Cloth Diaper Challenge Hits The Road

I nearly blew up my mother-in-law's laundry room washing diapers but, other than that minor mishap, traveling during the first weekend of the cloth diaper challenge was mostly a success!

My husband's mother hosted an early Thanksgiving dinner, so we packed up our Rumparooz, SoftBums, and FuzziBunz and headed to Grandma's house in Pennsylvania. The downside of traveling with cloth diapers is that they take up a lot more space than "sposies" (or disposable diapers for those of you unfamiliar with diapering lingo). Since I am currently using all-in-ones, I had to bring the padded inserts, the diapers, the detergent, and the wet bag. That is significantly more stuff than just a squished-together stash of sposies.

Also, you have to plan your departure carefully. I didn't want to leave a soiled diaper sitting in the wet bag in my apartment waiting to welcome me home with its fragrance. I tried to wash as close to departure time as possible and then take the baby in a clean diaper out the door. It did get a little hectic in the rush to leave. 

My mother-in-law sent me a text message on Friday saying, "You're going to bring disposables for Grammy to use, right?" She has been following the challenge and wanted to preemptively opt out. I told her I would, but I forgot to pack them. She looked a little worried but in the end, I changed all the diapers while she was busy with turkey preparation, so it wasn't an issue. She definitely seemed concerned at the thought of cloth diapering though, which I can surely relate to

Now about that exploding washing machine: I didn't know that my mother-in-law turns off the water valve that leads to the machine in-between washes. She said you're supposed to do that, but I never have. It did not occur to me that the water wouldn't be on, so I threw the load of diapers into the machine, turned the dial to rinse, and walked away. A few minutes later as we were peeling potatoes in the kitchen, my father-in-law yelled from downstairs, "There's a loud buzz coming from the washing machine that seems very wrong!" Oops! I felt like a jerk. An idiotic jerk. Note to self: Don't try to wash diapers without water. It doesn't work.  

Several blog commenters suggested I use diapers with flushable inserts for travel, but my stash of Charlie Banana disposable inserts did not arrive in time. Instead, we used Rumparooz and FuzziBunz during the day. I like these because they are slimmer and easy to prep in advance for my husband by putting the inserts in ahead of time. I like the SoftBums at night because the fold-over insert is thicker and provides extra protection for my little man's long nights. (Thank goodness he is a good sleeper!)

Other than the extra travel bulk and washing, I really did not feel encumbered on the road with cloth diapers. So it took a little more preparation. It really was worth it for the feel-good points you give yourself for doing something good for the baby's bottom and the environment. I'm really starting to like this now that I've actually had some hands-on experience. I don't want to call it a success just yet but so far, cloth diapers FTW!

  • Natali Morris On Twitter» On Facebook»

    Natali Morris is the host of Loaded on CNET TV and other CNET podcasts. She also contributes technology reports for CBS News.

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