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By Monica Slavov

We just took our first family holiday, and it was such an exciting time! We were too busy with work during the summer months to get away any sooner, but luckily we caught the last legs of hot summer weather while we were away. Our daughter is 7 months old now, and we decided to go hiking in Northern Wales for 6 days. She’s exclusively cloth-bummed since birth, so I wanted to commit to making cloth work while on holiday too.

Cloth nappies when you go on holiday brings up a lot of questions, especially when the conveniences and routine of home aren’t always available. Do I really need to take a whole suitcase just for nappies? What do I take? How do I do it? What if I don’t have access to a washing machine? What do I do with the dirty nappies before I leave?

But it doesn’t have to be complicated at all really, as long as you find a method that works, plan ahead a little bit and be prepared for the unexpected. With this post, I’d like to share what I did so hopefully it could help another family looking to cloth on holiday.

Do I really need to take a whole suitcase just for nappies?

Definitely not! As much as I love our AIOs (all-in-ones), they’re really not a convenient option for going away. Most of ours are natural fibres — cotton, bamboo and/or hemp — and therefore take a long time to dry. When you’re on the move and need something back in rotation quickly, this isn’t ideal.

AIOs are also not particularly space efficient for packing. However, just for backup we did pack 2 of our Little LoveBum Quickdry (the fast-drying AIO).

So what do I take?

Here’s everything that we took with us:

  • 6 wraps

  • 12 Flats/prefolds (DAY)

  • 2 Muslinz terries (NIGHT)

  • 2 Little LoveBum Quickdry AIO

  • 3 wet bags

  • Biodegradable disposable liners

  • 2 nappy pods for storage

The best part was that this all fit very neatly into 2 nappy pods! Very space efficient.

The reason you’d want to consider doing a wrap/flat system for holidays are the following:

  • Wraps can be reused 3-4 times as long as there’s no soiling, it just needs a wipe down between changes. They also can be washed & dried very quickly.

  • Flats & prefolds dry very quickly because they are basically a single fabric when unfolded. When it comes to flats, I can’t rate the Buttons Cotton Flats high enough (they dried within a day and were ready to use again).

How did I do it?

My daughter’s wrap stash shown here are a combination of

  • 2 Buttons Onesize & 2 Seedling Baby Cómodo for day

  • 2 Buttons Super Cover for night

The daytime flats/prefolds we took were these: 6 Buttons cotton flats, 3 Seedling diversifold, 3 Little LoveBum bamboo/hemp trifold.

I decided to pad fold everything to make our lives easier (basically when you fold everything into a pad shape & place inside the wrap). We were hiking nearly every day, so we needed it to be fuss-free on-the-go and reliable. Seedling diversifolds were for the mornings since they’re so absorbent for the morning flood wees, Buttons Cotton Flats throughout the day, and terries for nighttime. We used biodegradable disposable liners to catch her poos so we wouldn’t have to do any epic cleanups. Although we use reusable cloth wipes at home, we did disposable wipes on this occasion for some convenience.

On our third night, since we only brought 2 terries, we folded a Buttons flat into a Bat Fold, placing in the Little LoveBum hemp trifold with the staydry layer against baby’s skin. I’ve never done this for nighttime before since we tend to only use terries, but I’m happy to say it worked! We also did the same thing the morning we hiked Mount Snowdon since it’s so cold with the altitude, and changing our daughter wouldn’t have been very fun for her poor little naked tush at 1000 meters. This method gave us the 6-7 hours we needed to get up and down the mountain.

What if I don’t have access to a washing machine?

On the third day of our trip, in the evening, I hand washed everything in the sink of our camper van. By my own lack of pre-planning, we couldn’t find a washing machine around where we were, so this was the only option. I picked up a small box of Ariel (our usual detergent) at a shop, used our usual dose of detergent, and filled the sink with water that felt like an approximation between 40-60 degrees. I spent maybe an hour doing the hand washing and thoroughly rinsed afterwards. Honestly it wasn’t that bad and everything did get clean. I hung everything in the trees around us to dry over the duration of the fourth day. The Buttons Cotton Flats dried the fastest (by the afternoon), and the Seedling diversifolds & Little LoveBum trifolds needed until the next morning.

While this is an okay way to nappy wash short-term, I wouldn’t recommend this as a substitute for a good wash routine.

But what about the dirty nappies before I leave for holiday?

Great question! I saw another mum bring this up on an Instagram post. Before seeing her post I actually hadn’t even considered it, but I’m grateful she raised the question. She said she washed the day before leaving and took the dirty night nappy with her. I didn’t want to take any excess things with us, so we ran a short cycle at 60 degrees with detergent when we woke up in the morning and hung it to dry before we left. When we returned, we ran a strip wash with those nappies, and the ones we had taken on holiday with us so they all got nice and clean again!

I hope this post has provided some helpful insights on what it’s like to cloth on holiday!

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