Cloth Diapers – On the Road

I find that cloth diapering is just as easy at the grocery store (or on an airplane, or a trail, or anywhere!) as it is at home.  Since you don’t need a trash can, you can stop just about anywhere and change a diaper, weather permitting.  Our summer baby’s bottom did not come near a public changing table for the first three months of his life – the back of the Subaru was all we needed.

Of course, as with everything else parenting-related, a little forethought goes a long way.  So here’s a tour of our diaper bag:

Cloth Diapering

This is not our diaper bag – but it looks awesome! Photo by shannatheshedevil, used under Creative Commons License

  • Flat diapers – the amount we think we will need (which fluctuates depending on little man’s intake) plus at least half that amount more just in case. 
  • Snappi(s) – at least one extra.  This is most often the item I forget, but the thought of cleaning a soiled Snappi in a public restroom more than once should be reminder enough.
  • Diaper covers – at least two, more if we will be gone all day or overnight
  • Extra outfit(s) – Not exclusive to cloth diapering, for sure, but worth mentioning.  We usually have two extra outfits on hand, but usually one is plenty.  Also, having a tiny amount of poo on my son’s onesie is not the end of the world in my eyes – as long as it is not obvious to the general public 😉
  • Changing pad – Our diaper bag came with a supercute matching one.  I’m sure you could very easily make a custom one out of some cute DIY oilcloth.  Or just… buy one.
  • Wipes – Another oft-forgotten item.  A wet paper towel will do in a pinch, but I am so spoiled by our cloth wipes!
  • Wet bag – I have an adorable small wet bag that I take on shorter trips (holds about 12 dirty diapers) and a larger one for longer trips (holds 24 or so).

All of this is contained in a diaper bag (or my relatively large purse).  Most commercially available diaper bags are designed with disposables and bottles in mind, so I really had to weed through the available options to find one that would meet my needs.  In the end, I’m not sure it was even worth it to buy a specific “diaper bag” in favor of another type of durable bag with good interior storage.  I ended up choosing this one because it did not scream “I gave up my eyes and all sense of taste when I had a baby” at me.

The aforementioned matching changing pad is nice and the bag is durable.  The pockets on the inside are useful for wipes, covers, clothing, and such, but storage of the actual diapers is a bit awkward.  In order to fit as many diapers as possible in our bag, we fold as usual, then tuck in the points of the “wings” towards the center so the whole package is a bit more rectangular.  Then it is just a matter of rolling the diaper as tightly as possible to create a small, quite packable cylinder.  We can fit about 16 max with the rest of the accessories packed in as well.  If we will need more than that, a paper garbage bag (or the large wet bag we use at home) contains the rest of the folded stash quite nicely.

Getting everything folded, packed, and out of the house is the hard part.  Once you are out and about, it is just a matter of finding a flat spot with a relatively pleasant ambient temperature.  Other than the back of the Subaru and the usual semi-shady public restrooms, our changing “tables” have included a forest trail, my lap, washing machines, beds, floors, you name it!  So far, we have only had to use one disposable diaper when we completely forgot the diaper bag at home.

I promise, it is possible to cloth diaper without compromise, no matter how long you will be out.  But hey, maybe we just don’t know any better.  How do you handle diapering when you are away from home?

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