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Top 10 Essentials for Baby’s Diaper Changing Station

January 2, 2012

Diaper changing is the least glamorous and most repetitive task of caring for your baby. You will change baby’s diaper approximately 8,000 times over the course of 3 years! (98% of children are potty trained by the age of 3)

(11 diapers x (3 months x 30 days/month)) + (9 diapers x (3 months 30 days/month)) + (7 diapers x (30 months x 30 days/month)) = 8,100 diaper changes over 3 years

The primary location for all of this fun is baby’s diaper changing station. A baby’s diaper changing table essentially functions as a parents’ “home-work station” during the diapering years. Since you will spend insurmountable time here wrestling your sweet baby into a clean diaper, it’s worth the effort to properly configure. So here is what to buy, where to find it, and why these items create a convenient diaper changing station for both you and baby. Followed by a list of diapering products to stock it!

What to buy

#1 Long Dresser w/Removal Changer/Topper

#2 Simmons Contour Changing Pad w/ Fabric Cover

#3 Changing Pad Covers

#4 Boppy Changing Pad Liners

#5 Boon Stash Organizer

#6 Medium Storage Basket/Bin

#7 Diaper Dekor Plus Disposal Pail

#8 Mirror

#9 Family Photo

#10 Handheld Toys

Where to buy

For the items in today’s list, I shopped at, Babies R Us,, The Land of Nod, Pottery Barn Kids, Restoration Hardware Baby & Child, and buybuy Baby (Bed Bath & Beyond). For more about where I like to shop for all things baby, check out Where to buy.

Why to buy

#1 Use a long low profile dresser with a removal changer/topper instead of a traditional changing table. It is far more practical to keep baby’s essential items next to her on the same level (or above) and in clear view versus tucked away in a basket below. Baskets on open shelves look cute, but are like putting your hand in those holes at nature centers where you’re supposed to guess whether it’s rabbit or fox fur. Do you really want to play this game in the middle of the night? The only items that needn’t be displayed are baby’s diapers; put those in the top drawer. The first photo shows a small dresser with the removable top, but subsequent photos depict the long dresser I’m describing. If you buy a separate top for use with an existing dresser, confirm that the two may be securely attached via screws and metals tabs on the back of the dresser. And make sure the removable top has felt on the underside to prevent scratching the dresser’s surface for future use.

#2 Consider a non-vinyl ergonomically contoured changing pad. Otherwise keep an eye out for tears in the pad’s vinyl surface and swap as needed. I just replaced my non-toxic but vinyl pad with the Simmons Kids Beautyrest Beginnings Contour Pad with Fabric Cover.

#3 Read the fine print to ensure the changing pad covers fit the pad. It’s just like buying fitted sheets for your own mattress. Buy a minimum of three covers. I have covers from Boppy, The Land of Nod, Pottery Barn Kids, and Restoration Hardware Baby & Child and like them all.

#4 Waterproof liners for baby’s changing pad are a must. I was skeptical at first, why cover a cover with another cover? But diaper changing is a messy business and these are much easier to remove and replace with an undiapered baby on the changing table than the entire cover. Preserve the waterproof material by air drying. Oddly the liners that come with the covers as a set are better quality.

#5 Yes, the Boon Stash is yet another piece of plastic baby gear, but I love it.  If it’s aesthetically not for you, use shallow shelves out of baby’s reach to store items.  If you live in an earthquake zone, do not hang anything above baby’s changing table, crib, or rocking chair!

#6 Maintain one medium basket/bin on dresser to hold tissues, wipes, and hand sanitizer – see list below. Include burp cloths too, space permitting.

#7 For disposal diapers, the three most popular pails are the Diaper Dekor Plus, Platex Diaper Genie, Baby Trend Diaper Champ – with the Munchkin Arm & Hammer also in the running. None of them satisfy all of the diaper disposal” issues” – odor control, hands-free, brand exclusive bags, minimal plastic waste, minimal gross factor – squishing a full diaper through a tight opening..ugh. I use the Diaper Dekor because it’s hands-free with a foot pedal – important with a wriggling baby on the changing table, and may be emptied at any time without wasting a full bag. It does not truly contain odor and requires special refill bags. A trash can with a foot pedal like this one from simplehuman would also work.

