How Many Changing Pads Do I Need For My Baby? (+ Covers, Liners & Mats)

How Many Changing Pads Do I Need For My Baby

If you thought changing a baby’s diaper was only about wipes and the correct size, then let me remind you that a baby should not be laid on a completely flat surface – this is bad for their back.

This means baby changing pads And most changing pads need covers and liners.

Basically, there are some essential items of baby gear that come with diaper territory. However, there is no need to fork out a load of cash for something like pad covers!

Sure, baby stores advertise that changing pad covers can look cute and match your nursery decor, but do you really need that? No, you don’t.

If you’re looking for some cheap, alternative pad cover ideas, or simply want to know how many changing pad covers you need as a new parent, then this is the article for you.

This article is not a substitute for medical advice or consultation.

Changing Pads Explained

A baby change table is designed to be the proper height for changing baby’s diaper or getting them dressed, but you should not change baby’s diaper on the flat surface, alone. You need a changing pad.

A changing pad is a padded surface you will likely use multiple times a day (as often as you change diapers, basically). Many changing pads have raised sides to reduce rolling. Some are made out of foam, and covered with a waterproof liner to make them easy to clean or wipeable.

Changing pads can be difficult to clean.

However, these foam style are not machine washable. You can only wash by hand (and avoid using harsh chemicals, which could break down the plastic cover). You will want several changing pad covers to protect the changing pad and to make baby more comfortable, too.

Even if you use a different style of changing pad, a type that uses a insert pads, you’ll want to have several pad covers for cleanliness. Since the changing pad covers come in contact with baby’s bum (and probably soiled diapers) they are likely to get germs, bacteria or straight-up drops of poop.

Moreover, if your little one wiggles a lot during diaper changes (some babies hate it and even scream while getting their diaper changed), then it’s more likely that the changing pad or the cover might get soiled.

You’ll want to wash changing pad covers regularly. Which means you will probably need several changing pad covers to have back-ups while one or two are in the wash.

Do Changing Pad Liners Go Under Cover Or On Top Of The Cover

Do Changing Pad Liners Go Under Cover Or On Top Of The Cover?

Pad liners should be under your changing pad cover. These will absorb liquids and prevent stains on your changing pad.

For simple poo-smears on a cover, you shouldn’t need to remove the inner changing pad, only the changing pad cover. But, if something has leaked through both, then throw both in the wash and slip in your back up changing pad.

Do I Need Multiple Changing Pads?

This depends on the type of changing pad you use.

Some parents prefer a changing pad that has removable pad inserts, so its easy to simply switch out the cover and the inner changing pad when there are accidents. While there are more parts, these are usually easier to clean and machine washable (instead of hand-washing to deep clean, such as the ‘foam base’ style pads listed, above).

Other types of changing mats include traditional vinyl or plastic pads. These often do not need a changing pad insert, but can only be washed by hand. Because of this, the better question for this type of changing mat is: “How many changing pad covers do I need?”. Keep reading, I’ll answer that below.

So, if you are using a style that has an changing pad insert, then you do need multiple pads (plus pad covers, too). But, you shouldn’t need to swap the diaper changing pad after every change, only the really messy ones, so three back ups might be enough.

How Many Baby Changing Pads Do I Need

How Many Baby Changing Pads Do I Need?

A thick, foam base with a waterproof layer only needs changing pad covers (not pads), so you can have a single changing pad for your baby. (The question you should ask here, is “how many changing pad covers do I need?”)

But, if you use a different style of changing mat then you may need to have more than one baby changing pad. These are thin, flat mats that slip into the base and offer a waterproof surface or simply an absorbent layer.

The good news is, these are usually machine washable so you won’t need to hand-wash your entire changing pad base, just slip out the changing pad (and the changing pad cover) and throw them in the laundry.

Most parents will be fine with three removable changing pads, but consider more if you have young children close in age, or twins.

How Many Changing Pad Covers Do I Need?

Ahh the classic question, “How many covers do I need?”. When it comes to how many changing pad covers you need, don’t stress too much – get a few, and if you’re really in a pinch for a clean changing pad cover, check out my ‘alternative ideas’, below.

How Many Covers Do I Need? – Get Four

Shake off the stress of extra laundry when you’re already dealing with newborns and accidents – get at least four changing pad covers.

I’ve hear some other moms recommend only having two changing pad covers, but I do not think two changing pad covers are enough.

If your little one soils one cover, you’d need to immediately do laundry to have your backup changing pad cover cleaned in time. You have errands to run, meals to prepare and life to live. Having three to four changing pad covers to swap between will make life easier.

