Not so many years ago, diaper bags were designed to be just too adorable; something special for baby and something that everyone knew at a glance was for baby. Times have changed quite a bit, however, and so has the styles of diaper bags. Some women want diaper bags that look like purses and there are even diapers bags for dads.
Now, most parents are on the go constantly and both mothers and fathers alike will have practically equal needs for using the diaper bag. So if you don’t want to buy two separate diaper bags you will need something that is practical, durable, and doesn’t cause any embarrassment for dad but still meets your need for style and appearances.
The Best Diaper Bags
There are literally hundreds of diaper bags on the market today. Many are still those classic pastel bags adorned with little characters, but there is a whole new world available beyond that. More and more, companies are producing bags that are trendy for the chic mom on the go or rugged for the Mr. Mom in your life. If you want design options, you’ve definitely got them. There is a bag for any personality or taste.
But what is more important than how the bag looks is how it fills its purpose. A good diaper bag will have enough space for everything you need to take with you without being overly bulky. It will have plenty of compartments to stay organized and even a space for parents to stash their belongings such as keys, cell phones, and iPods. Diaper bags tend to serve double duty as baby’s bag and mom’s purse, so it is important that it is both spacious enough and divided enough that this arrangement doesn’t create chaos when an item is needed at a moment’s notice.
Choosing Your Diaper Bag
While it may not seem like finding the perfect diaper bag could possibly be that difficult, consider that you are likely to spend at least the next 2 years carting this thing around with you. It only makes sense to spend a little extra time finding something that you are comfortable with and know will stand up to the test. You may find it extremely helpful to test out a few bags before you make a purchase. If you are using a less traditionally shaped bottle, you’ll want to be sure that the pockets designed to hold bottles will accommodate the style you have chosen. The changing pad should be easily accessible and equally easy to unfold with just one hand.
You’ll also want to make sure that there is enough room in the large compartment to accommodate an adequate supply of diapers, even as baby gets older. Diapers for a newborn may be tiny and you might be able to fit an entire package of them in the bag, but diapers for a 2 year old are considerably larger and will take up more space. Consider your lifestyle as well to make sure a bag is going to work for you; if you are a minimalist kind of person, you can probably get away with a smaller bag, especially if you only take 3 or 4 diapers and a travel package of wipes with you.
But, if you like to be prepared for anything, you are definitely going to need something that can handle the week’s supply of diapers, large wipe tub, 2 changes of clothes, a spare pair of shoes, 5 toys, extra bottles, formula, pacifiers, and snack packs. You’re also going to need for it to keep all of these items very organized so you aren’t digging through all of it trying to find what you need.
Ultimately, the bag that is right for you and your family will depend a little on your sense of style and a lot on your lifestyle. That little pink bag with the monogramming and the absolutely adorable teddy bear may fit right in with your idea of what looks like the perfect diaper bag, but if it starts to come apart after only a couple of months or doesn’t hold everything you need it to then what good is it? Invest in quality first, functionality second, and then consider how it looks. But you won’t have any trouble finding something that will play to all 3 needs; you’ll only need a little time to compare them.
Styles of Diaper Bags
There is more variety in the styling of diaper bags today than ever before. It is no longer just a matter of choosing a pattern or color; you also get to choose exactly what type of bag you’d like. Each type has its advantages and some are better suited for active parents while others a great for long trips. Whatever style you choose, always remember that a good diaper bag will provide you with ample room for necessities, a few compartments for organization, and a comfortable strap for carrying.
Diaper Bag Styles
Backpack diaper bags are wonderful for moms on the go and moms with older children to keep up with as well. These bags leave your hands free to tend to children or to shop without slipping off your shoulder constantly. They also distribute the weight of the diaper bag evenly so there is less strain on your shoulders. Best yet, the backpack style of diaper bags tend to be the least expensive type.
Diaper bags for men, or “Daddy diaper bags,” have become increasingly popular as more dads are staying home with the children or becoming much more active in their care. Dads don’t want to carry around frilly baby bags, however, so these styles of diaper bags offer a way to carry the essentials while preserving his sense of masculinity. These bags tend to be darker in color and use the backpack or messenger bag style so they look less like a huge purse.
