If you’re traveling with cloth diapers, you’ll obviously need access to a washing machine while you’re gone. But what else can make your trip go smoothly? Read on to find out!
Traveling with a baby is not for the faint of heart.
You’ve got the pack-n-play, nursing pillow, bouncer seat, bottles, breast pump, and enough spare changes of clothes to fill several suitcases. All of this is packed into your vehicle with your screaming baby like a clown car at the circus. Is it really feasible to use cloth diapers while traveling?
I’ve traveled by plane, boat, car, train, and even gone camping with my babies and each time we’ve brought our cloth diapers. The two items that I never travel without are:
- Flappy-Nappy cloth diapers (and Chappy-Nappy pants, if it’s cold)
- A potty and/or foldable toilet seat reducer
So, why do you need these things? Let’s break it down.
Whether you’re going on a road trip, flying, or traveling in a camper, changing pads could be scant and space might be tight. Have you ever tried changing a normal cloth diaper on an airplane? Not easy!
Enter Flappy-Nappies. These cloth diapers have detachable waist belts that allow you to change them while your baby sits on your lap, stands, crawls, or plays. No changing pad at the gas station? No problem. No space to breathe in the airplane bathroom? No problem!
The detached waist belt allows Flappy-Nappy diapers to be changed while baby stands or crawls.
Long car trips and flights might mean you’ll need extra absorbency. Flappy-Nappies come as pockets or covers, which can be used with special snap-in pads or whatever inserts you have on hand. This allows you to customize absorbency so you can go as long as possible without changing the diaper.
If you’re traveling somewhere cold, Chappy-Nappy crotchless pants are ideal because the diaper can be snapped directly to the waist of the pants—no need to fumble with taking pants on and off during diaper changes. These are a serious lifesaver, especially in cramped quarters!
Flappy-Nappy diapers can be attached to Chappy-Nappy crotchless pants to make diaper changes easier when it's cold.
Potty or toilet seat reducer
Have you started introducing the potty to your toddler? Are you doing Elimination Communication (EC) with your baby? You might be wondering if you should bother bringing the potty with you. I say--DO IT!
Bringing the potty on a trip helps ration your cloth diapers if laundry can't happen for a couple of days. If you’re using Flappy-Nappy diapers, they open like a flap to make potty trips even easier. Doing EC on vacation also reduces (or eliminates) the amount of poop that goes into someone else’s washing machine.
If you've never heard of Elimination Communication, I recommend reading up on it ASAP. EC is the ultimate cloth diaper hack that you should try if you haven’t started already!
Flappy-Nappies were designed to open like a flap to go potty!
An interesting phenomenon
A lot of people are intimidated by doing Elimination Communication while traveling—it seems like it would be hectic to try to use the potty when you are so far out of your regular routine. However, I have noticed an odd phenomenon while traveling, which has been confirmed by other EC parents as well.
My babies all often do better than normal with the potty when we’re away from home. One theory is that when we’re outside our comfort zone, baby feels less comfortable peeing in the diaper and wants to wait for my cue to go. Another idea is that my babies tend to spend more time in the baby carrier while we’re out sight-seeing, and they hold it until they’re taken out.
Whatever the reason behind this, it’s definitely a reason to consider doing EC while traveling. Many times when we’ve been on vacation, my baby will only use a single diaper for an entire day!
Potty with a view: My babies tend to use the potty more than their diaper while we're traveling!
Getting from point A to point B
The hardest part of taking a trip with cloth diapers is usually the actual traveling part. Your game plan depends on your chosen mode of transportation.
I’ve done my fair share of road trips with kids, the longest of which have been 8+ hours long. Car rides can be tough with babies and usually take 2-3 hours longer than Google Maps has allowed your optimistic spirit to hope for.
After three babies’ worth of car trips, I’ve found the easiest thing to do with cloth diapers is to take two large wet bags. One is designated as the Clean Bag and the other is the Yucky Bag. Do laundry the night before so that everything is clean except what you used overnight. Put the clean diapers into the Clean Bag and put the dirty diapers from last night into the Yucky Bag (yes, bring dirty diapers with you—you don’t want them left behind for days or weeks!).
Keep these two wet bags in the car where you can easily reach them. Every time you need to change your baby, grab a fresh diaper from the Clean Bag and put the used diaper into the Yucky Bag. Then when you arrive at your destination you can just chuck the Yucky Bag straight into the wash.
Keep the potty nearby as well. When you make a stop for food, gas, or to use the bathroom, take baby potty, too. You can make a potty stop faster if you don't get out at all--put baby on the potty, let her do her business, then back into the car seat and continue on your way!
