When you’re decorating your nursery for your upcoming baby, you have several decisions to make. One major decision is whether or not you should get a changing table. It can be a convenient addition to your nursery, but it also takes up a lot of space, so you might be thinking, “Do I need a changing table?”
You will need a changing table if you have a bad back or knees and can’t bend over to change your baby. Changing tables are not always a necessity, but they are helpful if you have the space to accommodate them.
If you’re still trying to decide if a changing table is right for you, keep reading. This guide will walk you through the uses, benefits, and drawbacks of different kinds of changing tables.
What Is a Changing Table?
A changing table (also known as a changing station) is a piece of furniture on which you change your baby’s nappy. It can resemble a desk, shelving unit, or dresser. It typically has guardrails or raised edges to prevent your baby from rolling off.
Additionally, changing tables usually have some kind of storage compartment where you can stow nappies, wipes, and other baby essentials.
These pieces of furniture are useful for parents who are unable to bend to the floor to change their baby. The baby lies at an accessible height so the parent can stand during the nappy change. Nappies and wipes are within easy reach, provided the table includes storage space.
The alternative to a changing table is to change your baby on a towel or pad on the floor, sofa, bed, or other raised surface. You can also use a changing pad attached to your crib, bassinet, or travel cot.
What Age Can You Use a Changing Table For?
Every manufacturer will have a different recommendation for when to stop using a changing table, depending on the weight and size limits of the model. You want to be sure that the changing table can support your baby’s weight and that she still fits on the changing surface.
The average changing table can be used until a baby is two years old or weighs about 14 kilograms (30 pounds). Don’t continue to use the table if it seems unstable when your baby is on it.
Wiggly babies and toddlers may outgrow their changing tables before they turn two. If your baby is strong enough to break free from the child restraint on the changing table, it is no longer safe for you to use. Babies can get seriously injured if they roll or crawl over the side of a changing table.
How Much Do Changing Tables Cost?
Changing tables can cost between £20 to £400, and it’s easy to find ones of varying sizes and with different features. The most affordable options are essentially just raised tables on which you can change your baby. However, some of the more expensive ones often double as a chest of drawers.
Some changing tables even have a detachable top so that they can be used as a dresser when your baby has outgrown the changing table.
I have created a list that will give you an idea of how much you can expect to spend on a changing table.
Keep in mind that this is not a comprehensive list and is designed to give you a better idea of different changing tables available, the average cost and size, and the features you can expect to find.
|Cost||Height||Length x Width||Shelving||Cabinets/Drawers|
|IKEA Sniglar||£25 ($35)||87 cm (34.25 in)||72 cm x 53 cm (28.34 x 20.86 in)||Yes||No|
|IKEA Gulliver||£65 ($90)||93 cm (36.61 in)||54 cm x 82 cm (21.25 x 32.28 in)||Yes||No|
|IKEA Sundvik||£140 ($194)||109 cm (42.91 in)||51 cm x 79 cm (20.07 x 31.10 in)||Yes||Yes|
|Harwell Dresser Changer||£459 ($635)||97 cm (38.18 in)||98 cm x 54 cm (38.58 x 21.25 in)||Yes||Yes|
|Atlas Dresser & Changing Unit||£269 ($372)||95 cm (37.40 in)||55 cm x 89 cm (21.65 x 35.03 in)||No||Yes|
|Adavith Changing Table||£115 ($159)||93 cm (36.61 in)||81 cm x 49 cm (31.88 x 19.29 in)||Yes||No|
|Brimmer Changing Table||£320 ($443)||92 cm (36.22 in)||94 cm x 54 cm (37 x 21.25 in)||No||Yes|
|Pandora Changing Table||£160 ($221)||n/a||63 cm x 76 cm (24.80 x 29.92 in)||Yes||No|
In addition to the cost of a changing table, you’ll also need to set aside money for a changing pad and washable pad cover. Be sure to select a pad that fits the dimensions of your changing table. The brands listed here offer changing pads designed for these particular tables, as well.
The Sniglar by IKEA is the simplest (and most affordable) changing table on this list. It has no cabinets and just one row of shelf space below the changing area. You may also want to purchase some baskets, boxes, or other organisers to help store nappies on the shelf unit.
The IKEA Gulliver is a little more advanced than the Sniglar, as it has two levels of shelves beneath the changing area. As with the Sniglar, you may want to invest in some storage containers to help keep the shelves tidy.
