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Cloth Diapering While Trekking Overseas

Warning:  this post is more than many of you want to know about cloth diaper travel and my anxieties about it.  Feel free to skim.

I have some vanity issues. Once I’ve “never done” or “only ever” it is incredibly difficult to step out of my corner.  The principle of the thing, you understand.

Cedar had never worn a disposable diaper. Never. Not once. No disposable wipes either. And she’s two. When I realized she was not going to potty-learn before our big trip, I faced a dilemma. Do I attempt to exclusively cloth diaper or do I get over my vain self?

I seriously worried over this question. I didn’t make a decision until two days before we left for Thailand. My husband thought I was ridiculous and he was not excited by the thought of cloth diapers during a 24 hour travel day.

I also felt paralyzed by the choices on the diaper aisle! Sizing, design, print. It had been a long time. It took several trips to the store to work up the nerve to buy something. 

It’s ok. You can make fun of me.

I settled on seventh generation for the big travel days there and back. I tried one on Cedar. She immediately complained that she didn’t like it. It was too hot. 

Also, disposable diapers = once snug clothing falling off.

I put her in a disposable the night before we left and she wore disposables on the 15 hour flight, layover in Korea, 5 hour flight, and overnight in Bangkok.  And not surprisingly, she did not poop until we arrived at our hotel in Bangkok.  She is a die-hard private pooper.  As soon as we checked in (2am local time, 1pm our time), she hid under a cabinet to poop. 

My biggest complaint about the disposables:  when she had gas, the smell seemed to get stuck in there! Oh how it lingered. It also tricked me, and others around me, into thinking she had poop. Have you noticed people get gassy on planes?

The next morning began my hybrid cloth plan. I wasn’t sure what sort of laundry conditions I would face in Thailand. I knew most Asian toilets had a sprayer attachment but I didn’t know if there would be any laundry soap or facilities. I borrowed some gDiaper covers from my friend Erin. They are cloth covers with a waterproof layer inside that snaps out. For whatever reason, they fit Cedar better backwards. So she always wore them that way. Plus, Cedar loved these diapers because I told her they belonged to her little friend, Griffin. She called them “Gwiffin’s diapers.”  And Erin gave me permission to abandon any diapers that were beyond help, if you understand what I mean.  I didn’t have to.  

Here is a cute, trim gDiaper worn backwards:

I stuffed the gDiapers with the amazing Grovia BioSoaker. This disposable insert had sticky tabs so it stayed lined up perfectly with my little mover and shaker.  And oh my word, could it ever soak up!  When we woke up in Bangkok to continue our trip to the coast, she was wearing the cloth/disposable hybrid. Usually, I changed the BioSoaker before it leaked onto the cloth layer. The poop was contained. Yes! I felt wildly successful that the poop did not reach those covers. If I thought the waterproof pouch needed it, I could easily snap it out and rinse it in the sink. A few times, I sat on the porch with a big bowl and hand-washed the covers with the laundry soap we were provided. The sun dried them.  

I could live in a village. 

Did I mention I loved the Grovia BioSoaker? And that it kept all the poop (even Thai food poop) off the covers?

When we arrived in Cambodia, I switched to prefolds with the gDiapers. I knew I could borrow some of Asher’s cloth diapers if I needed extra. My sister had a washing machine and Charlie’s Soap. She only has cold water so I added a bit of bleach to the prefolds. And dried them in the sun. 

Of course, in the heat, it was tough to keep clothes on Asher or Cedar.

(Can you see the bald spot in Asher’s hair from the zhu zhu pet incident?)

Flying back, I skipped the seventh generation and went with the hybrid plan.  Again, no pooping until we were home and she could close (and lock) her bedroom door.

I arrived home with one BioSoaker and 10 disposables to spare.  I ran out of seventh generation wipes in Cambodia and had to buy more wipes there.  If I had to do it all over again, I would skip the disposables and stick with the hybrid/prefold combo. 

Also, changing a toddler’s diaper in an airplane bathroom = not easy.