02 February 2007

Diaper Valet: Essential diaper supplies to go

Diaper ValetBrought to you by the minds behind Baby Toolkit: the Diaper Valet. (If Adrienne and Jim are involved, you know it has to be good.) They sent one to me for review, and it's so lovely I found myself slightly less irritated that I still need to carry diapers around (you'll recall my youngest is in preschool; don't even get me started).

This handmade pouch has just enough room for a some diapers and a wipe case, plus a few extras you need to keep with you while out and about. The killer feature, though, is the simple design tweak that gives you access to the pop-up wipe dispenser without having to first remove it from the bag. If you've ever had to change diapers in the trunk of a car or in some other situation that required five hands, you know what a big deal this is.

More thoughtful details: a loop on each side that can accommodate an optional shoulder strap or an ever-handy carabiner, a tiny pocket inside to hold credit cards and small sundries, a Velcro closure that's strong, but not so stubborn it can't be opened with one hand.

The only thing the Diaper Valet lacks is a portable changing pad, which is solved by tucking a disposable changing pad in with the diapers. (I'm sure there's a better solution than yet another disposable product -- feel free to share it. From Adrienne: "The hacker in me would head to the hardware store, buy a small blue tarp, and then cut out the appropriate size and shape. Tarping is very thin, easy to clean, and folds up nicely.") She's got a compact fabric-and-vinyl changing pad under development, but it's not yet ready for prime time.

The Diaper Valet comes in a bunch of colors and patterns, is meticulously stitched and finished, and is beautiful in its simplicity. Put this on your permanent "baby shower present" list. If nothing else, visit the Diaper Valet site to read Adrienne's great writing. In true Parenthacker form, she's got plenty of ideas for the Diaper Valet once your kid's out of diapers.

Win a Diaper Valet! Adrienne has offered to send a one lucky Parenthacker a Diaper Valet of his or her choice. Price of entry: tell us the most interesting place in which you've changed a diaper. I'll choose a winner at random on Saturday at 1PM PST.

Mine: on a stone bench in the Tower of London, within view of the site where the Crown Jewels are kept.

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In the backseat of a cab by myself, with a crazed driver behind the wheel, driving on the interstate in Guangzhou, China, changing one of my daughter's first 'fully-loaded' diapers while my hubby was in the front seat taking pictures!

On the floor of my gym after the blowout of the year.

We changed a blowout diaper and had to completely change her (poopy--ewww) outfit behind the fried Oreo booth at the Minnesota State Fair.

I still can't eat Oreos, and that was months ago.

Thanks for the review, Asha. I don't want to be in the running for the Valet (I have one), but I do have a funny diaper story to share.

Our son has been prone to being scared by loud noises whose origin he can't locate. It's getting better as he gets older, but when he was about 9 months old it was pretty bad.

Anyway, we were on a long car trip back from Michigan and stopped off at a Meijer grocery store to stretch our legs, do some shopping, and change the baby.

I took him into the men's room and was happy that no one was in there as they only had the hand air dryers and they, in particular, tend to really scare him. So I seized the opportunity and pulled down the changing station and got to work. Unfortunately, as soon as I laid my son on the table, a man walked in and started using a stall.

All the time I am working to get done as fast as possible so that we can get out of there before this guy finishes and needs to wash his hands. It felt like some twisted game show.

Of course our little boy was squirming and not making it any easier (I think he figured out about the air dryers as well) and the first gentleman finished up was about to wash his hands when others start coming in to use the restroom (it was a pretty big facility).

In a panic, I turned to him and said softly and quickly, "would you mind not washing your hands for a minute or so? The air dryers freak my son out and we're driving for another couple of hours and I would appreciate not having to do it with a freaked out baby."

The guy said sure and just stood there waiting while I continued to wrestle our son through his changing. As I am doing that, more of these guys are finishing their business and start heading to wash their hands. I was in a complete panic and it must have showed on my face because the first guy takes over (he was sort of a biker looking guy) and takes each guy aside and says "hold off on washing your hands. The air dryer freaks the kid out and this guy could use a break."

