Where can you change a poopy diaper?

Dear Liz,
My friend is a librarian and she told me about this time a mom freaked out and got upset over being asked to change her baby’s poopy diaper in the bathroom and not on the carpeted floor of the library where the mom and baby were listening to the reading hour for little kids. My friend said that the bathroom was clean, had good lighting, and one of those baby changing stations. But the mom was upset because leaving the circle would mean disrupting the baby and having to deal with a tantrum. She didn’t see the big deal with changing a poopy diaper right there on the floor.
So, my question is, where is it ok to change a poopy diaper?
– Just Curious

Dear Just Curious,

Ugh…you know, no matter what I say, people will have all kinds of opinions about this because everyone seems to know how to parent better than the actual parent in question. But I digress.

Here is my answer: the best place to change a baby – poopy or otherwise – is anywhere that the parent sees fit. BUT. That doesn’t mean be a special snowflake and change a poop filled diaper in the middle of a carpeted floor at the library during reading time when other people are literally sitting right there. The librarian was right to ask her to please use the bathroom for a few reasons.

  1. It isn’t sanitary to have human feces in a public space. I mean, do I really need to even say that? (Looking at you, Old Orchard Beach)
  2. Part of teaching kids a healthy and safe hygiene practice is to start early and do it properly. If there is a bathroom then use it.
  3. Just because that mother is cool with changing her baby during reading time and on the floor doesn’t mean that other parents and kids around her would feel comfortable or be OK with it especially if poop is involved.
  4. The librarian asked her to and out of respect for the rules the mother should use the bathroom to change the diaper just like she was asked to.

While I am personally a huge advocate for supporting mothers and their right to parent as they see fit, there is also a thing called decency and another thing called common sense.

On the other hand, if this is a small library and the participants of reading time all know each other and no one cares (oh, and the librarian didn’t say anything) then yeah, she could toss down a blanket and bing, bang, boom, change that diaper.

There are times when parents have no choice but to change in a public space like on an airplane, for example. The gray area is pretty big on this one. When in doubt use a bathroom.

~ Liz

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