Baby uses the potty during a quick stop.
I love traveling by plane with babies! Mine might be the exception, but they love to snuggle on my lap and will usually fall right asleep if I nurse them during the flight. You can also pack your cloth diapers into your diaper bag, which most airlines allow you to carry onboard for free.
Flights with babies can be fun--go Vols!
I try to pack my diaper bag smartly so that the items I’ll most likely need are near the top, especially the wet bag for dirty diapers. I also recommend bringing a potty and/or a foldable toilet seat reducer onboard.
The potty can be tucked into the basket of your stroller, which most airlines also let you take onboard for free. While you’re waiting in the airport, your child will have easy access to the potty he or she is used to.
You can also bring the potty into the bathroom onboard the airplane. Plane toilets can be a little scary for babies, so they usually appreciate their familiar potty. It isn’t recommended to let your child pee in the potty while in your seat on the airplane, as unexpected turbulence could send the contents of the potty flying all over the cabin.
If you feel that the potty is too bulky, a foldable toilet seat reducer may be the best option. You can also hover your baby over the toilet in the airport or plane by holding your child in the newborn EC hold. This may be difficult for a larger child, though!
The Newborn EC Hold: A useful trick for holding a small child over a public toilet.
Take your baby potty as soon as you arrive at the airport, because it may be a long wait to get checked in through security. I also recommend a pottytunity right before getting on the plane and immediately after landing. Of course, listen to your child’s normal timing and cues and offer the potty at any time as needed. The great thing about traveling by plane is that you can get up and go to the bathroom!
On this particular trip, my 21-month old never used a single diaper and we had no accidents--even on the plane!
Trains are very fun for kids and babies appreciate the fact that they can hang out on a parent’s lap. Chances are you won’t have access to a changing pad, so Flappy-Nappies are an absolute must. You’ll also want to bring a little potty to use in the bathroom, as your baby might not be comfortable using the toilet on the train.
Fun story: My parents lived in Europe when I was a baby. My mom introduced me to the potty at 10 months old and took my potty everywhere with us. A lot of our traveling was done by train, and on one occasion the train toilet was so filthy that my mom used the little potty for herself!
Boats are great because if baby pees in the potty, you can just chuck the contents overboard! Flappy-Nappies will also make your life easier if your baby is required to wear a life jacket while on deck. The diaper opens like a flap so that your baby can easily go potty even while wearing the life jacket!
Safety first! My daughter uses the potty on a sailboat.
Camping and hiking with cloth diapers and EC
Although I've never gone back-country camping with a baby, we have done our fair share of car camping at campsites. With really little kids, we always choose campsites with access to bathrooms and, if we're gone for more than a couple nights, laundry.
Because doing laundry while camping can be a pain, I usually try to stretch our cloth diaper stash for the duration of the trip and just launder everything when we get home. This works great if you're only going to be gone for 1-3 nights and is easier to do if baby uses the potty.
My baby uses the potty at a campsite.
Since the kids are mostly outside, we do plenty of diaper-free time for the baby unless it's too buggy. If the baby has an accident, who cares! We're outside.
When we go hiking, I tuck a couple of spare diapers and wipes into my baby carrier along with a wet bag for dirty diapers. You don't need to bring a potty out in the woods (just hold the baby out over a bush to pee), but if you want to bring one you can buckle a small, portable one to your backpack through the handle. If baby pees the diaper, Flappy-Nappies are easy to change without laying baby on the ground.
Using cloth diapers while sight-seeing
Cloth diapers are great for the beach, lake, or creek, because they won't swell up like disposables do when they get wet.
When you're out and about with baby during your trip, pack enough cloth diapers, wipes, a wet bag for dirty diapers, and an extra outfit into your day pack. If you're using Flappy-Nappies, you can change your baby wherever you happen to be without worrying about finding a changing pad.
If you're bringing a stroller, tuck the potty into the basket so that it's easily accessible whenever you need it. If not, you can either hover your baby over a toilet or pack a foldable toilet seat reducer into your bag.
I take my baby potty whenever she wakes up from a nap or we're transitioning between activities. For example, we go potty between getting out of the car and getting into the baby carrier. We also go potty whenever I or the bigger kids need to pee or I notice cues that she needs to go.
Baby can go potty wherever you happen to be!
Packing checklist for EC and cloth diapers
Don’t forget to bring these items with you:
- Laundry detergent
- Wet bags (small, medium, large)
- Cloth diapers (be sure to bring diaper covers or pocket diapers, inserts, diaper belts, etc.)
- Chappy-Nappies (if it’s cold)
- Cloth wipes
- Foldable toilet seat reducer