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Mind Your Diaper Manners
by Stacy Jones Tolentino

Okay, admit it, you're a proud cloth diapering parent and one reason you absolutely love changing your baby's diapers in public is so that everyone can see her cute, adorable cloth diapers. Well, I hate to rain on your parade, but many folks are down right appalled when parents change diapers in public. I've seen their dirty looks and you may have too. So from now on when you're out and about with baby, please make it a point to mind your diaper manners. This article, which addresses the who, what, when, where, and why of diaper etiquette, is just the information you need to help you mind your diaper manners when you're away from home.

Who might be offended?

You may think that changing your baby's diapers while out in public is no big deal, but many people are not happy to witness this baby ritual. That's why it's very important to ask yourself, "Who might be offended if I change my baby's diaper right here, right now?" If you're in the company of other new parents, chances are they won't mind at all, but be sure to ask them before you do it. If you're in the middle of library story hour, though, it's safe to assume that changing your baby's diaper will have to wait---unless things smell badly, in which case you'll have to slip out. This may seem like a common sense thing to you, but you'd be surprised at how many parents are inconsiderate of others when it comes to changing their baby's diapers while away from home.

What should I do with the diaper?

Obviously if your baby wears cloth diapers, you'll need to contain her wet diaper in a plastic bag to take home. Wet disposables will need to be placed in the garbage. When it comes to poopy diapers, you're supposed to shake feces in the toilet, regardless of which type of diaper you use. (Read the instructions on disposable diaper packages if you don't believe me. Most parents who use disposables skip this step.) Will you be using disposables on your baby when you go to visit your friend today? If so, don't just assume that your friend won't mind if you toss those smelly things in her trashcan. Ask first! Many people prefer that poopy disposable diapers be placed in their outdoor trashcan. Poopy cloth diapers simply get wrapped up in a plastic bag and toted home for a washing. How wonderful!

When should I change it?

Frankly, the 'when' of diaper manners is so common sense that it seems silly to bring it up, but I'll just mention it for the record. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out when it's time to change your baby's diaper--especially if it's a soiled one. Just remember one thing, babies poop at some of the most inopportune times. So, if you're sitting in church and you smell baby's diaper, simply slip out so you can freshen her up quickly.

Where should I change it?

I've seen parents change diapers on park benches, mall benches, library floors, and other very inappropriate places. Are you guilty? Yuck! Diapers are germy and that's why you should always change your baby in the bathroom when you're away from home. Most bathrooms (even men's) have baby stations for your convenience. I know.I know.Those baby stations aren't always sanitary. Just lay down a blanket first so that baby doesn't have to be in contact with the diaper station area and place your diaper mat on top of the blanket. Don't forget to give her a toy so that she doesn't touch the wall. When you're done changing her, clean her hands and then your own. Of course, if you're at your friend's house, she probably won't mind if you change your baby's diaper on the floor or bed (as long as you have a diaper mat) but always ask first. If you're in a pinch or if there is not a bathroom around, go to your car to change your baby or another safe well lit area away from large groups of people. Use your best judgment and be sanitary. Always carry disposable hand wipe sanitizers in case there is nowhere that you can wash your hands.

Why practice diaper etiquette?

Practicing diaper etiquette is just common courtesy. It assures that you won't offend others and most importantly that you don't spread germs. Oh, and about those cute cloth diapers that you're dying to show off---Don't worry, at least grandma will get to see little Susie's pretty patterned cloth dipes and believe me, she'll appreciate them more than anyone else possibly could. Happy Diapering!

Copyright 2001 Stacy Jones Tolentino/ Homefront Publishing
This article may not be copied, reproduced, republished, abstracted, posted, transmitted, or otherwise, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of Homefront Publishing. Single copies may be made for your personal, non-commercial use provided this copyright notice remains intact. For permissions send an email to readabook@aol.com.

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