By the time we finished there was a line of guys 5 or 6 deep patiently standing in line to wash their hands. I finished up and thanked them all, especially the first guy and they all wished us luck on our car trip home.

What a strange and strangely tender experience.

We were at the Mount Scott indoor pool here in Portland. We had a two-week old baby, who I sat with as my husband and toddler son enjoyed the facilities. As they finished up and headed to the locker room, I took the baby out to the hall and waited for them to come out.

A few minutes later, my husband comes streaming out of the pool entrance doors, cradling my son, calling to me urgently. I'm thinking our son has fallen and hit his head or something. Nope. Just a horrible, horrible disgusting blowout in his --cloth-- swim diaper. My husband hadn't discovered it until the diaper was halfway off in the communal locker room shower...and now there were containment issues.

We head for a family changing room and assess the damage - nothing for it but to just take the diaper off and hose him down (all the while trying not to panic as we're just beginning potty training and the whole topic is a minefield) so we're nattering away in ridiculous sing-song voices: "No, sweetie, it's not gross that mommy is trying to swish this fetid diaper out in the dubious public toilet - I'm holding it with two fingers for the extra challenge!"

"No, sweetie, we're not frantically wiping the whole room down because poop is ICKY! No, it's because the room is WET!"

We ended up bundling the diaper into the trash - we only had one ziploc for his swim clothes, which were worth more than the diaper.

And I had to track down two different staffers to let them know they'd need the haz-mat team in there, pronot - though we'd removed VISIBLE traces as best we could...

In the tram going up the St. Louis Gateway Arch. The ride itself wasn't very long but my husband and I were enclosed in a small space-age type pod with two strangers and it was clear that I had a choice. I could either let my baby scream and squish in his own foulness and subject everyone else to a dirty mess 630 feet in the air and immediately take the next trip down or I could just change him there and make jokes about how when Mork and Mindy had their love-child Mearth, they must have endured the same thing.

Nanu Nanu, indeed.

I changed a newborn blowout on the steps of the World Trade Center in Baltimore during my first daytrip with a new infant. On top of quietly shooting apologetic glances at the men and women in suits coming out for their lunch breaks, I was trying to change the baby, dig through the copious amounts of baby gear we had brought for new clothes, quiet her howls of indignation, and figure out what on earth I was to do with the diaper.

Only after she was dressed again did I realize that my nursing bra was also undone and flapping. And I still didn't know what to do with the diaper.

Talk about frazzled.


--On the airplane flying from Ethiopia to Germany, going back and forth to the teeny nasty restroom over and over. Turns out my daughter had giardia, and I was deathly afraid we'd have containment issues and ruin our seat on the plane, so I changed her fanatically often. The people nearest the bathroom must have hated us for fouling the air so very many times.

Mary, mom to 8 kids ages 2 through 19, including 2 from Korea and 2 from Ethiopia

Funny story...I was babysitting and we ran out of diapers. I had little ones but not the size I needed. So we ducked taped two together and then taped it around her. What a sight. It worked great...

Wow, the competition here is fierce, but even if I don't have much chance of winning, I hope I can bring a smile to somebody's face. I certainly got a grin from Jim's dryer traffic-jam story. So here goes:

My wife, my nine month-old daughter, and I took off on a 3 hour flight from Denver to LA and immediately my daughter wets her diaper. We can't get up yet, and she's nursing, but I go ahead and change the diaper while she's latched on and we're climbing.

Because of the cramped quarters the diaper's not on too securely, and we're all aware of this. Well, everyone but my daughter's bowels which unleash a near-blowout just as we level off. So I get a flight-attendant's attention and she waves me into the bathroom--but it's an older plane with no changing table. So I work my best in the cramped conditions, going through way more wipes than I care to admit. I have her almost all cleaned off and I put her over my shoulder to get the last bits of poop off of her back when I feel my shoulder warm up about ten degrees. We have two and a half hours to go and I have no change of shirt in the carry-on. The light color of the shirt really highlights the wet spots, I have an aisle seat, and the side she peed on is the side nearest the aisle. I'm not certain everyone noticed, but I certainly saw a couple snickers quickly hidden.

