A changing table is a raised platform designed for babies to be placed onto for diaper changes. They can have open shelves underneath the platform for or drawers for storage. You can even use a dresser with a changing pad on top.
Change tables typically come as part of a nursery furniture set, but they can be purchased separately as well.
You can store whatever you want on the changing table. I find it most convenient to keep it mostly diapering items on there. I use the top drawer for soothers, extra creams and other small things I want to quick access. The shelves are full of extra diapers (regular and swim), extra wipes, diaper genie refills, swaddling blankets, and some extra clothing that doesn’t fit in the dresser (my kids have way too much clothing).
There are many styles and colours you can choose from, so if you’re in the market for a change table, you are sure to find one that suits your needs and style.
Do I need a changing table?
If you search this question on Google, you’re going to get a lot of people telling you that a changing table is not necessary or a waste of money. While I disagree with the majority, I’m not here to tell you one way or the other if you need it, that decision is ultimately up to you. What I AM here to tell you are the ins and outs of changing tables, and to share my own experiences. I will give you the advantages and disadvantages. And tell you about the features available if you decide that you do want a changing table for your baby.
The goal by the end of this article is to help you decide if a changing table is right for you. And if it is, what style you would prefer.
Why use a change table?
When I was pregnant with my first daughter, we were given all her nursery furniture except for the changing table. We decided to purchase one on our own, it was the only new thing in her room, and I loved it. Only after I bought it did I go online to get people’s opinions and found that most people didn’t use them and thought they were a waste of money.
I had instant buyers regret; I didn’t want something taking up all that extra space if it wasn’t even going to get used. Then along came baby and the diaper changing began.
I discovered that I LOVED the change table! and here’s why. It was the perfect height for changing diapers without hurting myself. I have suffered from a bad hip since I was a child. Bending lots, sitting on hard surfaces, getting up from the floor and going up and down stairs can make it flare up. So being able to stand upright for the diaper changes was a lifesaver.
Everything you need for diapering is all in one place. I never had any fear of my child rolling off, even on her squirmiest days, mostly because I NEVER EVER walked away from the table. There was no need to walk away when everything I needed was always right at my fingertips. I kept a stack of diapers on the shelf above the change table, and all other extras stored below. I also kept extra wipes, swim diapers, swaddling blankets, and the next size up in clothing stored underneath.
I discovered that organizing was much easier when I could keep all the diapering things separated from all the other stuff in the nursery. This organization made it much easier to see when I was getting low on something so I could restock it. You still need somewhere to store all that extra stuff if you don’t have a change table and I can’t live in cluttered chaos. Having a segregated area for changing diapers helped with the yuck factor for me. The thought of trying to change an exploded diaper on the floor in my living room or on my bed seriously grossed me out. We as adults have a segregated room in our house for all our bodily functions, and I believe that babies should have a separate place for all their bathroom needs as well.
Plus, you’re not going to be carrying everything you need to do a diaper change around the house at all times. So, chances are that you’re going to have to take the baby to the room where the diapers are anyway, why not make that room be the nursery? And if you have diapering items stashed in all the rooms, then you must have a much bigger home than me because I don’t have the space for that and the clutter would drive me crazy. The idea of having to keep track of 5 different piles of diapers, wipes, and creams sounds like too much work for me. One group of items is hard enough to keep track of some days.
Now, I’m 5 Months in on using the same changing table for my second daughter, and I still have the same love for it. Although I did upgrade the changing pad this time around to a curved one with pretty new sheets. 🙂
Now that I have written you a book on why these changing tables are so fantastic, Perhaps I should tell you about some downsides.
If you have limited space in your home, maybe a change table isn’t the piece of furniture you want. They can be large and bulky. We bought an extra long changing table for our daughter, which takes up even more space. My husband is 6’4″ and we just assumed the baby would be tall like him. Its good thing we did because at 5 weeks premature, she was still 21 inches long.
You will have less freedom to change diapers anywhere in your house. But if the thought of doing that grosses you out as much as it does for me then this isn’t a drawback for you.
One thing did have issues with my daughter used to only getting her diaper changes on the change table was when we were at other people’s homes. She was so used to the floor, and my bed, being solely for playtime that when I tried to do the diaper changes, she would try to crawl away to play. Whereas at home on her change table, she would always be cooperative because she was used to that being the routine.
Another aspect that may deter you from purchasing the changing table would be the cost. If you’re on a tight budget, this may not be an essential piece of furniture you want to spend your funds on. In this case, you can consider getting a changing pad only and fix it to the top of the dresser and use that as your changing table.
Traditional Change Table
The traditional changing table is what we have been discussing so far and now I want to break down all the options and features you can look for in your ideal changing table.
Changing tables generally come with a changing pad, but it’s just a flat one with a little foam in it. You may want to think about purchasing a better pad to go with your table. But more about that on the Changing Pad page.
There are some different styles of change tables out there, and I’m about to break them down for you:
Open Shelves Only
Some benefits of this type of change table are that you can clearly see when items need restocking. With everything out in the open, you’re tired mommy brain may even remember to pick up the wipes you’re getting low on. I know I suffer severely from the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ disorder. So having the open shelves have saved me many emergency runs to the store for diapers and wipes.
