Magnus does Europe (in cloth!)
Baby Magnus’ bottom was covered in cloth from Day 1. So when my husband and I decided to take a 4 week trip to Europe (making the most of Magnus not needing a seat and being somewhat immobile), the first thing that came to my mind was, “oh no, his nappies!”. My original thoughts were, “yes we’ve got this!” After speaking to well-intentioned family and friends I too began to doubt how realistic I was being and imagined my husband and I carrying a load of dirty nappies plus some kind of ridiculous travelling clothes-line with damp nappies whilst trying to navigate the busy streets of London and Paris with a baby in toe. After some thought and regained optimism, I made a plan. I packed a decent supply of cloth, some Eco disposable backups and did some research on tips/tricks from other travelling cloth nappying parents. 4 weeks later, and we did it (yay!), with all the disposable nappies I brought coming back home with me. We were blessed with some sunny days in London, a willingness for an occasional hand wash and a mamma who once was half way through, made it a personal challenge to complete! To be honest, it ended up being easier than my husband or I imagined. Travelling in the warmer weather definitely helped (although Manchester in summer is comparable to our Winter!) and it was a good feeling lessening our environmental footprint as we made real life footprints through Europe. Feeling proud, on the last leg of our journey, I decided it was important for me to note down our tips/tricks for any other travelling families who love their babies cloth bottoms!
So here they are, 10 tips for travelling with MCN’s;
1. Access to a washing machine (seems obvious, but we planned our accommodation where possible to ensure we were staying with friends/family or accommodation that had a washing machine (air BnB worked a treat). We also made sure every 2-3 days we were staying in one location for more than a day to allow the nappies drying time.
2. Tea tree oil – when time permitted I either did a hand rinse or rinse cycle with a few drops of tea tree oil (which then meant I could put on a washing load afterwards with other baby clothes/our clothes. If short on time, I just popped a few drops of tea tree in with the nappies and detergent without the pre rinse. This kept them fresh, killing any excess bacteria, and took away any lingering smells.
3. Pegless travel clothes line – very handy as not all apartments we hired had hanging facilities.
4. Exposure to sunlight – any opportunity to pop them in sunlight was used, this kept poop stains away and killed any germs….particularly if I had done a ‘not so thorough’ hand wash!
5. Wet bags, wet bags, wet bags! We always had a stash of wet bags to stash clean, partially dry and dirty nappies, plus other sticky baby things such as burp clothes and the never-ending trail of soggy bibs.
6. A willingness for an occasional hand wash. We stayed on a boat for a week, which meant limited washing due to power connectivity. Hand washing on the deck in the sunshine was quite enjoyable though!
7. A decent supply of nappies – I must count but I think we took around 20 nappies with 4 or 5 extra night boosters. We also took about 12 in our carry on for the long haul flight.
8. Flushable liners (if they work for your Bub). We packed and tried to use flushable liners to make poop clean ups easier. Although they made the clean up easier, they seemed to give Magnus a rash, so we stopped them and it was old-fashioned rinsing out the poop for us!
9. Woollen nappy cover for night-time. This tip isn’t travel dependent, as woollen covers are useful at home too, wicking away any leaks/excess moisture. When you avoid wet leaks through babies sleeping bag and sheets, logically there is less laundry to do!
10. A willing and enthusiastic partner in crime. My husband Alex, was as enthusiastic (if not more) about our 100% cloth mission. Travelling with a baby has its challenges (Magnus cut 2 teeth whilst away and learnt how to make considerable ground backwards on all fours!). As with all parental challenges, team work makes it easier!
All in all, travelling with MCN’s including overseas and airplane travel is totally possible and wholesomely rewarding. Having some Eco disposable back ups is more than okay, (then you don’t need to worry about getting caught out), and if you don’t end up using them, bonus!
Good luck and happy travels!