Just as this brutal winter is starting to show signs of breaking, I and throngs of other sun-seekers had the good fortune of going to Florida this month. It was a glorious couple of weeks (we are very lucky to have grandparents willing to allow one high-maintenance infant, one energetic almost three-year-old and one very tired mama to invade their home and space for a some soul-lifting time in a warm climate!).
I am a native Midwesterner, but man, this was a tough winter wasn’t it? I know many of you in the Northeast had it even worse than we did, but the morning I woke up to 21 inches of snow (and a husband “stuck” in Orlando on business), I seriously considering moving to Mexico. I’m sure many of you can relate when I tell you that by early February, we were starting to climb the walls and really get on each other’s nerves. Add to that a newborn baby and a mama not willing to take any chances of exposing her to all the icky germs out there and therefore keeping her (and the rest of us) inside the house for days on end… and you get a seriously cranky family.
So, the trip was rejuvenating to say the least. The baby got to wiggle her toes out in the open for the very first time, my preschooler got to burn off all of his energy playing basketball, swimming and learning to ride a bike with training wheels, and I got to have a couple of extra hands and some adult conversation during the day!!
But…this post is not about how great our trip was (or how depressed I am to be back in the cold!!). It’s about my discovery of how truly great it is to travel with cloth diapers instead of disposables. Yes, I said instead. I’ve read a lot of blog posts that talk about how to travel with diapers, so I knew I could do it, but I was surprised that I actually preferred traveling with cloth. Here’s why:
1. It’s fun! Provided you have access to a washer and dryer, which I did, I found it easy to find time to wash while on vacation. Away from the other chores of life, washing diapers is fun again!
2. No worrying about where the next diaper will come from. Whenever we visited family when my son was in diapers, I would either stress about sending a box of diapers ahead to our destination, or pack a ton of them in the suitcase. Inevitably, one of two things would happen, either a) we would run out and need to find a grocery store in an unfamiliar destination, usually in the middle of the night or early morning; or b) we would constantly ask each other “do we have enough diapers?” or obsessively check the stack to make sure we didn’t run out and inconvenience the rest of the family with a stop at the store on the way to dinner. This time, I just made a mental note to wash when I had about four diapers left and we never had to worry about it.
3. More room in the suitcase. I vividly remember going to the airport with disposable diapers stuffed in every possible pocket, crevice and cranny in the suitcase. If I planned it right, on the way home, we would be lighter, but we always seemed to need to buy diapers right at the end of the trip and, not wanting to throw out new diapers, we’d stuff them back into the suitcase for the trip home. With our cloth, we just packed enough for two days worth, a wet bag and we were all set. (*Note: I did ship a package of detergent to my mom ahead of time).
4. Fewer clothes needed. Since the diapers are so cute and we were going to a warm place, I skipped a lot of the “diaper covers” and pants that I would have normally taken and let her hang out in just a diaper and a shirt most of the time.
5. No embarrassing diapers to dump. I don’t know about you, but when we fly – especially if we have an entire row to ourselves and there is no poop involved – we usually end up changing diapers right at our seat with our laps as a changing table. I like it because we can have four hands working and get it done quickly – less chance for a little body to touch some gross airplane surface. But the downside is that the next time the flight attendant comes down the aisle with a trash bag, we would sheepishly dump the dirty diaper in the bag. We knew that there was just harmless pee in there, but I always felt that the attendant and everyone seated around us was wondering what was in there! (ok, maybe this one is a little lame, but I was happy to just stuff the diaper in my zippered pocket in my diaper bag and forget it!).
Who knows, maybe I would feel differently if I had spent my week in a hotel with limited access to laundry or I had bigger toddler-size poop messes to deal with, but this experience was very positive and boosted my cloth diapering confidence…for now!!
Sarah is a mom of two and blogs about her adventures in motherhood, cloth diapering and everything in between. Catch her “Cloth Diapering Unwrapped” series on the FuzziBunz blog every Tuesday. Learn more about Sarah here.