8 Tips for the Perfect Changing Table Setup
As we eagerly anticipate the arrival of our newest little one, we want to be perfectly prepared for every situation. This includes the optimal changing table setup and a well-organized changing table arrangement. During my pregnancy, I also tried to outfit our changing table perfectly. However, once the time came and we had the privilege of changing and dressing our little one for the first few times, we realized that I had forgotten some things or didn’t have them readily accessible. To ensure that this doesn’t happen to you, I used my experience to collect 8 changing table ideas and tips for your optimal changing table setup.
Below you will find an explanation of these 8 tips:
The right changing table for you and your baby
The optimal location for your changing table
Everything you need within easy reach
A comfortable and safe environment for your baby
The most important changing table equipment
Well-prepared for when changing gets chaotic: organized and clean changing area
Well-prepared for diaper changes
Well-prepared for the clothing change: organized wardrobe
Additionally, I have prepared a checklist for the optimal changing table setup for you at the end.
1. The right changing table for you and your baby
The changing table should fit your needs, which is why it's important to know what options are available. There are a few things that you should consider when making your decision. First, you need to decide which type of changing table you want. There are traditional changing tables, changing dressers (or dressers with a changing table attachment), and wall-mounted changing tables. Here is a brief overview of the different options:
Simple table without any understructure
Enough space on top for changing
No space for many extras
Separate dresser/wardrobe needed
Drawers with storage space
Room for onesies, diapers, baby care products, as well as additional accessories.
Requires a lot of space
Changing Table Top
Conversion of an existing dresser
Same advantages as the changing dresser
Can be converted back to a regular dresser afterwards
Wall-Mounted Changing Table
Wall-mounted changing table that folds out
Suitable for limited space or possibly as a second changing table in another room
Offers very little storage space
Everything must be removed from the changing surface before folding it up
Each of these changing tables has its pros and cons. The decision ultimately lies with you. Personally, I highly recommend the changing dresser/dresser with a changing table top. It provides enough space for the entire changing table setup and enables a well-organized changing environment.
When choosing a changing table, it is also important to select the right dimensions. Ensure that the changing area is large enough and that all necessary utensils comfortably fit. Additionally, the working height should be as comfortable as possible for the parents. Keep in mind that you will spend a lot of time at the changing table and the wrong height can lead to back pain. Depending on body size, a height of 85 to 95 centimeters (Eltern-ABC) and a width and depth of about 75 centimeters (Eltern-ABC) are recommended. A wider changing table offers space for additional baskets/containers with accessories, but can also be somewhat narrower if space is limited.
2. The optimal location for your changing table
The placement of the changing table also plays an important role. Consider which room you will regularly be changing your baby in. Do you already have a nursery set up for your little one? Then, naturally, that would be the ideal spot for a permanent changing station. Bedrooms or bathrooms are also popular choices for changing areas. When choosing the perfect location for the changing table, there are a few things to bear in mind: Ensure, first and foremost, that the changing table is in a safe place. It should not be near sharp objects or anything else that could fall on your baby. Additionally, the changing table should be situated in a place where you can easily reach all the necessary utensils. Make sure you have enough room to move freely, to change your baby's diapers comfortably. Also consider the lighting in the room. You want to be able to see your baby while changing them, so a well-lit room is ideal. Also, make sure that the changing area is not in a draft, so your baby can enjoy their time on the changing table and stay cozy and warm.
Some safety tips:
Make sure to secure the changing table firmly and safely against tipping to the wall
Keep dangerous substances and bags, etc., out of reach
Opt for a changing table with side edges to prevent any potential falls
Never leave the table → The golden rule is: always keep one hand on the baby
If you must move away from the table, pick up your baby or place them in their crib/on the floor
3. Everything you need within easy reach
A well-set-up changing table/area is characterized above all by the fact that you need to move away from it as little as possible (or ideally not at all). Therefore, create an organized environment. This additional changing table accessory can help you with that.
Shelves + Hooks
You can never have too much storage space for your changing table setup. Therefore, shelves/shelf boards on the wall are a great additional storage option. On these shelves, you can place various baskets with changing table accessories. I also recommend installing some hooks next to the changing table. On these hooks, you can hang towels, bathrobes, and for example the Judes Diaper Bag.
