The exploding nappy post

Yesterday I was reading the fabulous Mrs Woog from Woogsworld where she posted about her Roadtrip from Hell. I had a good chuckle about her travel story and the stories her other readers have shared in the comments. (Go have a read, and comment – there’s a some neat prizes being given away too).

I left my own travel story comment; the short version of an event that occurred almost exactly 6 years ago. It’s a story that’s been sitting on my iPhone “Writing List” for a good while. Mrs Woog’s post finally gave me the push to write it. (Thanks for the kick up the arse Woogsy).

I often hear childless people commenting that parents shouldn’t bring children on planes. Shame on you all.

I have few clear memories of the journey from Dublin to Melbourne. Post trauma induced amnesia I think. I am returning home, bringing my Irish partner and our 14 month old son here to live. The whole journey takes something like 32 hours, door-to-door. R and I don’t sleep on planes. Terrific.

Dublin, Birmingham, Dubai, Singapore, Melbourne.

Child is too big for a crib and too small to sit in a plane seat without help. So we take a car seat with us and strap that into each seat. We each carry a backpack and I have one extra bag. On each plane. All four of them.


The flight from Birmingham to Dubai is delayed by four hours. Now we have a hyper 14 month old to entertain for four hours.

We’re carrying loads of on board luggage. Spare clothes, nappies, bottles, instant formula, water, medicines, entertainment. The weight off all those accusing eyes saying “HOW DARE YOU BRING A BABY ON BOARD A PLANE”.

We think about walking but we don’t own any scuba gear. Or a submarine.


My face when we found out we had a 4 hour delay

A woman in front of the child turns around and asks us to stop him from kicking the back on her chair. We sympathise. We have no clue how to stop a 14 month old doing anything. It’s one of the great mysteries of science. Controlling kids.


It’s 8am and about 40 degrees. In a cruel twist there’s no aerobridge. So, a bag in one hand, backpack on back plus a car seat in other hand, I WALK out to the plane on the tarmac.

I walk up the steps to the plane and feel my hypermobile hips rotate, one after the other, as I climb. “There go my hips” I say faintly to my partner. He’s wrangling a feverish 14 month old monster and two bags himself.



Finally the last leg… nobody except the child has slept.

He’s feverish (and we are incoherent with exhaustion). Six hours from Melbourne, I smell THE SMELL. Yes, the child has filled his nappy. I pick him up and queue FOREVER for the only toilet with a change table. I stand in a faint green haze of fetid stench, avoiding eye contact.

Oh god please hurry!



Hint: The nappy in question looked nothing like this

I finally get there. Lock the door. Wrestle the pathetic excuse for a change table down – it’s more like a toothpick than a table, designed specifically to endanger your child and make nappy changing virtually impossible. I lay the child precariously on it.


The nappy has exploded. All over his front, up his back. Now smeared all over the front of my t-shirt as I’d been clutching him, waiting for the toilet, swaying in a sleep-deprived fugue of desperation.

Now I have to somehow clean him up – with only baby wipes – in a space barely large enough to move an inch in any direction. In the bin go his old nappy, almost a whole packet of wipes, and his clothes.

New nappy on. Sorted.

Now for me. When I’d packed the cabin luggage I had loads of stuff for the child. Then comes to horrifying realisation. I HADN’T PACKED SPARE CLOTHES FOR ME.

So now I’m washing out my shit-covered t-shirt in a plane toilet while balancing my child, for his safety, wedged against a wall with my thigh.

And now I’m putting my shitty wet t-shirt back on. And praying that nobody else can smell what I can smell.

I finally finish up and exit the toilet, to the icy stares of a dozen people waiting for the toilet.


I’m sure they were wondering what the hell took so long. Some might also be wondering why I took a clothed baby in and brought a naked baby out.

I stalk back to our seats. Partner asks why I’m wet. I fix him with a steely gaze and reply “Nappy explosion”. A fellow passenger beside us laughs.

I sit down and ponder, with six hours of shitty wet t-shirt travel left, how many years I’d get for strangling that guy. Preferably with my shitty wet t-shirt.

