Wednesday, October 13, 2010

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Diaper Changing Etiquette When Outside of the Home

We’ve all been there. Unsightly bathrooms. A friend’s house. A parking lot. Diaper changes happen everywhere!

Are you aware that there are unwritten diaper changing etiquette rules to be aware of when outside the confines of your own home? Let’s discuss some of them:

Public bathroom with a changing table. A good rule of thumb is to wipe down the changing table before you change your baby, and then it’s good etiquette to wipe it down afterwards too. This will help prevent spreading germs, urine and feces. Every time someone flushes the toilet in the bathroom, little pieces of their business may be sprinkled around. I used to carry disinfectant wipes with me – but a standard wipe or wet paper towel will do. Always use a changing pad too.

Bathroom with no changing table. We’ve all been there. You need to change your baby’s diaper but the insensitive restaurant has no changing tables in the bathroom. Avoid putting your baby on the bathroom floor at all costs. The floor is a hotbed for germs – ick! If your baby can stand up, place some paper towels on the floor and change your baby while he stands. Otherwise your car – or anywhere for that matter – is a better option.

Airplanes. Most airplanes have compact changing tables in the bathroom, but not all do and that can create quite the dilemma thousands of miles above the ground. I’ve seen moms change their babies on the pull-down tray tables or seats. It grosses me out a bit – people eat and sit there!  Talk to the flight attendant about an appropriate place to change your baby’s diaper. If she points to the floor, grab that extra burp cloth or light blanket and put your baby atop it.

Friend or family house with no baby. If your friend doesn’t have a baby, it is polite to ask where you should change your baby’s diaper, after all, they may not want you doing it on their $10,000 bedspread. The host will likely provide you with a towel you can place on the floor, or you can ask for one. If your baby poops, be sure to knock off the solids over the toilet – even if you have a disposable diaper! I always cringe when I see disposable diapers full of poop being left at a host’s house. The kind and generous host then has to deal with the stink bomb until trash day – no fair. Put poop in the toilet where it belongs or take home the dirty diaper to dispose of later (better yet, use cloth diapers!).

Friend’s house with a baby. It is polite to ask if you can use another baby’s changing table before assuming it’s okay. Again, you should ask the guest for a towel to put over it so you prevent the spread of germs from one baby to another.

About those changing pads… wash them, all the time. They spread germs not just from your baby, but from the locales they touched to protect your baby. Clean ‘em regularly!!

Remember a little diaper changing etiquette goes a long way to a cleaner, more polite and germ-free diapering world!

Known as the “Mother of the Modern Cloth Diaper,” Tereson Dupuy invented the cloth diaper that started the entire modern cloth diapering movement more than a decade ago. She later turned her invention into what is known today as FuzziBunz cloth diapers, a popular brand of cloth diapers since 1999. As an inventor, business owner and mom to three, Tereson has many years of personal and professional experience in the cloth diaper industry, and she's excited to work with The Cloth Diaper Whisperer to offer her perspective on cloth diapering trends and insights.

By Tereson Dupuy

17 comments:

JKMommy said...

Oh those are some fantastic tips!! :) Thank you!! I am always nervous about what to do over other people's houses... now I know! :)

StephanieU said...

When we are at friends/family, and we are using a disposable, I ask where they want it put. Most of the time I offer to take it to the outside garbage can. Not all poop goes into the toilet easy, so this is how I handle it.

Oh, and I hate when they don't have changing tables! Very annoying! But, I ahve gotten good at the car change these days.

Maria said...

I tend to change my son in the car whenever possible to avoid it all, LOL!

Mindy said...

This all seems like common sense to me! I think the worst is when someone has a disposable diaper and doesn't ask if they can put it in a plastic bag (or bring one with them) or if they should dispose of it outside. I also try to leave the room to change a poopy diaper so everyone doesn't have to be a part of the stink. Of course, everything is more casual when you are with family and friends who also have children. It seems like the best thing in all of these situations is to have your own changing pad on hand, so you can put baby on it where ever you go (airplane toilet seat, bathroom floor, friend's house) and you'll have a clean, padded place for them to be changed.

Jes said...

I've been wondering why it isn't a law that if there is a public restroom there is a changing table. Isn't there some way to start a petition to make that law? I mean those little fold down changing tables don't cost too much!

Jennifer said...

Thanks for the post! The only place I saw missing is your own lap. I would never have thought it would work (and with flimsy disposables, I'm not sure it would), but I've found that in places where there isn't a changing table, this will work. Also, my now toddler thinks it's hilarious, and it usually ends in lots of tickling and giggling!

Joanna said...

These are awesome tips! Thank you for sharing!

Amanda said...

In a pinch, I've sat myself on the closed lid of an airplane toilet and changed baby on my lap. Granted she was 3 months old so teeny and not very wiggly so it was workable.

Selena said...

I love my Ergo changing pad, it's like having my own clean changing table no matter where we go! It holds quite a bit of stuff too, 2 to 3 cloth diapers, wipes, and an extra outfit. Best of all it straps to my carrier.

dannyscotland said...

Great advice. Just as an addition, one should *always* dump solids into the toilet, whether using cloth or disposables. They were never intended to go into the landfills. :-)

Britiany T said...

Awesome tips!!! I have also changed on my lap! With sposies and cloth, most of the time that happens in the car because unless I am sitting/standing outside there is no place in my car to lay the changing pad down.

And speaking of the changing pad, thanks you reminded me that I need to clean it.

Carlie Madsen said...

Hey I love these posts about "mommy etiquette," please keep them up!

Sophia said...

I think I have master the diaper change in the car. On a 6 hour road trip, I had my car full of sleeping babies (minus the one needing the change). I changed her diaper in her car seat. Pull her out to wipe and laid the clean diaper on the seat and wrapped it around her. It works, just remember to redo the straps once you get out of the car (at your destination). Happy changing!

Kasper said...

I recently found myself changing my daughter in a combination of the sink and my lap. It was funny, tricky and resulted in lots of smiles and giggles. Lap changing works with disposables but better with cloth.

Ashley said...

These are things I've often wondered about- like what to do at a friend's house. I always lay down a prefold or pad, but now I know location is important too!

Changing a diaper on a day hike is tricky too...

Alycia said...

I have a Fuzzibuns changing pad and it's the best thing ever! There are times where you just gotta change 'em and the pad makesit so much easier.

Anonymous said...

Change your baby on the floor? You say the restroom floor is too gross but an airplane floor is fine? Or another person's house - who may have pets ...

Be consistent in your recommendations. If you're going to be that geeky about germs to wipe a changing table down even if you use a changing pad, then an airplane floor shouldn't be okay to you.

If a restaurant or other public establishment doesn't have a changing table, it is acceptable to inform the manager that it was difficult for you to be a patron. Some managers will welcome that feedback, and it helps you to know what places are family friendly and want you back.

Just use your common sense about being sensitive to those around you, but not at the expense of your child's health or comfort. That's all etiquette is, being aware of the people around you.