Every family has to adapt when a child arrives, but there are many practical ways to do it. As a person that likes to experiment with unusual solutions, I was never too excited about traditional changing tables.
To me, it made a lot of sense to try out some readily available alternatives.
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Are Changing Tables Worth It?
I admit they are undeniably useful, although they also come with a few downsides. That’s why for some people they may not necessarily be the best option.
- Safety – traditional tables are usually very firm and come with protective side panels
- Practicality – the height of the table is very convenient for an adult to work at
- Price – conventional changing tables can get quite pricey in stores
- Space – parents living in smaller homes often simply don’t have enough space to fit a table
With this in mind, I compiled a list of 13 alternatives to changing tables that can be acquired online or constructed at home without excessive costs.
1. Folding Changing Table
In situations where saving space is the goal, folding changing tables are one of the best options.
They are lightweight and highly practical, and even though they are made of soft materials they can easily withstand the weight of the baby without losing any stability.
Most importantly, tables of this type can simply be collapsed and stored away after the diapers are changed, which is perfect for parents who don’t have a separate baby room.
It’s definitely one of the best alternatives to changing tables.
Pro: The most effective space-saving solution that’s also quite affordable
Con: Suitable only for small children and require extra care during use
Recommended product from Amazon: Foldable Changing Table EGREE
2. Use a dresser with a changing pad
This setup is getting more popular lately and with good reason. Everyone already has a dresser that’s just the right size, and if you add a changing pad you get a great combo.
You could also buy or build a custom dresser that already has a box for changing diapers on the top shelf.
This two-in-one approach is very practical and allows parents to designate a certain part of their home as the changing station.
This way, the disruption to the home is kept at a minimum. It’s also a great way to repurpose old furniture!
If you’re looking for a DIY solution, have a look at my post about DIY changing table with an Ikea hack!
Pro: Baby clothes are kept close to the changing spot, saving both space and time
Con: Too bulky dressers could be difficult to fit into smaller apartments
Recommended product from Amazon: 3 Drawer Dresser with Changing Top
3. Use a desk with a changing pad
An even simpler possibility is to mount the changing pad onto a rarely used desk.
The flat surface of the desk presents a great working space where you can temporarily place necessary items.
Any drawers or shelves can be repurposed to hold items you need to care for the baby, while the desk could return to its original purpose as soon as the baby is asleep.
Ideally, you should use a desk with raised edges of three sides, eliminating the danger that the baby could crawl over the edge. It fits in any nursery!
Pro: It’s very easy to repurpose an existing desk and avoid spending too much
Con: A desk offers less space to work with and store diapers and other items than a dresser
Recommended product from Amazon USA: Changing Pad for Babies
4. Crib Changing Table Combo
Another piece of furniture that can be utilized to serve as a viable alternative to a traditional changing table, the crib is an obvious candidate for this role.
If you find a baby crib with a changing table connected to it, you will have an optimal solution that will allow you to centralize all activities related to childcare in a single location.
This will save you a lot of valuable time and keep the mess confined to only one room.
This is a great idea when looking for alternatives to changing tables..
Pro: A logical solution that provides plenty of space to change diapers and baby clothes
Con: This setup requires a separate room for the baby, or at least a very large bedroom
Recommended product from Amazon: Graco Pack ‘n Play Newborn Seat DLX
5. Portable Changing Station
Some moms are busier than others and have to be prepared to care for their children when they are on the move.
The portable changing station is perfect for such situations, as it can be neatly folded and carried around like a bag – and it doesn’t weigh too much.
It has all you need to change the diapers, including a mat that can be placed on any flat surface. As an added bonus, it’s much cheaper than a stationary baby changing table of standard dimensions.
Pro: Very compact and lightweight solution that works at home as well as outside
Con: While great as a secondary option, a portable station isn’t a true replacement for a changing table
Recommended product from Amazon: Portable Baby Changing Pad by Lil Fox.
6. The Crib-Top Changing Table
Installing a changing table on top of the crib is another way to use the available space efficiently while simplifying the process of changing the baby’s clothes.
While there are countless possible designs of baby cribs with a changing table on top, most of them include a platform that partially covers the bed.
