Best Changing Table and Pads For Quick Diaper Changes (2020 Guide)
One of the most underrated purchases for a new mom is your baby’s changing table and pad.
For whatever reason—and I was guilty of this too—you put all of your time and effort searching for the perfect mattress, crib, and bedding, and yet you leave the changing table and pad a complete afterthought!
But, when you’ll be using these items eight to ten times a day, it's important that you have these two essentials on lock down!
You want something that is big (but not too big), comfortable and safe, and most of all, something that will help you stay organized—because as a mom, your time is totally precious.
Read on to learn about some of the best changing tables and pads I’ve found, so you can make sure they end up in your nursery!
Note: this is a pretty long guide, and so I've included this table of contents to help you jump around from section to section.
Why You Need A Changing Table
I can’t tell you how many times my girlfriends swore to me they’d never buy a changing table because it’s a complete waste of money. They opted to change their baby on their bed, on a blanket.
But, that didn’t last long.
Between the babies rolling off the bed (they are ok!), and bodily fluids flying everywhere, they not only needed a changing table, but a new bedspread as well!
You need a changing table because they come complete with safety straps, so your little one doesn’t roll off (and boy do they like to flail around).
You also need some sort of organization when it comes to diaper time.
Not having one just makes life harder! And, why would you want to do that when your life is hectic already?
Plus, a changing table is designed to meet your level when you stand, so it will save your back and knees the stress you’d feel from hunching over and changing your little one on a bed or floor—especially for tall parents.
How Many Changing Tables Do You Need?
You technically only need one changing table, which most parents keep stationed in their baby’s nursery.
Don’t give in and allow them a “quick nurse” as this will reinforce to your child that their pleading is effective and can make it more difficult the next time you try to say no.
However, for ease and convenience, most parents set up a changing mat on each level of their home with just the changing essentials placed there.
Having a changing station on your main floor can be helpful to moms who have C-sections and who may have difficulty climbing stairs repeatedly after just coming home from the hospital.
It’s also great for grandparents who need to change a baby and who don’t want to trek it up to the nursery with baby in tow, or if there’s multiple children that can’t be left unattended.
How Much Space Does A Changing Table Take Up?
Before choosing a changing table, you should make sure you have ample space in your nursery because changing tables can have various dimensions.
For many tables, the standard dimensions are 20 inches wide x 26 high x 36 long, so plan accordingly.
While a changing table won’t be a permanent fixture in your home, it will take up a few feet of space for awhile.
If your baby will be sharing a room with a sibling, or if you’ll be putting the table in your own bedroom, make sure you measure out the dimensions of the table you’re looking at so you have a clearer picture of the space it will consume.
Also, when you know how big your changing table is, you’ll be able to map out the rest of your nursery if you’re starting from scratch.
Generally, if you aren’t working with a lot of space, many people place a changing pad on top of a dresser to make the room less cluttered.
6 Things To Look For In A Good Changing Table
So, now that I've convinced you that you need to have a table, here are a few things to consider when buying one:
#1. Durability. You want something that receives high ratings for assembly purposes. What you put together should never be wobbly or overly light in weight. Go for sturdy materials and a heavier weight to ensure the table won’t be able to shift around and will stay assembled, no matter what.
#2. Lots of storage space. I’d say a two-shelf changing table with a deep drawer should suffice for storage purposes. Mine has these features and it allows me to store all of the diapers in various sizes that I received as shower gifts on the bottom shelf with ease. I also was able to organize my diapers by day and night, and fit small plastic containers in it that held my lotions, and grooming items.
#3. It has straps. A good changing table should have two adjustable straps to keep your baby in place and support them strongly if they do decide to fuss and roll (and they will!)
#4. Waterproof. A changing table needs to be able to get wiped down with ease, since it may get spritzed with various fluids (here’s hoping to only the clear kinds) often.
#5. Comfortable. You don’t want your baby to lay on something rock hard. Plus, if they are uncomfortable, they won’t want to sit still for you. Go for something that is ultra-comfortable and conforms to their body.
#6. Portability. You may want to consider purchasing a table that is able to become portable if you live on one floor and you feel that you’d like to move the table from room to room. There are many brands that boast wheels that can be put on to make this happen.
What Should I Keep At My Changing Station?
Your changing station should have all your baby’s diapering items within arm’s reach.
Trust me, the last thing you’ll want to deal with is being in the middle of changing a poopy diaper, and having zero wipes to use!
Here are essential items that you should stock your drawers and shelves with:
Also, don’t forget to place a diaper pail next to the changing table, with some additional liners to keep your pail smelling fresh and clean, and for making dirty diaper transport a cinch!