#8 Hang a mirror on a adjacent wall where baby can see himself while seated. He won’t recognize himself for months, but will still be thrilled to smile and coo at his new ‘friend!’

#9 Entertain baby with a picture of his favorite people, his family! Hang a black and white family photo above baby. Newborns cannot distinguish color and are drawn to black and white images. Again, if you live in an earthquake zone, do not hang anything above baby’s changing table, crib, or rocking chair.

#10 Rotate special toys at baby’s changing station. You will rely on these distractions to change a squirming baby. My son typically stays occupied with anything that makes noise, and in times of desperation, I break out finger puppets.

Once you’re diaper changing station is all set up, fill it up!

#1 Diapers – Huggies Pure & Natural or Earth’s Best

#2 Wipes – Huggies Natural Care Baby Wipes, Fragrance-Free or Earth’s Best

#3 Method Squeaky Green Diaper Cream or Desitin Rapid Relief Creamy Ointment – Method as needed, Desitin for a serious diaper rash

#4 Baby Powder – cornstarch, NO talc! – an as needed moisture barrier to prevent diaper rash

#5 Earth’s Best Organic Everyday Lavender Lotion

#6 Baby Clippers

#7 Nasal Aspirator – choose a soft vs. stiff one

#8 Little Noses Saline Spray/Drops – use with aspirator

#9 Johnson’s Safety Swabs (Q-tips) – great for ears and noses

#10 Braun Thermoscan Ear Thermometer – IRT3020 or IRT4520

#11 Comb/Brush

#12 Tissues

#1 Huggies Pure & Natural diapers do not leak. However, after searching for diapers Not Tested on Animals at, I am switching to Earth’s Best TenderCare Chlorine Free Diapers. Of the diapers produced without animal testing, Earth’s Best received the best parent reviews on If you purchase diapers on, check out their Subscribe and Save program – it’s less expensive than Target.

Items #2-15 are self-explanatory.

Enjoy the diapering years with your little one..once he’s out of diapers, he’s not a baby anymore!

Top 10 Baby Bath Time Essentials

December 6, 2011

Splish splash, let’s take a bath!  Bath time is a central component of a relaxing bedtime routine.  It signals the transition from an event filled day to a restful night’s sleep.  And it’s just plain fun!  Here’s what you need, where to buy it, and why these essentials best equip you and your baby to fully enjoy bath time!

What to buy

#1 The First Years Infant to Toddler Bath Tub with Sling 

#1 Safety 1st Inflatable Tub

#1 Safety 1st Bath Tub Seat

#2 Aden + Anais Large Muslin Wash Cloths

#3 Plush Hooded Towels

#4 Earth’s Best by Jason Organic 2-in-1 Shampoo & Body Wash, Lavender

#5 Boon Spout Cover

#6 Sassy Squirt Toys

#7 Munchkin Shampoo Hair Rinser

#8 Munchkin White HOT Safety Duck

#9 Mesh Toy Holder

#10 3-in-1 Sit, Stand and Store Tub Side Seat

#11 No Slip Tub Mat

Where to buy

For the items in today’s list, I shopped at,,, Buy Buy Baby, and Target.  For more about where I like to shop for all things baby, check out Where to buy.

Why to buy

Of course babies don’t need a daily rigorous washing, but as a believer in the benefits of a predictable routine, I bathe my children nightly.  (Read item #2 under Why it’s so important in 5 Practical Tips to Finding Contentment as a Stay-at-Home Mom for more on this idea.)  Most importantly, do not leave baby unattended in the bath under any circumstance.  This means being within arm’s reach at all times.  Gather everything you might possibly need to attend to baby before placing her in the tub.  If you forget the shampoo, skip washing baby’s hair and just enjoy more splash time.

#1 Choose a sturdy inclined tub with a removable mesh liner for use during the first few weeks – this keeps baby’s belly out of the water while the umbilical cord heals.  If you already have a tub without the mesh sling, line it with a foam insert or folded up bath towels.  Remove the sling when the umbilical cord is fully healed. It is easiest on you to stand and bathe baby in her tub on a countertop or in the sink.  And fun for baby to see herself in the mirror.  She won’t recognize her own reflection for several months, but will still be amused by her cute bath time playmate.  If you don’t have the counter or sink space, place the infant tub inside a regular bath tub.  Do not fill the full size tub with water and ensure the drain is open to prevent the baby tub from turning into a dangerous tipsy boat.  Flip over to dry after each use and clean regularly to prevent mold and mildew.  While I used The First Years Infant to Toddler Tub with Sling successfully with both children in the infant stage, I did not continue with it once they could sit upright.

