Tips for using cloth nappies when out

Sometimes I speak to other parents and find that although they are confidently using cloth nappies at home they can be reluctant to use them when out of the house. This quick guide will show you how I do it, and what items I pack with me.

Change bag essentials.

Firstly how many nappies to take? Although this is also a good question if your baby is in disposables. I change my baby every 2 hours. So I would take sufficient for that, plus one or two extra in case of a dirty nappy. For a 4 hour outing I would take three nappies and change him just before I left the house.

If you have a mixed stash of brands you might consider which of your nappies are a bit more portable than others. I like to roll up my nappies once used as they take up less space in the change bag, and it stops dirty nappies making a mess. So I look for nappies that have an overlap tab to hold them rolled up. In the photo below you’ll notice the Velcro light blue nappy (Tickle Tots) has overlap tabs, so does the popper green nappy (Baby Bare). But the rocket nappy (Blueberry) doesn’t so I try to avoid taking nappies like this out with me.

I also pack a little bag of cloth wipes. Again how many will depend how long you’re going out for. For wet nappies I only use one wipe, for dirty ones it’s normally just two wipes. Four wipes would be an absolute maximum for a change. So again for a 4 hour trip I’d look to pack around 6 wipes minimum.

How you take your cloth wipes out is a personal preference. I wet mine at home and put them in the mini wet bag. Mine is a Cheeky Wipes bag but any mini wet bag (or even a small tub) would work. Just remember to get the unused ones from your bag when you return home. Otherwise they can go slightly musty, although a quick wash will soon sort that out.

You can also take your wipes out dry, especially as most changing rooms have a sink, or you might be visiting friends/family at home. Just consider what you’d do if your baby needed changing during the journey and you only had dry wipes with you. Using dry wipes does mean you can leave them in your change bag for the next outing though.

Cheeky Wipes mini wet bag.

For changing your baby you’ll probably want a change mat to lie them on. It may be that your change bag came with a mat already. In which case, great. If not choose one that takes up as little space as possible whilst still doing the job. Ideally it should have an absorbent side in case your baby decides to wee mid-change (rather common with younger babies). And ideally it should be easily machine washable as depending where you have changed your baby you might want to wash it when you return home. The one pictured is from Bebeboo Diapers. It’s huge but folds (or rolls) up tiny. It has a super soft and absorbent bamboo inside to catch those mid-change wees. The best change mat I’ve ever had!

Bebeboo change mat.

Finally you’ll need a wet bag to bring home the dirty nappies (also useful for dirty clothes and change mats). There’s loads of options of wet bags. Empty they barely take up any space so if your stuck choosing between two sizes then I’d always go bigger (although maybe not XL!). Most are a zip closure but some have a roll-top instead. Consider if you’d like a hanging strap. Most have one, ideally the strap has a popper, but not all do. Some have two straps so can be hung from a pushchair which is especially useful if you’re out for a whole day and a little short on space in the changing bag. Like nappies, wet bags can also become a bit addictive. You will find so many uses for them.

Charlie Banana medium wet bag. Review here.

Some extras to consider for your bag:

  • Dry wipes. Good to have a few stashed away in case of emergencies. I also used to have to dry my baby after changing a nappy when he was little.
  • Nappy cream. Best to buy an extra tube/pot of your usual cream and keep it in the bag just in case. Nowadays mine rarely sees the light of day, but for younger babies nappy rash can be sudden so best to treat it quickly. Weleda is a natural cream and safe for cloth nappies.
Weleda nappy cream.

And that’s it. This list can look a little overwhelming, but if you think about using disposables you still need nappies, wipes, nappy sacks and a change mat. So really this isn’t much different.

Dealing with wet and dirty nappies is not different than being at home. You simply need to store them until washing, and a wet bag will do that perfectly for you. When you arrive home I would recommend dealing with any dirty nappies straightaway as they are more likely to stain if left. But wet nappy can be either left in the wet bag until your next wash day, or quickly tipped into whatever bucket or wet bag you use at home.

If you’re looking for a great change bag for taking your cloth nappies out then check out my review of the Bambino Mio Baby and Beyond bag, which you can purchase here.

You can also see this guide, and many others, on my YouTube channel.