12 Tips for Cloth Diapering {In Public}

Contributing Writer, Katherine

I love using cloth diapers, but many moms find that cloth diapering at home is a lot easier than diapering in public or when leaving children with other caregivers. 

So here are my top 12 Tips for Cloth Diapering in Public. This is how we make it work, and I hope it helps you on your cloth diapering adventure!

Plan to Deal with Dirty Diapers

1. Divide and Conquer-  When out and about I prefer to change diapers in the car or in the stroller (in an out of the way place), then leave them with their dad while I take the dirty diaper to the bathroom. It can be hard to deal with a baby and a dirty diaper at the same time. Also look for family restrooms when they are available. The extra room and privacy are great when your hands are full!

2. Do the Best You Can- At home I use a diaper sprayer to blast poop into the toilet, but out in public I do the best I can with toilet paper. It's not as efficient as a diaper sprayer, but work with what you've got! When we get home I'll often spray dirty diapers to finish cleaning them off before putting them in the wash bag.

3. Use Disposable Liners- We've used these a few times, and they are great for dirty diapers. You lay the liner inside of your cloth diaper and just lift and flush liner, poop, and all. Easy-peasy!

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Choose Your Diapers Wisely

1. Insert and Cover Diapers- These are my least favorite diapers to use in public. It takes both hands to dump a dirty liner into the wet bag and put a dry liner in the diaper. That doesn't leave me a hand to hold a squirming baby! We use insert and covers at home all the time because they are usually less expensive, but they are not ideal for public settings.

2. Stuffable Diapers- These are great if you pre-stuff your diapers because the actual changing process is quick and much like changing a disposable! I always pull the inserts out of the diapers before putting them in the wet bag. Later I can just unzip the bag and dump the contents into our wash bag, without having to handle wet diapers that have been sitting around in a waterproof bag for several hours...gross!

3. All-in-Ones- I love using all-in-ones out in public. They are just a quick change and I can just dump them in a wet bag with one hand. We have a limited supply of all-in-ones, so I try to save them for use in public or when I leave the kids with other caregivers. It really simplifies the changing process! 

Using Wet Bags

1. Picking Your Wet Bag- I've tried several brands of wet bags and these from Planet Wise are by far my favorite. They have enough room to store an entire days worth of diapers and do a great job at containing the smell. Plus, they hold up well to constant washing. Mine are two years old and still look new! 

Amazon Link

2. Reusing Wet Bags- I often find I can reuse a wet bag at least a couple times before it has to be washed. I just empty the contents when we get home and sometimes wipe it down with a wet wipe. As soon as it starts to smell I throw it in the wash bag. Two wet bags is plenty for our family, but if you are out and about more frequently then you might need more. 

*I'm sure someone out there is laughing at me because you spent next to nothing and made your own wet bags. Link it up in the comments! I'd love to see them!*

3. Disposable Plastic Bags- It kind of defeats the purpose of using cloth diapers if you are constantly using disposable plastic bags, but I do keep a small handful of Wal-Mart bags in our diaper bag just in case. I use them for really poopy diapers or just whenever we are out and about and I forget to grab a wet bag. 

Be Kind to Caregivers

1. Leave Clear Instructions- Before you leave your child with someone make sure to give them a demonstration on how to change diapers. Give clear, step-by-step instructions. For the first six months of using cloth, I gave diaper demonstrations every Sunday morning in the nursery. Even now I'll ask new workers if they know how to change cloth diapers. Trust me. People will appreciate you taking the time to explain!

2. Always Double Check- Always check diapers when you pick up your child. I can't tell you how many accidents we've had because someone forgot to put a liner in a diaper, buttoned it too loosely, or buttoned it on backwards. Sometimes if the person is interested, I'll show them the right way to do things. Other times I'll just slip off into another room and fix the problem quietly.

3. Leave Disposables- As a matter of courtesy I try to use disposables anytime I'm leaving my child for more than a couple hours. There are of course some caregivers that are comfortable with cloth, but if I have doubts, we use disposable. I want others to feel confident and comfortable taking care of my babies. They shouldn't have to struggle with how tight to fasten a diaper or have to deal with leaks that come from improperly used diapers.

What advice do you have for cloth diapering in public? Any questions you still need answered?

Curious what diapers we use? Check out my other cloth diapering posts!

Katherine is a full-time wife and mom who blogs between loads of laundry and dirty dishes. She and her husband Evan have been blessed with two small children and lots of dirty {cloth} diapers! She enjoys a good card game, cooking real food, and homemade ice cream (with dark chocolate!). You can find Katherine at Proverbs and Pacifiers where she writes about parenting, marriage, and the pursuit of true Wisdom in the midst of lost pacis, spilled milk, and family fun. 
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Jenny said...

That is a great idea for the nursery! I had not thought about that! Of course, I have only *attempted* to leave my daughter in the nursery once and that didn't go well; but the volunteer rushed me out of there before even asking if we had any special instructions. I bet she would have enjoyed knowing we use cloth!

Jens C. Kruse said...


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