#1 Transition to the inflatable tub once baby sits up unassisted.  It reminds me of a backyard kiddie pool and your little one will love the additional room to kick and splash.  This is when baby really begins to enjoy bath toys too.  The inflatable tub is great for travel, and I used it with my oldest son even when he’d outgrown it for convenience sake.

#1 Use a bath seat with caution.  (search “baby bath seat deaths” online or read this article first) My first son easily moved into the full size bath tub after outgrowing the inflatable one without a seat.  He was about 12 months and fully mobile.  I am using a Safety 1st seat with my second son, 8 months old, because I’m bathing both boys together and can’t keep a hand on him at all times.  While I appreciate its usefulness, I worry that I may succumb to the false sense of security it provides.  Bath seats have a very short life span (sitting upright unassisted – pulling up) and are entirely unnecessary with one child.

#2 Choose large wash cloths made of a soft fabric like muslin.  Unlike even the expensive terry loop cotton wash cloths, muslin grows softer after several washings.  Dip in the warm bath water and place over baby’s belly and on top of her head in the infant tub to keep her little body warm.  Repeat as necessary to prevent the opposite effect.  Place warm wash cloths on baby’s back once she is sitting upright in the tub.  During the umbilical cord healing sponge bath stage, keep baby’s body warm with a small receiving blanket or towel and only uncover each section as you wash it.

#3 Use a plush cotton hooded towel against your infant’s delicate skin.  Keep baby’s head covered until his hair is completely dry.

#4 Choose a mildly scented or fragrance-free combination shampoo/body wash.  Lavender and chamomile are naturally relaxing aromatherapies.  And are nice for you too this time of day!  Whatever you decide upon, consider using the same scent lotion too.  Read product ingredients and select washes and lotions with minimal to no chemical ingredients.  I also only buy those not tested on animals.  (I aspire to California Baby, but it’s just too expensive.)  Be observant of baby’s skin, looking out for any adverse reactions to product ingredients.

#5 Once you are bathing baby in the full size tub, be sure to use a spout cover to protect baby’s head.  Wash it as needed to combat mold.

#6 Plastic squirt toys provide ample bath time entertainment the first year and beyond.  Unfortunately they also are prone to mold and bacteria.  I’ve bought several brands of soft plastic bath toys and have not found any that do not eventually grow mold.  Check toys frequently and in detail as mold grows inside the squirt toys as evidenced by a black ring around the “squirt” opening.  Dry them off after each use and wash regularly.  Once mold appears, it does not wash off in the dishwasher or by hand with the harshest of chemicals.   I throw toys out at the first signs of mold.  Especially since they spend so much time in a teething baby’s mouth, gross!   If this is just too disgusting for you, stick with hard plastic toys as this article suggests.  My boys both enjoy these stackable duck cups.

#7 A shampoo rinser keeps soap out of baby’s eyes.  There is no such thing as tear-free formula.  This also breeds mold so dry it out thoroughly after each use. 

#8 Use the HOT duck as an additional gauge for the water temperature.  What feels good to you, may be scalding to your little one.  Fill the tub before sitting baby inside; do not run water with baby in the tub to prevent accidentally burning baby’s skin.

#9 The mesh toy holder allows air to circulate through wet toys after bath time.  I’m completely freaked out by mold; can you tell?

#10 This combination storage bin/seat/step stool is great for storing everything for the bath except wet toys.  The product description says it allows for air circulation, but not enough.  The height is adjustable by flipping the lid, making for a convenient bath side adult seat.  My toddler also uses it as a step stool to reach the bathroom sink.   

#11 Use a non-slip bath mat once baby is bathing in the full size tub.  I have not found “the one” – natural rubber, machine washable, and mold proof!  So I just buy inexpensive ones, hang them up to dry after each use, and replace them after I can’t thoroughly clean them any longer. 