There are a couple of drawbacks to this type of change table as well. If you stocked it really full, items could fall off. From personal experience, They usually fall off the side where it’s almost impossible to reach them without pulling the whole table out and away from the wall.
If like me, you decide to store some extra clothing on there and your baby is now becoming mobile, it’s highly likely that they will pull everything off that their little hands can reach. On the bright side, my first daughter spent hours in her room, supervised, pulling her clothing off the shelves and throwing them around her room. The Easiest day of entertainment ever and the clean up wasn’t too bad either. Besides, you can always use baskets to help with organizing and keeping everything on the shelves if this is a deal breaker for you.
This type of change table is typically on the lower end of the price range, sitting around $75-$150 CAD.
The drawer only changing table is one of the cleaner looking styles and they look like a regular dresser, except that they have a lip around the top edge for the changing pad. This style typically has 3 drawers for organizations.
On the plus side, you can cram a lot more things into these three drawers then the open shelves, since there is no fear of the items falling out. However, when you invoke the out of sight. out of mind rule, you may have trouble keeping track of what you really have in there.
These drawers can either work in your favour or against you in the organization department. It depends entirely on if you’re the type of person who likes to keep everything neat and tidy in your dresser drawers. If not, then the change table drawers will likely not look any better than yours, making it difficult to find things in them.
This style is on the high end of the price range, around $250-$400 CAD.
Combination drawers and shelves
Change tables with drawers and shelves is the style we had purchased and are still using. There are two open shelves and one small drawer on the one that we have. You can also get styles that have two large drawers and one open shelf, But the latter will be more expensive than the former.
Why did we choose this changing table? Two reasons:
- The colour matched the rest of the furniture in the nursery
- It was within our budget
I was not keen on the idea of spending a lot of money on something that will potentially get covered in poop. So, we went with a mid-low priced change table, and it has served us well. I also wanted something that had the least one drawer for the small loose items.
The average cost of this style of change table is around $150-$225 CAD for the two shelves and one small drawer. For the two large drawers and one open shelf, you’re looking at about $175-$300 CAD.
With all three styles of changing tables, there are different sizes of change tables. The width of the change table you choose will depend on the space you have available. Here are some different sixes
Standard Size: The dimensions for a standard size change table is typically around 20″ wide x 26″ long x 36″ high.
Tall Size: This is usually the same as a standard one but a bit longer. The dimensions are generally around 20″ wide x 32″ long x 36″ high
Table Top Storage: This one is even wider with a changing pad and a place to keep diapering essentials or a diaper caddy. The dimensions can go up to 20″ wide x 40″ long x 36″ high.
The downside to choosing a traditional change table is that you will only get short-term use out of it. Once your kids are done with diapers, it’s just another piece of furniture that will sit there not getting used, or you have to find a way to get rid of it. A popular method of getting rid of baby furniture is to post it on a B/S/T site.
Using A Dresser and Change Pad
If you’re looking for a more modern approach to a changing table, you’ll want to consider a changing pad on top of a dresser.The dresser and changing pad is the most cost-effective solution. Instead of having to budget for two pieces of furniture, the change table, and dresser, you just have to worry about the dresser and a changing pad. You may want to consider a changing tray as well if your budget allows for it.
Changing Pad: The most common one to purchase would be a curved change pad. They come in a variety of colours and are typically 17″ wide x 32″ long.
Changing Tray: If the dresser that you choose is wide enough, minimum of 40 inches, you can also purchase a changing tray that sits on top of your dresser and has space for a changing pad and table-top storage. They can be as wide as 50 inches and come in a variety of colours to match most dressers. This is also great for organizing the diapering essentials that you use on a daily basis. If you have a slimmer dresser to work with you can find some that are just for the changing pad and are usually around 32 inches long.
If using a dresser is the way you want to go, I recommend getting a 4 drawer tall dresser for limited space and a 6 drawer borough if you have more room. If you’re planning to purchase a dresser that is new, try to find one that your child can grow into. Look for one that could go with all possible future bedroom furniture.
One of the most significant benefits to using the dresser over the traditional change table is that you will get a lot more use out of it in the long run. And once your kid is out of the diaper years, merely remove the changing pad and/or change tray.
If the dresser is primarily for clothing your diapering storage may be limited for extra items, and you will need to find somewhere else to keep all the extra stuff.
Is a Change Table right for you?
After reviewing everything I have to offer, have you decided if a change table if right for you?
If you’re still having trouble deciding I have compiled a list of questions based on the information provided that will help you.
- Do you have any injuries that prevent you from bending or kneeling for a period?
- Do you thrive on organization?
- Does the idea of changing dirty diapers in all the rooms of your house give you the heebie geebies?
- Do you have enough space in your home for many piles of diapering items? And does that type of clutter bother you?
- Is there enough space in the nursery for a dedicated changing table?
- Do you like to change up routine or be consistent with diaper changing?
- Does your budget allow for the expense of a changing table?
- Would you prefer a traditional changing table or a dresser with a changing pad?
- For the traditional dresser, do you prefer open shelves or all drawers?
Now that you have reached a decision, or are a bit closer to one, it’s time to start looking for one that suits your needs.
I wish you good luck in your change table buying and happy shopping!