What To Do When You Run Out of Diapers (Outdoors or At Home)

What to do when you run out of diapers??!!

Oh gosh, I remember the panic and guilt and that sinking feeling in my stomach.

I thought I still have a few pieces around as I told myself I need to buy a couple of packs tomorrow. 

But what you do you know, I don’t even have one, single diaper laying around. Even in places where I keep diapers, like the diaper bag!

I remember running to the store in the middle of the night to get some diapers, while my husband looked after our little one.

I was lucky to get the last stock off the shelf when I got there. 

Big whew!

If you don’t have that opportunity though, don’t worry, just breathe, calm down – you got this!

Here are some ideas on what to do when you run out of diapers.

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What To Do When You Run Out of Diapers (Outdoors)

It can happen to the best of us. You thought you packed enough diapers, then you gotta change here, change over there. And next thing you know, you’re out of diapers and you don’t have time to go home!

Here’s what you can do:

Ask another parent

Now is not the time to be embarrassed. And I don’t think another parent will judge you for running out of diapers if they have a heart.

So go ask if they have a spare diaper. 

Just be polite and honest about it and tell them you ran out.

Use a cloth and a hairband

If you can’t find any parent with a spare diaper, dig around in your diaper bag for a cloth and a hairband or scrunchie.

Use any cloth you have at hand – washcloth, burp cloth, muslin cloth, etc., and tie it up at the sides to make it into a quick, DIY diaper. 

It won’t be waterproof of course and won’t hold a big mess, but at least it won’t explode all over the place when you’re out in public.

What To Do When You Run Out of Diapers (At Home)

Do a double-check 

You might have diapers lying around in pouches, in the diaper bag, in nooks and crannies of the crib, other rooms, and even the kitchen and dining room!

Look around first and check if you have a few pieces around the house.

Ask nearby friends/ relatives

If they live nearby and you know you can depend on them, don’t be too shy to ask for their help in getting you some diapers.

If you’re not close to any of your nearby relatives or if you have only acquaintances around you, the worse thing that can happen is they say no.

Try anyway. Just explain your situation, and be polite and humble about it.

Ask a neighbor

If you’re friendly with them and you know, they have a kid, it will be easy to ask them for one.

If they have a kid but you don’t really talk to them, what I’d do is just well – still, ask them anyway.

I would do anything for my baby and if that means asking a stranger for a diaper or two, I’d do it.

If you’re not as thick-skinned as I am, I’d try the following below.

Go to church

They may know someone or they might have a program to help you get some diapers asap.

Contact the National Diaper Bank Network

Click on this link to find out where to get local resources for diapers or even for basic needs.

Connect with a non-profit organization

There are some women’s shelters or nonprofit organizations that can help you with diapers, baby wipes, and more.

Just google “women’s shelter free diapers” or something similar and you’ll see a lot of info about it.

Ask for help online

There are a lot of online angels out there who won’t hesitate to help anyone – stranger or not.

You can turn to your Facebook, your usual online hangouts, and even Reddit!

I’ve seen a lot of people ask for help in these online communities and it’s so heartwarming to see them get a lot of assistance from people they don’t even know!

So try that, what’s there to lose?

Start an impromptu EC

EC or elimination communication is infant potty training.

You basically learn your baby’s potty cues and help them do their business on a potty.

It’s actually normal in some countries to do this with babies but if you’re not familiar with the concept, check this link out for more info.

Look for disposable diaper alternatives

It might not be much, but at least it can keep some leaks and messes in, temporarily.

Scroll down below for some ideas on how to make a diaper.

Disposable Diaper Alternatives

You can use a scissor, some duct tape/ masking tape/ snappi, safety pins, etc. to put together a DIY diaper using the items below:

  • Washcloth, burp cloth, etc.

This is probably the best alternative as most of these cloths are very soft and gentle on a baby’s skin.

  • Baby clothes

Use the old ones or those they won’t wear again.

  • Underwear

It can be yours or another kid’s underwear (if you have other children). 

  • Kitchen towels or toilet paper

Make sure that they don’t feel scratchy, so as not to irritate your baby’s skin.

Check out the video below for an idea of how to fold a makeshift diaper.

What NOT To Use as a Diaper Alternative

In my opinion, these are the worse makeshift diaper alternatives you can ever give to a baby:

  • Maxi pads

I’ve seen this idea floating around the internet. But I just can’t imagine putting something rough and uncomfortable like that on my baby’s privates.

Besides, it can irritate my baby’s skin and give her rashes.

  • Used disposable diaper

Even if it has only a little bit of pee in it.

Please don’t risk it, as it might lead to an infection or worse, on your baby’s gentle, sensitive skin.

  • Plastic bag

I also saw this option but really, I can’t imagine this being comfortable for a baby or a toddler. 

I wouldn’t want to wear this so why would I force my little one to use it!

You can put something first on your baby, like a washcloth, then put a plastic bag on them.

How to Prepare and Prevent Running Out of Diapers Again

  • Stock up

Take advantage of promotions – black Fridays, cyber Mondays, and similar sale periods.

Just take care not to go overboard as your baby can quickly outgrow diapers.

If you’ve settled down and have gotten used to the diaper changing routine, calculate how many diapers you use, then buy a bigger size.

  • Get cloth diapers

Just buy a few pieces for emergency cases. Keep some at home and a few pieces in your diaper bag.

  • Keep diapers everywhere

Store them in main places, like your kid’s bedroom, your car, the diaper bag, under the bassinet, etc.

Just keep a few pieces “hidden” away just in case!

  • Store extra pants

Just always keep extra pants, shorts, and underwear for your baby in your diaper bag.

Just in case you need some extra protection and security.

Final Thoughts on What To Do When You Run Out of Diapers

Breathe a little, and don’t put yourself down because of this.

Running out of diapers can happen to the best of us.

Of course, we want to give our babies everything they need or want, but sometimes, these things can happen.

Just calm down, and give your baby some naked time while you think of a solution. Hopefully, this article has given you some doable, practical ideas on what to do when you run out of diapers.

And if you love this guide then make sure to check out these guides on Diaper Bag Checklist for Newborns, Diaper Tips and Hacks, Tips For Leaving the House with a Newborn, and Diaper Blowout Hacks (Causes, Solutions, and Preventions).