How to change a baby's nappy in a restaurant


There's a big celebration, and it's at a restaurant. You take your nappy bag. But when the poop comes and you discreetly excuse yourself and baby from the table, you realise the cloakroom doesn't have a changing table. What now?

First of all, make sure your changing bag is properly stocked, with:

  • A plastic pad on which you can change baby
  • At least 3 spare nappies (or 5 panties if your toddler is potty training)
  • Wipes aplenty, preferably the biodegradable, flushable ones
  • A white cotton terry towelling nappy
  • A plastic bag or two (the small, scented ones are great)
  • Antibacterial spray
  • 2 sets of spare clothes for baby
  • A spare top for you or a scarf

How to handle a nappy change on a changing table:

  • Unfold the table if it's a stackable one against the wall.
  • Take a wipe and wipe down the table or changing mattress. You may want to spray it with an antibacterial spray if it's not sparkling clean.
  • Next, lay down the plastic pad and lay down baby on top of it. The stackable plastic tables sometimes come with straps - do use them so you won't have to worry about your wriggly baby falling off.
  • Proceed to change the nappy.
  • Place the soiled nappy in a plastic bag in a nappy bin, if there is such a thing. Otherwise, make sure it's tied up pretty tight and then deposit in the waste bin.
  • Spray and wipe your plastic pad and fold up. Remember to also spray and wipe the changing table/mattress.
  • Wash your hands, wave to baby in the mirror, and out you go.

That was easy. 

How to handle a nappy change if there is no changing table:

  • Gasp! Take a deep breath.
  • Lay down your jacket, a scarf, a spare soft towel... anything you can find to make baby comfortable, on the floor or the bathroom basin counter top if there's space. Cover with the white towelling nappy to protect your jacket.
  • Now place the plastic changing mat over the cloth, with baby on top. It should be soft and comfortable enough for baby, and shield her from the cold/wet/dirty cement floor. 
  • Ignore the stares of other patrons visiting the loo.
  • Proceed to change as above.
  • Have a discreet word with the manager later and suggest they make it easier for moms.
  • If this absolutely not a working option, go to your car and change the nappy on the seat.

How to handle an oopsie when your potty-training toddler had to go:

  • Don't panic. Use the towelling nappy to quickly mop up any spillage.
  • Escort your tot to the bathrooms, shielding their bottom/wet dress from patrons. It's usually hugely embarrassing to your toddler, so don't scold, laugh or make a fuss.
  • In the toilet cubicle, take off the wet clothes and place in a plastic bag. In the case of a poo, I've been known to throw away the panty (in a plastic bag). You may flush the panty clean and then place it in a plastic bag for proper cleaning at home. I don't suggest you wash it out in the restaurant's hand-washing basins.
  • Using the wipes, clean your tot - remember the legs and feet too. Wash both of your hands.
  • Change her clothes, give her a kiss on the forehead, and out you go.
  • If the restaurant's upholstered chair got compromised, mop up what you can with the towelling nappy then gently place aside and make a waitress attentive of the situation. Give her a big tip.

What is the worst situation you've had to clean your baby or toddler in? Do you have other tips that may help parents? Send to for possible publication.

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