How to buy the best baby changing bags and mats
Nappy changing mats
Nappy changing mats are padded and have slightly raised sides to prevent your baby wriggling off the mat. You can buy one for under £10.
There are also inflatable models that blow up to provide high sides. These are a bit more pricey.
Many have a waterproof, wipe-clean plastic covering so that those inevitable 'little accidents' can be cleaned up easily. Some come with a towel covering rather than a plastic one and need washing more frequently.
Top changing mat buying tips
- Avoid plastic nappy changing mats made from environmentally harmful PVC. You can find good alternatives made from cotton, real or synthetic rubber, polyester or bamboo fibres.
- If you'd like a fabric nappy changing mat, buy one made from organic cotton.
Baby changing bags
Baby changing bags are a great way to keep all the baby changing equipment you need in one place when out and about. Some changing bags come with a small changing mat included to make it easier to change your baby when away from home.
Top changing bag buying tips
- Look for a changing bag with lots of pockets and compartments to make it easier to organise and then access all the things you need.
- A bag with wipe-clean insides, or even outsides, will make it easier to clean if there are any accidents.
Baby wipes are one of the essential products for parents; you'll be buying them as long as your baby is using nappies. Wipes are soft cloth or paper rectangles impregnated with a moist cleansing formula.
There are significant price differences between supermarket own brands and big-brand names. Try the own brands first – you could find they suit your needs perfectly well. There are also eco baby wipes, such as Nature Babycare Eco.
Top baby-wipe buying tips
In a week, you're likely to use around 56 baby wipes, which is a staggering 2,500 in six months. So minimising the amount you use and finding deals where you can will help cut the cost.
- For newborn babies, cotton wool and warm water will usually be adequate for keeping their bottom clean.
- Choose biodegradable wipes that break down naturally.
- Baby wipes are often on offer. Given the amount that you're likely to go through, it might be a good idea to buy in bulk.
These are mini plastic bags that enable you to hygienically dispose of nappies. Nappy bags are effective at masking the smell of a dirty nappy, but some parents find the overpowering chemical aroma of nappy sacks almost as bad as the nappy itself.
You could also use a standard plastic grocery bag tied up at the handles to dispose of nappies.
Top nappy sack buying tips
- Choose biodegradable nappy sacks that break down naturally.
- Alternatively, use an airtight nappy bin to store used nappies instead of plastic nappy sacks.
Nappy changing tables
A nappy changing table enables you to change your baby's nappy at a comfortable waist height, rather than kneeling and bending over to change them on the floor. They either have an integral padded changing surface or you have to place a separate changing mat on top.
Nappy changing tables come with storage units or shelves underneath so you can keep nappies, wipes and other essentials in one place. Some also have hand-height accessory trays. Many have a plastic baby bath as part of the unit.
Top nappy changing table buying tips
- Ask yourself whether you really need a whole changing unit. A standalone baby changing mat, which you can use on the floor, is a cheaper, transportable option.
- Choose a second-hand nappy table from a local used furniture shop or buy one online.
Nappy disposal bins
If you use disposable nappies and don't like the idea of having soiled nappies lurking around, you can buy a nappy disposal ‘unit’.
Some models involve placing the used nappy in the unit to be automatically sealed into a plastic sleeve. You end up with a string of sealed nappy parcels that you throw away when the nappy bin is full.
Top nappy disposal unit buying tips
- Buy second-hand. You can pick up used nappy disposal bins from around £5 through sites such as Ebay.
- It's cheaper to choose a nappy disposal unit that simply stores nappies, rather than sealing them in plastic bags.
- An airtight bucket lined with a single plastic bag will also enable odour-free nappy storage and easy disposal of used nappies.