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Best Baby Diaper Pads: Do You Really Need One?

baby laying down playing with his mother and holding a yellow duck

Diaper Pads for your bundle of joy slash pooping-machine can help you buckle up for every challenging full-time nappy changes.

In this article, we’ve rounded up a complete guide and review of why Baby Changing Pads are what every parents need.

We’ll be giving you a quick overview about:

  • What Changing pads are and why they’re better
  • Features to look for before buying
  • 5 of the Best Baby Changing Pads and Review
  • And many more…

A stink to high heaven is never a sweet experience.

Let’s take a look at our options.

When my spouse and I first started looking around for nursery supplies, many of our friends recommended that we get a changing pad. They said at the very least it was one of the few things that made changing diapers easier. They recommended having a designated area, even in our bedroom. One of our friends mentioned how they looked into a changing pad. Their little bundle of joy had a particularly smelly accident on their couch. Like many they used a towel for changing.

After hearing the story, my spouse was pretty much sold.

This makes it easier for several reasons, including easy clean up. We looked into the world of changing pads and listed the ones best for first time parents. We also looked into best pads for parents with many children, so you would not have to. 

a father is changing his baby girl diaper

Why A Changing Pad?

A changing pad is great because it essentially can turn any surface into a changing table. It repurposes any dresser drawer you might have to work as a table. We have also used other surfaces like a couch or bed as our table. There are times when we did not feel like going to our designated changing area in our room. Unless you have back issues, it really is the best of both worlds. You are to move the pad from one surface to another and with a relatively lightweight product.

Below are some of our considerations for a portable changing pad that works for you.

What To Look For

At Home or Travel Friendly

A changing table was not necessary for us, even at home.

What we found instead, was that having a more cushioned changing pad and a travel friendly version was all we needed for our situation. My spouse and I both find making use of our dresser or counters is enough to get the job done. We do realize that some parents enjoy having not only the changing pad, but all the bells and whistles. We have found that just using our diaper bag around the house has been enough for us. The only dedicated area we have that I would call a changing table would be a designated corner in our room. This area also includes our baby’s bassinet. 

And so…

For situations outside our home, we found that a changing pad is all we need for our baby in changing situations. After disinfecting the area, we will just lay down a changing pad and get to work. The back of our car has also been an emergency changing area several times, and it works fine. In situations where you are traveling, you want one that is portable and flat, and even disposable. That is so you will not have to deal with carrying it around throughout the day.

Waterproofing

This specifically relates to a thicker changing pad. Some changing pads will include a waterproof cover for easy cleaning. This is one of the most important factors to look for in a changing pad. Diaper changing is going to be a mess, and it was better to be preventative than having to clean after the fact.

That is why we looked for a changing pad with 100% waterproof lining.

This also helps to avoid mold and mildew on the pad itself. It was important to us to look for one we could wipe down regularly. We also looked for one made to easily throw into the washing machine every month for a deep clean.

baby playing outside with a swing

For disposable ones, consider a pad that is thick enough to handle messes and wide enough for the size of your baby. How thick they roll up may also be a consideration, especially if you want to throw them in your diaper bag. We have a preference for thicker or reusable ones to stay at home, so we can easily throw them in the wash when we’re done. Some parents find that liners are thick enough to reuse many times and travel well.

Wrap Around Design

Most reusable changing pads have low walls to contour to your baby so they do not fall or roll off the pad. Often you will see this as a 2, 3, or 4-sided walled design. Others have a more curved and cushioned design. These designs specifically help protect your baby’s head. 

Stability

This again, is mainly for a reusable changing pad rather than a disposable one. The one disadvantage to a changing table to a changing pad is not being able to install a mobile. These usually distract your baby while you are changing them. In that case, having some kind of pad with grip and stability can be useful. Portable changing pads may sometimes have these, but often, you will find these on foam or larger changing pads.

Below, we are reviewing the 5 best baby changing pads in the market to help you in choosing what suites you and your little one:

Summer Contoured Changing Pad

Summer Contoured Changing Pad is the kind we like having at home. It is 2.1 pounds, for easy transfer between rooms at home. The cushion is soft and feels comfortable for our daughter. For waterproofing, it contains a durable quilted vinyl that is 100% waterproof. Although it says that it is waterproof, we found that a cover was helpful in preventing staining. For dimensions, it is 32” by 16” by 3.5”, and the right size for a newborn like ours. Their size makes it so that it is durable and stands up to a wiggling baby.

But then again…

Our one caveat with this changing pad is that it is not slip-proof. This has not been a problem so far. Should you decide that you want to use a changing table, this changing pad is also made to fit most standard sizes of changing tables. There is even a safety buckle to keep your baby in place. Some think it is unnecessary, but we find that the buckle can actually be a lifesaver. In the event your baby actually manages to flip themselves over, there is a side that can protect your child! 

