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How to Set Up a Diaper Changing Station
Updated on
December 6, 2023

How to Set Up a Diaper Changing Station

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How to Set Up a Diaper Changing Station.
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How to Set Up a Diaper Changing Station

Changing dirty diapers probably isn’t going to be at the top of your favorite things list as a new parent. But since you have to do it, you may as well do it right—at an organized, well-stocked changing station that makes this dirty job just a little bit easier. (And hopefully a little less messy.)

From where to set up your diaper changing home base to what exactly to store in all of those cute little baskets you just registered for, here’s how to set up the best diaper changing station for you and your little one, plus a list of our favorite furniture and supplies.

Tip One: Location, Location

First on the to-do list: figuring out where to put a changing station in your home.

Most parents choose to set up their primary changing area in their baby’s nursery. It’s a central location where you’ll be spending a lot of your time and is one of the most convenient since you’ll be in the nursery often for common diaper-changing times like mornings and post-nap changes.

If you live in a home with multiple levels or somewhere that’s on the larger side, you may want to consider setting up a secondary changing station either on your first floor or wherever you spend the bulk of your time. This will save you from having to tackle the stairs or schlep across your house for every diaper change.

Can’t commit? You can skip a formal setup and go mobile instead by organizing a few basic supplies into a diaper caddy so you can change your little one wherever you are in your home.

Tip Two: Furniture and Gear

There are lots of furniture and gear choices when you’re thinking about your changing station. Figuring out what’s best depends on what type of changing station you’ll be setting up.

If you’re organizing a changing station in your baby’s nursery, you have a few options:

  • A changing table, which is a piece of furniture designed specifically for diaper changes.
  • A dresser or other piece of furniture with a flat, wide and stable top with space to secure a changing pad.

Either of these options get the job done. Some parents prefer to skip the changing table altogether and opt for a dresser + changing pad combo instead. That’s because a changing table becomes obsolete once your little one is out of diapers (which may feel like it will never happen, but in reality arrives pretty quickly!), whereas you’ll get years and years of use out of a dresser.

If you’re planning on a secondary changing station somewhere else in your home, a playard is a great choice; many feature changing table inserts that are perfect for just this purpose. You can also use a changing pad atop an existing piece of furniture to set up a secondary changing station somewhere in your home.

When choosing a changing pad, you have two basic options: a traditional pad or a wipeable option.

  • Traditional changing pads are fairly inexpensive (usually under $25 or so) and fit most changing tables or dressers with a built-in changing table topper. They’re meant to be used with a changing pad cover and often aren’t very stable when used on their own.
  • Wipeable changing pads will cost you a bit more but don’t require a cover. These types of pads are completely waterproof and wipe completely clean. They also feature a stable base with a non-slip bottom so they’re a better choice if you’re looking to create a changing station by adding a pad to a dresser or other piece of furniture.

Tip Three: Supplies to Stock

Diaper changing is a hands-on, messy part of parenting. What can make it a little bit easier? Having everything you need right at your fingertips and ready to go before every change.

Start with these essentials when you’re stocking your changing station:

  • Diapers (baby’s current size + one size up)
  • Wipes
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Diaper pail, trash can or bag

If you’re using a traditional changing pad, you’ll want a few extra covers on hand in case of a mess. You’ll also want an extra trash bag or two or a refill pack of diaper pail bags if yours requires them. And if you’re stocking a mobile diaper caddy, add a portable changing pad to your list of must-haves for changes on the go.

And since you’ll likely be doing more than just changing diapers at your changing station (think hair brushing, nail cutting, etc.) you’ll want to keep other babycare supplies organized so you won’t have to search your home from top to bottom each time you need them.

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lotion
  • Hair brush and comb
  • Extra pacifiers
  • Nasal aspirator and saline spray
  • Baby nail clippers
  • A small toy, rattle or teether

If your changing station isn’t close to where you keep your baby’s clothing, stash a few extra outfits nearby—you’ll need them for the (inevitable) blowout situations.

Tip Four: Storage and Organization

Last but definitely not least on the list: storage and organization. There’s a lot of stuff to keep track of in a changing station. You’ll want a good system for making sure you don’t run out crucial items—because discovering you’re out of diapers at 2 a.m. is less than fun. Staying organized with a good storage solution can help.

Keep these organization tips in mind when setting up your changing station.

  • Storage is your friend. Bins, baskets, cubes, shelves…whatever floats your boat when it comes to storage, now is the time to embrace it. Set up your changing area with easy-to-access storage solutions for your bigger items like diapers and wipes and for smaller things like diaper cream, lotions, a hair brush, etc. so you’ll always know where to reach for whatever you need. (We like a large basket or cube for diapers and smaller storage options for tinier items.) No room on your changing area? Get creative with other ideas like shelving and over-the-door storage racks.
  • Consider a diaper subscription or auto-refill order option. Diapers and wipes are two items you’ll know you need on the regular throughout your baby’s first few years. Consider signing up for a subscription service (we love The Honest Company and Hello Bello) or a subscribe-and-save option so you know you’ll always have what you need when you need it. Just be sure to remember to keep your baby’s size updated as they grow—it happens quickly!

What Do You Need at a Diaper Changing Station?

These are some of our favorite items to consider when you’re setting up a diaper changing station.

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