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Your Summer Guide to Cloth Diapering in the Water
May 15, 2017 8:00 am | by

There’s nothing better than a long summer day in the water with your little ones. Not only do they have a great time splashing and playing while they’re there, they come home exhausted and ready to take a long nap—which means mama gets a little time for herself! Preparing to take your little ones to the water, however, does require some forethought. As a cloth diapering mama, you don’t really want to purchase disposable diapers just for use in the water. Are you prepared for everything your little one needs for summer?

Check the Guidelines of the Pool

If you’re going to be at a pool or splash pad, make sure you check the guidelines and know what to expect from your location. Some places don’t care what you put on your baby’s bottom. Others will list a specific brand, often due to bad experiences with generic-brand disposables. Make sure you know what your baby is allowed in the water: does it have to actually be labeled as a swim diaper? Do you have to have a specific swim diaper, or will swimsuits with built-in “diapers” work just fine?

If your pool or splash pad does make a brand-specific request (Huggies Little Swimmers are a popular choice, for some reason) make a phone call or talk with someone in charge. Explain that you cloth diaper and would prefer to bring cloth swim diapers to the pool. In many cases, they’ll be willing to accommodate you—but you want to go armed with that information ahead of time, not get to the pool only to discover that your baby can’t go in the water!

Choose Your Diapering Solution

There are plenty of options available when it comes to cloth diapering in the water. Imse Vimse offers a great range of prints and sizes. Blueberry’s Freestyle swim diaper has snaps on the sides—a great option for getting saturated diapers off of a squirming little one who doesn’t want to go home quiet yet (or an overtired little one who needs to go home as soon as possible). You can also check out iPlay’s swimsuit/diaper combination for a trim, comfy diapering solution in the water.

Savvy cloth diapering moms, however, know that you can get double-duty from some cloth diaper styles that will serve as swim diapers in order to enjoy your time in the water. For example, unstuffed pocket diapers can be a perfect solution for water play. They have tight leg elastics that you already know fit your baby. Unstuffed, they’re perfect for holding poop accidents without becoming saturated and weighing your baby down in the water. Infrequent use won’t cause any damage to your diapers; however, if you’re going to be visiting the pool frequently, keep in mind that chlorine could potentially cause the PUL to wear down faster. For this reason, many moms choose to use delaminated diapers or diapers with cracked PUL in the pool—not to mention the fact that it allows them to continue to use favorite colors and prints that have simply worn out.

All-in-ones aren’t recommended for use as swim diapers, since their absorbent inners will quickly become saturated. Most moms also prefer not to use covers, since the PUL is not as soft or comfortable against baby’s skin. A thin liner, however, could make a cover work as a solution in a pinch.

Come Prepared with Appropriate Swim Diapers

You’ve chosen to use your cloth while you’re in the water. Now, you just have to pack your diaper bag. What do you really need in that collection? You don’t want to haul the entire house with you, but you do want to be sure that you’re packed for whatever you need.

Your diaper bag might include:

  • 2-3 swim diapers. You know your child best. I was lucky: my youngest has never pooped in the water or in a swim diaper, and in fact has always preferred to poop at home. If your child is likely to poop, make sure you have an extra swim diaper at hand. You can reuse swim diapers if your child gets out of the water and gets back in again, as long as they haven’t pooped; just put them back on and dive right in!
  • A high-quality wet bag. Choose your best wet bag for a trip to the water. A larger wet bag can also hold towels and swimsuits when they come off—or, for that matter, hold your water toys when you’re ready to leave the pool (just make sure you take them out at home to empty them out, dry them off, and make sure they don’t grow mold).
  • A dry diaper to change your baby into if they’re going to be out of the water for a while—during a nap or to eat, for example—and for the drive home. Remember, even if your baby didn’t get wet, you won’t want to leave them in a swim diaper after you leave the pool: swim diapers are designed to have relatively low absorbency, so leaving in the diaper is risking a flood on the way home!

Diapering in the Water

It would be easiest if your baby, like the rest of your children, could simply be changed into all of their swim gear before you get in the car. Unfortunately, you don’t want to change your baby into their swim diaper until they’re ready to go in the water: swim diapers are designed to contain solids, not pee, which could end in a mess in your car seat or all over you! There’s nothing worse than a wet spot on the side of your swimsuit or cover-up before you even get near the water.

Once you’re in the water, baby is good to go! The only reason you have to change is if baby poops. Don’t worry—that “dye in the pool” thing is totally an urban legend, so nothing but a warm spot will show if your baby pees in the pool. If you do take baby out of the water for more than a couple of minutes, changing into a dry diaper will help reduce the risk of rashes and make your little one more comfortable.

Water play is one of the best parts of summer. Whether you’re headed out to the lake, spending time by the pool, or just hanging out with a baby pool in the back yard, embrace the best part of summer knowing that you can cloth diaper with confidence.

About the Author

Emily L. Goodman is a cloth diapering, baby wearing mother of four from Tennessee. When she’s not chasing her little ones around the house, she can be found working on her blog at, but don’t be surprised if it goes for a while between updates (the kids keep her plenty busy!), working on her latest novel, or freelance blogging for other companies. Her fictional works can be found on Amazon.


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