The Lazy Mom’s Guide to Cloth Diapers, Part Three
Hi! What up? I hear you traveled to some little obscure blogging conference thing this week and took your delicious baby. AND your cloth diapers. How did that work out, hippie?
P.S. Take a shower. You kind of smell.
Yes, yes. I am doing that thing where I answer a question no one has asked me. YET. Let’s just say I’m being proactive and be done with it. Traveling with cloth diapers. Gross, insane or just plain stupid? OH THE THRILLS.
First, I will admit to betraying the hippiehood and cop to using disposables during the flight. I just couldn’t spare any of the super-valuable space in my carry-on bag for cloth diapers. I couldn’t deal with worrying that I didn’t have enough diapers, since two bumGenius diapers take up more room than a good half-a-dozen Huggies. And the wet bag! And wadded-up dirty diapers! And the fact that my baby decided to poop three times at the airport alone! No. Disposables served their purpose very, very well.
They also, however, gave my baby a rash in just a few short hours. I don’t know if his skin has simply gotten a lot more sensitive in the months since I last used disposables with any regularity, but MAN. We had some angry red boy-parts by the time we arrived in Chicago. And I was grateful to swap back to cloth, especially since packing diaper rash ointment had simply never occurred to me. I am a ROCKET SCIENTIST at this baby thing, y’all.
Instead of packing both the outer diaper shells and microfiber inserts, though, I decided to try out gDiapers. (I paid for them my own self — this isn’t a paid review, there’s no giveaway at the end, blah blah integrity cakes.)
The gDiaper system intrigued me when I was pregnant and still undecided on whether I’d really go for the cloth this time. (And OMG, the outer pants are the cutest things I have EVER SEEN.) It’s a reusable cloth outer pant, pocket-style, and flushable/biodegradable inserts. At first I was all, ooh! Best of both worlds! And yet…also the worst of both worlds, kind of? You’re still washing half the diaper…AND still buying the somewhat pricey inserts all the time. I certainly got used to washing my diapers regularly so that’s SO not a big deal to me now, and I’m not sure why washing shells AND inserts together is any harder. And the fact that cloth diapers are basically a one-time initial investment is still pretty much the best thing about them. (Besides the cuteness. Oh, the cuteness. I cannot tell you how much I hated putting a Winnie-the-Pooh branded disposable on Ezra. Huggies! Pampers! My baby doesn’t know who Winnie-the-Pooh is! Make your diapers appeal to us grown-up women with cute, simple colors! Or just plain old white! WE WANT TO ACCESSORIZE!)
But for travel? I get it. The gDiaper inserts are small and thin and easily packable. Tossing the insert cut the dirty laundry load in half and meant I made it through the entire trip with only a medium Planet Wise wet bag. They’re very nice and absorbent and a couple times I confess that I simply replaced the insert and reused the same diaper shell since the fabric didn’t seem that wet. We had absolutely no leaks, even at night.
But oh my God, you guys. The inserts are HUGE. Long and wide, and weirdly reminiscent of the maxi pads you get at the hospital after having a baby. I simply could not believe these things were honestly really “flushable.”
And…that’s kind of the problem. I tested them out at home, in a toilet that I admit can be vaguely temperamental. And the gDiaper insert promptly clogged it, even though I followed the instructions and dismantled the insert before flushing. (I am not a huge fan of ripping the insert apart to let the inner core fall out, since I almost always have to touch it to get it loose. Shaking a microfiber insert into a pail is less gross, for those of you who are easily squickable.) And because I am, again, a total ROCKET SCIENTIST, I learned nothing from this experience and tried to flush an insert in my hotel room.
Scene, Thursday Night, 10:30 pm
Phone: Hotel Guest Services, how may I assist you?
Amy: AHHHHHHHHHHH OMFG FLOOD!
Two frantic phone calls later (hotel toilets don’t have a water shut-off valve! they just keep going and going! good to know!), an engineer arrived with a plunger and housekeeping brought a dozen more towels. I cowered in shame, wondering which was more embarrassing: knowing that I’d clogged the toilet by flushing a giant-ass maxi pad or the guy thinking that I’d clogged it the old-fashioned way, via poop. Fun times! From then on, the gDiaper inserts were disposed IN THE TRASH.
Of course, from an environmental standpoint, this is still preferable to a true disposable diaper, since the inserts contain no plastic and will not sit in a landfill for all eternity. Unless you stick them in a plastic diaper sack, or something, in order to contain the smell of a trash can full of pee-soaked pads. (gDiapers also mentions composting them, though as any good dirty hippie knows, consistently tossing something containing urine into your compost pile can really mess up the pH balance of your soil. Occasionally, though, this could work.) And while you’re still doing laundry, you’re doing less, which means less water and energy. No small thing, that.
So, in summary! gDiapers are indeed a great option for traveling with cloth. It’s not a system I would personally go with all the time, but I will likely keep an insert or two in my diaper bag for some added space-saving convenience while out and about. I have successfully flushed them in our downstairs toilet (it’s newer and more dependable than the upstairs one that clogged), so it CAN be done. Just…make sure you know the toilet.
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