How Many Changing Pad Covers Do I Need

Why Do I Need Changing Pad Covers?

The purpose of changing pad covers comes down to four things: protecting your pad, making cleaning easier, hygiene, and baby’s comfort.

  • Protecting your pad

Most diaper changing pads are plastic, vinyl material, or foam. They may be easy to wipe clean, but could crack or stain if used without a cover.

Many changing pad pad covers offer a bit of protection from stains and damage so you can prolong the life of your changing pad.

  • Easy cleaning

A changing insert liner makes cleaning easier. Most are machine washable, even if your changing pad is not. The purpose of changing pad covers is to prevent you from needing to scrub down your changing mat after every mess, just pop off the cover and put on another, clean one.

  • Hygienic

Do you have twins? or just need to rush out and don’t have time to fully clean your baby changing pad after a massive poop explosion? Then a changing pad cover is the hygenic solution to keeping your changing pad properly clean between diaper changes.

Not all diaper changes will be messy. You won’t always need to switch the cover between uses, but there will be crazy diapering days – and when they come, you’ll thankful you have several backup changing pad covers.

  • Baby’s comfort

Even though your baby might not be spending much time on the plastic waterproof layer, a cool vinyl surface is enough to wake up a sleeping newborn for midnight diaper changes.

That’s why many parents recommend a soft (organic cotton is best) changing pad liner to provide a comfortable surface for your baby.

How To Choose Changing Pad Covers

How To Choose Changing Pad Covers – Features To Look For

Go for simple cotton, not luxurious satin or silk for changing pad covers. You want material that absorbs a bit, and won’t be slippery for your baby.

Make sure your changing pad cover fits your pad. If they are too small, they might be useless! A little too big isn’t so much an issue, as you can just tuck it under.

Remember the purpose here: practicality when changing diapers. Some moms get caught up in buying cute designs or patterns that match their nursery, when really, the focus here is to keep your nursery clean (and asking, how many covers do you need to get the job done).

Leave the cute patterns for other baby items, like nursery curtains and baby’s little sheets. Choose changing pad covers based on material and usefulness, not color or patterns.

What I Can Use Instead Of Changing Pad Covers – Alternatives For Tight Budget

The purpose here is for diaper changes, so you know it’s going to get messy. Just go for practicality.

  • Pillowcase

My favorite cheap alternative is a pillowcase. They can slip over most changing bases easily, and have basically the same purpose; adding a layer of fabric for comfort and to keep your vinyl pad clean. They are a very simple alternative for changing pad covers.

  • Extra large thrifted T-shirt

If you are on a super tight budget, you could also use an extra-large T-shirt. You can get these very cheap (less than a dollar, sometimes) from thriftstores. As long as the T-shirt is large enough to stretch across they changing pad, why not? It’s a changing pad cover in a pinch!

How Many Changing Pad Liners Do I Need?

I suggest 3-4 changing pad liners. These are for practicality purposes, not as nursery decor.

If one liner gets soiled, pop it off and put on another. You can do the laundry later, but your baby will need a new diaper in a few hours, so you’ll likely be using the changing pad again before the laundry is done.

Do I Really Need Changing Pad Liners?

This is based on your baby changing mat type; some are very firm and a changing pad liner is helpful. Others are difficult to clean, so you will want something to absorb pee or other messes, just to save you the hassle of handwashing certain types of material or foam.

Whether or not you decide to go with a liner or not, the changing pad covers are a non-negotiable for me.

There will be days or nights with a baby when you will be left with a mess on baby’s diaper changing pad. If you have a changing pad cover, just pull it off, rolling it up and put in the dirty laundry to deal with later – your changing area is now clean because you had a convenient changing pad cover, and that’s what is most important.

How Many Diaper Changing Mats Do I Need

How Many Diaper Changing Mats Do I Need?

One easy-to-wipe changing mat for on-the-go should be enough.

These type fold small and should fit into your baby bag to take with you on outings. This does not need a removable cover, but should be easy to clean (bonus if it’s machine washable!).

You’ll want to lay it on a diaper changing table in public restrooms, for hygienic reasons, so make sure it’s compact.

The purpose of this article is informative. It’s not a substitute for professional medical advice or medical care. Remember: safety first! Consult your doctor/pediatrician in case of any doubts. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here.

About Me - Zooey BarnettHello Moms! I am Zooey. I am a wife and a mother of three amazing kids: almost 5-year-old Haley and 2-year-old twins Jesse and Matthew. I am a jogger, cooker and blogger.

If you have a question or a comment, do not hesitate to write to me! 🙂

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