Never did I ever think I’d be writing a “complete guide” to diapers. Because to be honest, before I had my first baby, I didn’t realize just how much diapers, changing tables, diaper bags, and baby poop in general were going to rule my life!
This is an area of preparing for a newborn you shouldn’t take lightly. When it comes to newborns and diapering, you want to get it right. And you definitely want to have it all ready to go before baby arrives.
Because no matter how well prepared you are, there will be explosions. But the right diaper gear will make managing diapering your baby a whole lot easier 😉
And in the realm of diapers, there’s a lot you’ll want to get right! Here you’ll find info on all your diaper-related needs and questions, such as:
- Diaper Changing Stations
- Diaper Bags
- Diaper Caddies
- How many diapers do I need in each size?
- Best Diaper Pails
- Best Diaper Rash Creams
- Diaper Parties
Let’s get you diaper ready, Mama! And you’ll be prepared to change every diaper on that cute little bum knowing you’ve got the best in diapering gear at the ready.
Disclaimer: We may be compensated through the affiliate links in this post, but all opinions are our own. Read more here.
Diaper Changing Station
One of the most essentials areas to consider while setting up your nursery is the diaper changing station. While it might be easy to get caught up in creating a visually appealing diaper changing station, let’s make sure it’s super functional too.
When you’re dealing with poop up the back of your baby (yes, this is a thing that will happen, maybe often), you want to have everything you need at an arm’s reach while pinning baby safely down with the other arm. You need a diaper changing station that’s equipped with everything you need to get baby clean and comfy, fast.
What do you need for a diaper changing station?
A diaper changing station ideally includes a piece of furniture with space for a changing pad on top, and some kind of storage below. This might be in the form of drawers, shelves for bins, or even a cube-style storage shelf.
A Changing Table and Pad
As you are choosing what to use for baby’s diaper changing station, there are a lot of great options and avenues to take, no matter your budget. Keep in mind that in baby’s first year they go through over 2000 diapers!! Having a changing table or similar space is going to make your life so much easier. You don’t want to be on the ground changing those 2000 diapers, do you?
Nursery Furniture Set with Convertible Changing Table
If you are interested in investing in a full nursery furniture set, it can be wonderful to get a dedicated changing table to match. Many nursery furniture sets, like this adorable gray one, come with changing tables that easily convert into a dresser for later in baby’s life. This means the furniture will grow with your baby, and serve as a safe changing table now.
If you’re looking for a changing table that is a part of a nursery furniture set that will literally grow with your child into adulthood, check out this set. The crib converts into a headboard and footboard for a full-sized bed, and the timeless look of the changing table/dresser and end table will always be in style.
A value-focused idea? Trina uses a cube organizer for her changing pad downstairs, while this doesn’t provide as much functional storage as a dedicated changing table, it can be easily re-purposed once your baby is older as playroom storage.
Dedicated Changing Table
The benefit of investing in a dedicated changing table is that a changing pad fits safely and snugly in place, they are the perfect height for comfortable diaper changing, and they usually have lots of storage space. If this is your first baby and you’re planning for more children, investing in a high quality changing table will serve you for years to come.
Many baby changing tables available are smaller than a full sized dresser which makes them perfect for a small nursery, or if you are creating a diaper changing station in your own bedroom for baby. This is one I really like because it has different sized drawers, and a relatively small footprint.
Even changing tables meant to be only changing tables are being designed with multi-functions in mind these days, this one is shown as a changing table and can be easily re-purposed for book and toy storage as your little one grows, love it!
Crib with Changing Space
Another great option for those planning a small nursery and looking to save space is a crib with a changing table attached.
Changing Table Topper/Dresser Changing Table Converter Kit
When I was designing my daughter’s nursery, I was really excited about incorporating a pretty antique dresser that we had refinished. Her nursery didn’t have space for this and a changing table, so I decided to purchase a changing table topper to easily convert the dresser into a safe changing space.
Originally, I just had a changing pad on top of the dresser, but quickly realized it was wiggling and moving way too much. The table topper keeps it snuggly in place, and simply screwed in the back of the dresser. They come in a variety of lengths, so be sure to check your measurement before choosing.
