Monday, December 20, 2010

Have buns, will travel

Before we travelled to the East Coast this spring, I scoured the intraweb, looking for tips from families that travelled with cloth diapers. I came up pretty empty-handed. Most cloth diaper users just gave up and used disposables when they were going to be away from home for more than a night.

That's not encouraging.

In the face of so many wusses, we became more determined to use cloth for our nine-day adventure. Failure was just not an option. Of all the reasons we do cloth diapers, producing no landfill-bound waste is right up there at the top, so the thought of doing disposables--even for a week--was not something we were taking lightly. It was a repulsive thought, to be honest, and we could not convince ourselves that any amount of convenience would be worth putting our ethics aside.

So, we took a deep breath...and then we totally rocked a cross-country cloth diaper adventure!

During the "maybe-we're-being-too-stubborn" period of this process, we bought a package of g-diapers. They fit nicely into the very awesome Bumkins diaper covers we love and they are, in theory, flushable. Well, Matchbox cars are technically flushable, too, and a little research revealed that most municipalities do not want you flushing anything (and I mean anything) but toilet paper and So, the g-diapers plan was a bust. Can't flush them, which means you have to add it to the landfill and that doesn't work for us. Not to mention our test run was a dismal failure and the Biggest Girl woke up in a puddle.

Cloth it is, then.

The night before we left, we put all the diapers and wipes in the wash and scrubbed the diaper pail--the last thing we wanted to return to was a gnarly, moldy, stinkpot diaper pail. Though we were not thrilled with them, the Biggest Girl slept in a g-diaper so we could wash the others. We disconnected the diaper sprayer and packed it in a ziploc bag that was very clearly marked "diaper sprayer". Once everything was dry, we packed the diapers, covers, wipes, and sprayer together in the Biggest Girl's suitcase and we were good to go.

We did a g-diaper for the drive to the airport and changed her into cloth once we got through security. She remained in cloth diapers until we washed all the diapers again the night before we headed back home. In all, we used a total of four g-diapers for the whole trip. The rest of them are still sitting in the closet, waiting to be peed on and composted one of these days.

Once we made it to my mother-in-law's house, we hooked up the sprayer and used a 5-gallon bucket with a lid as a diaper pail. We brought an extra wet bag--just to make sure we were prepared--but never needed it. We just went about our days like we normally would, changing buns, rinsing diapers, and trying to control our curly hair in the springtime humidity of the East Coast.

On the flight home, we did cloth the whole way. We didn't have any difficulty getting through airport security and, since the diaper bag doesn't count against your carry-on allowance, we had plenty of diapers to get us home. We did use a tiny sample pack of disposable wipes on the way out, but switched to cloth wipies on the way home. You can get them wet in the restroom and, while they won't have any soap on them, they'll do the job just fine.

Riding high on our success, we did cloth for a two-night trip to Seattle a few months later. I gave the diapers a dunk in the toilet at the hotel, rinsed them in the sink, wrung them out and tossed them in the diaper pail (we brought it along since we drove). Before we headed home, I put about an inch of water and a dash of Dr. Bronner's in the tub, dumped the diapers in the tub, swished 'em around, rinsed them, wrung them out, and hung them all over the bathroom so they could dry a little. The next morning I tossed them all back into the pail and we drove home in the hot summer sun without even a wiff of diaper pail.

Bottom line: traveling with cloth diapers is just as easy as traveling with disposables. Given we didn't have to surrender our diapering integrity, I'd say it's even easier than using disposables. A little planning and a little determination can save you money and keep you from having to compromise your ideals. Plus, it's kind of fun to be belligerent sometimes. We could have given in and done disposables--it seems like everyone else did--but where's the fun in rolling over? Think of it as a chance to show the naysayers it can be done. Think of it as an exciting challenge, rather than a bothersome burden. Think about how marvelous you'll feel when you get home and realize you've accomplished more than most people even attempt (go you!). It might seem daunting to take your buns on the road, but we did it. So can you. And your baby's buns will be so glad you did.

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