Cloth diapering is not for everyone, but if you are using cloth diapers (or you’re hoping to once your baby arrives), I know the thought of cloth diapering when you’re out and about can be a little intimidating.
Except for during a brief yeast rash incident and a week filled with nonstop diarrhea, our family has used cloth diapers every day with our daughter since week two.
Here’s what we’ve found to work best for making it quick & easy to use cloth diapers on the go:
- The secret to success = a high-quality wet bag. The most important part of successfully cloth diapering on the go is having a high-quality wet bag. You want one that isn’t going to let the smell out or leak through as the day wears on. We’ve tried lots and lots of wet bags and the Medium Planet Wise Wet/Dry Bags are hands down our favorites. They are super sturdy compared to the others we’ve tried, and we love the second dry pocket (you’ll see why here in a bit). We have three of these so that one is always clean when we need to go out.
- To line or not to line? That is the question. And for us, the answer is an unequivocal yes. Everyone has their own opinion on using disposable diaper liners but for us, they’ve been a huge factor in our ability to use cloth when we’re out and about. Liners make it easy no matter what situation we find ourselves in. For example:
- Situation A: One of us is changing our daughter’s poopy diaper in a bathroom with easy access to a toilet so we plop the poop into the toilet, toss the liner in the trash, and put the diaper in our wet bag. Now it’s ready to go in the wash (or our main wet bag) when we get home!
- Situation B: Our daughter has had explosive diarrhea or an extremely messy, non-ploppable poop. We tightly fold/button up the diaper (like you would a disposable) and toss it in the wet bag. When we get home at the end of the day, that diaper is going to be 1000x easier to deal with.
- Situation C: We’re nowhere near a bathroom and poop time has struck. We tightly fold up the diaper and toss it in the wet bag, like above. When we get home, it will be easy to plop out the poop. We’ve also tried several different brands of liners and the SmartBottoms biodegradable ones are our favorite. They seem to work the best and are also the softest.
- Pre-line your diapers and bring 1-2 more diapers than you think you need. We put the disposable liners in all of our diapers before we add them to the diaper bag. This tiny extra step makes diaper changes on-the-go 2000x easier because you aren’t trying to juggle finding the liners, tearing off a liner, and putting the liner in while you’re trying to keep your toddler from rolling off the changing table. How many diapers you need is going to depend on the age of your baby. Right now, our daughter is 18-months and we only need to change her diaper every 2-3 hours (unless she poops). We typically bring 4-5 diapers with us for a full day out and line them up in the bottom of our diaper backpack.
- What to do about wipes? We’ve used both cloth and disposable wipes on the go. If you’re going to use cloth wipes, you’ll quickly find that everyone has a different opinion on the best method. This is just what we personally found to work best for us:
- Use Grovia Cloth Wipes. We bought a ton of these wipes. They are a nice size and super absorbent compared to the others we tried.
- Pre-wet the cloth wipes and then roll them. We don’t always have access to a sink or water source when we’re out and I personally found using a tiny spray bottle to be extremely annoying. Instead, we would wet the wipes before we went out, roll them up, and place them in a tiny wet bag.
- Get a good wipe wet bag. We tried several wet bags for this purpose with disastrous results until finally landing on one that truly doesn’t let the water seep out. If you’re looking for the perfect wet bag for wipes, I highly recommend the Planet Wise Wipe Pouch.
- Toss the dirty ones in with your cloth diapers. Once you’ve used a wipe, just toss it in with your dirty diapers. Disposable wipes are pretty straightforward, except what to do with them when you’re on the go if you aren’t within reach of a trash can. Here’s where your wet bags second pocket comes into play! We keep a thin wet bag in the second pocket—we’ve found these Planet Wise Lite Wet Bags to work perfectly. A plastic bag would also work. Then, if we aren’t near a trash can (which happens more often than you would think), we just put the disposable wipe in the wet bag and store the bag in the second (dry) pocket to deal with when we get home.
- Be strategic with your diaper bag. I often hear people say that it’s harder to cloth diaper on-the-go because the cloth diapers are so much bulkier than disposables. We use all-in-one cloth diapers and travel mostly by foot in the city, but never have to carry around more than a single diaper backpack. And it’s a normal-sized backpack—not some monstrosity! The diapers squish up more than you might think, and we can easily fit enough diapers for an entire day along the very bottom of our diaper backpack. Stay tuned for our article next week with tricks for packing your diaper bag when you’re headed out to eat!
That’s it! It may seem like a lot, but it essentially works just like disposable diapering: you bring diapers with you and change their diaper as needed, but instead of tossing the diaper in the trash you toss it in your travel wet bag. Tada!