Sometimes, on the worst days of motherhood, when everything is out of control and I barely keep up with the circus at home, I feel beyond exhausted. I feel as if I couldn’t possibly live through another day full of baby crying, vomit, and a hundred rounds of diaper-changing.
But then I think about my mother. And her mother. And her mother. How have they managed to get out of this without losing their right mind? I mean, disposable baby diapers were hardly ever used before the Second World War and women had to come up with ingenious ways to keep their babies dry (and clean) with the help of paper tissues, rubber pants, even shower curtains and old parachutes cut into pieces for God’s sake!
And before that? Women probably needed to deal with constant rashes and their babies undoubtedly just ran around naked from the waist down… Not to mention the washing and soaking of dirty cloth “diapers”. By hand.
See, after a few minutes of contemplating in this direction, any contemporary mother would feel better. Because, let’s face it, we, today’s mothers, have a lot of amenities our predecessors couldn’t have even imagined existed. What, with disposable diapers, baby swings, changing pads, and everything! We’ve already discussed some of these life-changing baby gear essentials – cribs, pack ‘n plays, baby monitors, toddler pillows, baby beach tents, humidifiers, etc. They all make our out-of-this-world exhausting motherhood a teeny tiny bit more easily bearable.
Today, I want to talk about another essential tool every mother needs – the diaper changing pad, the holy grail of wiping buts! Here are 5 reasons you need one:
1. Diaper Leaks
Diaper leaks, if you haven’t already experienced them, are casual occurrences that inevitably take place when you least expect them. Also known as projectile surprises, they cannot be stopped by towels, sheets, etc. To put things straight, it’s much easier to clean a pad than the floor, couch, or bed.
2. Dressing Affairs
Did you know that dressing a baby pretty much resembles dressing an octopus on amphetamines? Even if we leave aside the constantly trying to hit you baby limbs and the impossible to button without breaking your nails onesies, dressing a baby takes a village. Unfortunately, the “village” is either at work or on a business trip when you need it, so you have to take care of this by yourself. A nice diaper changing table with pad makes your life easier in these moments.
3. Bedtime Routines
Don’t you just love spending 2 hours trying to put the baby to sleep only to find out he’s awake in 30 minutes? Yeah, me neither. Never mind, back to the changing pad. It’s the ideal place to lay the baby on after her bath, lotion her up and put her pajamas on for bed. I mean, where else would you put a soaking baby after a bath to get her ready for bed?
4. Road Trips
And by road trips I mean any trip that includes buckling baby in a car seat. Pregnant mamas, I got to warn you about this one. The way thermodynamics and quantum physics work when your bundle of joy poops while in the car seat is impossible to describe (or ever forget). I am talking beyond-control nastiness. Scissors-needed-to-remove-shitty-onesie nastiness. A portable changing pad in such moments may not be a life-saver, but it’s definitely a car upholstery saver. Forget your travel changing pad at home once and you’re in poo-pee trouble. Big time.
5. Baby business
If you think a changing pad is used only for, well, changing, you can’t be more away from the truth! As I said, dressing the little monster and getting him in his PJs are some of the tasks you’ll most probably perform there as well. Other baby business that uses a pad as the perfect setting includes (but is not limited to): nail-clipping, toe-clipping, temperature-taking, (messy) medicine giving, etc.
Types of diaper changing pads
There are 4 main types of baby diaper pads. Let’s take a look at each one and see its pros and cons:
1. Standard pads
A standard baby diaper pad is a necessary piece of baby equipment for your diaper changing station at home. It suspiciously looks and feels like a teeny tiny mattress, which it actually is. This little fella usually needs a changing pad cover to protect the surface of the pad from poop and pee, and all other bodily fluids like vomit and milk spit, to name a few.
Your standard diaper pad is also universal, meaning that you can practically put it on any flat surface in your home and get the job done when diaper duty calls. You can put it on a diaper changing table, a drawer, coffee table, or right on the floor – depending on what works best in your particular poo-poo pee-pee situation.
2. Travel/Portable pads
Portable changing pads are a must for any self-respecting experienced parent’s car AND diaper bag. I would say you need one at any cost unless you never go out, which is practically impossible.