5 Practical Tips to Finding Contentment as a Stay-at-Home Mom

November 28, 2011

If you’ve already signed up for the role of stay-at-home mom, please read on.  If you’re on the fence, proceed knowing my intent is neither to convince nor deter you from choosing full time child rearing over a career.

I am committed to my decision to stay at home, really.  But I wrestle with finding contentment in the actual day to night to day job.  Being thankful that I can stay home and actually enjoying laundry, dishes, and rounds of CandyLand are NOT the same.  Here’s what you need to cultivate contentment, where to find support, and why seeking out this often elusive mindset is so important as a stay-at-home mom!

What you need

#1 A New Perspective

#2 A Routine

#3 Help

#4 Relationships

#5 Short & Long Term Goals

Where to find support

If only there existed a store that sold all of the above.  In the meantime, check out these practical resources in your pursuit of contentment – Mothers of Preschoolers (, MOMS,, Gymboree Play & Music, your local community center, place of worship, gym or exercise studio…with onsite childcare.

And if you are truly struggling, these articles may provide some guidance –

Happiness as a Stay-at-Home Mom

Preventing Burnout

A Christian perspective Teaching Values: Contentment

My favorite guilt absolver! All Joy and No Fun – Why Parents Hate Parenting

Why it’s so important

Initially I entitled this post, 10 Tips for Finding Joy as a Stay-at-Home Mom.  Then I dropped it to 5, and ultimately amended the objective from Joy to Contentment.  Joy just sounds too peppy to be a realistic goal.  Maybe it should be How to Not be Completely Overwhelmed and Miserable as a Stay-at-Home Mom.  But I’m shooting for contentment.  My definition in this context is:  Satisfaction motivated by the knowledge that I am doing what’s best for my family.  Not circumstantial happiness, but a static inner peace.

#1  Gain a new perspective.  Specifically into your view of success and of how you establish your identity.   I took great pride in my career and very often struggle with being “just a mom.”  It requires me to take the long view each and every day, reminding myself that this is a temporary sacrifice of my profitable skills, not a diminishment of my talents.  And the greater your aspirations in the work force, the more you have to surrender.   Nobody’s one true calling is emptying the dishwasher.  Instead, see this as a once in a lifetime opportunity to intimately know and influence the lives of the most important individuals in your life.  Keeping in mind you have little control over the outcome..

#2 This is my favorite step.  I thrive on rule and order and was ecstatic to learn that children actually benefit from routine.  Knowing their schedule allows kids to anticipate what’s next, providing them a sense of security.  A routine, tempered with flexibility, will reign in the chaos that easily engulfs a home.  Otherwise you may find yourself in a constant state of annoyance, viewing your kids merely as little interrupters to your agenda.  Multi-tasking is a bit of a myth with little ones.  I attempt it unsuccessfully every day!  But am happiest when I focus my complete attention on my children, and save “my stuff” for time alone.  So get organized and build in the necessary time to meet your own physical, emotional, spiritual, & intellectual needs.

#3 Solicit help.  From your spouse, other family members, friends, hired help if you’re able.  No rewards are handed out for martyr-style mothering.  And you won’t be able to accomplish #2 A Routine as effectively without help.  My insightful OB/GYN said it best: “Women CAN do it all, just not all at the same time.”  Her words gave me such freedom to disregard any ideals of being a supermom and just focus on the most important aspects of my job as they come.

#4 Do the work to stay connected to other adults.  Your spouse, other moms, pre-baby friends, couples.  Schedule regular date nights and girls’ nights.  Join a playgroup/moms group, book club, alumni club, running group, dinner club, volunteer group, whatever you need to maintain adult relationships.  And don’t just talk about your kids…it gets boring.

#5 Set short & long term personal goals; revise them as needed.  Perhaps motherhood is as fulfilling as you’d dreamed and you don’t need any other short term goals.  I do.  Right now they are small and simple.  Lose weight and write this blog.  You will always be a mother, but your role as a stay-at-home mom ultimately comes to an end.  There will be a next phase of your life and it’s exciting to think about what it could entail.

I hope something here motivates you in your search for contentment, at least until the microwave beeps and dinner is served.