Next time you’re on a plane and grumpy that someone has brought a baby on board – put yourself in their shoes (or shitty wet t-shirt, if you like) and cut those parents some slack.


  1. it was on the flight Durbai to London june 2012 that the odd tasting crab from the day befores smorasboard decided to let me know that all was not right.
    Announcement that we would have to taxi on runway for 60 mins due to traffic (what traffic, I saw no cars, surely we have priority)
    My kingdom for a nappy, where are those mums with kids when you need them….nope not one friggin toddler on whole plane
    Can you go to toilet whilst on tarmac…will it just form a heap under plane, can I sneak out of seatbelt and sprint for toily despite neon sign instructing otherwise.
    worst 14 hours of my life…the seats are not big enough to squirm in
    Thankyou to the flight attendant for breaking into medicine cab for lomatile
    when you go thru x ray at airport, can they tell if you have no nickers on………….

  2. think of me as your personal boggster opps Blogger……o’er an out, roger that, Sue Knight, from the chronicles of the travelling circus without a tent

  3. We had several transatlantic flights with OUr eldest child, who at the time was anywhere from 6 months old to 2.5. She invariably cried the entire way until we were just about to land. OUr only blessing was that she got masive constipation when she flew, so we had no exploding shitty diapers to deal with. (THANK GOD)

  4. We did London to Sydney with a 6 weeks old. Seemed like a walk in the park compared to another family on our flight with a 12 months old who discovered he could walk during the flight. They spent hours, pacing with him, trying to get him to stay put. The only comment we got was from the lady I was sitting next to. When we landed in Syd she turned to me and said “that was no where near as bad as i expected” whilst gesturing vaguely towards the infant. I assume i was meant to take that as some backward compliment.

    Great post. Travel with kids is only for the brave!

  5. OHMYGOD! times a thousand! You poor thing. i can imagine it was like a bad dream. xxx

    • Thanks Woogsy. By the time I got to Melbs I was so exhausted and stressed out I was sick for weeks after. Thank god it’s funny in hindsight 😉 And thanks for the reminder that I needed to write this post! x

  6. I feel your baby poo pain.Mine is not a travel story but a baby poo story still.
    While working as a nurse in nursery I was feeding a baby in my arms when suddenly vomit projected across room and hit the glass partition running down the glass wall.At the same time I could feel hot wet baby poo on my lap then running down my pantyhose and filling my shoes!
    The clean up…I didnt know where to start.Washed out what I could but No spare shoes at work.
    Oh that is a work shift I will never forget.

  7. Oh my goodness I can only imagine. We have only attempted 1hr flights from Brisbane to Sydney and back. Smoothly it was, I am sure if it had been longer it may have ended like yours. I will be taking spare clothes for me from now on, thanks!

  8. Hilarious!! You poor thing… We’ve done Sydney Dublin twice now, the second time with 2 toddlers (one toilet training) and I refused to do more than one leg without a stop off – even in Frankfurt 🙂 I don’t care that you have to go in and out of security etc. etc. I absolutely have to sleep just to cope with the other passengers comments without decking them!

  9. Awesome post. And I think that that is probably the absolute worst age to travel with a child. Between about 10 and 20 months. There is no reasoning. There is no negotiating. There is just whatever the hell they want.

    And code browns.

    • Code browns? I LOVE IT!

      You’re right, it was hell. The lady in the seat in front of us asked us to stop him from kicking her seat. I sympathised. Then asked her how the hell she suggested we do that, because he was 14 months old. LOL


  10. OMG god I am seriously laughing out loud at this post!! I have done that very same journey all to many times and I can so understand your pain!! I also have some pretty good ‘shit’ stories to share!!

  11. I have been using Honest diapers since Zach was only a few weeks old. These are the only diapers I will use on him. They are soft and comfortable for him. I can’t say there was never an incident of a leaky diaper, but I would love to meet the mom who has never had a diaper mess at one point or other! LOL I have tried other diapers, but these seem to be the most comfy and best control against diaper accidents.

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