How to Change a Diaper on a Plane

Ok parents. It’s time to suck it up and learn how to change a diaper when you are traveling. It’s scary to think about, but diaper changing doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Yes, there will be a few bumps in the air, but you can do this. Once you get the first one under your belt, you will know how to change a diaper on a plane, train, in the car, wherever the road may take you.

How to Change a Diaper

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If you can change a diaper at home, you can change a diaper on a plane. You just need to know what to pack, where the changing table is located and what will scare your baby when you try to change their diaper for the first time.

What to pack for a diaper change

There are 5 things to pack for a baby when it comes to diaper changing:

Why a change of clothes? Your baby may have an accident and wet their clothing while you change his or her diaper. You will want to have clothes handy, or you will end up like me marching a half naked baby down the aisle back to your seat.

Distractions to try when changing a diaper

Just like at home, sometimes you need a few distractions to get your baby’s diaper changed. My son loved the mirror in the airplane bathroom. He also liked to pull the paper cups out of the cup holder whenever he found one. When in doubt, paper towels are always a great distraction.

If you bring a toy into the bathroom, make sure you can wipe it down and wash it after you finish with the diaper change. There are a lot of germs in airplane toilets; protect your baby as much as possible. Clean any toys with antibacterial wipes.

How to Change a Diaper

Where is the the airplane changing table?

If there is a changing table in your airplane, it will be in the bathrooms. Most plane changing tables are located just above the toilet. You will need to drop down the small tray. There are usually no lip or raised wall to hold your baby in, so stay close. Not that it isn’t easy to stay super close when standing over a toilet in an airplane bathroom.

TIP: Gently unhook the changing table and lower it. The clasp can make a very loud sound.

The second time we flew with my son (5 months old), he was terrified by the sound the changing table made when I popped it down. He would freak out any time I had to bring him into the bathroom for the rest of our trip. That was four planes worth of diaper changes.

I think the other passengers thought I was torturing him because he would scream bloody murder the second we walked in and calm down as soon as we exited the bathroom. He thankfully outgrew this. After that, we just had the usual fight over whether I’m was going to get my way and change his diaper or not.

Disposing of dirty diapers on a plane

Always wrap your dirty diapers in a dirty diaper bag to contain the smell and germs. Don’t just press it into the trash slot. Help contain the spread of germs, as airplane toilets are some of the grossest around, especially if you are on an overseas flight.

How to Change a Diaper

How to Change a diaper

Ok, let’s dive into the nitty gritty. You know where the baby changing table is, what to pack and how to distract your baby. Now, you need to know how to change a diaper, without bouncing around the toilet.

  1. Bring everything you need with you into the toilet. One diaper, a pack of wipes, your changing pad and a distraction for baby.
  2. Open the door and let your baby look around. Close the door and lock it behind you.
  3. Place all of your items on the ledge near the sink, or in the sink if you have zero space.
  4. Gently unlatch the changing table.
  5. Lay your baby changing pad on top of the changing table.
  6. Gently place your baby onto the changing table with the baby changing mat protecting your baby from the plane surface.
  7. Get your baby settled and undress your baby from the waste down to access the dirty diaper.
  8. If you have a little boy, cover their private parts immediately (trust me! I’ve been peed on while flying!) with a paper towel, extra diaper, or cloth you brought with you.
  9. Whether you use cloth or disposable diapers, you will need to take it off and dispose of it. Pop the soiled diaper into a dirty diaper bag. Disposables should go into a bag you can toss. Cloth Diapers go into a wet/dry bag.
  10. Grab your wipes to clean your baby (wiped from front to back for baby girls). Toss the dirty wipes into your dirty diaper bag.
  11. Air dry your baby’s bottom or gently pat it dry to avoid diaper rash. If your baby already has a rash, make sure you bring your diaper rash cream with you.
  12. Put your baby’s clothes back on.
  13. Holding your baby still, wash your hands with warm water and soap (yes, you may have to do one hand at a time).
  14. Use a paper towel to open the toilet door, and return to your seat.
  15. DONE! See, that wasn’t so hard.


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