Moral: It's important to pack a change of clothes for the baby, but don't forget the change for the parents, too.

Two kids under three, nothing weirder than the secret back room at The Living Seas at EPCOT Center. It was under construction but we were there for a dinner and the bathrooms were (temporarily) closed.

I couldn't think of any "weird" places and thought that was odd. Then I realized that I have changed diapers just about every place you can imagine. So it all seems normal to me.

How about...on the steps outside the music and science fiction museums in Seattle? On the seat of my car too many times to count? On a seat at Starbucks? On the stroller while in line at the mall to see Santa? On the bench of a table at Burger King because their restrooms don't have freaking changing tables, for crying out loud?!?

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Ann

All this talk of diapering makes me think of the worst change I've ever had to execute and it was in a really benign place- a restaurant bathroom with a changing station.

The bathroom was less than immaculate to begin with, and at first I thought they had no changing table at all.

Eventually one was located in the handicapped stall right beside the toilet.

It was mounted way too high (and I'm 5'8), and it was one of the unusual ones that work like a Murphy bed (the foot end raises up to the wall rather than the side).

There wasn't a hook in sight. The table's bag hook had been broken off.

The toilet was unlidded, so the bag had to go on the floor (ick) or I would have to hold it through the entire change.

I couldn't set the implements on the changing table nor could I give the baby a toy because of the immediate proximity of the unlidded toilet. The top of the table's wall until was too high for me to reach and put anything on.

I wrestled a completely blown-out and screaming baby on the table to find the straps were gone. This is a narrow table where he has 2 sides to roll off of- one with an open toilet 3 feet below.

I murmured a phrase beginning with "mother..." and spent the next 15 minutes straddling the toilet (I'd rather he fall farther onto a flat, non-porcelain surface than crash onto/into a toilet) wrestling him out of his wet clothes and into a dry diaper.

Eventually, I decided I was tempting fate too much by holding him with one hand and yoga-stretching to my distant bag on the floor to get out all dry clothes. I wrapped him in a blanket, left the restroom, paid my bill without finishing, and left to change him in the car. I now curse that restaurant every time I drive buy.

Oh- and of course I don't need another Diaper Valet. The story above is one of the events that drove me to design it.

I don't have a story, but a suggestion. I have a large Patrick Patemm pad with pockets (http://www.patemm.com/) that I LOOOOVE, but there are always things that I need to carry that don't fit in it. I think the Diaper Valet would be great for holding those other things inside of my Healthy Back Bag.

A car trunk at the beach comes to mind: it was so windy, that's the only place we could find shelter.

The most intersting place was when I ran out of diapers for my newborn at the zoo and a zoo keeper was kind enough to give me one from one of the animals.

Josh: Everyone has the same chance of winning -- I'll be drawing a name from a hat (or somesuch).

The Louvre, Paris, France

France doesn't believe in changing tables. I'm still not sure if what I changed my daughter on was furniture, an exhibit that just happened to be located in the ladies' room, or a table meant for the purpose of diaper changing. It was kind of a concrete and tile thing sticking up out of the floor, with concrete and tile all around. But it was large enough, and flat, so we decided to go for it. It was either that, or stink up the art.

I also nursed her in the Louvre (and Notre Dame, and Sacre Coeur, and both under and on the Eiffel Tower, if that gets me any bonus points!).

At one of those mom and tots movie showings I had to change my son at the back of the theatre because I didn't want to miss any part of the movie. I tried doing it on a seat, but it kept flipping back, so I thought that was too dangerous. So instead I just went to the back and hoped that no one noticed. Unfortunately, I didn't have a change of clothes for myself as well as my nweborn's diaper leak was quite extensive. But luckily my shirt was dark and whatever was on me dried before I left. I would have left sooner because it's gross sitting in a poopy shirt, but I didn't even noticed I had been hit until the movie was almost over, and by that point I decided it was pointless to leave.

