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So while the homestead project is cranking away, life continues on, and a big part of that for us is cloth diapering. Little Man is gradually using the potty more and more (yay!) but he’s still primarily diapered. We use prefolds for everyday diapering at our simple little changing station (now located right in the laundry room!) and when we go out our routine stays just as simple!
We have two different diaper bags depending on where we’re going and what we’re doing. If he’s going to be gone all day and I need to pack food and extra clothes in addition to a full day’s worth of diapers, I take a Thirty One Utility Tote (smaller or larger depending on how long the day will actually be). If it’s a quick outing to go shopping or if I’m going to be using the stroller, I use a Skip Hop diaper bag like this one.
Note: You don’t have to have more than one bag; I just happen to because of how my baby shower went down.
What to Take Out and About When Using Cloth Diapers on Short Trips
It’s really a pretty simple process, maybe even more so because I never have to worry if there isn’t a trash can nearby! I take the following:
- 3-6+ diapers (this varies by age – young babies will need maybe twice as many diapers as an older baby or toddler; I typically do 1 diaper for every 2 hours we’ll be gone, plus an extra just in case)
- Wipes (cloth or disposable)
- Cream (I have a little cup of coconut oil that I take wherever I go, but you can use anything you like that is cloth safe!)
- Wet bag for used diapers, wipes, and clothes
- Change of clothes
- An extra cover or two (when using prefolds, flats, or fitteds)
- Flushable liners – I used to use these more because it makes dealing with poop super easy, but Little Man would breakout no matter what kind we used, so we just kind of deal with poop like we would at home
My stash looks like this when unpacked:
Here’s what it all looks like packed (notice how much head room I typically leave at the top for the wet bag to take up as it fills):
Surviving a Changing Away from Home
This is the part that everyone always stresses over but is really super simple. If you’ve done it with a disposable, it’s really about the same. The only difference is the dirty diaper goes in the wet bag instead of the trash can. If you’ve never changed ANY type of diaper before, then keep it simple.
- Have your supplies as ready as you can (i.e. bag open, diaper and wipes in reach, open the wet bag in advance).
- Prep your changing spot (sanitize your surface if you’re into that, lay out your changing pad, remove no-no objects from reach, etc.)
- Remove the dirty diaper – if it’s just wet, throw it in the bag! If it has breastfed poop: diapers can simply be rolled up and placed in the wet bag to go into the wash later. If it is solid poop: shake it out in a toilet if you can, but if you are unable to for whatever reason, just roll it up and put it in the wet bag so you can deal with it at home. This really isn’t as bad as it sounds and it never smells in my bag either! I swear it!
- Clean the baby with your wipe of choice. It’s one of the few times I use disposables because I don’t have to pack them ahead of time and they’re already moistened for me. Oh well.
- Put a clean diaper on the baby. If using a cloth diaper that requires a cover like a prefold, flat, or fitted, then you can either reuse your cover or change it out if it is dirty or wet. Your call!
- Repack your bag.
- Hug your baby and celebrate a job well done!
Won’t it smell bad carrying around dirty diapers with me?!
This was one of the things that irked and worried me the most before I had Little Man and has become one of the things I worry LEAST about. Actually, I NEVER worry about it because they totally don’t smell. This is for two big reasons: that the wet bag is good at keeping smells in, and that cloth diapers tend not to smell bad. Or at least mine don’t. Sometimes he’ll have soiled himself and I actually have to open his diaper to smell it because you can’t tell from outside his pants. Cloth diapers don’t have the additives that disposables generally have to keep the smell at bay. The irony here is of course that those additives end up smelling worse than the poop would. Walk down any baby aisle in any grocery store and you get the “diaper smell”. Cloth simply doesn’t have it. Lordy I could make a post just on that!
What about the poop?! I mean, don’t you have to touch it when you get home?
Generally no. On the rare occasion he poops while we’re out and I can’t deal with it wherever I am, I roll the diaper so that I can either hold it by a clean corner and shake/spray it out in the toilet or hold it by a wipe, cover, or part of the bag later.
Besides, it’s a BABY. You’re going to be dealing with poop no matter what you do. It’s OKAY.
Choosing a Bag for Cloth Diapers
There are TONS of diaper bags out there, so don’t feel beholden to any one particular bag brand or style. Find one that suits you best! With cloth, look for:
- Space to store 3-6 cloth diapers (they are typically bulkier than disposables, so those little pockets inside lots of diaper bags don’t work so well for this application)
- Space for a wet bag filled with soiled diapers – by itself, the wet bag doesn’t take up tons of space, but once you start filling it up with used diapers it gathers some bulk. Make sure you have room to carry it in your bag!
- Space for wipes, creams, extra clothes, food, etc. – I can be pretty minimalist with what I take with me on a quick trip, but it helps to have it organized and easy to reach. A bag with some decently sized organizing pockets does the trick.
Other Bag Considerations
Depending on your needs and wants, you may also look for bags that are:
- Easy to transport
- Easy to get into with one hand while wrangling a baby at a changing station
- Able to grow with you out of babyhood
- Your (and/or your partner’s) style
- Made of sustainable materials that are good for baby and the environment
As an example, I love the Skip Hop bag for when I’m out for a little bit like shopping or to restaurants because I can sling it across me and reach into the magnetic closure pockets one-handed if I need to wrangle Little Man at a changing station. I also like that it can buckle onto the handles of a stroller and fits snuggly behind the seat in my car. But for CLOTH, I don’t like how small the main body of the bag is. It’s a pretty narrow fit and would be great for thin disposables, but for cloth it can’t hold as many diapers and has a hard time fitting a wet bag inside once it starts filling up.
I love my Thirty One utility totes for most applications, but they can be harder to wrangle at a baby changing station like in public restrooms because mine don’t sling across my body like the Skip Hop Duo does. That being said, Thirty One makes some other awesome bags that can be carried that way, I just don’t own any at the moment.
So there you have it! Cloth diapering when out of the house is really pretty easy and not much harder than going out with disposables. Stay tuned…next week we’re taking a long trip with Little Man and will be taking our cloth with us. It’s not our first long trip in cloth but it’ll be the first one I’ve documented, so stick around to find out more about how to travel with your diapers!