What If I Need A Specialized Table?
Are you or your spouse extremely tall?
Do you have a physical limitation that will make you need a lower table?
Don’t fret: while most changing tables are one size and height, there are specially designed changing tables on the market to meet you needs.
Your comfort should definitely be taken into consideration, since you’ll be spending quite a bit tending to your baby.
Reach out to your local baby retailer or email a baby company to learn more about your options and specialized changing tables!
Can My Table Match My Nursery Set?
Yes, absolutely! Your changing table can totally blend in (or even enhance) your nursery set.
Changing tables come in a wide range of finishes, shapes, sizes, and embellishments.
You can opt for a color that blends in with the rest of your stuff, or go darker or lighter to make your table stand out.
If you’re making a purchase for your first child and you plan on having more kiddos, you may want to opt for a gender neutral design and color so you can reuse your table later on.
Changing Table Materials
You may be wondering what material your changing table should actually be made from.
A changing table is a piece of furniture that should be budgeted for, because a higher priced, sturdy table will look great and last for years.
While you get what you pay for, not everyone can afford a solid wood table.
Particle board will probably get you through your child’s first year or two, but making it last for multiple children can be tough.
Laminate or veneer wood could tarnish when wet, and start to peel, or some of the drawers may also fall out or apart.
Solid wood offers the best quality, but there could be cost considerations for you and your family.
Ultimately, it's up to you to decide the pros & cons of each material and make the best decision.
A changing table can be a potentially dangerous place for your baby to be, since they're laying up high and unsecured.
Before making a purchase, check that:
Best Changing Tables
The Delta Children Infant Changing Table (click here to check the price on Amazon) is a classic design that is gender friendly.
It is just the right height (38 in.) and weight (36 lbs), so you know you are getting something sturdy.
It has two levels for ample storage, and safety rails, which helps keep the baby in place. It also comes with a waterproof changing pad that has a safety strap.
Keep in mind that the changing pad is a nice, added touch, though it is a bit on the thin side so it might not be super comfortable for your baby. So, you may want to purchase your own to add on top of it.
This changing table is composed with non-toxic materials, so if your baby decides to chew on the side rail, they will not ingest anything harmful.
It is also coated thickly, making it hard to chip and weather.
This Delta changing table has received a lot of positive reviews from moms and dads’ stating that it is not only high quality, but it was a snap to put together, which is important whenever you’re working with wood.
I hate when I have wooden pieces in front of me and they don’t fit together as they should. You won’t have to worry about that with this piece, and on average it takes about an hour to put together.
It comes with easy to read directions, which is also a necessity.
I personally think it looks a lot more expensive than what it costs, and all moms know it helps to save on anything when you can.
Because it is so high quality and attractive, it also makes it possible to be resold once your child is potty-trained and you no longer have a use for it in your nursery.
Functional and elegant, the Delta Children Eclipse Changing Table (click here to check the price on Amazon) is very similar to the previous one, except it has a darker finish and an altered, more rounded design.
Again, perfect for a boy or girl’s nursery, its rich, dark finish makes it look attractive and helps it blend in with ease if you have other dark nursery furniture.
Weighing in at around 35 pounds, the changing table is also about 40 inches tall. Again, it’s the perfect height for parents to change a diaper effectively.
It has two open rows of shelving that allow you to stack your items or fill it with fabric storage cubes for easy access.
It doesn’t have a concealed drawer, but you can keep your baby’s comb, lotion, and diaper cream within hands reach by placing it in one of the corners of the table.
It has a safety rail with an open design to promote airflow, but its high enough so your baby won’t roll off.
It too comes with a diaper pad that has a safety hooks, and can be removed so you can place your own, desired pad on there as well.
Some assembly is required, and once it is assembled, you can get in between all of the nooks and crannies to clean with a damp cloth.
The only criticism that it received is that it has exposed studs on the side of the changing table once you assemble it.
If little details like this don’t bother you, I think you have one nice looking, sturdy changing table for one affordable price!
Featured in a rich expresso tone, the South Shore Savannah Changing Table (click here to check the price on Amazon) is designed beautifully with nothing but function in mind.
It has a darling country-style changing table that encloses the baby perfectly, with two pull out drawers, which are perfect to stow away jammies, socks, and undershirts, and three open cubby-style cubes that you can fill with diapers, or fabric cube storage containers.
This changing table is a bit more costly, and it does require two adults to assemble it. Directions are included, but tools are not.
Some parents have remarked that it does take some time to put together because it has so many parts and components, so either get someone very handy to do this for you, or clear enough time out of your day to do so.
