Finding the Right Changing Table
A changing table isn't one of those absolutely-must-have items, but it sure can be nice to have. It's great to have a station always set up for diaper changes, clothes changes, and even quick sponge baths. Here are a few tips you can use when searching for a changing table that's right for you and your baby.
First, you should probably figure out what size you need. This will mainly depend on the space you have in your home. Take into consideration all the furniture you plan on including in the nursery-crib, dresser, rocking chair or glider, bookshelf, etc.-because you also need some room to walk around! When you've determined the space you have available, you can start narrowing down the enormous selection of changing tables out there.
Another aspect of size is height. You may not care so much about height the first few diaper changes, but after about 100, you'll care very much. Make sure your potential changing tables are not too short, or else your lower back will twinge in pain with every bend and lift. If possible, shop for the changing table in person, rather than online, so you can practice bending over it. Don't worry about sales associates giving you weird looks-they're used to it!
Safety, of course, is going to be your number one concern. There are a few changing table features that are highly recommended by Consumer Reports. One, be sure the table is sturdy. This is another thing you'll want to check in person versus online. Two, try to find a table with straps. Once your baby is more active, you'll want to put a safety belt around them so they don't roll all over the place. Three, look for changing tables with rails or some kind of barrier on all four sides. Again, active babies like to roll! And remember, even with these safety features, never leave your baby on a changing table unattended.
Another nice aspect of having a changing table is that you can find one that includes area for storage. Some changing tables are also dressers, which is great for not only clothes, but also for changing supplies. Others have shelves beneath the platform which is also great for diaper supplies (diapers, wipes, lotion, rash cream, etc.). Shelves and drawers are great for storage, but another benefit is that your supplies are close at hand when you're changing your baby.
The last thing you'll consider is the look of your changing table. The options are nearly unlimited! This is where online shopping can come in handy. If you know what kind of look you want (wood, white, sleigh, etc.) and your ideal price (changing tables will have a large range), you can start browsing online at various places, such as furniture stores, department stores, and children's stores. By using the internet to narrow down the places and number of tables you'll be comparing, you'll save yourself a lot of time.
Be sure to take your time picking out the changing table that is right for you and is safe for your baby. Remember to consider size (especially height!), storage area, look, and especially safety. Good luck, and have fun shopping!