Good Luck with That Poopy Diaper at 30,000 Feet!

Baby with airplanes“How is it anyone else’s concern if there is somewhere for you to change or breastfeed your baby in public? Why is it anyone else’s responsibility to help you when you are pregnant or a new mother?….Why do you want sympathy?”

That’s an email I got — from a woman — when I had the audacity to complain recently that a three-hour Delta Airlines flight should provide a place for me to change my infant’s dirty diaper. And that an airport should have a space for me to pump breast milk that is not a disgusting bathroom floor or fancy airline lounge that costs me $50 to access.

See, the air travel industry hasn’t figured out that humans come out of women, and when they are very little, that these tiny humans can’t use toilets.

Instead, we parents — both on leisure and business travel — are told to change our babies in our seats, or on a toilet seat. We beg the flight attendants to give us the privilege of changing babies on dirty galley floors. Sometimes, they say “no.” Meanwhile, planes are being fitted with wi-fi.

That’s why I started a petition asking Delta Airlines, the worst offender, to put changing tables on all their planes. Any parent who’s had a number two explosion at 30,000 feet knows what a nightmare it is not to have a place to clean it up. The flight attendant I spoke during my fateful flight with told me the plane was too old to have a changing table. I guess Delta hasn’t figured out that babies preceded the invention of the airplane.

As parents, we’re always trying to quiet our kids and minimize the inconvenience to others. For all the money we pay to fly, we should at least be able to do it without fearing for ourselves, our kid, and the guy in the aisle seat.

Guest contributor Rachel Simmons is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, and The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence. As an educator, Rachel works internationally to reduce bullying and empower girls and young women. Rachel is a Vassar graduate and Rhodes Scholar from New York and is the co-founder of the Girls Leadership Institute. She is an experienced curriculum writer and educator who works with schools and organizations around the world. She currently develops leadership programs for undergraduate women at the Center for Work and Life at Smith College.

Image via iStockphoto/Paz Ruiz Luque

  • http://www.theworthingtonpost.net Aliza

    Even if I NEVER flew with a young child, as a SOLO passenger I would want the parents around me to have a safe and convenient place to change their sweet babies!

  • Joan Haskins

    I was on a 5 hour flight several years ago, when it became apparent the toddler in the seat behind me needed changing. Badly. The young parents had to change the diaper on the seat next to them which was unpleasant for all those around them.
    The problem was, they had no other option! It was a five hour flight, and they had nowhere to change the diaper. Airlines need changing tables, at the very least…

  • http://www.elizabethaquino.blogspot.com Elizabeth Aquino

    Good luck with that. I commend you for trying, but those of us with children with disabilities have long since given up even flying with our children because there is literally no place to change them without resorting to scary gymnastics in the airplane bathroom. It’s just another “inconvenience” for the industry to deal with the disabled as the law dictates “reasonable accomodations.”

leonard Nimoy Full Body Project
You’ll Remember Leonard Nimoy As Spock. I’ll Remember Him As a ‘Love Your Body’ Activist For Women
john-legend-and-common-selma
The Incredible Oscar Moment Almost Everyone Missed
749606510_4f7d9c174c
Kim Gordon and I Should Have Drinks And Talk About Men
Jessica Williams, The Daily Show, Imposter Syndrome
Jessica Williams Isn’t Ours to Diagnose
john-legend-and-common-selma
The Incredible Oscar Moment Almost Everyone Missed
Jessica Williams, The Daily Show, Imposter Syndrome
Jessica Williams Isn’t Ours to Diagnose
Hillary Clinton thin resume, Hillary Clinton too dangerous, Hillary Clinton not qualified for president
Hillary Clinton is Dangerous and Her Resume is Too “Thin?”
Black History Month, Selma, Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta King
“Selma” Forgot One Important Story: Coretta Scott King’s
Hillary Clinton thin resume, Hillary Clinton too dangerous, Hillary Clinton not qualified for president
Hillary Clinton is Dangerous and Her Resume is Too “Thin?”
hillary_david_axelrod
12 Pieces of Advice for Hillary Clinton That Aren’t From a Man
Phillly paid sick days
Hey, Philadelphia! Guess Who’s Getting Paid Sick Days?!
Presidents' Day, when will a woman be president
Presidents’ Day: Time for a Woman in the White House
alizagraying_edited-1
I Am Not My Gray Hair. My Hair Is Not Me.
1CHRISTMASCARD
Things I Did Instead of Send This Christmas Card
New England weather, severe weather and depression, The Shining
It’s Getting All ‘The Shining’ Up In Here
4717207794_7d91f82bb3_b1
My 18 Year Old Daughter Is In Jail And I’m Second Guessing Every Choice I Made
alizagraying_edited-1
I Am Not My Gray Hair. My Hair Is Not Me.
4717207794_7d91f82bb3_b1
My 18 Year Old Daughter Is In Jail And I’m Second Guessing Every Choice I Made
Alzheimer's, medical care for Alzheimer's patients, end of life care
This Is How You Die
reinvention culture, Oprah and reinvention, More Magazine and reinvention, women stop reinventing yourselves
Reinvention Culture is Killing Me
Vintage_Valentine_02
Cupid’s Weekend Cocktails: It Takes Two
hating valentine's day, valentine's day
Dear Valentine’s Day: I Hate You
Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades of Grey: I Have Other Fanatasies

Get our new weekly email
Broadly Speaking

featuring our best words for the week + an exclusive longread