There’s that old saying that nothing in life is certain except death and taxes. Well, I’d like to suggest a parent’s update to that: nothing is certain except death, taxes, and diapers. Endless, endless diapers.
No day with a new baby is ever quite the same, but no matter what your little one throws your way, you can always count on them needing you to pitch up with a fresh diaper and no judgment. You love your baby, I know, but you might not love the endless conveyer belt of poop they seem to generate for you.
Changing tables are designed to make the whole diaper process stink just a little less. A good one is like your changing battle station, with everything you need to conquer diaper duty conveniently stored at arm’s length.
We’ll break down whether you really need a changing table, exactly what you should think about before purchasing one, and which models we think are the best changing tables.
Reality check: changing diapers is probably not going to be your favourite baby-and-me activity. Having whatever it takes to make you and your little one most comfortable for swapping diapers (up to 10 times a day!) may not make the job any more fun, but will make the process a whole lot easier.
Newborns need about 12 nappy changes a day (eeek!) so you’ll get to know your change table pretty well in the first few weeks of parenthood!
Want to make sure you choose the right one? We’ll help you consider your nursery shape, where you’ll be using the changing table and what you’re going to do with it between kids.
Before you decide what to buy, you need to know what you can buy and why. We’ve answered some basic questions for you to get your head around what’s out there and what you might need.
Types of Change Stations
A change mat has elevated sides that can be placed on any flat surface (including a changing table, change tray or chest of drawers).
Change table with shelves
A designated change table that uses a change mat on top, and usually has at least one open shelf for storage below. Some have castors and can be easily moved around.
Change table with drawers
A converted chest of drawers that has a change tabletop attached that can later be removed.
A lightweight table that can be folded flat and put away for easy storage between uses.
What to Look For
Little babies quickly grow into wriggle pots more interested in escaping off to their next big adventure than lying still to get dressed or have their nappy changed. So you’ll want to make sure you have everything you need within arm’s reach.
Some change tables and mats come with a safety belt like attachment, however, the current recommendation is never to leave your baby unattended on a changing table and not rely on them.
Let’s get straight to the point – nappy changing can be a smelly business. And sometimes that smell lingers in a room like a distant relative overstaying their welcome at Christmas. Look for a room with good ventilation, close proximity to rubbish bins has little distractions for bub and enough space to have everything you need within arm’s reach.
Things to consider:
Where will you be changing baby?
- In the nursery – change tables aren’t just for changing nappies, it’s where you will also be dressing and getting ready for a bath. In the nursery, everything is in one room. You can also control the number of distractions and use it as part of your sleep routine. If your nursery is upstairs, you’ll be running up and down A LOT, and you’ll be surprised how quickly the dirty nappy bin fills if you’re not emptying it regularly (remember the smell!).
- In the bathroom – often a good space for ventilation and it’s close to the water and the bath. You’ll have to remember to bring the clothes in for dressing and the room temperature can sometimes be cooler than the rest of the house. A good space to consider if you’re using cloth nappies and have to drop number twos down the loo.
- Around the house – having a portable change station, like a caddy with all the essentials (nappies, creams, a change of clothes and wipes), gives you the freedom to change baby where you like.
Do you have a double-storey or large house?
- Investing in two change tables may be handy in a two storey home to save you taking the stairs each time there’s a stinker. Or you could get an extra changing mat or portable change station for daytime use downstairs.
- Foldable change tables can be moved up and down stairs easily.
- A change table on wheels can be transported from room to room – good at bathtime!
- Getting a specially designed nappy bin that contains the smell of dirty nappies could be a good option so you don’t have to run downstairs after each nappy change.
Wriggly baby and a pooey nappy make for an interesting combination – will your change table be up to the test? You need to always keep one hand on bub when changing, so consider where the storage is on the change table.
Things to consider:
Can you easily access nappies, wipes and lotions with one hand?
- Change tables with drawers let you easily store everything in a top drawer, well within your reach but out of reach of inquisitive little hands. They also keep everything out of reach when baby starts walking.
- Change tables with open shelves have everything in the open and within reach without having to take your hands off bub to open drawers. The only drawback comes when bub gets older and starts the game ‘look what I can put on the floor’ – your piles of perfectly stacked nappies disappear forever.
Is there enough storage to stop you having to constantly restock?
- Babies go through a lot of nappies – you’ll want to keep as many as possible close by so you don’t run out at a crucial moment.
- Check there is room for all the extras too, such as lotions, nappy bags, wipes, face washers and a change of clothes.
- Consider a table with a second shelf if you like your space. It also means you won’t have to reach as far for your supplies.
Your baby’s change table is going to get a good work out, especially if you have more than one child. With a bit of forward-planning, it can last a lifetime.
Things to consider:
Is the table easy to clean?
- A changing pad with a removable cover means easy washing after those extra messy changes.
Are you having children close together?
- You may end up using the changing table for more than one child at the same time – make sure there is enough storage for all the newborn and toddler bits and bobs.
- Think about locating the table in a place that’s handy to use for both of your kids.
Can it be easily converted?
- Get more use out of a changing table by choosing one that has a second life after your tot is out of nappies, like a chest of drawers, desk or even an artist’s easel.
There is no Australian safety standard for changing tables. Care should always be taken when using a change table to avoid serious injury to your baby.
- Make sure collapsable change tables can be locked open securely.
- It should be sturdy and strong, with roll-off protection, like raised sides.
- Side barriers should be at least 100mm high.
- There should be no entrapment hazards where little ones can get a finger or limb stuck.
- Check if the table comes with a child restraint or strap to help keep baby secure.
There can be a lot required for a simple bum-change for your little one. Make sure you have everything you need on the ready with these added extras.
- Nappy stacker: a tidy way keep those nappies in order.
- Change caddy: keep all the essentials close at hand.
- Change mat: lets your bub lie back in comfort. If your table doesn’t come with one, you’ll need to make sure you can buy a mat the right shape and size to fit.
- Change mat cover: great for catching little (and big) spills and to make change times cosy for bub.
Should I buy a change table?
In short, yes! A baby change table is a safe and sturdy way to help you change your baby’s nappies easily. Changing nappies is a messy business, and something you can expect to be doing roughly 10 to 12 times a day (on a good day). So, laying them down on the coffee table or the bed is just not a practical solution in the long run. Here are a few benefits you get by purchasing a baby change table:
- It is a purpose-built space that allows you to safely and easily change your baby’s nappy at a suitable height
- Good change tables include storage areas to make accessing nappies and other equipment very easy, and keep them organised!
- It prevents making a mess in other parts of your home
- It will last for many years, and be practical even once your child outgrows it
How long will my change table last?
Well, as long as you purchase a good quality baby change table, then you can expect them to last for the whole time your family is growing up. All our listed change tables are built to last, and we have heard many stories from our happy customers about change tables easily lasting for two or three children with no issues. Better yet, even once your baby grows up, the storage space can easily be converted into a chest of drawers for storing all of your child’s toys and games!