Choices for Changing Area

Toddler and infant lying on bed on towel wearing diapers holding hands

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Save Some Change When Setting Up

Toddler and infant lying on bed on towel wearing diapers holding hands

  • What: Changing area options
  • When: Birth to potty training
  • Why: Compare different options
  • Where: Amazon

I’ve rounded up the main five options to consider when setting up your diaper changing area at home. Depending on your budget and space, you can choose one or more that works for you. Some options upgrade or repurpose better than others, and you could use one for the nursery and another in your own bedroom until your infant actually starts sleeping in a separate room. You might also find one of these solutions more practical for homes with more than one level if you don’t want to spend twice the money or your day running up and down stairs holding a poopy infant. I’ve listed the options starting from most basic and least expensive.

Surprised expression on infant's face
My son looks shocked to be on a towel on the bed during one of our many trips

1) Towels

Super portable and easy to clean, towels provide the most basic changing surface and the least expensive, since you already own several.

Infant in red striped pajamas lying on floor on top of towel with toys around
My son hanging out on the towel on the floor after changing a diaper while traveling

2) Changing Mats

Changing mats cost only slightly more than a towel, and only because you are unlikely to have any lying around the house already. You can afford to buy several of these thin waterproof layers and they can be combined with any other choice, while still saving tons of space and money. It also prevents  a lot of poop and other bodily fluids from getting onto any surface, including your towels.

Infant lying on bed on top of changing pad
My daughter laying on a changing mat on our bed

3) Changing Pads

Changing pads offer a thicker, larger, and more padded option that can still be stored upright when not in use to save on space. Some changing pads provide contoured sides for comfort and ease of us as well as a buckle for extra safety on elevated surfaces.

Infant laying on orange changing pad cover
My son after a diaper change on his contoured changing pad with an orange cover.

4) Dressers

Although a dresser might cost more upfront, you can continue to use it long after the diapers disappear. I find drawers easier to access during diaper changes than bins or stacks on shelves, and dressers come in a wider range of heights to accommodate shorter and taller adults.

Infant boy chewing on teething ring while lying on changing table
My son chewing on a teething ring while relaxing on top of his dresser with changing pad (and changing mat) on top

5) Changing Tables

A changing table may cost less than some dressers, but I’m rating them as more expensive because the cost spreads out over fewer years. Although it can be repurposed after your child uses the potty, it takes up a lot of real estate and looks messier more often. On the plus side you can usually find one secondhand in a large variety of colors and patterns because so many people part with theirs after only a couple years.

Infant smiling on polka dot changing pad cover
My son in his changing area: a towel on top of a changing pad on top of a dresser

I personally used a combination of a changing mat, pad, and dresser. I topped the dresser with the changing pad and used a mat on top of that to keep messes contained. But I also used just the changing mat in my own bedroom to save on space, money, and some sleep, so I didn’t run back and forth to the nursery.

Happy baby in green onesie laying on contoured changing pad
Happy baby in his changing area.

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