I don't know about you, but changing diapers is easily one of my least favorite aspects of parenting. Sure, I guess I was excited at first — because it's all so new and semi-scary — but eventually I had to deal with blowouts and pee and more poop than any one human should deal with. And do you know what makes the entire ordeal even worse? Having to change your baby in public. I asked moms to share the weirdest place they've ever changed a baby to not only show a little solidarity, but to prove one overwhelming point: the world needs more changing tables, people!
I’ve definitely had to make due with a lack of solid (and clean) changing tables in the past. I think my “worst” experience, however, was at a Jimmy John’s in Florida. My son was 1 or so, and it was painfully obvious he was in serious need of a diaper change. My husband went to change him, only to return seconds later to let me know there wasn't a changing table in the men's bathroom. Sadly, and after a year of parenting, I was used to this sexist nonsense and, as a result, assumed there was at least one in the women's restroom. Turns out, there wasn't a changing table in there, either.
My husband and I ended up using one of the restuarant's tables in the back. Yes, we changed our son right there on the table. The staff was less than pleased — and after bringing up the missing changing tables in the bathroom to the manager, we had to deal with some insensitive remarks from management, too — but parents gotta do what they gotta do for their kids, right? So if you've done some serious improv thinking in order to change your kid's diaper in public, know that you're not alone. Hell, these moms have been there, done that, and would never, ever buy the t-shirt:
“In the booth at a small Italian restaurant. [My son] was 3-months-old and had pooped up his back to his neck. I ran him to the bathroom and there was no changing table. I made the call to do it in the booth rather than the bathroom floor. Luckily there was no smell and it wasn’t too busy. I was able to be discreet.”
“The floor of a scenic train in Alaska. I'm sure there are better, but I just woke up!”
“A bench outside at the zoo. Not because there were no changing tables in the bathrooms, but because they had those horribly loud Dyson hand dryers that terrified my kid.”
“I once changed a (pee only) dirty diaper while nursing with no interruption to the nursing. I don’t think that super weird and it certainly wasn’t bad, but I was impressed with myself. It was a cloth diaper, too!”
“One time, when walking with my three kids home from school, my infant son pooped. At the time he was experiencing very hard, painful bowel movements. I had no diaper, I had no wipes, but knew if I didn’t somehow get the offending mass out of his diaper he would scream the entire .7 miles left to get home. So I laid him on the grass of a stranger’s lawn, used a fallen leaf to remove the demon poo from his diaper, secured the dirty diaper back on him, and carried it in the leaf until we got home.”
Jamie K., 35
"I'm not proud of this one, but I once had to change my son in the corner booth of a restaurant. Believe me when I tell you there were no other (safe/sanitary) options. The bathroom was covered in filth and had no changing table. And it was winter, so I couldn't do it outside."
"Definitely the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. No changing tables anywhere. I was meeting with legislators to talk about abortion access. It was a really busy day so we didn't use an office, just a public restroom in the hallway."
“I was on a packed New York City commuter train and the bathroom for my train car was out of order and there wasn't really room to walk through the train cars to find another bathroom. So, I sat down on the train floor and changed her deplorable diaper in my lap. Good times.”
“My husband used to change them midair (He’s got very long arms. I don’t know how he did it). I definitely used the bathroom floor, which was infuriating but not weird.”
“A rest area in the middle of nowhere (just over the Arizona border, coming from New Mexico). My 6-month-old had a blow out all the way up to his neck. The restroom didn't have a changing table, or a countertop, or hot water (did I mention it was the middle of December?), so I had him in the front seat of the car on a changing pad, heat blasting to keep him warm while I wiped him down from head to toe with baby wipes. Of course he couldn't stand on his own yet, so it was a hold-him-by-one-hand-and-wipe-with-the-other situation, then throw the changing pad out because it was never coming clean.”
"My husband has changed them on the bathroom floor before when there was no place in the men’s room. I changed them on a booth before in the back of a restaurant, but the owner told me to! He said the upstairs toilet was much too small, and the downstairs was occupied, so he led me too a back booth [so I could] change my daughter.”
“Balanced on a toilet tank in a small restaurant.”
“I changed my daughter in the grass in front of a Whataburger because they didn’t have a changing table (and the weather was nice). I’ve also used the booth in a restaurant because they didn’t have a changing table.”
“In China there aren’t ‘regular’ [western] toilets, let alone changing tables, I changed my little balancing on my knee in the tiny bathroom of a tea farmer’s house.”
“On an airplane on the seat next to me. Not poop, thank goodness. And I luckily had my changing pad — we weren’t allowed to get up and she was leaking pee!”
“On the floor of the bathroom in a sushi restaurant. I laid my daughter on my sweater so she wasn’t directly on the floor. It’s not that difficult to have a changing table in a bathroom, so I don’t understand why every business isn’t required to have one. I know that my husband (a stay-at-home dad) has definitely struggled with changing in public, because places frequently only have them in the women’s restroom.”
“On my own lap, with her feet up around my chest and neck. Did it quick and prayed she wouldn't go on my face.”
“On the carpet in front of a bathroom in Paris, because someone was in there for 15+ minutes and we needed to change his poopy butt. Very difficult being pregnant and on the floor with an angry toddler.”
“The craziest I have done is in the back of the car or passenger seat. However, I have let people change their kids on tables in our ‘private room’ because we don't have changing tables and I was in awe of an auntie who changed a kid in her lap at a birthday party. I need those mad skills.”
Jamie L., 38
“On the marble counter between the two sinks in an Asian restaurant. They did not have a changing table and I refused to put my infant daughter on the floor of a public bathroom.”
“When my daughter was smaller, I changed her on my lap in an airplane. Tried to make a courtesy shield for the person next to me.”
“Floor of the First Class on a 12-passenger charter... basically right outside the darn water closet [bathroom]! And with a flight attendant standing over me [saying], ‘You can’t do that here, other passengers in First Class (basically front of the plane) might mind it.’ The only bathroom of course did not have a table, and stuff had to be dealt with.”
“I’ve changed my daughter in department store dressing room. The bathrooms didn’t have changing tables and the floors were gross so I figured the dressing room was a better option.”
“On the dust-covered back seat of a taxi in Nigeria.”
“Definitely on my lap in an airplane was the most unique place. But we've changed diapers in the woods (we were camping), in the trunk of the car (actually really comfortable), on my lap in the car, on the floor in the back seat of the car, on the seat in the car, on my lap in a bathroom stall (probably the hardest), and on a table at the park. But usually, it's on the couch or the bed. We spent a lot of time driving with our first.”