Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but a new baby at home means plenty of diaper changes until they graduate from potty training. And when I say plenty, I mean plenty!
This is especially the case during your baby’s first few weeks and months in life, where it feels like you’re cleaning after their pee and poop more than you breathe!
Your baby will go through around 10 to 12 diapers a day during that phase, which means a whole lot of time spent on the changing table.
Fortunately, though, there’s a lot that you can do to get ready for all these changes to come.
Besides diaper bags and knowing what to pack in those, one of the primary and most important steps in getting ready for your new arrival is putting together a list of essential supplies you’ll need to create the ultimate diaper changing station set.
In this article, you’re going to learn all you need to know to properly set up a diapering station at home, as well as a list of supplies and items you’ll need to make diapering your baby a piece of cake.
Whether this is your first time ever putting together a diaper changing station from scratch or you’ve previously done this with an older child before, we could all use some help and guidance – newbies and veterans alike.
You might think that having the bare basics on hand is enough, especially a stock of diapers and baby wipes, but that’s not the case. It’s much more complicated than that, and taking care of your baby’s needs goes beyond only two or three items.
Diapering Changing Station Essentials
Ready? Let’s go!
Make sure you have a stocked changing station with the following items:
Pretty obvious, right? To change your baby’s dirty diapers, you need … new, clean diapers!
Whether you’re using cloth diapers or disposable diapers, be sure to properly stock up on a good amount by knowing exactly how much you need and being prepared for it.
Or else, chances are that you might find you’ve run out of diapers in the middle of a change, and that’s not good!
Same as above. Stock on baby wipes – whether you use cloth wipes or disposable ones – and have a good amount of them within arm’s reach for whenever you need them to clean up messes.
You’ll run out of baby wipes before you know it, so be sure you buy enough of these to not run out of them when you need them most.
Ideally, choose fragrance-free and chemical-free wipes, as these tend to cause less irritation.
You could choose to buy this or you could choose to skip it entirely, the choice is up to you, really.
Some parents swear by baby wipe warmers, while others call them a complete waste of time and money.
If you live in a really cold area or you know for a fact that your baby finds the wipes you’re using to clean them cold and uncomfortable, chances are you do need a wipe warmer.
Otherwise, you could just skip it and save money for other changing table essentials, as you might find that your baby doesn’t really care if their wipe is cold or warm.
Where do you plan on storing all your baby’s dirty diapers after changing them?
For diaper storage best practices, you’re going to need a spacious diaper pail nearby (such as the diaper genie), one that can hold a good amount of dirty diapers before it needs to be emptied.
Keep in mind that you’re going to be changing your newborn anywhere between 8 times to 12 times each and every day, so that’s a whole lot of stinky diapers that are going to fill up the entire room and house with stench if not properly stored in a diaper pail!
The diaper pail should be within arm’s reach of your diaper changing station, as you’ll want to avoid having to go back and forth and leaving your baby unattended even if only for a few seconds.
Ideally, choose a hands-free diaper pail such as a foot-pedal trash can so you can keep both hands on baby!
You’ll want to keep a laundry bin very close to the diaper pail you have as part of your changing station.
You’re going to change your baby’s clothes multiple times a day, they will get their clothes dirty, so be sure you have a laundry basket nearby to toss dirty clothes inside without having to leave your baby unattended during a diaper change.
Diaper Changing Pad
No diapering station would ever be complete without a comfortable diaper changing pad which the baby is placed on during changing time.
Ever tried changing diapers on the floor? If you have, you know for a fact it doesn’t work, and if you haven’t, don’t try to! It’s terrible practice.
Any changing pad you choose should have safety features (such as safety straps or a safety clip) to ensure your little one’s well being, considering the fact that babies choose to be the most wriggly creatures ever during diaper changes.
So, in the midst of all that movement, you need to ensure they stay in place and that there’s almost no chance of them falling off.
Waterproof Changing Pad
Just in case you get into a messy diaper change and the changing pad you’re currently using gets ruined beyond repair, have a backup waterproof changing pad at the ready to save the day.
A diaper blowout can happen out of the blue, so be ready for it!
Diaper Changing Cover
Pro tip from personal experience: Always have a backup baby changing cover handy for whenever you need it! Ideally, the backup cover should be waterproof.
You never know when the one you’re currently using on the changing pad gets all dirty after your little one unleashed everything they have at it without leaving it with even the slightest chance of being good to use again, so a waterproof backup changing pad cover is great to have handy.
Diaper Rash Cream
Throughout the diapering phase, babies often get irritated in that area, for one too many reasons to list here.
To soothe your little one’s bum and get them to stop crying from all the irritation they’re feeling due to a diaper rash, you’ll often have to use diaper rash cream.
Of course, no diapering station would ever be complete without having enough storage space for all your baby care needs.