How much does a changing table cost?
Like with most things, there’s a huge range of prices. Investing in a full nursery set, or true dresser that converts to a changing table will cost a bit more up front. The advantage here is that baby’s furniture will last them through high school and beyond.
If you are looking to go a more budget route, for between $75-$100 you can get a nice, functional and highly reviewed changing table.
The most budget choice? Use an existing or second-hand dresser, and simply attach a changing table topper to it so that the changing pad is safe and secure. Changing table toppers are available in a variety of colors and lengths, so be sure to check the measurements before you order!
How tall should a changing table be?
There isn’t really one correct answer to this question. And because all parents are different heights, your ideal changing table height might be different than your partners. Most changing tables are what you’d picture as “dresser” height, or maybe a bit taller.
According to Consumer Reports, furniture sold as a changing table varies in height between 36-43 inches. As you are deciding what changing table to get, or what dresser to use, keep this range in mind. Also consider who will likely be doing most of the diaper changing, and if they are on the taller or shorter side.
Best changing table pads
I’d recommend a changing table pad that has a slight contour. Most come with a safety strap, that can be used to secure baby if desired. Keep in mind that you should NEVER walk away from baby while they are on the changing table, and for that reason, I never found the safety strap necessary. Most changing table pads are also a standard size, meaning you can use any cover with them, which makes life easier.
I have the Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad, and with 4.5 stars and 9k+ reviews, I’d say with confidence that you’ll like it too. I like that it has a waterproof surface that can easily be cleaned. If you are interested in an organic cotton option, the Naturepedic Organic Cotton Contoured Changing Pad is very popular.
Best Changing pad covers
You’ll want to get at least five changing pad covers so that you always have one that’s clean. Newborns seem to always ‘go’ when you’re in the middle of changing them. Many mamas like to choose changing pad covers that match the nursery, which is a great idea.
I use changing pad covers that are like a plush cotton, like these. They’re super soft and snuggly, which I felt like baby N appreciated J
While you are choosing your changing pad cover, don’t forget to invest in some changing pad liners too! I like these re-usable changing pad liners. Having one of these down on top of your changing pad cover will save your cute changing pad cover from poop stains and other messes.
What do you put on a baby changing table?
Your baby changing table should have a changing pad with tightly fitting cover. On top of your covered changing pad, lay a reusable liner for extra protection. I recommend making sure your changing pad is securely in place. If you are using a dedicated changing table, it will fit snugly. If you are using a dresser or other surface, consider an affordable changing table converter to keep it in place.
Diaper changing station supplies
In the top drawers or shelf of your changing table, you’ll want to have diapers, wipes, and diaper cream. I also like to keep a few onesies and socks in this top space too for quick changes. Our changing table is also where most of N’s other clothes are stored as well.
In addition to these essentials, the diaper changing station is a good place for baby lotion, combs and brushes, nail clippers, and other baby grooming supplies. I keep a big tub of Baby Aquafor at our changing station for dry skin, diaper rashes and temperature checks. This nifty baby diaper cream brush is a must have too for applying diaper cream.
I also use our diaper changing station to store sick supplies, like a rectal thermometer (don’t waste your money on inaccurate temporal or ear ones, your pediatrician will ask for a rectal temp anyway!) and a nose sucker for stuffy, clogged noses.
Best Diaper Pail
No diaper changing station is complete without a diaper pail. Too often, I see registry articles that say to skip this item. I want to scream it from to roof tops- don’t skip this! Just make sure to get the right one. Dirty diapers stink. Literally. And it’s so much easier to only take baby’s dirty diapers out once a week instead of every time you change them. A regular trash can will not hold in the smell like a true diaper pail.
We LOVE our Ubbi Diaper Pail. The main reasons? It keeps the smell out of the room so well, and it takes regular trash bags! This was a must for me. Too many diaper pails require special trash bags, which is just a ploy to get more of your money. There’s also a locking mechanism to childproof the top, which I recently started loving with a toddler running around. Invest in an Ubbi Diaper Pail, and you won’t be sorry.
