My Must-Have Changing Table Essentials
In the middle of setting up your changing station, but unsure what the changing table essentials are?
Today, I’m going to be sharing exactly how to set up your changing station, what to put in your changing table drawer by drawer, and a few of my favorite products and brands, too.
Let’s jump in –
Setting Up Your Changing Station
Besides the actual changing table or dresser, here’s what you’ll need at a changing station:
- Changing pad – When it comes to changing pads, there are a few different types on the market, but our favorite is the Keekaroo peanut changer. While it’s at a bit of a higher price tag than a traditional changing pad, I definitely think it’s worth it. The Keekaroo is much easier to clean when it gets dirtied – just a simple wipe-down, as opposed to having to remove, change and launder the traditional changing pad cover and liner.
- Diaper pail – Is a diaper pail even necessary? Some parents reason that leaving stinky diapers to marinate in a closed container for days is unnecessary and gross, but I don’t mind the idea (modern diaper pails have got pretty good seals) and find it much more convenient than having to carry every used diaper to the kitchen trash can. I’ve tried the classic Diaper Genie, the Ubbi diaper pail and the Pure Pail, and have stuck with the Pure Pail. Though it does require its own brand of bags (annoying), I find it’s easiest to pop open one-handed, and I prefer its minimalist look compared to the other pails.
- Laundry basket – You’ll definitely want something for all of the onesies covered in spit up, and it’s handy to have it set up right next to your changing table – I love this adorable little bear laundry hamper (or this inexpensive, similar canvas one). When choosing a laundry basket, pick something with a tighter weave so that tiny baby socks can’t fall out the sides, and also something that can be wiped down easily (I wouldn’t consider a white rope basket because it would stain definitely stain).
- Low light – Newborn babies require pretty frequent feedings and diaper changes (including through the night), so you’ll want to make sure you have some type of lighting that gives you just enough light to be able to see what you’re doing, without being so bright as to bother or wake your baby. If you haven’t gotten one yet, I’ve put together a whole list of low light lamps that work really well. Spoiler alert – the Hatch Baby Rest is hands-down the best product on the market and I highly recommend it! You’ll want to set the light up so it’s behind baby’s head, so the light isn’t shining directly in their face… and also to keep your lamp dry (if you’ve got a baby boy😆).
While setting up your changing station, it’s really handy to have a small tray or basket on top of your changing table with the items you’ll use most often – this way, you can avoid having to dig through drawers mid diaper-change.
- Diapers – I just stash a handful of diapers into our basket and refill it each few changes. (Out of *all* of the diaper brands and types we’ve tried, these are the ones we love).
- Wipes – I like to keep our wipes out on the changing table for easy access – this is the brand we love. This simple diaper wipe box is nice and simple, and easily refillable. One thing to be mindful of is that if you opt for a heated wipe warmer, they can harbour bacteria pretty quickly so you’ll want to make sure you sanitize it inside and out often.
- Hand sanitizer – There’s nothing like a full sanitize after a particularly messy diaper change. I absolutely *love* this non-toxic brand, Paume. The hand sanitizer is so silky soft, smells so light and fresh and won’t dry your hands out. I love this pretty, simple (refillable) dispenser that’s perfect for the top of your changing table, too!
- Bum balm – When it comes to keeping your little one clean, frequent diaper changes, and a layer of preventative barrier cream, (to prevent the poop from sitting on their skin) are both important. Keeping some gentle bum balm nice and close will be super handy. My favorite balm is by Ever Eden, a skin care company for babies, kids and beyond that was started by a number of female doctors who are moms themselves. This skin care line is gentle, non-toxic and so beautifully branded – I highly recommend it!
- Toy, soother or teether – Though your little one won’t need much distracting for those first few weeks, it won’t be long before they start looking around and getting more active, including while they’re having their diaper changed. Having a little teether (our fav), soother (these are soo cute), rattle or toy (these are my son’s *fav*) is super handy because it can help keep them still for a moment or two.
Top Shelf or Drawer
What should go in the top drawer of your changing table?
- Extra diapers – Is there a more quintessential changing table essential than diapers? They’re the star of the show. When your baby’s a newborn, you can expect to go through up to 10 diapers a day. Some babies start in premie diapers, some in newborn, and some in size one – it all depends on how big they are when they’re born! I recommend having one box of newborn diapers and one to two boxes of size one diapers in stock – and I would put about 20 of each into your changing table to get you started.
- Extra wipes – Besides a package of baby wipes on top of your changing table, I definitely also recommend having one or two back-up packs of wipes just in case you run out mid-change.
- Changing pad cover and liners – If you decide to go with a traditional changing pad (as opposed to the Keekaroo), you will want to have a back-up changing pad cover in your changing station, as well as a few liners (either reusable or disposable).
- Swaddles or burp cloths – Odds are you’ll probably need to wipe some type of spit up or bodily fluid off your little one during more than a few diaper changes, so it’s good to have something you can use like a swaddle (this inexpensive 3-pack is great for spit-up), burp cloth (these ones are awesome), or face cloth (these bamboo baby face cloths are super soft and a great price) to wipe it off.
Second shelf or drawer
- Diaper rash cream – When the preventative diaper cream doesn’t work, you’ll need something a little stronger.
- Oogiebear – The Oogiebear (which looks like it is only available in Canada), or Nose Hero in the US, is one of the most useful baby gadgets ever! Instead of sucking the snot and boogers out of your baby’s nose, this handy little tool hooks it and pulls it right out. You can also use it for removing ear wax from the outer parts of baby’s ears.
- Nail scissors – These nail scissors are hands down the easiest and most effective ones out there!
- Brush and comb – Although I’ve seen a baby brush and comb on a few “baby things you don’t actually need” lists, I totally disagree! Our little guy has a major cowlick and lots of hair, so we definitely use ours. I love this wooden set, which is really handy because the bristles can even help prevent cradle cap.
- Thermometer – You definitely do not want to be scrambling to find your baby thermometer the moment you realize your little one might have a fever. I keep ours in our changing table so that it’s nice and handy.
- Infant Tylenol – While some parents prefer to keep their baby’s health items in the bathroom, kitchen or closet, I keep ours in a basket with the other health items in our dresser, which is used as his changing table. Having some liquid baby Tylenol on hand is definitely an essential – whether your little one gets an intense round of teething pain that’s too much to bear or strikes a fever, you will be so thankful you have it on hand!
- Change of clothes – Instead of a separate changing table, we just have our changing pad on top of Hudson’s dresser in the nursery, so we have more than just a spare outfit or two at hand (all of his clothes are stored in the dresser). If this isn’t the case for you, I definitely recommend having a little bin of clothing items to change your little one into in case what they’re wearing gets wet. I recommend two or three bodysuits (this basic 5-pack of onesies is $10 and a must-have) a pair of pants and socks.
And there you have it! The A-Z of setting up a changing table, the changing table essentials we use every day, and even a few of the baby must-haves that I’ve found actually really work.