Changing Pad Challenges

Summer Infant brand diaper changing pad with contoured sides and safety buckle fastened

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Keeping the Poop in Its Place

Summer Infant brand diaper changing pad with contoured sides and safety buckle fastened

  • What: Summer Infant Changing Pad
  • When: Birth to potty training
  • Why: Make any flat surface a place to change diapers
  • Where: Amazon

When we expanded our family from two children to three, we also expanded our furniture. I bought a dresser for my firstborn before his arrival, and used that piece of furniture with a changing pad on top for both my first two kids. Despite the fact that my second child spent the better part of her first year and a half in our room, I used my need for space to store her clothes as an excuse to get rid of some of my clothes.

I cleaned out some dresser drawers in our bedroom and re-purposed them for her clothing, eliminating the need to buy another piece of furniture that wouldn’t fit in the kids’ room with two cribs taking up space. When I changed her in our room, which happened most often (though I still changed her brother on the dresser in their room because he would stay in diapers for two more years after she came along), I laid down a mat on the bed and changed her there, with the diapering supplies stored in bins under my bed.

I kept the diapering supplies under my bed when our third child came along, but unless I wanted to be naked, I had nowhere to store more baby clothes. I upgraded the kids to a six-drawer dresser and moved the three-drawer one from their room to ours. As an added bonus, I didn’t run the risk of having poop on my own bed when changing dirty diapers.

Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad on Amazon

I invested in this changing pad for the top of the second dresser, so I had changing areas in both rooms. No matter who was napping where, I had access to diapers and diapering supplies. I got smart and moved my cloth diaper pail to the bathroom, so I didn’t have to double up on those. (By the third kid, I had figured out what I could and could not live without, even just for the duration of a single nap time.)

I’ve used our changing pad for more than six years, and it shows little wear and tear. We’ve been diapering continuously for more than six years, and that’s a lot of quality time spent on a foam mat. I made sure both dressers had a surface height compatible with the ideal working surface for me, so I didn’t spend time hunched over or with my elbows near my earlobes trying to change diapers. I recently passed one changing mat along when I replaced it with some additional storage on top of a dresser. Despite being mostly out of diapers at this point, I’ve kept the other one.

Infant in orange striped pajamas with pumpkin feet on a changing pad with polka dot cover
My thirdborn lays on peacefully on the changing pad with a polka dot cover.

Even if you’re not using a dresser or changing table, these contoured mats can come in handy. If you have a large house (not our problem) or multiple floors, and don’t want to spend the day running back and forth to change diapers, and you don’t want your living (or heaven forbid, dining or kitchen) areas to begin resemble a nursery,  these changing pads tuck away out of sight. Stand one on the short end and slid it behind the sofa or a curtain and you won’t spend your downtime staring at it or obsessing over how many more diapers you’ll change before your child uses the potty.

With the easy addition of a cover, you can get the basic white mat, which wipes clean, to match almost any decor. Whether you want it to stick out with a bold pattern or blend into the background with a neutral color, you can find almost endless options.

The waterproof cover over the foam base provides superior protection from poop and pee. Should the nice cover you spent hours selecting get soiled, you can whip it off and still use the mat while the cover gets cleaned. Should your little one have another blowout before you finish cleaning the cover, you can wipe the mat clean – after you manage to remove the poop from them and them from their poopy diapers and clothes. If you’re lucky, you might manage to remove the poop from yourself, too.

An awake baby lays on a changing pad with a polka dot cover
My son hanging out on his changing pad on top of his dresser.

The changing pad includes both a safety strap in the middle that buckles over your child, as well as a security strap underneath to keep the pad attached to the surface of furniture. A nonskid bottom helps keep it from moving around while you and your baby do the diaper dance.

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