Definately not as exotic as some stories, but I have changed one nasty diaper on a gray rolling cart in the back of a screen printing/embroidery shop. They had to take the shirts off the cart first of course. Trying to keep my one year old from rolling off the cart and trying to get at the industrial embroidery machine.
At least he was clean when it was all said and done.

I once changed my daughter's dirty diaper on the bathroom floor of a hip, roof-terrace restaurant while in Charleston, S.C. A noteworthy change because the restaurant gave me a violent, excruiating case of food poisoning. It was so bad, the doctors gave me the same medicine they use to kill anthrax. In hindsight I thought -- if the food was bad, how dirty must that floor have been? Gross. Gross, gross.

As I was pulling in the driveway to pick my daughter up from school, I smelled that familiar albeit unpleasant odor that comes from a dirty diaper.

When I got the baby out of the car seat, I felt a little wetness on his pants. I thought to myself, “We have a breach. Better act fact.” By the time I got to the back of the SUV to lay him down and deal with the diaper, there was a brown river flowing in to his left sock. I struggled to get off his soaked pants, which by this point were filled with chunks. I used 7 wipes before I even took off the diaper. Then I got his onesie off miraculously without giving the poor child a poop Mohawk.

Try to picture me, pregnant, leaning over the back of the SUV to change this monster diaper on the folded down seat that was about a foot and a half from the bumper, while a squirmy, naked, poop covered one-year-old tries to crawl away. I knew things were bad when a mother from a car two rows away came over and sympathetically offered me a paper bag for the mountain of wipes that was accumulating on the bumper.

Finally, I got Jack changed and dressed in the spare outfit that I always carry. At this point I started to clean up the car. The poop had spread so far a field that it was even on the spare tire, which was covered and recessed in the floor. This one diaper changed precipitated the need for an entire load of laundry, because don’t think the car got the worst of it, Mommy was pretty stinky too, and a car detailing. Now that is one messy diaper change.

Yay, another great PH thread...

No one diaper changing place stands out for me, but we use the back of the car frequently enough that we have a theme song for it...

Diaper Patrol
(sung to the tune of Highway Patrol)

Oh I'm the diaper patrol, the diaper patrol,
the hours are long and the pay is low
but I'll do my best 'cause that's a mommy's role
I'm just-a doin' my job I'm the diaper patrol

Oh I'm the diaper patrol, the diaper patrol,
the hours are long and the pay is low
but I'll do my best 'cause I love you so,
I'm just-a doin' my job I'm the diaper patrol

I don't know which is more embarassing -- the actual song or having a song specifically for back of the car diaper changes.

And we were visited by a nice gentleman of the law during one of these back of the car changes once, somewhere between Houston on Austin.

The site wasn't incredibly original--the passenger seat of our minivan--but it was my husband changing a Toxic Waste-rated diaper on my two-year old, and the contents of the diaper started falling off the diaper, down the seat, and into the parking lot next to the restaurant where we'd been eating.

A middle-aged man approached, to get into the car next to us. My husband warned him of the diaper's stench, and the man proudly gave him the "I'm a veteran" look. But when he saw the poo on the pavement next to his side of his car, he retched, loudly, made a break for his car, and peeled out, mortified.

I laughed so hard I literally almost wet my pants. It was the most entertaining diaper change I've ever experienced :)

I changed my son's diaper during my husband's sermon at church one sunday. I don't think anyone noticed....except for maybe the horrible stench that wafted through the sanctuary!?!

Apparently Las Vegas is not that kid friendly. A girlfriend of mine had a party and my husband, my then 10 month old and I hopped on a plane for 5.5 hours and stayed at Ceasar's Palace. As beautiful as the hotel was, non of their restrooms have changing tables. I didn't want to show security my key just so we could go all the back up to the room, so I went into their public one. As I walked in, one mom was just finished up changing her baby boy on the floor! I couldn't do it, I took my daughter and changed her in the stroller in the hallway w/ my husband's help. I was waiting for security to say something to me...but not a peep.

