I recently just returned from a trip to Berlin with my family, including my almost 8 month old son. One of the items that I used regularly and recommend that parents of babies or children who are still in diapers bring are puppy pads! You may be wondering why such an item may be of use on holiday!
If you are new to parenting you may have realised that when you're travelling with a baby or when you're out and about, changing stations may be absolutely disgusting. They may have dirt, faecal matter and who knows what else on them! Sadly, not all parents who use these changing areas clean up after themselves. If you have a washable changing pad, you may like to use that, however, there are times when they may not be ideal. One of the things that I don't like about reusable changing pads is this- so the first time you use your changing pad while away from home, it's clean. You lay it down on the changing table or whatever surface is available because again, who knows what's on there. Your child is protected from any bacteria, dirt or faecal matter that may be present because they're lying on your already clean washable mat. But then what do you do? You roll up that reusable changing pad and place it into your bag, meaning any bacteria, dirt or faecal matter which is stuck to the bottom of that pad is now in your bag where it can transfer to anything else. You can always put the changing pad into a plastic or resealable bag but then what happens if you reuse that changing mat again before you have the chance to wash it at home? That bacteria is still present on the changing pad so when you lay it down again for a second nappy change, your baby may come into contact with it.
This is where puppy pads come in. They are inexpensive and open to provide a wide surface where your child may be placed for a nappy change. It's clean and once you use it, you can dispose of it in any bin. You're not putting it into your changing bag again where bacteria could potentially get all over your possessions. Your baby or older child is also not coming into contact with any harmful bacteria, which can cause infections or be life threatening if ingested (E. Coli in particular)!
I'm from the United States and changing stations in general are much more common. I can't tell you the number of times I've been out and about in Ireland or like I was in Berlin and a changing station was no where to be found. Then what do you do? Sometimes you need to improvise and essentially do the best you can. In my case, I've changed my younger babies on my legs by stretching them out and creating as flat a surface as possible. As my babies got older, this was no longer practical. While in Berlin, I was at a restaurant where the bathroom was the size of a small wardrobe. No changing station was available and the only surface I could change my son on was the floor. Out came the puppy pad and I quickly did the nappy change while also keeping him protected from the filth of a bathroom floor. Is this ideal? Absolutely not but it's making the best of an un-ideal situation.
Puppy pads may be purchased at discount shops or in bulk. They may not be necessary every time you leave the house but they are a good option for longer outings and especially while traveling! Pick up a small pack and see how you get on!