If you’re taking a flight with a baby or toddler, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll need to change a diaper during the trip. Follow my eight simple steps: to change a diaper on a plane – with minimal fuss, odor, and mess!
Step 1: Use the bathroom before getting on the plane.
The changing facilities are, generally, much better and more spacious in the airport. So, my advice is to do a diaper change immediately before boarding your flight.
If you’re on a short-haul flight, you may even get lucky and not have to change a diaper while up in the air!
Step 2: Check out the plane’s bathroom before you need to use it.
When boarding the flight, ask one of the flight attendants if there are baby-changing facilities. Or, have a quick look in the bathroom to check what you will be dealing with later.
Step 3: Undress your baby or toddler.
Once your little bundle of joy has filled their diaper, it’s time to roll your sleeves up and get organized. Undress your baby or toddler from the waist down. You may wish to remove your baby’s clothes in your seat, depending on whether there’s enough space in the bathroom to put clothes to one side.
Step 4: Prepare your changing area.
Take your baby to the bathroom along with the following items:
- A roll-out changing mat (if you don’t have one, use paper towels).
- Baby wipes or a soft cloth.
- A clean diaper.
- A small plastic bag or airplane sick bag.
- Diaper rash cream, in case your baby has signs of irritation.
Place the clean diaper, baby wipes, plastic bag, and diaper rash cream around the washbasin area. If you prefer to use a cloth instead of baby wipes, dampen your cloth and hang it over the faucet, ready to use.
Step 5: Lay the baby on a suitable changing surface.
Hopefully, there will be a fold-down changing table, but a closed toilet seat lid also works as a changing surface. While holding your baby in one arm, roll out your changing mat or place paper towels over the changing table or toilet seat lid.
Open up the clean diaper, place it on the changing area and lay your baby on top. Give a few tickles and reassuring smiles to help your baby feel at ease in this strange environment.
Step 6: Change the diaper.
Unfasten the dirty diaper and, by holding your baby’s ankles and raising their bottom, clean your baby using baby wipes or a cloth.
Once your baby’s bottom is clean, roll up the dirty diaper and place it on one side. I like to roll my diapers up with the dirty wipes inside and use the fastening tabs to seal them into tidy little parcels.
You already have a clean diaper underneath the one you’ve just removed. So, apply diaper rash cream if you need to and fasten up the clean nappy.
Step 7: Dispose of the dirty diaper.
If the dirty diaper isn’t too smelly and is neatly wrapped up, you can place it directly in the bathroom trashcan. However, if you’re dealing with a particularly stinky diaper, wrap it in a plastic bag or an airplane-sick bag before throwing it in the trash.
Step 8: Dress your baby and enjoy the rest of your flight!
No instructions are needed for this step! Just don’t forget to collect all your belongings from the bathroom before returning to your seat.
Extra tips for toddlers.
Airplane toilet seats tend to be very small, and some toddlers may have difficulty laying across a closed toilet seat lid. My top tip would be to use pull-up diapers and change the diaper with your child standing up. Airplane bathroom floors aren’t always the cleanest, so you can place your changing mat or paper towels on the floor; to protect your toddler’s tiny feet.