Babies are magical, adorable and joy-inspiring bundles, but they can also be messy, and nappy changing can often seem like an almost never-ending ritual.
Whether you’re at home or out and about, a baby changing mat is one of the most essential nappy changing accessories to help the changing process go as smoothly, comfortably and cleanly as possible.
While some parents may use a blanket or towel to rest their baby on while they change, a wipe-down mat you can easily clean can be a godsend for many, especially if you’re away from the house.
There are plenty of changing mat designs to choose from including simple, cheap versions, portable styles designed for travel and all out luxury options.
What to look for in a changing mat?
Is it the right size? – If you’re planning to put your mat on a changing table or dresser, check the measurements to make sure it will fit. In general, larger mats are better as they’ll grow with your baby, but for travel and days out you might want a more compact design.
Where can you put it? – Some mats may not be suitable for use on a raised surface, so do check the product descriptions carefully.
How do you clean it? – Many mats are wipe clean and can be cleaned with a disinfectant spray or wipe. Some are machine washable: these tend to be made of fabrics similar to cloth nappies, and while they’re cosier and sometimes more environmentally-friendly, do bear in mind you’ll need somewhere else to change your baby while they’re in the wash.
Can it be transported easily? – You’ll probably want a padded changing mat (or two) for your home and a separate travel one to keep in your changing bag or pushchair basket, but if you’re short on space or tight on budget, a folding travel mat can be used at home too. Look for ones that are generous in size, but flat enough to fold down.
Does it have special features? – Modern changing mats often come with design features: they may be anti-roll, or have straps to contain a wriggly baby. These additions can be useful but they’ll often add to the cost, so do think whether you really need them before you splash out.
Below, we’ve rounded up a selection of the best changing mats we’ve found, including our MadeForMums Award winners, plus some pretty and practical picks for all your changing needs.
Here’s our pick of the best baby changing mats…
1. Mama Shack Changing Mat, £19.99
Best for classic design
Machine washable: No | Size: 79cm x 45cm | Colours: wide variety – see online | Awards: MadeForMums Award 2020, Best changing mat/pad – Gold
This a traditionally shaped changing mat with smart design upgrades. The mat is spongy and soft for babies to lie on and the turned up sides help to keep your baby secure. Our MFM home testers were especially impressed with the huge range of stylish designs, including personalised options which would be ideal as gifts.
Parents who reviewed these mats for us loved the size, design and quality of the products.
“They are so practical with the turn up sides and I also love the size as it’s bigger than usual,” said mum and MFM tester, Leah. MFM tester, Sammy, adds, “I can tell the quality will last a long time. Gorgeous soft and spongy so comfy for baby.”
Available from: Mama Shack
2. Bibetta Star Changing Mat and Nappy Wallet, £19.99
Best for keeping babies warm
Machine washable: Yes | Size: Large – 72cm x 58cm, folds down to 26cm x 20cm | Colours: Plum, black and blue
You’ve got baby ready for their nappy change and put them straight on to a cold mat – brr! Unless you’re using the Bibetta Star changing mat of course.
Made from soft, padded neoprene material, it’s warm and comfy for your little one, and its unique star shape means they can stretch out their arms and legs too. The neoprene material also means it’s easy to wipe down as one Amazon reviewer found, “Cleans well and is a lot softer and less plastic-y feeling than others I’ve had, so I can imagine it’s comfier for baby.”
Despite its extra large size, it folds down easily into a compact clutch bag shape, making it the perfect travelling accessory when you’re out. With a pocket for nappies and wipes, and the fact that it can be machine-washed and tumble-dried, it’s a win-win.
3. The Gilded Bird Wedge Mat, £29.99
Best for stylish design
Machine washable: No | Size: 69cm x 44cm x 8cm | Colours: Various prints
If you want a stylish nursery, your changing mat can actually offer a really easy way to add a splash of colour or a fun print. There are a few beautiful independent brands that focus on modern, stylish mats, and The Gilded Bird is one of the best. There are lots of prints available, but we love the unisex balloon festival design but there are plenty of others to choose from.
The mat is made from extra thick, high density foam, and comes with a non-toxic PVC cover that’s easy to wipe-clean. One parent commented that it’s “much softer and more padded than alternatives we had looked at.” The wedge mat is designed to help stop your baby rolling while you’re changing them.
4. Bumbo Changing Pad, £66
Best for sturdiness
Machine washable: No | Size: 48cm x 73cm | Colours: Aqua, grey, pink, yellow | Awards: MadeForMums Award 2020, Best changing mat/pad – Gold
This unique changing pad by Bumbo is ergonomically designed and features high sides to prevent babies rolling away. The pad includes an adjustable strap to help keep your little one in place and the base is made from high quality foam for a soft, comfortable cushioning.
We were impressed with the clever design and effectiveness of this product, awarding it Silver in our MadeForMums 2020 Awards.
“Simple to use – with a clear dip in the pad for baby’s head to go in. Straps easy to adjust,” said MFM tester Harriet, while MFM tester Wandana added that the, “material is very soft and padded, very kind on little ones skin and really easy to wipe clean.”