Pros:

  • Waterproof
  • Standard sizing and fits most changing tables
  • Safety buckle
  • Durable cushion

Cons:

  • Not slip-proof on the bottom
  • Recommended to use another cover to avoid staining

Munchkin Secure Grip Waterproof Diaper Changing Pad, 16″ x 31″

We find that Munchkin is a great middle of the ground brand for nursery accessories. Their changing pad is 1.5 pounds. Again, one of the added advantages to a changing pad is that it is portable for use throughout the house. It has dimensions slightly smaller and taller than the Summer Contour Changing Pad. The pad measures 16” by 31” by 4.2” which fits most standard changing tables. It has four “Xtra GripTM” safety strips at the bottom to help keep from sliding.

What’s more…

The added height of the changing pad from their polyurethane foam gives it additional cushioning and feels very nice. This also has a waterproof outer layer for easy cleanup. While the outer layer is waterproof, we found that it stained easily. It also does not help that the stark white color makes them very visible even after cleaning up. We appreciate that it comes with a buckle and strap for extra security when changing your baby. 

Pros:

  • Lightweight, weighing in at 1.5 pounds
  • Well-padded
  • Fits most standard sized changing tables
  • Xtra GripTM strips at the bottom to keep from sliding
  • Includes safety buckle

Cons:

  • White lining shows stains
  • Slightly smaller size

Rocinha 100 Pack Disposable Changing Pads

These are the best portable changing pads if you are on the go or outside of your home.

At home, sometimes we find that using a liner helps with adding to the longevity of a changing pad. Yet, these definitely are not a substitute for a cushioned changing pad. These changing pads have superabsorbent polymer (SAPs) manufactured into them. This can be a con for some parents that are trying to avoid plastic and chemicals in their baby products. They have a non-woven cover, with pulp fabric to absorb the mess. They also have a polyethylene backing to prevent leaks through to any surface. They unfold to be 16” by 13”, which is pretty wide, making them the best travel changing pad to keep in your diaper bag.

My spouse and I make them a great choice when traveling because it covers a large surface. Because of the SAPs in these disposable changing pads, they also absorb a lot of liquid. These definitely make us feel secure enough to change our daughter in any situation. Although they are not the best for the planet, they do work well in a pinch and get the job done.

Pros:

  • Thin and portable, making them great for travel
  • Large sized when unfolded (16” by 13”)
  • Very absorbent, and almost no leaking

Cons:

  • Disposable, and not environmentally friendly
  • Contains superabsorbent polymer (SAPs)

BlueSnail Bamboo Quilted Thicker Waterproof Changing Pad Liners

These BlueSnail Bamboo Quilted Thicker Waterproof Changing Pad Liners are a great alternative.

Unlike disposable changing pad liners, these are far more environmentally friendly. Like most reusable products, they are easy to wash. The pads also maintain their absorbency through washing. They are 80% rayon from bamboo and 20% polyester. They measure 14” by 28”, which is smaller than your regular changing pad liner. They are Free of BPA, phthalates, latex, and lead.

It is truly a worry-free product.

We really appreciate the added velcro to help with packing. The pad is foldable and portable in your diaper bag, with a strap and velcro to secure it. Their absorbent layer is very effective for keeping your changing pads dry. Even though several diaper changes, the pad holds up. They do not roll up as thinly as disposable ones in your diaper bag, but we found that they are just as effective. We really love how soft they are, and once you get used to them, and can handle any changes.

Pros:

  • Very absorbent
  • Reusable, with 80% rayon from bamboo and 20% polyester
  • Free of chemicals like BPA, phthalates, latex, and lead
  • Soft and gentle on skin

Cons:

  • Rectangular shape and not as large as other changing pad liners
  • Velcro can make it difficult to throw when thrown in the wash
  • Thicker material, takes up space when rolled up

Munchkin Waterproof Changing Pad Liners

These Munchkin Waterproof Changing Pad Liners do not have any of the added bells and whistles some of these other changing pad liners have.

We included these because we love the price and how simple they are for any parent out there. These liners unfold out to be 22.75” by 11.5” and are more narrow than any of the other liners. This can be a con for some users. They are 100% polyester with a polyurethane coating. This prevents leaking from the bottom. Since they have a plastic lining, we recommend washing on cold settings to extend their life.

And you know what else?

We included them because of how cost-effective they are. Because of their narrow sizing, they actually work for a multitude of other situations besides changing pads. We started lining our baby’s car seat with these to avoid messes during blowouts.

Pros:

  • Very simple and multi-purpose
  • Cost effective
  • 100% polyester with a polyurethane coating 

Cons:

  • Possibly too narrow for some babies
  • Do not wash on hot

Conclusion

We found that changing pads were definitely better than changing tables.

Just using changing pad liners helped to keep things clean and dry throughout the changing process. Using a changing pad and including a liner really helped change how we were able to handle messes at home. It also helped improve our changing experience while we were out as well. Using any of these liners while we were first traveling out of the house would have really helped.

In the end, using a changing pad with accessories still ended up cheaper than a changing table. For some people, a changing table takes up too much room anyway.

This article gives you an all-encompassing look at the world of changing pads and their accessories. Hopefully, you are now able to best optimize your baby’s changing experience and ultimately choose the right pad for you.

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