How to Buy: A Changing Table

Make diaper duty simple. Get practical tips for buying a changing station that suits your needs and your style.

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By Paula Kashtan for TheBumpThe Bump

One of the easiest ways to save time and space is with your diaper table: Skip the actual unit, and instead place a changing pad and all your gear on top of a dresser. By the time your baby is approaching a year, it often becomes safer and easier to change her on the floor or a low bed. (Babies of that age are quite wriggly, and don’t like being placed on their backs.) Here’s how to set up your station:

Placement
Put your table against a wall (double points for a corner), making sure there’s absolutely no space between the two. Keep the table away from heaters, windows and the path of an opening door.

Stability
If you opt not to use a changing table unit, make sure the dresser you put it on is sturdy and bottom-heavy. If the table wobbles at all, it isn’t stable enough for your baby.

Size
You need enough room to place all your necessary gear on top of the table – including the changing pad. You shouldn’t need to bend over or open any drawers to get equipment, because this means taking your eyes off baby.

Setup
Put everything you need within your own arm’s reach, but out of your baby’s. The best place for gear is on the opposite side of the table from his head.

Changing Pad
For newborns, pads with curved mattresses and soft sidewalls are very useful  – these keep your baby from rolling back and forth. Though they don’t have much utility beyond the first few months, they’re worth the investment.