The Diaper Challenge

Travel with infants is hard for minimalist packers such as myself. I try to pack as little as possible and buy what I can upon arrival, especially if I’m travelling within North America or to a major city. Nothing’s more frustrating then carrying a diaper bag, your carry-on, and your childrens’ carry-ons in addition to your infant. But where is the line? How do you know you’re not overpacking and will still have enough in the event of an emergency. I’m talking about diapers, specifically.

Let me tell you a little story about a time I pushed the limit of only packing eight diapers when returning home from visiting my brother and his family in Halifax. Upon arrival, I bought a large box of diapers, figuring I’d leave the leftovers for my niece who was the same age as Taylor. Our flight home included two legs, Halifax to Hamilton and Hamilton to Winnipeg, a total of nine hours. Typically, because of the tiny bathrooms, I never change Taylor’s diaper on the airplane, unless it’s an emergency of course. So, I calculated that I would need four diapers, and then doubled it just in case.

As normal, we boarded the airplane twenty minutes before departure time. But what wasn’t normal, is that we sat on the airplane for over two hours, waiting. To this day, I don’t know why, but our flight ended up being cancelled. We were directed to disembark the plane and report to customer service to reschedule our flights. Because we had Taylor’s car seat, we had to wait until everyone else, which resulted in us being last in line to reschedule our flight.

The customer service representative was wonderful and kind, exactly what you need after a frustrating experience with a ten-month-old. Unfortunately, she could not get us home that day. Our options were to spend another night in Halifax or to an overnight layover in another city. I made the decision to cease the opportunity and have an over-nighter in Montreal. At this point we were down to six clean diapers, but I figured it wasn’t a big deal, because I can buy some in Montreal.

Taylor in Montreal

Upon arriving in Montreal, we checked into our airport hotel and inquired about diapers. They had none. Not a big deal, because we were going on an adventure to Old Montreal. We wandered the streets and visited every grocery store, hotel, and pharmacy we saw. None had diapers! Well, the grocery store did, but I wasn’t about to buy a box of 72. By dinner time, we were down to three diapers that had to last us until noon the next day.

When arrived back at our hotel, to cut down on the need for diapers, I let Taylor play bare bottom on towels and in the tub, before bed. We managed to make one diaper last through the night. The next morning she got a fresh diaper before we headed to the airport. And finally before boarding, the last one. The flight was short, so as long as she didn’t have a bowel movement, we’d be fine. But before take-off, I texted my husband to bring diapers to the airport. He thought I was crazy.

Thankfully, she made it the way to Winnipeg without a bowel movement. I was lucky, and probably left her in pee diapers longer than I should have, but I had no other choice. In the end, it all worked out.

The moral of this story: bring at least triple the number of diapers you would typically need. In a lot of tourist areas, diapers are not easily accessible or can be over-priced. I could have saved myself a lot of unnecessary stress and headache had I packed a few more diapers. Really, I saved myself half a pound and four inches of space.

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