Best Diaper Rash Cream
For my newborn baby, nothing worked better than plain Vaseline or Baby Aquafor when she had a diaper rash. These were handed out in our hospital, and I found them to really work the best on sensitive newborn skin. At around 2 months, N wound up with a pretty bad diaper rash, so I tried a zinc-oxide based cream, and she wound up having a reaction to, go figure!
I don’t want to discourage you completely for having a zinc oxide based cream on hand too, but wanted to share my story. When I worked as a nanny for many years, the family always had me use Boudreaux’s Butt Paste when their little ones had diaper rash. Many people love it.
Don’t forget a Diaper Cream Brush to apply diaper cream to your little one’s bottom. It’s so much more sanitary, and gets the diaper cream on thicker, smoother and faster. I only wish I’d known about this sooner.
What is a Diaper Caddy Organizer?
If you live in a house with more than one floor, or even if you just don’t want to take baby into the nursery to their main changing station every time they need a change, a diaper caddy is a must have! It’s basically your portable diaper changing station. Have everything you need on hand and in the same place for easy diaper changes.
I also found our diaper caddy a great tool to bring when we were traveling. It made car changes easy, and I loved having it during extended stays at my parents’ or in-laws’ homes.
Diaper Caddy Basket/Portable Diaper Caddy
For my diaper caddy, I used the Munchkin Portable Diaper Caddy. It’s a wicker basket style, and my husband will tell you I’m a sucker (obsessed?) with baskets 🙂
Some other ones that look awesome are:
Large Washable Diaper Caddy Organizer: I really like that this one is washable, less structured, and has large handles for easy transport between rooms or floors.
GAGAKU Baby Diaper Caddy Organizer: this has a chic look with beautiful leather handles and even includes metal rings to clip it on a stroller. I like how the description shows it being used as a toy or book caddy in the car as baby gets older.
Lumipets Baby Diaper Caddy Organizer Bag: this diaper caddy also brings the style factor with gray and cream coloring and pretty leather handles and trim.
What to put in a diaper caddy?
- Toys/Teethers for distraction during changes
- Diaper Rash Cream
- A portable changing mat
- A few spare onesies
- Burp Cloths
Leaving the home with your baby can feel daunting as a new mom. You just never know what’s going to happen when you take a newborn out. Will they have a blow out? Spit up everywhere? Need to nurse in the middle of the grocery store? In other words, you need to be prepared for all scenarios.
A well-packed diaper bag is important for your confidence and baby’s comfort during outings away from the house. The very first time I took N out of the house, we were going to a breastfeeding support group, and within minutes of arriving she had a major blow out that required a full outfit change. I was so grateful for what I thought was an over-packed diaper bag in that moment!
Diaper Bag Essentials
Before we talk about choosing the right diaper bag for your lifestyle, let’s go through everything you need to have in a diaper bag for a 0-3 month old. Keep in mind that as your baby gets older the list might change or expand a bit to include more toys, books, and snacks. Even with a toddler, leaving the house with a well-stocked bag is still a must for me.
Besides the obvious things like diapers and wipes, make sure you have a few changes of clothes on hand. One of the best tips I got as a new mom was to store the new outfits in large ziplocks. These Ziplocks become a place to put your baby’s soiled clothes or diaper in the event of a blow-out, major spit-up, or other accident. If you want to go the green route, these wet/dry cloth bags are waterproof and machine washable, and make for a reusable place to store soiled clothing on the go.
Diaper Bag Checklist
- 3-5 Diapers
- Wipes in portable wipe container (the giant wipe packs are pretty bulky and take up a lot of space in the diaper bag)
- 2-3 Changes of clothes (include socks, you’re bound to lose one on the go) put these in a ziplock or reusable wet bag
- A light blanket, like one of these. These are so versatile to use if baby is cold, if you need a space to baby on the floor, or even as a burp rag in a pinch.
- A cloth carrier – this is a big reason I LOVE using the Baby K’Tan it was so easy to fit in the diaper bag
- Burp Cloths
- Snack and water bottle for mama
- Nursing cover if applicable or desired. While many love these for privacy, they can also be great to get a distracted baby to latch and eat in a busy place
- Bottles/formula if applicable
Diaper Bag for your lifestyle
There are so many different diaper bags available, so instead of just automatically picking the most traditional, think about your lifestyle. I registered for a traditional diaper bag with stroller clips. And while I certainly liked the organization and space it provided, I rarely ended up using a stroller. Most often, I just used my diaper clutch inside a regular back pack.
