Diary of a Cloth Nappy Family 5 – The Houseboat – Part 1

Not even 2 months after Christmas and we’re off again!

But this time, we were faced with bigger challenges, including no washing machine!

Read on to find out how we managed a 7 day houseboat holiday with no disposable nappies or wipes, no washing machine, no leaks, no stains, no stains and no rash.

Day -14 (yes, 2 weeks pre-trip) – R&D

We looked at each other and after a second to consider, decided “Yes! We can do this.” A week long holiday on a houseboat on the River Murray with no disposable nappies. Let the research begin!

I turned first to the question of washing. How would we wash these nappies without a washing machine? For inspiration I headed to cleanclothnappies.com and their accompanying Clean Cloth Nappies Facebook group to pick the brains of cloth nappy users all over the world. The overwhelming response was simple; make a camping washing machine!

Fluff Love University came highly recommended with their method involving a simple bucket, plunger, and a drill. I marched up to Bunnings with baby strapped to my back in search of a screw-top bucket. Alas, they don’t sell them.

When we first started our cloth nappy adventure, before I was educated on modern washing systems, I purchased a classic “nappy bucket” where you’re supposed to soak the nappies before washing them properly. Pro tip: that’s not an effective washing technique anymore. Finally, this bucket had a use. Trusty Jonah drilled a hole in the top, in the plunger went, and voila! A portable, light weight but questionable camping washer.

Our first wash day, Jonah getting a bicep and tricep workout.

Now, what nappies to take? Of course flats are easiest to wash; they don’t have several layers to penetrate and fold out easily. But in order to not to repeat the mistakes of Christmas, we required two more covers, and every single flat nappy we own. We ordered two more Peekaboo (formerly pikapu) covers from Baby Bare which arrived with plenty of time to spare.

What to do about night nappies? This would be the first time since using a single nappy at night that we would be travelling with completely cloth. Over the past 6 months I’ve grown very attached and reliant on our Baby Bare Honeypot nappies for night time. How would be go without them? What are our alternatives?

We decided on a kite-folded terry towel fastened with a snappy, boosted with a pad folded muslin square. Did we try it out before the holiday? Nope. Did we try out the machine before the holiday? Nope. Were we risking a lot by winging this whole thing? Absolutely.

How to kite-fold on a cooperative, non-mobile toy puppy! Results may vary on actual mobile baby.

The materials:

1. Repurposed nappy bucket and plunger

2. 7 Peekaboo (formerly pikapu) covers

3. 3 Hippybottomus brand pocket nappy shells

4. 12 Terry towel nappies from Big W (formerly used as burp cloths)

5. 8 Bubblebubs muslin flat nappies

6. 3 Random muslin squares from spotlight. They were never big enough to swaddle and have always been spit rags.

7. Two small containers with our regular Biozet Attack laundry powder and Napisan booster.

8. 3 Snappis (just in case we lost two)…it did happen temporarily.

9. Pegs!

10. 2 Pandas by Luvme Swim nappies from my local foodland

Just like that, we were equipped!

Day -4 – Getting organised

In order to maximise the available covers to take with us, we needed to make sure that the ones we would take were washed and dried before our departure day. That meant using them no closer than 5 days before we left, and washing them with 4 days to go.

We use our trusty peekaboo covers and the honeypot wraps for our night nappies, so yes there was one night when Jonah was scratching his head trying to locate a cover only for me to say “You can’t use those ones, I’ve hidden them!” Our nappy management system is not complicated; we wash, we hang, we put away. But you can bet that I know exactly which nappy is hanging up in that laundry on any given day!

Day 0 – The night before

Our trip is but one night away, all nappies are packed, with two left out for the morning, and all dirties are ready to be washed and piled into the machine for pre wash and main washes before we head off.

Stay tuned to see how the trip went!

Subscribe so you don’t miss Part 2, and some glorious photos of our nappies hanging over the Murray River.

Full steam ahead, first mate!

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