Pro tip: A kitchen towel holder mounted on the wall is perfect for our Poo Paper rolls. This way, you can tear off a diaper liner for the fresh inner diaper with just one hand.
Since the clothing change also takes place at the changing table, a laundry basket/bag next to the changing table is indispensable.
Diaper Pail/Garbage Bin and Diaper Bags
Also, a suitable trash or diaper pail should be within reach of the changing table. In it, you can dispose of used disposable diapers or Poo Paper. For the sake of the environment, you can opt for a sealable and therefore odor-tight garbage bin without extra bags/cartridges. For used cloth diapers, you can hang the large diaper bag on the wall next to the changing table.
4. A comfortable and safe environment for your baby
A stress-free environment at the changing table is essential. To create a safe and comfortable setting for your baby at the changing table, you will need the following changing table equipment.
For comfort, the changing pad plays a crucial role. It should be nice and soft, and the material should feel pleasant on the baby's skin. It's best to choose a changing pad made of wipeable material and to buy suitable covers for it or use towels or muslin cloths to place over it. These can be thrown into the laundry if they get dirty and can, for example, be washed regularly with your diaper laundry.
Make sure to choose materials that are free of harmful substances. We made the mistake of opting for a harder changing pad made of shaped foam. While they may look stylish by design, they are not very pleasant for the baby. Especially in the first few months of life, when the Moro reflex is still active, it is triggered when laying down the baby, which can unnecessarily startle the little one.
Soft lighting for nighttime
For nighttime diaper changes, a small night light should be available at the changing table. This way, both you and your baby won't be unnecessarily awakened, and the cozy atmosphere is maintained.
Pro tip: Get yourself a portable night light. You can take it into any room and use it during nighttime breastfeeding/bottle-feeding sessions. Plus, you can pack it in your hospital bag for the birth so you have a pleasant night light with you.
Since babies can't retain body heat as well, and they do need to be undressed for diaper changes, a heat lamp at the changing table is worth its weight in gold! Babies love the cozy warmth, it helps them relax and soothe.
Mobile/Music Box or Toy
Mobiles that hang from the ceiling not only look beautiful but also capture the interest of babies. This keeps the little ones happily occupied watching the mobile's gentle movements. You can also always keep a toy at the changing table to distract your baby. This allows you to focus stress-free on changing diapers.
5. The most important changing table equipment
Once you've chosen the right changing table, it's time to stock your changing table. With the following changing table equipment, you will be well-prepared for any situation.
The Essential: Cloth Diapers or Disposable Diapers
Diapers are, of course, an essential part of setting up your changing table. First, you need to decide whether you want to use disposable diapers or cloth diapers. To help you make your decision, I'd like to point out some of the advantages of cloth diapers:
Judes Cloth Diapers…
…are more sustainable than disposable diapers → by using them, you can save about one ton of waste
…are more cost-effective than disposable diapers → you save an average of about €3,000
…lead to a shorter diapering period → babies diapered with cloth diapers tend to be diaper-free about 8 months earlier on average
These are just a few of the advantages of cloth diapers over disposable ones. If you're still skeptical, feel free to read this blog post: The 13 Most Common Misconceptions About Cloth Diapers That Don't Apply to Judes. You are also welcome to send us a personal email with your questions and concerns.
In the end, the decision is entirely up to you. My partner and I were also initially hesitant about cloth diapers and unfortunately decided against them in the first year. Now, we are using Judes Family's cloth diapers full time and are very happy with our decision. For our next child, we will definitely be using Judes from the start! :)
When it comes to care products for babies, the less, the better. The delicate skin of a baby doesn't need much care, but if you do need something, the following products will serve you well:
Zinc Diaper Rash Cream
If you plan to use disposable diapers, I recommend getting a diaper rash cream suitable for diaper dermatitis. With the use of Judes, we advise against using any cream for the baby's bottom – it's simply not necessary, as the skin barrier is not compromised. The bottom maintains its natural temperature, thus staying healthy!
Baby Oil and Care Cream
For gentle skin care and intermittent cleansing, a high-quality baby oil, such as almond oil, is suitable. The oil can also be used for umbilical cord care. Always inform yourself about the ingredients and test results before purchasing care products - "sensitive" doesn't always mean the product is truly sensitive. Fragrances can trigger allergies and should not be included in products for children (Annis bunte Wissenschaft).