In retrospect, a diaper bag backpack probably would have been a better fit for me to be hands-free. Especially because I was almost always wearing N in a carrier. The backpack was also preferable to my husband over the pretty heart-patterned diaper bag I had chosen 😉
Best Diaper Bag Backpack
The diaper bag backpack is an excellent choice for almost any family. They’re usually full of pockets for easy organization, leave you hands-free which is always a win, and are easy to find in gender neutral options. Here are a few you’ll love:
Stylish and Super-Functional Diaper Bag Backpack: this diaper bag backpack has a chic and trendy look, is very affordable and has great organizational features. The top opens super wide for easy access, the front pocket has waterproof and insulated bottle sleeves, and there are pockets on the sides as well. There are extra handles on the top to hold handbag style as well. I have so many mama friends with this backpack and they all love it.
Waterproof Diaper Backpack: this is another stylish looking diaper backpack that is a bit more like a traditional backpack. The main inside compartment has lots of storage pockets, the front has spots for bottles and snacks, and the pack easy has an extra pocket area. This backpack comes with stroller clips too.
Baby Diaper Bag Backpack: this option looks the most like a regular backpack, but has tons of pockets to make your life easier, more organized, and keep you hands free.
Diaper bag for dads
I think a backpack diaper bag is a great option for a dad or a messenger bag style. One route is to have a diaper clutch (which are discussed more below) to throw into a backpack dad already has and uses. There are also “dad” backpacks that could be a great option for your family.
HSD Diaper Back Backpack: this dad pack is highly reviewed and has lots of storage space and organization. It doesn’t look like a diaper bag at all and even has a more masculine look to it.
Elkton Outdoors Adventure Daddy Bag: this is a messenger style diaper bag that looks a lot less feminine than most diaper bags on the market.
Columbia Summit Rush Backpack Diaper Bag: looks like a normal backpack but with all the bells and whistles a diaper bag needs like a changing pad, insulated pocket for milk and snacks, stroller clips and more.
Diaper Bag with stroller straps
Most modern diaper bags do come with stroller straps, but it’s always a good idea to check out the features to be sure. Some have loops for easy attachment but you need to buy stroller clips/straps separately.
The Skip Hop Messenger Diaper Bag is one of the most popular. It has a 4.5 star review with over 1000 ratings. I see so many mamas with this diaper bag- myself included! If you live somewhere walkable, or anticipate using a stroller a lot, this is a great diaper bag. It is so easy to attach to and from your stroller and has lots of storage space.
The JJ Cole Diaper Bag has a really stylish and chic look with leather straps and detailing. It’s slightly larger than the Skip Hop bag and also comes with no-slip stroller straps.
Diaper bag accessories
When you are choosing a diaper bag, read carefully what’s included. Some come with things like a changing pad, wipe case, and stroller straps, but some do not. Some diaper bag accessories you may want to get or register for are:
- Reusable Dry/Wet Bags
- Waterproof Changing Pad Liners for public restrooms
- Simple Portable Changing Pad
- Pacifier Case
- Stroller Clips/Stroller Straps
- Insulated Bottle Cooler
- Wet Wipe Pouches
Diaper Bag Changing Pad
Like I said above, when you are choosing a diaper bag, check to see if a diaper bag changing pad is included. I know the Skip Hop Diaper Bags including changing pads, and so do some of the diaper bag backpacks too.
If yours doesn’t, it’s definitely a worthy addition to your diaper bag. Just make sure to choose one that’s not too bulky and won’t take up too much space. These are some great choices:
- Summer Infant Quickchange Portable Changing Pad
- Baby – Steps Fold-Up Changing Pad
- Sigzagor Diaper Changing Mat
Okay, we just went over a TON of great diaper bag options, but I have to tell you, 9 times out of 10, I like to just throw my diaper clutch into whatever bag I’m using that day. Most clutches hold everything you need for a clean diaper and fold out to be a mat. Throw it in a backpack, large purse, beach bag, or the bottom of the stroller. So easy.