The Sundvik has one shelf, two drawers, and a hinged changing top that can extend from 51 cm to 87 cm (20.07 to 34.25 in). Even though the Sundvik has a smaller footprint than the Gulliver, it has more space for changing your baby.
The hinged changing top and inclusion of drawers make the Sundvik a versatile piece of furniture. When your baby has outgrown nappies, you can convert the Sundvik to a chest of drawers.
Mamas and Papas
Mamas and Papas changing tables all double as dressers. They have changing tops that can be removed when your baby has outgrown them. With the changing top removed, they make for stylish chests of drawers.
The Harwell Dresser Changer has two drawers and one open shelf. The changing top includes a small storage section.
The Atlas 3 Drawer Dresser is simpler and only has three drawers. It resembles a typical chest of drawers with a subtle changing pad on top.
The Adavith Changing Table sold by Wayfair is similar to the IKEA Sniglar and Gulliver. It is a simple changing table with two levels of open shelves and a towel rack.
The Brimmer Changing Table, much like the Mamas and Papas changing tables, doubles as a dresser when your baby gets older. It has three drawers and a removable changing station so that it can evolve to fit your child’s needs.
The Pandora Changing Table is an ergonomic changing station that is attached to your wall. Much like the changing tables you might find at a public washroom, this changing table folds down from your wall. You can install it at whatever height is most comfortable for you and fold it when not in use to save space.
The Pandora includes two small shelves that are not large enough for nappies but are handy for storing hand sanitizer or wipes.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Changing Table?
The benefits of a changing table are mainly about accessibility and aesthetics. A changing table keeps all of your nappy supplies in one location and elevates your baby to an easy-to-reach height. It can also make your nursery look tidy and stylish.
For most parents, a changing table is nice to have but not an absolute necessity. Let’s look at the benefits of having a changing table in more detail:
Many parents change their babies on the floor or on a bed. However, if you have joint pain, mobility trouble, or some other disability, this may not be possible for you. This is where a changing table can be helpful.
A changing table can also be useful if you or your partner is recovering postpartum and need to recover your full range of motion.
Even if you don’t mind bending over to change nappies, a changing table can be useful for the people helping you with childcare. For example, if grandma is going to babysit multiple times a week, and she struggles to get up off the floor without assistance, you might want a changing table for her sake.
A changing table can make your nursing look neat and tidy. Your changing table will probably include storage, so you won’t have nappy boxes and wipe containers stacked in your nursery. If you love the idea of having a nursery full of matching furniture, consider a set that includes a changing table.
A changing table can certainly beautify your nursery, as long as you have the space for it.
What Are the Drawbacks to Using a Changing Table?
Changing tables have their share of drawbacks, and they aren’t for every parent. Some major issues are that they take up space and can pose a fall risk. There are several alternatives to changing tables for able-bodied parents.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons you might decide not to purchase a changing table for your nursery.
Takes Up Space
Babies need a lot of stuff, and you’ll likely find that your nursery is quickly filling up with furniture and toys. A changing table only adds to that clutter. Unlike a towel or changing pad, a changing table takes up a significant amount of space and isn’t portable.
You also need to consider what you’ll do with your changing table once your baby has outgrown it. If you plan on having more children, you’ll need to find somewhere to store the changing table. Alternatively, you’ll need to take the time to find a seller and get it delivered to them (or wait for them to pick it up from your home).
Limited to One Room
Unless you have more than one changing table in your home, you’re limited to nappy changes in just one room in the house.
Some people find this inconvenient, especially in homes that have more than one floor. You may get tired of bringing your baby back to the changing table every time he needs a new nappy instead of changing him on the floor or bed elsewhere in the house.
When your baby is on the changing table, there is a risk that she could get hurt from a fall. You need to be careful to always use the child restraint buckle and ensure you never leave her on the table unattended.
A newborn baby is not likely to roll off the sides of the table, but a curious and wriggling toddler could get seriously hurt from an improperly used changing table. Conversely, changing your baby on a towel on the floor poses a very little safety risk.
Do I Really Need a Changing Table?
If you, your partner, and your baby’s other primary caretakers are all able-bodied, you probably don’t need a changing table. A changing table can be convenient and help your nursery look cute, but most people don’t need one. That said, they can be useful if you have postpartum or mobility issues.
If you want the easy access of a changing table without worrying about a lack of space, consider a travel cot or pack-and-play with a changing pad attachment. Graco’s Contour Electra (available on Amazon.co.uk) has a changing pad attachment and a bassinet attachment, making it perfect for parents who travel or those who want to save space as their baby grows up.