanging wet bag for the dirty diapers. The hanging wet bags from Planet Wise have a large dry pocket in front (just like the smaller to-go version) where I stored all my clean diapers when I packed them in the suitcase. If it had been a shorter trip, I wouldn't have unpacked the clean diapers from the hanging bag. Instead, I would have pulled a clean one out and put a dirty one back every time I changed Daniel, as I do with the wet bag in our diaper bag. I brought flushable "toddler" wipes instead of cloth, which is what we normally use at home. I used flushable paper liners for poops, and we did elimination communication (EC) part-time, so I ended up having only one dirty (poop) diaper to wash while I was there.
We were staying with relatives, so, fortunately, I was able to use their washing machine and dryer. I did diaper laundry twice while I was there (same as I would have at home). I tried to mimic my washing routine as closely as possible, as I know it works well for us. At home, I normally do a cold rinse with no spin, then a hot/cold wash with an extra rinse, since we have a HE washer that needs to be tricked to use extra water. The home where I was staying similarly had a HE washer, so it was easy to maintain a similar washing schedule and routine.
If you're traveling somewhere where you won't have access to a free washer and dryer, check out Hobo Mama's tips for cloth diapering for apartment dwellers. Most of her tips can be easily adapted to apply to traveling with cloth: using laundromats, hand washing, line drying, etc. If you're going somewhere where you'll be staying in a hotel, look for one with laundry facilities. Keep in mind whenever you use public laundry facilities that others have probably used scented detergents and fabric softeners in the machines before you got there. Consider doing a load or two of your family's clothes with a fragrance-free detergent and no fabric softener before you do your diaper laundry, to prevent them from getting coated with detergent build-up from previous users.
Top Traveling Tips:
- Try to streamline your diaper bag, especially if you're traveling by airplane. If you have a small wet bag with a front dry pocket, use that for trips to the lavatory to change your baby's diaper.
- Bring a compact changing pad with you for your trip.
- Bring a large, reliable wet bag, preferably a hanging wet bag with a clean (dry) pocket on the front.
- Use flushable liners and wipes to make cleaning up poop easier.
- Practice EC, if that's something you already do at home.
- If you feel comfortable doing so, re-stuff your pocket diapers after pees, it'll stretch out a smaller stash and keep you from having to wash as often.
- Try to mimic your at-home washing routine as best you can when you're away from home.
- Cloth diapering is not all or nothing! If using disposables on the plane or at night time makes it easier to use cloth for the rest of your trip, do it. You never have to feel guilty about deciding to use a few disposables because you're going out of town. Traveling with a baby is tricky enough without being hard on yourself about your diaper choices.
- Be gentle and patient with yourself!
Have you traveled with cloth diapers? What are some of your best tips/tricks for being away from home with cloth? I'd love to learn some new things from you!