Welcome to the First Annual Freedom of Cloth Carnival
This post was written for inclusion in the Freedom of Cloth Carnival hosted at Natural Parents Network by Melissa of The New Mommy Files and Shannon of The Artful Mama. This year’s carnival will run from Sunday, July 3rd through Saturday, July 9th. Participants are sharing everything they know and love about cloth diapering, including how cloth has inspired them.
This time last year, I embarked on a two month long journey with my then five month old, cloth diapered daughter. Our trip was to include a sixteen hour flight to our first destination, a few two-three hours flights between states, and another sixteen hour flight home. While traveling, we were to stay in three different homes and one hotel. While planning for this trip, I got a great deal of advice saying things like: “Use disposables!” “You would be crazy to attempt cloth!” “Don’t make things needlessly hard on yourself. Disposables will make your trip so much easier!”
Clearly none of the people giving this advice knew me terribly well, because if they had, they would have known that I could take it as nothing other than a challenge. It was a challenge I took very seriously, too. I gathered my supplies and packed carefully for this epic adventure of traveling with cloth diapers.
Thanks to careful preparation, I managed to make the day and a half long journey to my first destination without leak or blowout. I even got some elimination communication in on the plane. It was a breeze. What I wasn’t sure of, however, was how I would do laundry. Fortunately, as they often do, things fell into place nicely and we didn’t have any issues, but I learned a few things along the way that will surely make it easier in the future. These are the main things I will consider in the future:
Which Diapers to Bring
Most people seem to travel with a simplified version of their diaper stash. If you’re short on space, this is probably the way to go, while more or less unlimited space (if, say, traveling by car) could allow you to pack all of your diapers and worry less about frequent washings. Personally, I relied a lot on prefolds and trainers while traveling as both took up little space and washed and dried quickly, but I brought a lot so that I could get away with washing every 3-4 days. Traveling may be a time to avoid wool and other items that require special care in washing, for simplicity’s sake. It all depends on where you’re going, for how long, and what facilities you’ll have available.
Dirty Diaper Storage
My first concern was what I would do with the dirty diapers while away from my regular pail system. I remembered seeing soft, hanging pails while shopping in the past, so I did a search and found the Planet Wise Wet/Dry Bag. This option ended up working really well as our travel pail and I would highly recommend something similar. I love that it zipped and was therefore great at holding in odors, but a pail liner with a drawstring would do the trick, too.
I also brought a small bottle of lavender essential oil to use as a deodorizer. I put a few drops on a cloth wipe and kept that in the wet bag to keep odors at bay.
If you’re planning to do a lot of day trips where you’ll be outside your hotel or room, a generously sized wet bag in addition to what you would normally keep in your purse or diaper bag is advisable, too. I found that the smaller sized Planet Wise wet/dry bag
was great to hold one day’s worth of diapers. I kept an even smaller wet bag for individual diaper changes, and transferred that to the larger bag when/if needed.
Naturally, when traveling with cloth diapers one needs to find a place to do a bit of laundry. If you’re not visiting friends or family members who you can simply ask for the use of a laundry room, there is always the laundromat. Many hotels have coin laundry as well.
I was staying with friends and family throughout the duration of my trip, and I knew that all of my hosts had washing machines, so this wasn’t a concern. I was a bit worried that they would be uncomfortable with the idea of diapers in their machines, especially since I was staying with some rather meticulous housekeepers. Worst case scenario, my plan was to visit a laundromat every few days, but as it turned out everyone was gracious and accommodating. I do think that in the future I’ll ask my hosts in advance – just to ease my mind – as I was a bit anxious due to lack of planning on our first trip. Something along the lines of, “I’ll be needing a place to wash diapers every two or three days. Is there someplace convenient to you that I’ll be able to do that?” That way they’re not obligated to offer their machine if they don’t want to.
Traveling with detergent can be a hassle, especially when you’re trying to pack light. Fortunately, there was a cloth diaper retail store in the city I traveled to first, so I picked up a box of powdered detergent and used that for the duration of my trip. In the future, I may order a bag of a cloth safe detergent I trust to be shipped to a friend or relative’s house so that it’s waiting for me when I arrive and I don’t have to run errands while on vacation.
Wipes and Wipe Solution
I use a dry method for my cloth wipes, so I just packed a 3oz. (TSA approved) spray bottle in my carry on luggage and that was more than enough for most of our long trip, but I had everything I needed to make a refill among my toiletries for the trip. If you use cloth wipes, you will definitely want to think about how much wipe solution to bring, or whether you’d prefer to simply buy some when you arrive.
I have found that placing a stained diaper just inside a window works nearly as well as drying it on a line for stain removal, so don’t fret too much about not being able to sun your diapers while you’re away.
If it’s important to you that you have specific items, like a changing pad or wool dryer balls, be sure to pack those. One thing I have already purchased and set aside for next time is a roll of liners. My daughter was still exclusively breastfed when last we traveled, so our diapers didn’t contain solids, but this time they will and I’ll want some liners to make removal of them easy no matter where we are. We actually ended up with our first and only diaper rash while traveling, so I ended up making liners by cutting apart one of my Gerber prefolds/burp cloths to protect my diapers from rash cream.
If you use a hybrid diapering system and you’re not up for your usual amount of diaper laundry while traveling, you could also consider trying out biodegradable, disposable inserts. They’re still a more earth-friendly option than full disposables!
Visit Natural Parents Network for the most up-to-date news on the Freedom of Cloth Carnival!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants on the following themes. Articles will go live on the scheduled theme day:
- Sunday, July 3rd, 2011: Cloth Related Recipes — Writers share their best cloth-related recipes and tutorials.
- Monday, July 4th, 2011: Choosing Your Cloth Style — Today’s posts discuss parents’ individual journeys to finding the cloth diapering “style” that best suits their families.
- Tuesday, July 5th, 2011: Cloth Diapering Must Haves — Parents talk about the most important items in their diapering “stash” and why they love them.
- Wednesday, July 6th, 2011: Wordless Wednesday, Inspired by Cloth — We asked parents to share their favorite cloth-related photo with us and turned them into a fluffy Wordless Wednesday photo montage on Natural Parents Network. Link up your own Wordless Wednesday post there!
- Thursday, July 7th, 2011: Cloth Through the Stages: From Infancy to Potty Independence — Today’s participants explain how cloth diapering has served their families throughout one or more stages of their children’s lives.
- Friday, July 8th, 2011: Cloth Troubleshooting and Laundry Day — Seasoned cloth diapering parents share their best tips and tricks for handling common cloth problems and tackling the diaper laundry.
- Saturday, July 9th, 2011: Inspired by Cloth — For today’s theme, we’ve asked writers to explore the ways cloth diapering has inspired them to become “greener” overall.