Wash Gel and Bath Thermometer
For a gentle bath, initially just a few drops of baby oil in the bathwater are enough. Otherwise, you can also use a gentle wash gel for bathing. Get a bath thermometer to maintain the optimal bath water temperature of 37°C.
Baby Nail Scissors or Nail Clippers
Baby nails grow very quickly at first. To prevent your baby (or yourself) from getting scratched, you can trim the nails with rounded-tip baby nail scissors. I personally find that scissors give more control, but you can also get a baby-safe nail clipper.
Most medications will be prescribed by your pediatrician if needed. What you can prepare in advance are saline solution ampoules (for nasal rinsing) or a nose aspirator, and a thermometer.
Washcloths, Burp Cloths, and Bath Towels
Just a quick wipe with water – that's needed several times a day. And before you resort to perfumed wet wipes or paper towels, you can find sustainable organic cotton washcloths in our shop, included as a staple part of our large Judes sets!
Burp cloths are definitely useful everyday companions for new parents: since babies' muscles are not yet well-developed, their digestive tracts can't hold contents as well and securely as adults. Therefore, there's a lot of drooling, and with a burp, stomach contents may come back up as well. So, it's best to always place a burp cloth under the baby's head when you hold them in your arms or over your shoulder – there's always something to wipe up!
Bath towels should not be missing from your changing dresser either. This way, you can wrap your baby up warm and cozy after the bath and gently dry them off.
6. Well-prepared for when changing gets chaotic: organized and clean changing area
An organized changing table helps you keep things under control in chaotic situations. That's why it's vital to develop a system for changing diapers.
Setting Up/Organizing the Changing Dresser - Part 1
For perfect organization and space utilization, you should equip the drawers of your changing dresser with dividers. This way, you can store each category of products efficiently. Make sure that the arrangement of each drawer makes sense.
Catch Basin for Wash Water + Thermos Flask
If you want to clean the baby's bottom with warm water and washcloths, you can attach a catch basin for the wash water to the side of your changing dresser. Fill a thermos flask daily with warm water (at 37°C!) so you always have fresh wash water at hand.
Depending on how much space is available on the changing surface, you can provide additional baskets and containers for the organization of your changing dresser.
Keep the Changing Area Clean
Always keep your changing area clean for both hygiene and comfort reasons. Regularly wipe down the changing pad and any open surfaces. Dispose of any waste immediately and do not leave anything lying on the changing dresser. If necessary, you can attach an extra catch basin for waste, or use a trash bin that you can operate with one hand (or your foot).
7. Well-prepared for Diaper Changes
No matter how clean and organized you keep the changing area, there will always be times when it becomes messy. That's just a fact of life with a baby. However, the more organized your changing table is set up, the quicker you can eliminate the chaos. Make sure to always be prepared for the chaos and have everything within reach.
Essentials for On the Go
To ensure that you are also well-prepared for diaper changes on the go, you can pack a small diaper bag and keep it readily accessible in the changing table.
Small diaper bag with spare diapers
8. Well-prepared for Clothing Changes: Organized Wardrobe
Setting Up/Organizing the Changing Dresser - Part 2
You need to be prepared not only for changing diapers but also for changing clothes. This means having a supply of clean clothing within reach.
This especially includes essentials such as:
Depending on space, you can also store the rest of the baby's clothing in your changing dresser. This includes:
Dresses and skirts
For even better organization, be sure to sort the clothing according to the seasons. I also recommend investing in a few pieces of so-called "grow-with-me kids' clothing." For example, there are durable outer covers that can be adjusted with snaps through different age stages and sizes – quite similar to our Judes covers with individual Velcro fastening.
As you can see, the best way to be prepared for any situation is to have a plan and be organized.
... and what about you? How did you manage the compilation of the initial changing table setup, and do you think I have forgotten anything essential in the list? Or on the flip side, what were your absolute regrettable purchases that you would warn other parents about? I would love it if you share your experiences with me and the Judes Family, and I am eager to hear the stories you have to tell!
Checklist for the Optimal Changing Table Setup
I have summarized the most important changing table equipment for you in a compact form. Simply subscribe to our newsletter to receive the checklist and many more essential pieces of information.