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Baby Diaper Changing Station: Essentials & How To Set Up?

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As new parents you will quickly learn, the diaper changing station is pretty much the centre of your universe in the first few months. With diaper changes happening around the clock, every 2 to 3 hourly, the importance of a well-organized, convenient, and safe setup cannot be overstated. And yet, there isn’t much information out there on how to actually set one up. So here I am, ready to impart the wisdom from my wise confinement nannies who helped me come up with the ULTIMATE setup for our baby’s pee & pooping needs.

Read on for a step by step guide on the things you’ll need to stock up, as well as how to set the baby changing station up based on your needs. I’ll be sharing my personal setup too so you have a visual reference instead of just text advice. Let’s get started!

Choosing The Right Location

The ideal spot for your diaper changing station needs to fulfil the following conditions: accessible, comfortable, and safe. On top of that, it should ideally be in a location that’s easy to reach at a moment’s notice but also offers enough space to keep all essentials neatly organized. Proximity to other baby necessities, like your baby’s clothes or a nearby water source, will streamline the process even further, reducing the need to leave the station mid-change.

For many people, this usually means a spot somewhere in the nursery. But if you don’t have a dedicated nursery, it can also be somewhere in your room, or living room – as long as it fulfils the conditions as mentioned above.

In my case, I have a dedicated nursery, so I naturally have mine set up in an empty space in the nursery.

Diaper Changing Station Must-Haves!

Not sure what to get? Here’s a comprehensive checklist of everything you’ll be needing. So make sure to bookmark this for your shopping trip.

Changing Table or Pad: Decide if you prefer to change diapers at a height (baby changing table) or closer to the floor (changing pad). I chose a changing pad for two reasons: I had no space for a table, and had a fear of baby struggling and falling off the table.

Diapers: Keep a healthy stash of diapers on hand at any time. I have my diapers stored separately, so I’ll take out a pile to put at the baby changing station at the start of the day.

Wet Wipes: Choose only unscented and pure water wipes. Trust me when I say you don’t want your newborn’s sensitive skin to come into contact with chemicals so often. We only started using these alot more consistently only after baby was 2 months +.

Cotton Balls: Instead, my nanny recommended using wet cotton balls to clean up pee and simpler poop messes. Her logic was that these are much softer on the skin and would significantly reduce butt rash from the constant wiping we had to do.

Wash Up Container: This is used to soaking cotton balls and wet wipes to make them even more moist and hence more effective at cleaning up after poops.

Diaper Cream (Butt cream): Absolutely essential to keep butt rash at bay. Babies poop so often, and without the cream to act as a protective barrier, it will quickly escalate into severe butt rash. However, not all butt creams are equal. We had to trial and error many different brands, before we found a suitable one.

Additional Supplies to Keep Handy (OPTIONAL)

Moisturizer: Depending on your baby’s skin condition, you might need this to help prevent dry, patchy skin in babies prone to dryness. We use Physio A.I and QV cream.

Massage Oil: Useful for giving your baby a soothing massage, especially helpful for relieving colic and gas. My nanny’s favourite oil of choice was of course Ru Yi Oil which I would say was effective in relieving baby’s gassy discomfort.

Clothes: Just make sure clothes are nearby for easy access. I would normally set out one set of new clothes before the diaper change in case I need them. My clothes drawer is a few steps away, but I don’t recommend leaving baby unattended even for a short while.

Check out our article: Newborn Baby Clothes Essentials: Recommended By SG Mummy

Toys or Distractions: Crucial for keeping older babies (once they can flip usually at 4-5 months!) entertained and still during changes.

Check out our article: Baby Toys SG: Review Of Infant Toys I Bought from 0-6 Months

Hand Sanitizer: A must-have for maintaining hygiene before and after diaper changes if you are the one changing, and carrying baby right after. Alternatively make sure you wash your hands diligently. We stocked up the same one used in our hospital ward – after all if it’s good enough for Thomson Medical Hospital, it’s good enough for us.

An Organizer: It’s really up to you, but I find it very helpful to have a basket to keep diapers, wipes, creams, and other essentials neatly arranged and easily accessible. We simply repurposed a basket that was gifted to us.

How to Set Up Your Diaper Changing Station

Now that you have all your essentials, the next step is to put them all together. Creating an efficient diaper changing station involves organizing your essentials in a way that maximizes space and ensures everything is within arm’s reach. Here’s how you can get started:

  1. Begin with the changing pad or table as your base. Make sure nothing dangerous is within reach (e.g. wires, hot stoves, electrical points etc)
  2. Arrange the essentials (diapers, wipes, and creams etc.) in an organizer or drawer near your base with easy arm’s length access
  3. Finally, have a stash of toys or distractions along with a pile of clean clothes ready for quick changes.

Still not very clear? Here’s a visual guide of how my diaper changing station is set up in my nursery with all the things I need at arms length or very near by.

Here’s my setup in a HDB common room which I use as a baby nursery.

Hot Tip: When baby was an infant (don’t really move much), if it was not poop, we would also change her in her cot at times. We simply placed a waterproof changing pad underneath and brought over diaper, wipes and diaper cream and changed her in her cot. Saves the trouble of carrying her to and fro.

Important Tips (Safety, Cleaning & Maintenance)

Now that you’re all set up, there’s still some additional things you might want to take note of!

Safety Tips

Whether you chose a baby changing table or changing pad, safety is paramount. Always choose a stable changing surface and never leave your baby unattended during changes, even for a moment. Hence the importance of ensuring all supplies are reachable without having to step away from the station.

If getting a baby changing table, make sure to opt for a stable and sturdy one that won’t collapse suddenly. This was my major concern, so I ended up not getting one. Also, once baby starts to become more active, try to move your changing station closer to the floor to avoid baby falling off during a change.

Cleaning and Hygiene

Even though it may not look like it, the baby changing station is essentially your baby’s toilet. It’s where your little one poo and pee, so it’s going to be full of germs and dirt.

Hence it is essential to maintain a routine for cleaning the station to keep it hygienic, including wiping down surfaces and washing the changing pad covers regularly.

For me, I make sure to also disinfect the space in every few changes, especially after a major poo session with my sanitizing spray.

Maintenance of Supplies

With diaper changes occurring every 2-3 hourly, don’t be surprised at how quickly things get depleted. Make sure to check on your supplies weekly, or biweekly to give yourself time to restock them when needed.

I normally make it a point to check in 1 week before monthly double day sales and see what needs to be stocked up.

Tip: Don’t get too many cartons of a particular diaper size as your baby might outgrow them. That happened to me when I bought too many of S sized diapers and my girl outgrew them too quickly.

Ready To Set Up Your Diaper Changing Station?

I sure hope after reading my article the answer is a resounding yes!

While the setup might seem daunting at first, the right approach can simplify the process for new parents, making those numerous daily diaper changes as efficient and pleasant as possible.

Once you’ve set up a diaper changing station that you love, do share your setup and any tips you have in the comments below.

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