It’s about 35 inches tall, so it’s a great height for adults who need to change a diaper or dress a baby.
All knobs can be customized in case you wish to change their appearance over time. It also does not come with a changing pad, so you have to select one that will fit in the top section.
The South Shore changing table is also able to wipe clean with a damp cloth, and it is very sturdy overall. It comes with a whopping five year warranty, so this table comes from a company who prides themselves on high quality items.
Also, because it has a dark finish, it will complement your nursery’s other dark furniture with ease.
When A Changing Pad Might Be A Better Option
If you aren’t fully sold on the changing table and pad set up, then a portable pad might be for you.
It does have some things working in its favor.
For one, you can lay it down virtually anywhere.
Plus, it cleans super easy and it is lightweight and easy to carry. Some even fold or roll up.
So, If you are working with a small space and don’t have room for a changing table, this is a good alternative.
Some can also fit easily in your diaper bag, and it can have some side zip compartments, allowing you to toss in some wipes, a toy, some diapers, and go.
A changing pad also protects fabrics and your other personal items from poop blowouts, extremely saturated diapers, and any other mishaps you may experience while diaper changing.
While some public places offer you a disposable changing pad, they aren’t very thick or comfortable, or even long enough for that matter, so splurge on one to reuse.
How Many Changing Pads Do You Need?
You should probably have two pads, but most people invest in more because they are pretty affordable.
My recommendation: keep one permanently in your diaper bag, and also one on your changing table at home to use as a spare when your regular pad is getting cleaned.
This should keep you covered both when you're at home, and on the go.
4 Things To Look For In A Good Changing Pad
If you’re going to pick up a changing pad, be sure it has the following characteristics:
- 1Compact. You want something that will roll out to full size, yet roll up so that it fits compactly in your diaper bag.
- 2Thick. A nice, thick pad will keep your baby in place and also comfortable when being changed on the ground or a hard surface.
- 3Waterproof. A changing pad should be easy to wipe down and sanitize.
- 4Toy attachment. Look for something that allows you to attach a toy to distract your baby when being changed on the go.
Best Changing Pads
The Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad (click here to check the price on Amazon) was the pad I actually registered for at my baby shower and I have nothing but nice things to say about it.
It is priced very affordably, and it has been very durable. My son is 14 months old and we have never had an issue with it. It is still in one piece and hardly looks worn, despite the number of times we’ve used it.
It has a quilted, vinyl design and it is totally waterproof for leaks and other unmentionable accidents. A damp cloth will do the trick!
It also has contoured walls, which help cradle your baby. You can also secure your baby onto the map by using its belted security strap, which is adjustable as your baby grows.
I’ve always used a changing table cover, but on the days when my laundry backed up, the pad was so soft and comfortable, I didn’t overly worry about putting on a replacement while it was in the dryer. My son seemed totally comfortable and happy as a clam while on it.
Another added bonus is that it fits pretty much all changing tables and it has a non-skid bottom, so it catches and provides some traction when your baby scoots and squirms.
It’s very light weight (about two pounds), so it’s a breeze to lift and move when you need to clean it or wipe down your changing table. My mother also liked it because she could bring it downstairs to do changings when she baby sat because she had a hard time going up and down the stairs with my son.
It’s portable, durable, and comfortable: all in all the best diaper changing pad.
Another great changing pad choice, the American Baby (click here to check the price on Amazon) is a name you can trust and will recognize.
Priced a bit on the higher side, this pad is also portable if you don’t want to keep it stationed on your changing table.
It has a contoured design and a comfort shield to ensure you baby has a first rate, diaper changing experience. It too also comes with an adjustable strap to keep your baby safe and secure.
It has three layers or organic cotton as well, as this is important to many eco-conscious moms. Because it is structured so wonderfully, many parents agree that it holds its shape well even after nearly a year of use.
It also is waterproof, so it’s easy to clean and remove unwanted soils. Its vinyl layer will also discourage staining and will not trap any unwanted odors.
It has a non-skid base, like the Summer Infant pad, and it fits nearly all changing tables. Many moms also opt to use this pad on top of their dressers since it doesn’t slide around on smooth surfaces (but I personally don’t recommend this).
A mat cover offers an additional layer of protection, but I know many moms who use this pad and who prefer not to place anything on top of it because it is so thick, soft, and comfortable.
All in all, it’s a high quality item that will help you perform your daily duties and will not disappoint.
A changing table and changing pad are nursery necessities.
No matter which you choose, be sure to check out some of these suggested brands and items to ensure you have a high quality, long lasting, and safe piece of equipment to use in your nursery to stay organized and on top of all your diaper changes!