Diaper changing clutch options
I have and love the Skip Hop Diaper Clutch. It folds out to a mat, and comes with a wipe container. There’s even an extra pocket to put some Ziplocs and a onesie.
The Baby Bumco Diaper Clutch looks like an adorable purse! It has clever wipe storage and space for diapers.
The JJ Cole Changing Clutch is another cute and highly reviewed option.
Diaper Bag Organizers
Diaper bag organizers are a great way to turn a large tote or handbag into an organized diaper bag in a flash. They are usually a soft material with some structure to them and have lots of pockets, dividers, and storage. Say goodbye to the black-hole tote bag.
How many diapers do I need in each size?
Stocking up on diapers ahead of time when you find awesome sales and coupons is a great idea. For example, Target often runs deals where you get Target gift cards when you spend a certain amount on diapers. If you need to buy other baby gear, or stock up on household supplies, before baby at Target anyway this is a great way to find savings!
The problem is knowing how many diaper do you need in each size? Well for starters, don’t get too many newborn diapers. Our hospital doesn’t even stock them, they just put all babies in size ones right away. I did like having one pack of newborn diapers for the first few days, especially as I gained confidence with diaper-fit, but beyond that we used size ones.
Diapers go by weight not age
Diapers are sold in size ranges based on baby’s weight. You can use this to help figure out how long baby will be in each size range based on weight curves and average weight gains. The trouble with this is that these are averages, and you may have a baby that gains in a unique way.
Diaper sizes 1-3 will cover your baby up to around 24 pounds depending on your baby’s body shape. You’ll want the bulk of your diaper stockpile to be in these sizes. Remember that earlier on, your baby will be wetting their diaper more frequently as their bladder size increases. This means you might be using more diapers per day in the beginning.
How many diapers do I need in each size?
A bare minimum starting place, or a safe number for your registry, would be 2 jumbo packs (usually 200+ diapers) of sizes 1, 2, and 3. You will likely use more than this in one of those sizes, but it can be difficult to predict that ahead of time. Starting with that amount should be a safe bet. Then after baby is born, when people ask what you need, do not hesitate to tell them diapers!
How many baby wipes do I need?
Wipes are never the wrong size! And you will use them through toddlerhood. In other words, you can never have enough wipes. To be safe, register for unscented, sensitive wipes, just in case your baby has sensitive skin.
What is a diaper party?
A great way to stock up on diapers before baby is born is with a Diaper Party. These are usually for the dads to get together with their guy friends before baby arrives. The idea is that each guest brings a box of diapers. You can even assign diaper sizes based on the letter of their first or last name to get a variety.
Diaper party invitations
Minted has some really cute Diaper Party invitations and these ones from Amazon are also very cute. When you send your Diaper Party invites be sure to specify that guests should bring a box of diapers, the theme, and location of the party.
Diaper party ideas
Because diaper parties are typically celebrated by dad-to-be and his buddies, they usually involve diapers and beer. Some clever plays on this premise:
- Diapers and Dudes
- Baby Brewin
- Diapers and Brews
- Diapers for Dad
- Beer, BBQ, Baby
Feeling Diaper-Ready, Mama?
Well my friend, you now know about the best in all things diapering. You can rest assured that with these recommendations you will be prepared and ready to keep baby clean at home and on the go. As you prepare to bring baby home, preparing to diaper is an important step.
Be sure to add these items to your baby registry checklist, and not be shy about registering for boxes of diapers and wipes in addition to baby items. People genuinely want to get you what you really need.
If you found this post helpful, please share it on Facebook or Pinterest
Alli Wittbold is a wife, mama, blogger, and online teacher. She feels passionate about connecting expectant mothers with childbirth class educators, and supporting them to achieve the birth they desire. After having her first baby delivered by a Certified Nurse Midwife, Alli is an advocate for midwifery prenatal care. She has learned so much about labor and delivery by attending and reviewing dozens of birth classes to help mothers learn and explore options. Alli co-authored the Week-by-Week Bump Smart Course, the Nesting Planner and the Breastfeeding Handbook, resources she is proud to share with as many expectant and new mothers as possible. Read more about Alli.