The weight of the crib itself ensures stability, while the proximity to the child’s sleeping place allows the parent to react quickly and change the diaper immediately.
Pros: Economical and practical solution that doesn’t require any extra space
Cons: It is difficult to find cribs with built-in changing tables, so it must be a DIY solution
7. The On-the-Go Changing Station
There are added benefits of having a changing station that can be easily moved around the house depending on where it’s currently needed.
To do that, you need a large box (preferably with a few compartments) and some comfortable and washable mats.
The resulting changing station isn’t too heavy to carry for one person, but it’s stable and comfortable enough to use on any surface.
It’s also very easy to make such a station on your own and achieve tremendous savings.
Pros: One of the simplest and cheapest designs that still does the job pretty well
Cons: You still need to clear out a working surface in order to use the station
Recommended product from Amazon: Collapsible Trunk Organizer & Diaper Changing Station
8. Wall Fold-Down Changing Station
This smart and innovative changing table design is extremely useful whenever the space is tight. Have a look here at the best wall-mounted baby changing tables.
Since in this case the entire station is attached to the wall, it takes up practically no space at all when it’s not in use.
It can be brought into an active state with a single unfolding move, and you get a perfectly firm, horizontal table large enough for the baby and all necessary supplies.
The construction is very safe and can be mounted at any height.
Pro: Very practical and easy to clean and store away after diaper changing
Con: Installation must be handled very precisely, which may require professional assistance
Recommended product from Amazon: Fold Down Baby Changing Diaper Station
9. Changing Pad with Belt
If you can’t afford a large baby dresser with a changing table or have a lively and active child, you might want to consider getting a changing pad with a belt.
This convenient product features an extra layer of security as the belt will prevent the child from wiggling away.
Not only the kid’s safety is improved, but you can also complete the diaper change faster because you have one thing less to worry about.
Pro: An inexpensive and safe approach that can be used anywhere
Con: Some children don’t like being constrained and might act out if they are tied with a belt
Recommended product from Amazon: Bedsure Diaper Changing Pad with Liner
10. Changing Basket
Another great way to replace a traditional changing table is to get a wicker basket large enough to hold the baby as well as all the needed items.
Effectively, the interiors of the basket are the working surface where you can change the baby, and after you are done you can place other items inside.
Made from natural materials and very comfortable, a changing basket could easily become the child’s favorite place around the house.
Pro: The changing basket can be easily repurposed and used for storage
Con: It is imperative to find a basket large enough, which can drive up the costs
Recommended product from Amazon: Aspen Baby Changing Basket w/Waterproof Pad
11. Quilted Changing Pad & Insert
Parents who are looking for a universal solution that will neatly fit into their surroundings could be well served by this design.
It can be combined with other changing table ideas to get a perfectly functional and extremely comfortable changing station.
The soft insert guarantees that the baby will be comfortable, and is also water-resistant so it won’t be easily damaged.
Pro: A great looking product that can be machine washed
Con: The price of a pad with a replaceable insert adds up to a significant sum
Recommended product from Amazon: Waterproof Quilted Playard Changing Table Pads Made with Organic Cotton
12. Nook Pebble Change Pad
For some people who don’t want a traditional changing table, DIY solutions are not good enough.
Parents from this group would be well served with a Nook pebble change pad, which is made from organic materials and has antifungal and hypoallergenic properties.
This practical, ergonomically designed pad can be placed on any flat surface in your home and it will ensure the baby’s comfort throughout the process.
Pro: One of the healthiest and most comfortable of all 13 alternatives to changing tables
Con: Great features of this changing pad come at a rather high price
Recommended product from Amazon: Nook Sleep Pebble Changepad
Even the best changing table dresser doesn’t provide as much space as the floor in your home!
If you use a mat or a changing pad, the baby will be completely comfortable but you will have to find somewhere to sit.
Of course, when you are working on the floor the child is absolutely safe, although you will have to vacuum your home more frequently in order to keep the dust away.
Pro: Absolutely free, safe, and always available
Con: It may be uncomfortable for adults to work on the ground level
Now, I can’t wait to hear about your favorite alternatives to changing tables. Let me know in the comments!