A travel changing pad is your solution for on-the-go baby changing occurrences. And, believe me, once you leave the front door, the little sunshine decides it’s time to dispose of all his body wastes to the dismay of all his older travel companions. Oh, and the fewer diapers you’ve taken with you, the more smelly surprises you’ll get along the way. I call this the diaper axiom.
3. Changing kits
A changing kit is basically a portable changing pad with benefits. It includes a foldable changing pad and a carry bag (which is rather smaller and lighter than a regular changing bag).
The beauty of the changing kit is that you have all the changing essentials in one place, it takes up very little space and is easy to carry around with you when you are out and about.
Disposable changing pads are another option that does the trick as they successfully keep stuff from leaking through.
My parenting experience has taught me that disposable changing pads are very handy when changing bigger babies and toddlers and, guess what, they needn’t be thrown away after each use! They are super light and easy to use both at home and when you are on the go with your bundle of poop joy.
The best diaper changing pads on the market:
Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad
Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad is the #1 Best Seller in Amazon’s Portable Changing Pads for a reason! With a 100% waterproof surface, non-skid bottom, and a security strap, it offers the best solution for the baby changing process in terms of security, comfort, and convenience!
Here’s why we love it:
- Its 100% waterproof surface is made of super durable quilted vinyl, making the cleaning part as easy as it can be!
- Featuring contoured walls AND a safety belt, it surely knows how to keep a wiggling baby securely in place while mommy performs the nappy changing tricks.
- Its universal size (16″ x 32″) and non-skid bottom make sure it will fit almost any standard changing pad tables without sliding around like crazy.
Best value for money
LA Baby 4 Sided Changing Pad 30″
LA Baby 4 Sided Changing Pad 30″ comes at a reasonable price and is packed with helpful functionalities and features so it unconditionally wins our Best value for money prize.
Here’s why we love it:
- Its ergonomic design with four curved sizes makes all the difference. Why, you would ask. Because it actually keeps pee and poo from spilling onto your expensive carpet, that’s why! Oh, and an added bonus is that the baby feels pretty secure and snuggly in there.
- Its nontoxic cover is easy to clean and the changing pads are thoughtfully made of waterproof vinyl to save mommies the extra cleaning work. Well done, LA Baby, well done.
- It features 2 screws with the help of which the dad (or mom, or handier BFF) can use to securely mount the changing pad to the changing table, dresser top or whatever else you’ve decided to put it on.
- Did we mention its universal size and the safety belt that comes with it? Priceless!
Best Organic Changing Pad
Serta Perfect Balance Organic Changing Pad
Serta Perfect Balance Organic Changing Pad is the obvious choice for parents who want their baby’s changing pad to be made of organic materials. Why? Because it neatly combines superior quality and a reasonable price.
Here’s why we love it:
- The organic cotton fill is a special layer that provides both comfort and support.
- The contoured design offers superior cradle-like comfort for the baby (and a spiling-free experience for mommies).
- The safety strap features an easy to release buckle.
- The non-skid bottom and durable vinyl cover will ensure its long and safe life in your baby’s nursery. Oh, and at 16″ x 32″, it fits all standard changing tables and dressers!
Best Wiggle Free Diaper Changing Pad
PooPoose Wiggle Free Diaper Changing Pad
PooPoose Wiggle Free Diaper Changing Pad/ Changing Table Pad is the ultimate wiggle free changing pad you’ll find online, hence its name.
Here’s why we love it:
- The swaddle-like strap, of course! Mind you, this is not your standard simple buckle strap. Except for being secure, obviously, this amazing swaddle-like strap also has a calming effect on the baby as it is super soft. It is also very wide, providing that extra comfort you want for your baby while changing his diaper. Needless to say, it guarantees you a decreased risk of rolling offs and infant falls. Oh, and it’s adjustable so both a newborn and a toddler will feel equally comfortable in it!
- It’s made in the USA using non-toxic materials.
- The materials used for its surface are super soft and comfortable, which means you won’t have to spend extra cash on additional pad covers.
Best portable changing pad on a budget
Changing Pad By Playtex
This lovely travel-sized changing pad by Playtex comes at a very reasonable price and is the perfect solution for parents on a tight budget.
Here’s why we love it:
- It features a cushy changing pad with a head pillow that makes sure your baby feels comfortable while being changed on the go.
