I’m a huge advocate of cloth diapers. Really, I think they’re one of the Most Amazing Things Ever, Plus Our Ancestors Used Them, and yadda yadda. They’re cute and seem comfy and it’s kind of nice seeing them all lined up on a shelf.
Sure, I would say things like, “Of course everyone must use the diaper system that fits into their lifestyle,” but I won’t lie, when a family member discovered he had run out of disposable diapers for his son and refused my offer of a loaned cloth diaper with a, “Well, thanks, but we’re not into cloth, that’s kind of icky,” I felt VASTLY superior for a while. I mean, *I* got over the ick factor! There you are, polluting landfills with your son’s waste for the next several hundred years while I am responsibly using eco-friendly cloth…and accidentally clogging the toilets with disposable wipes, but never mind that!
While I was pregnant with my second child, we went camping with family. I dragged along a tote of cloth diapers because I simply refused to buy disposables for a three day trip. To be fair, my daughter often broke out in rashes when she was in synthetic diapers, so I liked putting her in 100% cotton. She was comfortable and rash-free that way—that was what worked for us.
Then, my son was born. You know how they say every kid is different. Well, I knew that. But I didn’t know that until I had my second child. While my daughter would happily sit in an overflowing diaper without making a peep, my son seemed highly distressed if he felt even a drop of liquid in his diaper. We quickly learned that when he cried, it usually wasn’t because he was hungry (like my daughter), it was because he wanted his diaper changed. The moment we changed him he went from loudly shrieking monster to sweet, cooing, baby-commercial baby.
For the first several months after our son was born, we didn’t do any travelling. This was more because of being tied down to our city for various reasons, and less because travelling with a baby seemed like a bad idea. Still, eventually the time came to visit some relatives a state over and I looked at our shelves of cloth diapers while packing. Every other time we’d travelled with just our older child, I’d packed up the cloth diapers without hesitation, but was amazed at how much prime luggage space they took up. I wouldn’t buy disposable liners to use with PUL covers either because, “I’m not buying more diapers when we have dozens already sitting here!” A fair argument, but this time, we were cramming luggage for four people in our tiny Honda Fit trunk. Cloth diapers would take up valuable cargo space that could instead be used for food, toys, or several bottles of Asti Spumante (to consume at our destination, not while driving, of course).
I thought about it. Yes, I dragged cloth diapers along while camping last year, in the heat, while I was five months pregnant. But at this point we’d been cloth diapering exclusively for two and a half years straight. I had long passed “being tired of doing diaper laundry,” and entered the “automatically do diaper laundry while spacing out and pretending I’m on a beach drinking Asti Spumante,” but still, a break from diaper laundry—especially on vacation—was appealing.
A few days later I headed to Target loaded up with coupons, and left with a package of disposables. I mean, he liked stay-dry cloth diapers the best and disposables are basically all stay-dry, so I hoped they’d work. When we got home, I put one on my son to be sure it fit properly. He promptly pooped. The disposable didn’t implode, or explode, or give him smallpox or anything. It was just a diaper, except instead of having to wash it I could just chuck it in the trash.
So I did. Then I tossed the rest of the disposable diapers into my suitcase, because, hey, a week-long break from cloth sounded, really, really nice. Especially when I’d really be on a beach drinking sparkling wine instead of just daydreaming about it.