Can't think of any strange places, because with 3 kiddos I will change a diaper just about anywhere. If the floor is too foul, my husband and I have perfected the "2 person hold the baby in the air and change them" thing. Funny to watch, easier with girls than boys, who tend to pee mid change.

Reading the comments reminds me how glad I am to be out of the infant blow-out stage! Now on to potty training...

My husband and I changed a diaper at the top of a hiking trail at Lake Louise in Banff National Park in Canada. It was late Sept. and there was a lot of snow on the ground at that elevation. Our 6 month-old son needed a poopy change, so we found a flat rock that was sticking up out of the snow, flopped out the changing pad and changed him there. It was awfully chilly, but Kieran didn't seem to mind. He loves to go hiking in the Baby Bjorn - anything that lets him look at a lot of trees! :)

Well, let's see I can't think of one stand out change, but a few of the more balance requiring ones were:

On the tray-table mid-flight.
In the Britax Roundabout, with the baby sitting up because the back of the car was way too full.
On the 6" by 18" section of counter next to the sink at one of our favorite restaurants that doesn't have a changing table (this was quite a challenge with a moving 18 month old who barely fit).
Quick-as-can-be-before-anyone-notices on the booth bench at the same restuarant.
Anywhere while simulaneously nursing.

Not so unusual, but frustrating.

I had gone to lunch w/ my 3 month old & my sister at a casual dining seafood restaurant. After my meal finally arrives, he gets fussy & decides it's time to take a nap. Of course he'll wake up if I put him down, so I put him on my shoulder. As I do so, my sister says, what's on his clothes?? Of course he has just had the mother of all blowouts that have gone all the way up his back. As I look in my diaper bag, I realize I have no clothes to change him into, so I have to sit with this poopy baby while my sister runs back to my apartment to get him something to wear. When she finally returns, I head to the restroom where the changing table is in the hall outside the main restroom with no trash can nearby. I have 3 wipes left to clean up this catastrophe. I'm doing this the whole time he's sleeping mind you. I have to strip him down to nothing in this cold restroom, attempt not to get poop in his mane of hair, and hold him down because the changing table straps are gone! I finally manage to get him changed & dressed, but I still have a poop laden outfit to clean & nowhere to put him. Thank God a lovely Grandma looking lady walked out of one of the stalls at that moment & she was more than happy to hold him so I could rinse out his outfit. Thank God for Grandmas!

Last summer when my son was 4 months old, we were scheduled for a family trip across country. I came down with food poisoning the night before, so my husband took the baby on the flight by himself. Midway through, his *colostomy bag* starts leaking, and his diaper's not holding up real well either. Hubby had to change this screaming child in the airplane bathroom with no changing table and halfway through realizes he's out of diapers. The baby spent the rest of the flight with paper towels shoved down his pants!

Then on the flight back home (after I had gotten over my troubles and joined them), we had another colostomy bag leak, this time in the gate area of the airport. And colostomy bags need to have a hole cut in them before you can stick them on, and guess what they don't allow past security? Scissors! We had to have a gate agent page the Emergency Medic cart to come help us, and then THEY didn't even have scissors - one of the medics had to go and get some from their office.

Baby's 10 months old now, and the colostomy has been reversed. I do my best never to complain about poopy diapers because trust me, they're easier!

I changed my son's diaper blowout at my wedding reception (in a closet) wearing my wedding dress. ;) (Yes, the groom was his dad!)

I can't think of anything super strange, although airline toilets have to be the most inconvenient. On my lap, standing up, in the sling carrier- it seems like we've done them all. On top of a dog kennel cage. In the stacks at the library. Everywhere.

My parents and I were on the highway between Phoenix and Tucson and stopped at one of the desert rest sops to stretch our legs. I took the opportunity to nurse my son. All was well until he finished---I handed him to Grandma and rose to get out the truck myself. For a moment, I couldn't figure out why the front of my periwinkle dress was brown.