5. Babymoov Disposable Changing Pads – pack of 10, £7.99
Best for a disposable option
Machine washable: No | Size: 40cm x 60cm | Colours: White/grey
You’re a parent-on-the-go, and you need fast, cheap, simple, solutions. Enter the Babymoov disposable changing pads which are ideal for travel.
These leak-free, disposable mats are super-absorbent, small enough to fit in your bag and hygienic – they can be disposed of as soon as you’ve used them. No messy mats to carry around for you!
Ideal for travelling, you can take them wherever you go, and in a handy pack of 10, they’ll see you through those times when you just need to change-and-go.
Available from: Amazon
6. The Wriggler Changing Mat, £34.99
Best for wriggly babies
Machine washable: No | Size: 68cm x 43cm | Colours: Animal characters Awards: MadeForMums Award 2020, Best changing mat/pad – Bronze
This innovative changing mat features straps to help hold squirming little ones securely in place while you are changing. The attached knee-pads allow parents to anchor the mat in place while changing, so it shouldn’t roll up while you’re in the middle of things.
There were great changing mat reviews for this design and we awarded it Bronze in the MadeForMums 2020 awards. MFM tester Sharon described it as “great quality” and advised that, “if your baby is a wriggler, then the The Wriggler changing mat is a worthwhile investment.”
While judges were impressed overall, some parents did find the mat a little fiddly to get the hang of. For example MFM tester Katy says, “The straps that the arms go through really do hold a wriggly baby in place. It can be difficult to get the knees in place quickly enough though.”
Available from: The Wriggler
7. Splash About Changing Mat, £11.99
Best for after swimming
Machine washable: No | Size: 38cm x 63cm | Colours: Shark Orange, Navy and Red, Navy and Turquoise, Pink and Pink Blossom
Let’s face it, changing babies for, and after, their swim can be challenging, especially if you can’t find somewhere suitable to lay them down. But, there’s no need to fret with this super-comfy splash mat.
Made from anti-bacterial neoprene, the Splash About Changing Mat retains heat (always a good idea for a post-swim change) and is non-slip. One Amazon customer liked that it provided a warm surface for her baby and said, “It’s thick enough so you can lay your little one down onto the floor and it also helps to keep them warm to some extent (better than just a towel on the floor).”
It also folds to a compact size and according to one Amazon customer, it “drys relatively” quickly so is perfect for using on the go. Simply wipe down and roll up after use, ready for next time.
Available from: Amazon
8. Leander ‘Matty’ Changing Mat – Dusty Grey, £89
Best for minimalists
Machine washable: No | Size: 51cm x 73cm x 11cm | Colours: Dusty Grey, Pale Blue, Cappuccino, Soft Pink
To Scandinavian company, Leander, design is a passion. But, they also believe their products should be strong in shape and function, and the craftsmanship should be good.
The Leander ‘Matty’ all-in-one changing mat in Dusty Grey is pretty striking, although it’s fair to say, that at first glance (even, second), it doesn’t look much like a changing mat. But it certainly does its job.
With a slip-resistant base and four little feet that suspend it slightly above the table, it holds firm. And, despite its sleek appearance, the mat is soft, and 100% waterproof. Any little accidents can just be wiped down with a cloth.
It’s definitely at the higher end of the luxury changing mat price range, but if you’re after style, functionality and something a little unique, the ‘Matty’ could be for you.
9. East Coast Nursery Mini Origami Wedge Changing Mat, £19.99
Best anti-roll mat
Machine washable: No | Size: 69cm x W45cm x H 9.5cm | Colours: Grey origami
What baby doesn’t love a wriggle at changing time? Designed with deeper, cushioned edges, this anti-roll mat will help to keep your little one in the middle of the mat while you’re changing them, making the whole process is easier, cleaner and safer.
Made from a pthalate-free PVC cover and foam interior padding, it’s extra comfortable and easy to wipe clean too. As a bonus, the cute origami print is unusual and suitable for most settings. MFM editor Gemma uses this mat and loves “the unisex, neutral print, and easy wipe-clean surface.”
Available from: Amazon
10. Bambino Mio baby change mat, £12.99
Best for portability
Machine washable: Yes | Size: 60cm x 43cm | Colours: lots of fun unisex prints
Made using the same technology as Bambino Mio’s award-winning reusable nappies, this folding changing mat can be slipped in your changing bag for days out, but it’s so cute you’ll probably want to use it at home too. Home tester Fola said, “I took it with me to the hospital when I gave birth and it was perfect as I was expected to change my daughter in her cot with nothing below it. It was easy to fold and unfold, and since we’ve been home I use it for night time changes.”
Although this is not a wipeable mat, it is machine washable and can even go in the tumble drier. It’s made with absorbent padding for little accidents and a quilted design that feels soft on your baby’s skin. If you’ve got a baby who can’t stand the plastic feel of wipeable mats, this could be perfect for you. The only problem? Given it comes in a whole host of pretty prints to match the nappies, you’ll find it hard to resist buying more than one.