Messenger bag diaper bags are also increasing in popularity, but whether or not this is a style that’s here to stay or a trend remains to be seen. These styles of diaper bags go across the shoulder and feature a large flap that keeps the contents hidden. These are great for busy working mothers as they are less bulky and fit in with professional attire.
Stroller diaper bags are designed specifically to attach to your stroller or travel system with ease. You can get special adapter hooks for your stroller to use with any bag, but bags that are designed for this purpose can save you that additional investment and eliminate something else to have to worry about. Most stroller diaper bags are waterproof to protect from spills.
Diaper Bags for Boys and Girls
Of course, any style of diaper bag can work for boys and girls, depending on what is easiest for mom and dad to work with. Choosing something that is gender specific, however, can help to make it feel like it is something especially for baby. For your boy, browns, blacks, blues, and greens are wonderful choices. For little girls, pink is always in fashion, but you may also combine this with brown or black, and use pastels of lavender, yellow, or even orange. Patterns can also be great fun.
Finally, some moms will prefer the designer handbag styles of diaper bags since they offer a chic and put together appearance that blends with their business life. Some of these bags can be less than practical while others seem to have it all. These styles of diaper bags will be more expensive, however, so keep that in mind before setting your heart on one.
Diaper Bag Essentials
Experienced mothers can usually spot a new mother right away, and it has nothing to do with the tiny baby in tow or the look on the new mom’s face. The tell-tale sign that the woman carrying that precious newborn around is new at all of this is in the diaper bag.
Don’t feel bad, though—we’ve all been there and have felt the need to stuff our bags to the brim “just in case” in an attempt to be prepared for 25 different possibilities whether we are going on a 2 hour trip or a 10 minute one. Lugging around a bag of this size and weight gets real old real fast, however, and most moms soon learn exactly what the absolute diaper bag essentials are.
Baby Basics: The Diaper Dilemma
Obviously, the point of a diaper bag is to have diapers and other essentials handy when you need them. That doesn’t mean you need to stuff that entire jumbo box of diapers in the bag, though. Depending on the length of your trip or outing, 4 to 5 diapers is usually more than sufficient. If you’ll be going on an overnight trip you may bring extras in your luggage, but don’t feel like you have to cart them all around on your shoulder the entire time. You may also want to keep a couple of wet bags in case there are wet or soiled items that should stay separate from everything else. These are essential if you are using cloth diapers as well.
Wipes are another of the diaper bag essentials but you don’t have to carry the whole tub with you. They make travel sized packages for a reason—take advantage of it. If you are trying to save money buying in bulk, then use a small plastic baggie to carry a few with you. You’ll also want to be sure that you have a changing pad in tow so that you always have a sanitary place to take care of baby. The last diapering item that you may like to have handy is a small tube of diaper rash cream, especially if your little one is prone to rashes and you’ll be riding in the car for extended periods of time.
Baby Basics: Baby Buffet
One thing you don’t want to be without when your little one gets hungry is food. If you are breastfeeding then you already have most everything you need with you. Consider packing a couple of spare nursing pads and a blanket or nursing cover if you wish. For bottle fed babies, you’ll need to have a couple of clean bottles, some water, and enough formula to get you through the day. If your baby is eating solids, make sure to have some snacks but try not to carry around a miniature grocery market. A couple of small snack-sized baggies of treats along with a jar or two of baby food is plenty in most cases.
Baby Basics: Soothing and Entertainment
Yes, it is a good idea to have a few soothing items with you such as pacifiers and teething rings in case baby becomes distressed, but you don’t have to bring the whole nursery. Choose 2 to 4 of baby’s favorite things and leave the rest at home. There is no sense in bringing 10 different toys if your little one only favors one; that one is all she is concerned with having. In the end, be prepared but be sensible and practical.
You may be surprised as just how few items you and your baby actually need for a quick trip to the market. Of course, longer trips will require more items, but a little organization and planning will ensure you have everything you need without weighing yourself down with unnecessary bulk.