One of the perks of being a stay-at-home mom, is that when my husband has to travel for weeks at a time for his job, we just come along! We stubbornly refuse to put Noonie Baby in regular ol' sposies, so our recent traveling experiences have opened up the realm of traveling with cloth diapers. I hadnt had much previous experience with long trips; other trips we took were short enough to store dirty cloth diapers in a wetbag, or had a family member around who had access to a washer and dryer. But these past few weeks have been a completely different story.
I don't trust public laundromats to wash cloth diapers (who knows what was in there before??) so I knew I would be washing anything reusable by hand. Here is what diapering necessities I packed for our trip:
-1 pkg GroVia OS biosoakers
-1 pkg Flip OS biodegradable inserts
-1 pkg gDiaper M/L size flushable inserts
-24 unbleached organic toddler size Flat cloth diapers (im not sure of the brand, I purchased them already prepped from a nice local mama)
-2 gDiaper size L covers w 2 extra liners
-3 GroVia Shells
-1 Flip cover
-1 Thirsties size 2 cover
-1 Best Bottom shell
-1 Bummis Super Whisper Wrap size M
-1 DiaperRaps hemp cover size M
-Earth's Best flushable wipes
-several sample-sized packages of Rockin' Green cloth diaper detergent
So far, I have tried out all of the different brands of disposable inserts that I brought. (I havent yet started diapering with the flats... But I will be sure to document my journey with those.) Each brand of disposable inserts worked surprisingly well with the different types of covers that I brought.
The first brand of disposable inserts that I tried were the GroVia Biosoakers.
The Pros: Their unique design made them a breeze. The inner leg gussets contained messes, the outter "flap" was great to stick out of the cover to protect the cover from messes or leaks. Really, the entire design of the BioSoaker reminded me a lot of the inside of a regular disposable diaper. The inside seemed pretty soft. The sticky tabs on the back of the insert stuck to the cover and prevented it from moving around. These fit perfectly in almost every cover that I brought (except the gDiapers, in my experience) The best thing about these to me is that the back of these are waterproof, which helped keep the diaper cover dry! The inside of these inserts are flushable, and from what I read, they can be composted as well.
The Cons: They were quite pricey at $20 for a package of 50 inserts. I loved the design, however, I did notice that all of the various "nooks and crannies" inside of the soaker left indentations on Noonie's sensitive skin. That was probably the biggest downfall about them. My baby's comfort is a big issue for me. We did experience several leaks, despite the gussets, but considering that the majority of the leaks occurred within the first few days, they may have happened in my own error, as I was adjusting to using disposable soakers. Another reason they may have leaked could have been due to issues with absorbency. I noticed that the leaks subsided when I was changing him every hour and a half to no longer than two hours. That ended up amounting to changing more diapers than I'm used to changing with a 17 month old. They werent very successful as overnight diapers, as my little guy was waking up soaked every morning. These also aren't the easiest to flush. Although they claim to be flushable, I found myself just throwing them away the majority of the time. (Bad eco-mama award.) The few times I tried to flush them, I ended up having the pull out the wet pulp by hand to get it in the toilet as it was refusing to come loose from the outer liner, and I somehow ended up with pulpy gel stuff all over the toilet rim and the floor! You also cannot flush the outter portion of the insert, which can be gross after shaking the poop into the toilet. Another thing I wasnt too fond of was the extra paper that I had to dispose of after taking the backing off the sticky tabs. I tried to reuse the paper for writing telephone notes, but pens wouldnt work on it, so I just had to throw them away...just one more thing to do. The sticky tabs also left a sticky residue on some of my covers. I recently heard that its not recommended to use the sticky tabs on diaper covers, but honestly, due to the design and all of the elasticized gussets involved, it seemed nearly impossible to keep the insert in the cover without use of the tabs.
Flip Biodegradable Inserts
The next brand that I used was the Flip Biodegradable inserts.