Oh.

My mom and I hustled to the bathrooms, me trying to avoid being seen by the other travelers, lest they lose their lunches. This unfortunate rest stop had all the dirtiness I expected, but I was appalled to find they had no changing station, no soap, and no paper towels. Mom and I did the best we could on the counter, but I was woefully unprepared, having believed my son to be past the blowout stage. And did I mention there was no soap?
Well, I had no change of clothes for either of us---no need to worry about a chill however, as this was June in Southern Arizona. We ended up stopping at an outlet mall not very far down the highway to buy a new outfit for both of us, which was a good ending for me!

My husband was glad he had not been with us.

Just a comment.

This thread is amazing as a demographic of Parent Hackers. We've got world traveling adopting parents, cross country travelers, outdoors hikers, restaurant and church goers and everything in between.

Not the ones to stay at home with the baby, it appears that Parent Hackers pack them up and take the everywhere.

How awesome! What an interesting generation this offspring will be.

Not so unusual, but changing a squirmy and cranky one-year-old in my lap on a plane full of cranky people that had been sitting on the runway for half an hour certainly ranks up there as one of my most memorable diaper changes.

Last summer, Sloan and I met my mom for breakfast at McDonalds. Mom and I chatted and laughed while Sloan amused herself in the play yard. I stopped short in the middle of my egg sandwich at the ominous sound of a squeegee on damp plastic. In slo-mo Flo-Jo mode I ran to the slide and grabbed Sloan by the ankle as she headed back up and pulled her back. As I lifted my baby, I noticed that her pants, that had started the day as green, were now the color of mud. I realized, to my dismay, that my diaper bag had no change of clothes, no wipes and no plastic bag. Never fear, mommies in panic, I didn’t watch five years of MacGyver and walk away with nothing. I asked three college guys (who got an invaluable lesson in abstinence) to watch my breakfast, begged my mom to RUN to Wal-Mart and pick out anything in Sloan’s size (or even close), snatched my woefully depleted diaper bag in one hand and my daughter, who reeked of rotten Spam, in the other, and headed to the bathroom. I had my super mommy shtick in high gear.
Once inside, I heard the Mission Impossible theme song playing in my head, which thankfully drowned out the Muzak version of Muskrat Love piped in over the less than sparkling toilets. I grabbed a dozen paper towels and doused them in warm water, emptied a Ziploc bag of snacks and hoisted Sloan onto the wobbly, plastic changing table. I changed my baby, used the snack bag to throw away the offending diaper, washed her pants in the sink and dried them under the hand drier. I carried Sloan back into the play area at McDonald’s with my head held high. MacGyver had nothing on me.
Sloanie played for a few minutes until my mom returned with clean clothes; I changed Sloan standing on a chair and sent her off to play while I returned, satisfied, to my chilly egg sandwich.

We just got back from a trip to the UK and Ireland. One of the weirder places we had to change our 13 month old daughter was in one of the side-chapels in Westminister Abbey, near the west front exit and the tomb of the Unknown Warrior.... their bathrooms are currently under renovation, she was stinking, and and one of the staff directed us into the chapel instead. We tried to be quick and discreet, but she also started screaming, argh!

Other interesting diaper change locations on that trip included the bathroom counter in a Dublin Pub (no changing table but at least the counter was just wide enough) and on a ferry several times both ways (the rocking motion made it interesting - at least there's more room than a plane bathroom though).

Um, on the exam table in our vet's office?

We have two dogs and BOTH of them had a vet appointment. Actually, we were picking one up from surgery and taking the other in for shots and the vet's office is an hour plus away from the house (long story).

I realized that our son needed his diaper changed as we pulled into the parking lot. I left my husband to get the dog together. I ran into the vet's office and asked if I could borrow the exam room real quick (since he wasn't back from lunch yet). They said, um, why?

I pointed to the baby's butt and they said sure thing. I closed the door and the next thing I hear is -- oh no, Dr. K, they don't have the dog in there yet, she's changing the baby's diaper.

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