Cloth diapering hacks

What To Do When You Need a Clean Diaper But Aren’t At Home

If you run out of disposable diapers while running errands, you can usually buy a package from a nearby convenience store. If you can’t find some disposables in a pinch, or your baby can’t wear disposables, your options are more limited. It can be difficult to know where to turn if you end up in a situation where you’re too far away from home to just grab a cloth diaper from your stash.

With a little creativity, you may not need to buy any disposable diapers to get by. Here are some things to think about when it comes to cloth diapering emergencies, when you just need a cloth diaper right now.


What Kind of Cloth Diaper System Do You Use?

When using an All-in-One (AIO) or pocket diaper, you need to replace the entire diaper every time it is soiled. This means that when you’re out and use your last one, you’ll need to find a substitute for both the absorbent part and water-resistant shell. If you use prefolds, fitted diapers, flat diapers, or an All-in-Two (AI2) cloth diaper system with a cover, all you need is something new to replace the absorbent part of the diaper (assuming the cover is clean). This is much easier to do than a situation where you only use all-in-ones or pocket diapers, so consider keeping an emergency diaper cover in your car.


What Can You Stuff Into a Cover as an Insert?

Fortunately, there are many things that you can stuff into a cloth diaper cover – essentially anything that is absorbent will do in a pinch. You might have some of these in your diaper bag or car already:

  • T-shirts (you can even fold and Snappi these)

  • Receiving blankets

  • Towels (except microfiber towels)

  • Other types of clothes


What Can You Use as a Cloth Diaper Cover?

Cloth diaper covers are harder to come by. If you have a fleece blanket or can find one for a few dollars, you could potentially cut it into a diaper cover to tie onto your baby. If you’re only going a short distance, you could try to go without a cloth diaper cover, as long as you used a cloth diaper fastener to keep it secure. To keep the car seat dry, place a plastic bag under baby’s bottom.


What Products Can You Readily Buy?

There are some things that you might be able to buy at a local Wal-mart or Target if you really needed to. Not all of these products will likely be available or in-stock at all stores. (Plan to padfold flour sack towels and flat diapers into the diaper cover, if possible).

While it is true that you should wash and prep any cloth diapering products you buy before using them, it is possible to use a cotton insert without first prepping it. Just remember that it might not be as absorbent as usual. In the case of Gerber cloth diapering products, many moms don’t find them as absorbent as their regular cloth diapers anyway.


How to Prevent Running Out of Cloth Diapers Next Time

Many parents and caregivers keep emergency cloth diapers in their car. Our family tends to keep 12 or so diapers in the car for our toddler. We don’t usually carry a diaper bag and opt to change him in the car instead. This technique does require taking out the dirty diapers and restocking the diapers every time we come home.


The bottom line — try to keep your supply full, but if you do run out while you’re on the go, you have plenty of free and low-cost alternatives to keep your baby’s bottom clean and dry.


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