Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cloth Diapering on the Road

Cloth Diapering on the Road

When I was asked to write about traveling and cloth diapering it occurred to me, my cloth diaper adventure began while traveling.  My husband was deployed so my 7 month old son, two 95 pound German Shepherds and I set off for a cross country adventure.  It was in my first stop that I met some Moms who introduced me to cloth diapering.  After months of horrible diaper rash and countless doctor visits I decided to give it a try.  Happily for me and for Tristan's poor heiny within one week of our switch his rash had cleared.  
I have learned a lot in these past few years of cloth diapering at home and on the road.  We typically travel by car, but have made half a dozen plane trips as well.  If you are planning a trip this summer or anytime there are a few important steps to take to ensure that your vacation and cloth diapering goes easily.  First, you really need to study your child's diaper routine for a few days.  Right everything down.  You will want to figure out how often you change your child, how many wipes you use and what type of diapering accessories you can't live without.  Once you figure out your daily needs you will need to decide if you want to wash while on vacation or wait until you return home.  Now is the time you need to decide if you will cloth diaper full time or use a hybrid system like g Diapers or Flip
I don't have set diapers I take while traveling.  I plan my diapers around our travel plans.  If we are going to be visiting friends or family then I would take my normal home diapers (for me an assortment of pocket and all-in-one diapers).  You may want to make sure who ever you are visiting is OK with you using their washing machine or that your hotel has access to a machine.  However, if we will be traveling by air and paying ridiculous fees per bag, then I would opt for a flat diaper and covers.  Flat diapers take up very little room and can be folded differently to fit both a newborn and a toddler.  Another good option is a one size diaper.  I really like these diapers for families that have more than one child in cloth at a time.  If your vacation plans call for a lot of activities you may prefer to use one of the hybrid systems during the day and your usual night time diaper.  In general you will want 2-3 days worth of diapers, a dozen or so wipes, a wet bag for day use and a pail liner or large wet bag for the hotel.  Plus, your detergent, any diaper creams or ointments and a wipe solution and perhaps the most important, a flushable liner to aid in clean-up. 
My favorite tips:
  • Wash out your diapers and air dry until you are able to wash.  This will prevent any unwanted smells lingering in your hotel room.
  • Pack a separate suitcase for all your diaper needs.  It helps keeping them all together.  If traveling by car you may prefer to use a basket for easy access.
  • Don't try a new system on the road.  My first plane trip in cloth ended with both of us being soaked because I didn't know the new diaper I bought required a cover.
  • Check to see if there is a diaper service in the area.  For a nominal fee you will have everything you need without any extra work.
Whatever you decide don't be afraid to try cloth on vacation.  It is surprisingly easier than you would think.  Your baby will feel better and you will be helping the environment.  For more inspiring travel diapering tips (including one mom's rain forest adventure) visit the Real Diaper Association for stories and advice from Real Moms using Real Diapers on Real Babies.  

Brooke Matherne is the co-owner and founder of Eden's Baby in San Antonio, TX.  She has been full time cloth diapering her two children since August of 2007.  She is currently training to become a RDA Diaper Circle Leader.  She teaches monthly cloth diaper classes in San Antonio and around Texas. 
This was originally written for the blog My Tot Travels

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