Make use of dressers, baskets, drawers, storage bins and shelves to store all your items for easy and quick access.
Need more space to store essential items for your little one during changing time? Make use of a diaper caddy to hold and organize whatever items you need.
New Set of Clothes
This isn’t always an essential to have, but you know what they say: better safe than sorry!
Have a clean set of clothes at the ready as part of your baby changing station.
You never know what your little one does to get the ones they’re wearing now dirty, or you might not have noticed that there’s a stain on their clothes before bringing them to the changing station.
So, seeing that (for safety reasons) babies should never be left alone unattended during diaper changes even if just for a few seconds, having a fresh set of clothes within arm’s reach is going to save you from having to go back and forth to the closet or dresser.
Managed to get your baby all calm and strapped down on that changing pad? Why not take advantage of the situation and get a few grooming tasks done while at it?
Remember, you operate on your baby’s terms, not the other way around! If they happen to be soothed, strapped down and all calm, take advantage of this while you can!
Trim their nails, calm their hair, take their temperature with a baby thermometer, help them out with a nasal aspirator, or do whatever grooming tasks on your to-do list.
Every calm minute is a blessing you never know when you’ll experience again – such is life with a little munchkin!
First Aid Kit
Speaking of kits, also include a baby first aid kit in there somewhere, just in case emergencies happen and you need instant help without having to leave your baby unattended until you go get the items you need.
Will you ever get an easier chance to clear out your baby’s nose than when they’re pinned down on their changing pad and can’t get out for their own safety? I’ll answer that for you: NOPE!
Keep that nose bulb handy and take advantage of that diaper change to clear out your baby’s nose if needed!
Same as above – take advantage of your baby being safely locked in on their changing pad and clip their nails if they need it (which they will).
Keep in mind that a baby’s nails tend to grow crazy fast, and if you don’t cut them in due time, they could get too sharp to the extent where your baby hurts themselves (or hurt you!).
Besides diaper cream, ensure you have all the different lotions that your pediatrician advised you to use on your baby within arm’s reach from the diapering station.
You’ve already undressed your baby to change their diaper, so take advantage of this and apply their lotion(s) as well!
Baby Night Light
Oftentimes, you’ll find yourself having to change your baby’s diapers at the diapering station in the middle of the night.
This happens more often than you might assume, so be prepared by having baby night lights set in place beforehand.
Turning on the regular light in the middle of the night to see properly is a terrible idea for both you and your baby. It’s way too strong for both of you, and you’ll both have a terrible time getting back to sleep.
Instead, use a soft baby night light that’s been specifically designed to let you see everything you need to see during middle of the night changes and get back to sleep with the least difficulty possible.
Babies get bored and annoyed with diaper changes really fast, so you should be prepared for this by having as many distractions and items to keep them entertained as possible.
Get different sets of toys, colorful rattles, a baby mobile in place, etc ..
It’s not all about toys, too – soothing items can go a long way in calming your baby down and helping you push through what can sometimes be a very challenging task.
Soft music works wonders for my baby when I need help most!
You can (and should) also make use of pacifiers, obviously.
In between choosing to wash your hands with water and soap or using hand sanitizer, the better choice is almost always going to be washing with water and soap.
However, when changing your little one at the diaper changing station set, that’s not quite the case.
Again, given the fact that you should not leave your little one unattended when on the changing pad even if only for a few seconds, you’ll have to do with a hand sanitizer until you’re completely done changing them and they’re no longer laying there.
An application of hand sanitizer before you change your baby’s diaper and another application right after you’re done should be more than enough, till you get the chance to to go the bathroom for a full hand wash.
Make absolutely sure your baby cannot get a hold of the hand sanitizer, though! If they do, they could get themselves in huge trouble. They could eat from it, get some of it into their eyes, etc …
Who said swaddles are only meant for swaddling babies? Swaddles can make for excellent changing table covers if need be!
Another Changing Station
Speaking of baby essentials, it might be vital for you to add another changing station to your house, in addition to the main changing station you’ve set up in your baby’s nursery.
Where does your baby spend a lot of time other than their nursery? You know the answer to that question best.
Is it the living room? Is it your own bedroom? You might want to set up another changing station there, so you don’t have to keep on moving from one room to the other to change your baby’s diaper, or keep going between upstairs and downstairs.
If you don’t want to set up another baby changing station besides the one in your baby’s nursery, be sure to get a diaper caddy you can easily take with you wherever you go!
Wrapping it Up
And there you have it! That’s pretty much all you need to create the best possible changing station for your baby – one that makes life way easier for both you and them.
Is there anything else you keep as part of your changing station set that we didn’t talk about in the list above? Or, perhaps you have any special tips you’d like to share with other parents who are now in a phase you once passed through and learned a lot from? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!