Alternatives To Changing Tables

mom changing a baby

We can all agree that changing diapers stinks, sometimes literally, but that it’s something we all have to do as parents. You will change a lot of them, especially with a newborn baby, and you will want to decide where to do it when you are home and what you want to take with you on the go.

Changing tables are a popular piece of nursery furniture, but are they necessary and what are the alternatives? Let’s look at the many options for changing diapers.

Are changing tables worth it? Do you actually need one?

Well, you do not need one but you might like one. There are some nice perks to a changing table and some downsides, just like with any furniture addition to your home.


  • Multi-purpose use. Most changing tables come with storage below the table itself which is perfect for having wipes, diapers and other useful items to hand right when you need them.
  • Protects your back. The biggest benefit to a changing table is that you can change your baby’s diaper without stooping over or kneeling down. There is already a lot of bending over and getting up and down when you have a baby and so being at the right height for a diaper change means one less awkward position, and some more back protection for you! 
  • Hygienic. When you have a dedicated space for changing diapers you can contain the mess to one area and easily clean it afterwards.


  • Bulky size. Changing tables are a decent size and take up a corner of your nursery or other room. If you live in a smaller home, you may find a changing table takes up too much room.
  • Short shelf life. Children don’t stay in diapers forever, although it can feel like the diaper stage goes on forever at the time, it will soon be over. Then you are left with a purpose built piece of furniture with little use.
  • Rock and Rollers. As your baby grows and learns to move they will make your diaper changes very interesting indeed! They like to roll and wiggle and make it as tricky as they can for you! For some parents, a raised changing table causes stress and worry that their baby will tumble off. You can negate this with a strap and good supervision, but it still puts some people off. 

Alternatives to changing tables

A changing table is a good option for some parents, while others might be looking for something different. Here is a rundown of the alternatives and what they offer.

Dresser and changing table combo

A dresser and changing table combo offers all the benefits of a traditional changing table with the added bonus of storing clothing or bedding underneath. This will be attractive to parents who have small spaces to work with, or who want to future-proof their purchase to save money and reduce waste.

Fold out changing table

Think of the baby changing tables you see in public restrooms. A fold out changing table for your home can be a lot less industrial looking than the ones in restaurants, but still offer the same space-saving benefit. You can stand at the right height while you change your baby without losing any room for dance parties!

If you choose this option do your research carefully and mount it as per the instructions to ensure it is safe to use for you and your baby.

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Folding changing table

A folding changing table gives you options for where to set it up on any given day. It can be used in any room in your house and go with you on trips. Some parents like to have one of these handy for downstairs changes when the other changing table is upstairs or to take to the in-laws’ house for the weekend.

The upside is that it can save space in your home. The downside is that there are many different options on the market and they are not all made the same. Research the choices well to find a sturdy one and then make sure you set it up on even ground.

Use a desk

In theory you can use any surface for changing your baby and a desk may work well for you. The differences between a purpose designed changing table and a desk though are the safety features. Desks will not have a lip along the edge to prevent your baby rolling off or straps to secure your baby if needed.

In a nutshell, use a desk or similar surface with caution and put a foam or travel mat down underneath to protect their head (and your desk).

Crib and changing table combo

This combo is a handy piece of furniture with all the baby basics combined into one. Some of them even have dresser storage underneath the changing table, so you really can have it all.

Consider whether you need the flexibility to rearrange the furniture in the future though. Can each of the pieces be used separately or must they be used all together? Will you want to use the crib in your room first or will it stay in the nursery? Can it be moved easily? The answers to these questions will help you to decide whether a crib and changing table combo is right for you.

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Use a pack n play

Some pack n play sets come with a changing table-style attachment that puts you at a similar height to a traditional changing table. It’s nice to have this option when you are on the road, or at home if it suits you.

The only reservation here is that your baby will outgrow the relatively small changing section of a pack n play after a while and you will need to find a new solution for diaper changes before long.

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Portable changing station

Portable changing stations are similar to folding changing tables, but might have better storage options for your diapers, wipes and other accessories. It is convenient to be able to move the station from one room to another or to push it to one side when you are finished with a change. Research your model well to make sure it is stable and sturdy.

Use a changing pad with strap

A changing pad with a strap is useful to mount onto a changing table or other surface, including the floor. They support your baby so they are comfortable and you can usually wipe-clean or have washable covers to keep things fresh.

Changing basket

A changing basket offers the portability of a changing station with the added option of being able to change your baby’s diaper on the ground if you choose. The basket can be taken anywhere in your home (or otherwise) and while it doesn’t fold down exactly, it can be stored easily. Once you are done with the diaper stage you can repurpose it for all kinds of things, like toy storage for example. 

Portable changing mat

A portable changing pad is super handy and you may want one anyway, even if you choose a permanent changing table for your home. They have storage pockets for wipes and diapers and fold up into a compact, easy to carry package.

You can use them at home on the floor, on a bed, table or anywhere else for that matter. When you are on the go they are perfect for lining a public changing table or on the ground at the park too. They can be wiped down quickly and have a long shelf-life.

Use the floor

A changing pad or portable changing mat on the floor works just as well as any other changing system on this list. If this works for you, then go for it.


There is no right or wrong way to change your baby as long as they are safe and you are able to clean the area afterwards. Think about your home and the space you have as well as how much you want to spend on your diaper changing set up. Do your research, decide what will work for you and then look forward to years of wiping and cleaning all in the name of your happy, healthy baby!

alternatives to changing tables