When my daughter was just a few months old, she joined us on her first airplane ride. We were first time parents and cloth newbies, and the thought of traveling with cloth just seemed scary. Where would we put the dirty diapers, how many would we need, what about our cloth wipes? It was just all too much for me.
We decided to go the disposable route, bought a pack from the overwhelming aisle at the store, and didn't think about it again. Until, the incident. I can laugh about it now, I really can. However, flying for the first time with a new baby, long delays, and a lack of sleep insured that I did not laugh about it when it happened.
Our first flight went fine and our baby was a magical sleeper, we didn't think traveling with a baby was so bad. Then our second flight got delayed, and delayed, and delayed. The baby got crankier as time went on and at one point I casually mentioned to my husband that I didn't think she'd pooped yet that day. He shot me a death glare and insisted I not bring it up again, didn't want to jinx things.
We finally took off and our daughter fell asleep snuggled into my arms, enjoying the vibrations of the plane. About half way through she opened her eyes, looked up smiled at me, and let the explosion happen. The result was something that had never before (and has never since) happened when we had her in cloth. Her clothes, my shirt, and my jeans were covered in a putrid brown mess. Everyone around us had their faces scrunched inside their shirts while shooting us death glares. While I had planned ahead and packed her an extra outfit in the diaper bag, I didn't have anything for myself. A flight attendant actually offered to give me a t shirt out of her own luggage, that's how bad the incident was.
We have taken several flights since then, and have never considered anything but cloth. Simply put, we have so much faith in cloth that we aren't going to tempt the blowout gods again. We've learned a few lessons along the way that have made traveling with cloth easier to plan for.
Laundry: What type of laundry facilities will you have access to?
If you're visiting family or friends that have a washer, chat with them ahead of time to make sure they are comfortable with you using it to wash your cloth (and educate them on cloth if they are new to the idea!). One important item to remember is either bring or purchase cloth diaper safe detergent on your trip.
If you won't have regular access to washing facilities, you have a few other options. Some parents prefer to wash in the sink and hang diapers to dry in the bathroom. Flats work well for this since they are easy to pack and easy to wash.
If hand washing isn't something you're interested in, you could consider disposable inserts with covers. They are a much more eco and chemical friendly option than disposables. One option are Grovia BioSoaker Pads, which are fragrance, dye, plastic, and chlorine free. They are also biodegradable and compostable. Flip Disposable Inserts are another option for laying inside covers and they fold down to adjust for size.
Diaper Storage: How do you plan on storing your soiled diapers and for how long?
How many diapers to take? How are you traveling and how often will you wash?
If you are traveling by airplane, calculate how many diapers you'd normally use during that time period and double it to account for delays. If things get real crazy and you're stuck for significantly longer, the ticket counters often have diapers they will provide you with.
Determine how often you will wash your diapers while traveling to determine how to pack. If you are low on space, consider washing every day or every other to save space when packing.
Wipes: Cloth or disposable?
Cloth wipes are easy to travel with as well! Wet them ahead of time with your favorite cloth wipe solution or water and store them in a Planet Wise wipe pouch in your diaper bag. Throw them in a wet bag with your diapers and wash like normal.
Who else has traveled with a baby in cloth? Any other tips you'd share with others to help make their trip easier?