The Pros: The price was wonderful. I paid only $4.95 for a pack of 18! Definitely a deal! The very first thing that I noticed about these were the tremendous size! The instructions said to simply fold down to size, and despite the fact that I thought this would be just awful, I ended up loving this method! Not only could I size each insert to the specifications of the cover, but this actually increased absorbency! We were finally waking up dry in the morning! I couldn't believe how absolutely soft these inserts were. They felt more like the soft fibers of cloth diapers that my Noonie is used to, than any of the other inserts! I really can't exclaim enough about how super soft these inserts are! The quilted top layer was very nice. I also love the fact that they are unbleached. The natural colored bamboo fibers on the outter of the soaker gave them a superior look. They fit very well in every one of the covers that I brought. The slim design worked great with the GroVia shells which are more narrow than the rest! They laid perfectly in the gDiapers liner and of course, fit like a glove in the Flip covers. I really enjoyed my experience with the Flip Bio Inserts.
The Cons: When pre-stuffing diapers, the 'extra time' it took to fold down the inserts to each cover's size was a petty downside. From what I understand, these aren't flushable (please correct me if I'm wrong) which makes them less eco-friendly than their competition. They are also not waterproof on the back, so sometimes the covers would feel a little damp.
The inserts that I'm currently using are the gDiapers gRefill biodegrdable/compostable/flushable inserts.
The Pros: Priced about $15 for 32 inserts, the price was not exactly cheap, but definitely not expensive. I do, however, think they are worth the price. These are the trimmest inserts so far. They are absolutely absorbent and have worked well for us overnight. The best thing about these inserts is that the entire thing is flushable and they are SO easy to flush! They even provide a blue dotted line to show you where to tear and the inner pulp just drops right out into the toilet before you drop the outer liner in, and it all flushes very easily. This has made poopy diapers super easy to manage! Since the wipes I use are also flushable, I pretty much just flush the mess away! These inserts can be composted as well. gDiaper inserts are sold in sizes, so there was no guessing, or adjusting. It just fit right into the covers with no extra work involved! It's easy to tell which side of the insert goes against baby's bum because it is slightly quilted. I'm not sure if the opposite side of the insert is meant to be waterproof or not, but the covers seem pretty dry after being used. gDiapers inserts have been a very positive experience. Definitely the most simple of the ones I've tried.
The Cons: One of the first things I noticed about the gDiaper inserts is that they are quite rough. It felt as though I was sticking notebook paper in my baby's diapers. They soften up well once they are moist. These inserts are much wider than the other brands I've tried, therefore they can be a bit tricky to get them to fit well inside my more narrow covers such as the GroVia shells.
Unless soiled (which I wash immediately after changing) I have been washing my diaper covers by hand in the bathroom sink every 3 days. Here is my procedure for doing so:
-Only wash 1 to 2 covers at a time
-First rinse them in cold water squeezing them again and again in the cold water
-Squeeze them out and set aside
-Turn the water on hot and stop up the sink once hot
-Gradually add a pinch or two of Rockin Green detergent to the running water
-Add the covers, and turn off the water once the sink is about 1/3 to 1/2 full
-Scrub the covers by hand, or if there are some serious stains, I'll use a washcloth to scrub
-Swish the covers in the hot water and squeeze them again and again
-Let them soak a minute before unstopping the sink and squeezing the excess water out of the covers
-Run cold water once again and rinse the diapers thoroughly in the cold water
-Squeeze out every bit of excess water (wipe dry the exposed laminate in the PUL if there is one)
-Hang to dry over a chair or over the shower curtain rod
The covers usually dry completely in about an hour or two.
So far, traveling with cloth diapers have proven to be quite easy! Although I've had to spend plenty of money on the disposable inserts (something that us cloth diapering parents aren't accustomed to) the upside is that it gives me a good excuse to visit the cloth diaper stores wherever we travel!
I do really look forward to getting my little guy back in cloth, and I can't wait to try out the "great cloth diaper challenge" of using flats and washing them by hand. I should be starting the flats as soon as the last of our sposie inserts are gone (in a day or two) and I'll be sure to document my experiences along the way!
Disclaimer: The pictures used in this post are not mine. I am in no way claiming ownership of the pictures used, I merely used them as examples. These images were found on Google images and belong to various websites and/or blogs.