- The side bumpers provide extra security and help you keep the little refusing to stay calm octopus in place while you try to change him in public.
- Folding itself to fit into a bag, this beauty is super easy to carry around and fits into most standard-sized diaper bags. You can even take it with you as is thanks to its convenient carry handle.
- The expandable mesh pockets can be used for holding diapers, wet wipes, etc.
Best Seller Diaper Changing Kit
Skip Hop Baby Pronto Portable Changing Station
This portable changing station by Skip Hop is an indispensable accessory for all fashionista moms!
Here’s why we love it:
- This thing of beauty is created with moms in mind! Its front zipper pocket is perfect for mom’s personal belongings like keys, smartphone, wallet, etc.
- The strap is super functional as you can strap it to your wrist or clip it to the stroller, freeing your hands for more important things like an ice-cream or a chocolate bar (you deserve it). Or the baby, of course.
- The mesh pocket can keep all your changing essentials and it comes with a beautiful red translucent wipes case!
- The extra wide 2-in-1 changing pad is removable and can be used independently.
- The innovative ‘pronto pillow’ cushion provides extra comfort for the head area.
Best unisex design
Anvy & Me Diaper Changing Clutch with Changing Pad
Anvy & Me Diaper Changing Clutch with Changing Pad should be named “Envy Me” as it is created with dads in mind. Oh, yes, they can change a baby diaper not worse than any exhausted and sleep-deprived mom!
Here’s why we love it:
- You can hand it to the little pooper’s dad, declare it’s a men’s design and delegate your changing-on-the-go duties. At least until the dad convinces you it’s absolutely as adorable in women’s hands, which is totally true, by the way.
- Pretty much looking like an oversized clutch, this changing pad is the perfect size for carrying around when you’re running errands with your little one.
- Slim and stylish, it’s a great baby accessory that, unlike most baby travel accessories, doesn’t scream, “Baby stuff in here”.
- The materials used are sturdy and durable, guaranteeing you years of use. Are you still not sure? The producer offers 30 days Money Back Guarantee and a Lifetime Warranty!
- It’s BPA-Free, Phthalate-Free, Lead-Free.
3 features to look for in a diaper changing pad
Before you decide which diaper changing solution best fits your preferences, you should take a look at these essential features. There are 3 things to consider when buying a changing pad – read them below:
The size of your changing pad is very important, especially if you have already bought a changing table or you have established your changing station. Whatever it is that your pad will be put on (changing table, drawer, etc.), make sure the pad fits the base well. This means that it shouldn’t in any case be bigger than the base as this will make it unstable, increasing the risk of accidents.
Your changing station should be safe, functional, and baby-friendly. All these features depend (partially) on the surface of your changing pad. Let’s find out why:
• Safety – if the bottom surface (underside) of the pad is smooth and slippery, it poses a risk of sliding of the pad all over the place and this is the last thing you want to happen while your baby is lying helplessly there and your hands are covered in baby poop up to the sleeves. Oh, it will happen. Believe me.
• Functionality – a great feature of your changing pad is a waterproof surface. It keeps poo away from your furniture and slows down the way of pee in the same direction. Mind that a waterproof surface calls for some tissues and towels around for when the piss brook starts finding its way to the floor. Because, gravity.
• Baby-friendly – a baby friendly pad surface feels good and is comfortable to lie on. A changing pad cover offers the greatest level of comfort while protecting the pad from diaper spills. A great feature of the pad changing covers is that they are also machine-washable, meaning that you can just throw the dirty one in the washing machine and hope you have a clean one stand by.
Whether you are a first-time mom or a veteran in raising kids, changing a diaper doesn’t get any easier with time. Once the baby figures out they can boycott your attempts to change their dirty diaper, they start wiggling around, protesting in every way they can. Read, kicking, screaming, peeing on you, etc.
To make the procedure more convenient (for the changer), some pads have a curved top that partially restricts baby’s movements and lowers the risk of falling off the changing mat.
Another cool feature that does that way more effectively is the safety belt. A must for fussy babies who are not especially fond of lying still on the table while you change them, the safety strap securely keeps baby in place while you do your job. Yes, I know this isn’t the career shift you were aiming at but it is what you do now. Wiping baby buts. Thank you, motherhood.