Should you change your baby’s nappy in public?

is it acceptable if done “quickly and discreetly” or is it always “revolting and unhygienic”?


We’ve all been caught short at some point or another. Your baby’s filled her nappy and there’s no baby changing facilities in sight. So do you wait until you’ve found somewhere private or whip her soggy nappy off there and then?


An article in the Daily Mail yesterday left no mystery over one mum’s opinion.

“Why do modern mums insist on changing nappies in public? It’s selfish and disgusting,” wrote writer and mum-of-1 Kelly-Rose Bradford.

Well, we decided to open the debate on our MFM Facebook page, and soon found that to change or not to change in public is a complicated and highly-charged issue.

Most MFMers thought it was ok if done “quickly and discreetly”, others said it all depends on whether you’re in a park or restaurant, while some said you should always seek out a facility as public nappy changing is “unhygienic”…

Do it quickly and discreetly

These MFMers said they would change a nappy “quickly and discreetly” in public to stop their baby from being uncomfortable.

“It’s far more selfish to leave a baby in a dirty nappy if there are no changing facilities around. Obviously if there are facilities to change the baby I will use them. But if not I will change them in public as quickly and discreetly as possible,” Lyndsay said.

“Sometimes you have no other option so you have to. I think most people out of choice wouldn’t do this but sometimes needs must or your child suffers,” Jessica added.

“I always change my sons on my knee where ever I am,” Katharine said. “I know I would not appreciate being left in my own filth so why do people think it’s acceptable to trawl around looking for a baby change unit.”

“I have changed my baby in the boot of a car the backseat of a car and in their pram when there have been no facilities available. If your baby needs changing then it must be changed  – discretion and quickness is the key,” Alana said. 

It depends where you are

Other MFMers said they would change their baby in public, but it depended on the location.

A park or playgroup is a suitable location for a quick public nappy change according to Anoushka. “But a restaurant, shopping centre, or the middle of Tesco are a definite no no!” she added.

“If I was in the middle of a restaurant or middle of a shop I wouldn’t but outside in the open air I really don’t think it’s an issue,” Anna agreed.

“It’s not appropriate to change a baby in a cafe or restaurant, but if the loo facilities are dirty and there is nowhere else to go, I can sympathise with people doing this,” Danielle said.

Revolting and unhygienic 

Some mums believe strongly that nappies should never be changed where people are eating, however urgent the nappy need.

“I have seen babies being changed on seats in Burger King, cafés and restaurants, all of which have suitable facilities. So revolting and unhygienic,” Danielle said.

“I always use a facility. Not needed in eating areas!” Emma agreed.

Others were concerned for their baby’s welfare if changed in public

“No I never changed any of my babies in public for every Tom, Dick and Harry to watch! You never know who is around,” Karen said.

So what do you think? Let us know in the comments below!


Read more:

* Real parents reveal nappy changing dramas

* Una Healy experiences first “nappy explosion”

* How to change a nappy – step-by-step guide

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