One of the most difficult things about changing diapers is completing the maneuver in a ridiculously challenging space. In every case, it’s important to hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. And never show fear. Your child can sense it and then all hell might break loose.
Below are five of the most challenging diaper changing scenarios I’ve been faced with:
1. The Airplane Bathroom
The changing table supplied in an airplane bathroom is roughly the size of a stick of gum. It’s hard enough changing a baby on something so small, but with a considerably larger toddler, it’s nearly impossible. Plus, where in the world are you supposed to put your diaper bag? Should you hang it from gritted teeth? Add a large (not so solid) poop and some turbulence and you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster.
I recommend packing wipes, ointment, and clean diapers in a separate removable bag, small enough to rest on the tiny area next to the sink. Then take your time, have your spouse on duty outside the bathroom in case of an unforeseen emergency and try your best to keep everything clean. Remember to have a change of clothes on hand. If you get poop on your kid’s outfit (or yours!), you don’t want to be the parents who arrive at their destination with a pant less kid smelling like crap.
2. The Tiny Restaurant Bathroom with no Changing Area
I live in NYC so I’ve been faced with this scenario more times than I like to remember. There was one time, the bathroom was so small, I could barely lie my child down on the floor between the sink and the toilet. Also— who wants to lie their child on the floor of a restaurant bathroom??
Make sure you have a waterproof mat in your diaper bag for moments where there is no other surface available. My mat has a pattern on one side so I know to always keep that side facing down. If changing a child on a bathroom floor is out of the question, take the time to master the “standing-up” change. Just make sure there is no poop involved when attempting this maneuver.
3. Diaper Changing in Complete Darkness
This weekend we were staying in a cabin in the woods with two other families, all sleeping in one room like a bunk at sleep away camp. My daughter was in a portable crib at the foot of our bed. When she woke up in the middle of the night with a wet diaper, crying to be changed, I had to do it in complete darkness. The room was large and unfamiliar so I couldn’t have found the light switch if I tried. Plus, I wouldn’t have wanted to wake the eight other people in the room by turning on the light.
With nothing to guide me, I fished around in our bag and found diapers, wipes and clean pajama bottoms. Then (and I was only able to do this because I have been changing diapers for over two years), I successfully changed my daughter with no visual whatsoever.
The next night, I made sure to leave all the necessary supplies right next to the crib, including a small flashlight.
4. The Airport Bathroom
Think changing a diaper in a plane bathroom is hard? Try changing one on a layover between two three hour flights when all your daughter wants to do is run around. Did I mention the two carry-ons in tow?
As soon as I was done with the change and set my daughter on the floor, she ran right out of the bathroom. I had to quickly run after her, leaving my luggage unattended. A maneuver most definitely frowned upon by the TSA.
I recommend making sure you have packed up all your supplies before you take your child off the table. Or use a changing table in a stall if one is available (although my daughter has been known to crawl out from under the stall as well). If you are traveling with someone, station them right outside the bathroom, just in case.
5. Diaper Changing While Wearing a Tutu
I was faced with this scenario this morning. Why I didn’t remove the tutu instead of pulling it up to do the change underneath, I have no idea. Needless to say, trying to keep ribbons and tulle from getting in the way of the wiping process, while your child is flailing about because the tutu is itching her face, is not recommended.
What can I say? Even seasoned diaper changers like myself, make mistakes.
What’s the worst scenario you had to change a diaper in?