How to Change a Diaper When Traveling: A Step-By-Step Guide for New Parents

How to Change a Diaper When Traveling: A Step-By-Step Guide for New Parents

Becoming new parents comes with a lot of responsibilities and, frankly, many new and unknown territories. 

Unless you’ve helped care for babies or children in the past, diapering is probably something completely new in your world post-pregnancy. Along with feeding and caring for your baby, diapering is one of the most important and frequent aspects of the first twelve months with your new baby. 

Although most parents get the hang of changing a diaper rather quickly based on necessity, there are some instances involving diaper changes that no one can quite prepare you for until they occur. Look no further, though; that’s what we are here for. 

As parents ourselves, we understand that diapering on the go can be challenging. From navigating a new place to trying your hardest to find a public restroom complete with a baby changing table, the possibilities of just winging it are endless.

We’d like to think of changing a diaper while traveling as one of the levels in this new and profound parenting game. Seriously, though, it can be quite the feat in itself. That’s why we’ve decided to lend a hand and share our best advice on how to change a diaper while out and about.  Baby boy sitting in carseat while driving down the road

How To Change A Baby’s Diaper While On The Road: Step-By-Step

Let’s say you’re driving down a long stretch of highway with no major exits or rest stops nearby. There is a rest area up ahead, but they don’t have a public bathroom. This sounds like the beginning of a horror movie for new parents who must tend to a baby with a soiled diaper, especially if it involves poop. 

While you’re rifling through the creative ideas in your head, you quickly realize that there is no way you can leave your baby sitting in a dirty diaper any longer, and it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to change a baby on your lap in a moving car. Sure, restrooms are the ideal option, but there are ways to change your baby while traveling without stepping into one, especially when you don’t have the choice to do so.

Fortunately, you’re prepared for the situation and have everything you need to change your baby’s diaper in one spot. The new XO Elkin Backpack Diaper Bag that you bought and packed with a little help from our diaper bag checklist has everything you need to quickly and easily change a diaper and get back on the road. A convenient wipe-clean changing pad for quick and easy changes on the go and deep storage pockets to house all of the sustainable baby products you need for your time away from home.

After you’ve parked, simply pull out the changing pad, set it on the seat next to you, lay your baby down, and get to changing. Everyone in the car will appreciate your baby's clean, dry, and fresh diaper. 

PS- we know that things can get a little bit messy when changing diapers on the go. If you happen to get some baby poop on your Elkin or your baby decides that diapering is the best time to shoot pee into the air, the wipe-clean fabric won’t take it to heart. Grab a wipe and clean the bag easily.

Parenting is messy enough; diaper bags don’t have to be. 

Step 1: Place Your Baby on a Soft, Clean, Safe Surface

Location doesn’t matter if you have a clean, safe surface to change your baby on at all times. As you’re deciding on the perfect diaper bag for your baby or just packing your diaper bag, include a portable changing pad. All POTN diaper bag backpacks come standard with a removable changing pad because we understand that poop happens and diapers need to be changed anytime, anywhere.  

Changing pads provide your baby with a safe, clean, and sanitary environment. They should be slightly bigger than your child's size to allow for any baby wiggle room. If you have kids or have tried to change a diaper, you may understand just how wiggly they can get.

Find a flat surface, place your changing pad down, and lay your baby down to change them. Once complete, wipe the changing pad clean with a wipe and store it back into your diaper bag for future use. 

Step 2: Open Up The Diaper & Clean Your Baby

Before you begin changing your baby, make sure you have all the necessary supplies close by. Next, unfold a clean diaper and set it to the side. Lay your baby down on the changing pad. Always keep one hand on your little one to ensure they are secure. Keep all supplies away from their reach to avoid messes or accidents.  Remove your baby’s shoes, socks, and pants and unbutton their onesie or move their shirt out of the way. 

To remove the diaper, open each strap and pull the front of the diaper toward you. Lift your baby’s legs up around the ankles and pull out the soiled diaper as you begin to wipe them with a baby wipe. Be sure to clean their genital area from the front to the back, making sure you clean thoroughly between all skin folds.

Once your baby is clean, carefully lift their legs by their ankles again and slide a new diaper underneath their bottom. Pull the front of the diaper over their private area and secure each side using the adjustable straps. 

The diaper changing process is similar for both girls and boys. If you experience pee accidents with your boy, it may be a good idea to cover their private parts with a wipe, towel, or pee-pee teepee to avoid any additional potty accidents. 

