Changing tables are popular the world over because they are easier on your back, contain your baby’s mess and allow you to store everything you need for diaper changes in one place.
But all good things must come to an end, and once your baby passes the newborn phase you may start to wonder when you should stop using a changing table.
Generally you will stop using a changing table once your baby outgrows the table, weighs over 30 pounds or has the strength and determination to move a lot and roll over during diaper changes, which makes using the table unsafe.
When To Stop Using A Changing Table
If you use a changing table and value the convenience and benefits they provide, you’re probably eager to change your baby on the table for as long as possible.
Changing tables are universally popular with parents because they offer several advantages, including:
- No need to bend or hunch over when changing your baby, which is not only more comfortable but also better for your back.
- Easier to contain diaper blowouts.
- Provides a place to store changing essentials such as diapers or pull-ups, wipes and creams.
- The drawers and shelves of changing tables can also be used to store clothes like onesies, vests and socks.
- You can change your baby next to their diaper pail.
Unfortunately however there will come a time when you’ll need to give up the table, and for many parents this is sooner than they’d like or expect.
Generally there are 4 factors to consider in deciding when to stop using a changing table.
The manufacturers of changing tables provide a weight limit that should not be exceeded to ensure the table is used safely.
Although it varies from brand to brand, many changing tables on the market have a maximum weight limit of 30 pounds (approx. 13kg).
Once your baby approaches the weight limit recommended by the manufacturer, you should stop of course using it.
When your baby grows and becomes a certain size, it will probably be time to give up the changing table.
While it’s hard to put a figure on what this size will be, you should ensure your baby is small enough to comfortably fit on the changing table and changing mat.
So if your little one appears too tall or wide for the table and mat, and their limbs are hard to contain within the area provided, then it will be time to say goodbye to your changing table.
Baby Moves Too Much
For many babies, it is not weight or size that determines when to stop using a changing table, but rather how active they are.
Once your baby starts to become stronger, more active and more head-strong, they are likely to want to resist the diaper change and want to turn over, kick out, crawl, stand up or even roll-off the table.
This situation is not only stressful and makes diaper changes very difficult, but it could also make things much more unsafe.
You may be able to continue using a changing table if you’re able to successfully distract your little one for long enough to change their diaper.
But chances are your life will be easier if you start changing them elsewhere, such as one the floor or while standing.
Your baby’s age in itself is less of a factor when deciding when to stop using a changing table.
This is because there are some babies who may only be 6 months old but strongly resist diaper changes and try to roll over every time they are on the changing table, which makes using a table safely almost impossible.
While on the other hand there are babies who are 18 months old who are within the weight recommendations and don’t mind having their diapers changed on a changing table.
So the physical signs listed above are more important in your decision to say goodbye to your baby’s changing table.
You should however note that many manufacturers do place an upper age limit for using baby tables, which is typically 2 years old.
So once your baby becomes a toddler you’re unlikely to change their diaper on a changing table.
Tips To Keep Using A Changing Table For Longer
If you’ve been successfully using a changing table for a while only for your baby to suddenly hate having their diaper changed, all may not be lost.
In a recent article we covered why babies cry during diaper changes and outlined the best tips to help.
So before throwing out the table, it may be worth trying some of these tips in the hope your baby will allow you to change their diaper on a changing table for a little longer:
- Prepare everything in advance to speed up the process as much as possible.
- Sing a song from their favorite Disney movie or play a game together as a distraction.
- Hang interesting decorations or photographs of recognizable loved ones and ask your baby to point out their favorite people in the pictures.
- Let them have some screen time during the diaper change.
- Mentally prepare them for the diaper change on the changing table by explaining what is about to happen. If this doesn’t work try the opposite and don’t tell them you’re about to change their diaper, which prevents them from thinking about how they’re going to resist!