There are two main functions of a baby’s change table: number one, it stores all your baby-changing necessities (diapers, creams, wipes and extra clothing). Number two, the change table is where the diaper changing actually takes place. It’s important to find a change table that suits your needs as well as the decor of the nursery.
The Classic Table
Your everyday, most common change table is the one that looks a little like a cart. They are created just above waist-height to avoid your bending to change the baby. Under the changing area you’ll find shelves to house diapering supplies and sleepers. The least-expensive versions will be open, with no doors or cupboards. This can be handy when changing diapers because everything you require is readily available — no opening doors or searching through drawers.
All four sides of the top of the table should be contoured or have barriers to prevent the baby from slipping off.
The Dresser/Table Combo
This is a great option if you are coordinating all your nursery furniture. There is usually a dresser option in the same design/line as your crib. They usually look more like a low dresser than a change table. In most cases, the top is flat, without an actual changing area, so you’ll have to invest in a changing mattress. Make sure the mattress or pad can be fixed securely to the dresser and contain a safety belt for the baby.
The drawers and cupboards underneath will provide enough space for diapering items, along with lots of room for clothing. Before you begin the diaper change, pull out all your necessary supplies so you don’t have to take your eyes and hands off the baby to do a search.
A dresser-style change table will be pricier than the traditional table (often $500 – $800), but the good news is that it can grow with your child. Choose a high-quality dresser and it should last through the toddler years and into the school years.
Saving some pennies through the classifieds in your local paper or online is a great idea — if you do a thorough inspection of the change table. Like any other piece of baby equipment, safety is priority number one. Avoid splinters, cracked wood, chipping paint, exposed nails or screws, or tables that feel rickety. Saving a few bucks won’t mean as much if your baby is injured.
Forget the Table
Realistically, a baby does not require a full changing station. Chances are you’ll be changing your baby on your bed, on the floor, or on your couch—wherever it is most convenient. A changing station takes up a lot of space in a small nursery, so consider purchasing a good changing pad and toting it with you around the house.