Step 3: Dispose of the Dirty Diaper

When disposing of dirty diapers on the go, we recommend storing them in a biodegradable or paper bag before placing them in a trash receptacle. Never place dirty diapers into a recycling bin. 

If you use cloth diapers, we recommend storing the soiled diapers in an airtight container or biodegradable bag separate from all other items until you can get back home to clean them. If keeping them completely separate is not possible, place them in a separate pocket or pouch in your diaper bag. 

Step 4: Re-Dress Baby or Put on Clean Clothes

After successfully getting your baby into a fresh diaper, re-dress them using the same changing pad that came with your diaper bag. Simply re-dress them in the clothes they were just wearing or change them into a spare set of clothes if they’ve soiled the current ones. 

Pro Tip: When packing a diaper bag, always include a spare change (or two!) of clothes for unplanned accidents that can be conveniently stored in your POTN bag’s zippered front pocket. Include a clean, reusable bag to store the soiled clothes after changing.

Step 5: Wash Your Hands & Prepare For The Next Round

Once your baby is fresh and clean, you can put all of your items back into your backpack diaper bag and continue on your journey. With the interior and exterior pockets, you can neatly organize all of your belongings, allowing you to quickly find everything you need when the next diaper change strikes. 

Be sure to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after each diaper change to avoid passing along any germs to your growing baby.  Image of diapering essentials

Frequently Asked Questions 

We understand that changing a diaper seems pretty straightforward. Still, as new parents, there are a lot of questions that can unexpectedly arise when caring for your little one. 

Let’s touch on some frequently asked questions about diapering your child. 

How Often Should You Change A Baby’s Diaper?

The most straightforward answer is: immediately following a pee or poop. The reality of the situation is that some babies will alert their parents of a soiled diaper right away, and others will not. It is hard to tell when a baby has a dirty diaper all the time. 

It is a good rule of thumb to change a baby’s diaper at least every two hours. If they are experiencing diaper rash, illness, or any other health condition that causes more frequent diaper changes, work directly with your pediatrician to determine how often they should be getting a diaper change. 

How Do You Know It’s Time For A Diaper Change?

Most babies cry when they’ve soiled themselves. This sign is often the first indication that they need a diaper change. Others are perfectly content in their wet or soiled diaper and do not provide any sign that they need to be changed.

Some common diaper changing indicators include:

  • Foul odor
  • A heavy or full look to the diaper, especially when walking or sitting up
  • A wetness indicator built into some disposable diaper brands

If you suspect that your child has a soiled diaper, the easiest way to know is to simply check. There is no right or wrong to check up on your child’s diapering needs.

How Long Do Babies Wear Diapers?

Your child will be in diapers until they are fully potty-trained. 

Most children will wear diapers, to some extent, until around 18 months to 2.5 years of age.

In some cases, children continue to wear diapers until they are about four years old.

All children are different, but some early indicators that your child may be ready to nix the diaper and start potty training include:

  • The ability to follow simple instructions
  • Staying dry for two hours at a time
  • Showing interest in using the potty
  • The ability to sit on a potty chair
  • Asking for a diaper change
  • Regular bowel movements
  • Interest in wearing underwear

How Do I Treat Diaper Rash?

Diaper rash is a common problem with diaper-wearing babies. 

Some key ways to treat this condition are to:

  • Always keep the diaper area clean and dry
  • Air out your baby’s skin whenever possible
  • Use diapers that are larger than usual to help increase airflow and dryness
  • Bathe them daily
  • Apply ointments, pastes, creams, or lotions made to treat diaper rash

If your child is experiencing a diaper rash that does not subside after a week or continues to worsen over time, we recommend consulting with your pediatrician for further evaluation and treatment options. 

 Image of father holding his son in a park

Wrapping Up Our Step-By-Step Guide On How To Change A Diaper While Traveling 

As parents, everything in your life shifts dramatically after having a child, especially when it comes to caring for a baby during their first year of life. Although traveling for a fall road trip or winter ski adventure may look different than before, knowing how to take care of your child on the go is key to a successful outing. 

With everything you need to change a diaper while on the go right in your backpack diaper bag, there’s no reason not to be prepared. With our sustainable and stylish bags, you can feel good knowing that you are doing your part to help reduce waste. So what are you waiting for? Get your very own backpack diaper bag today by visiting Product of the North.