You could just use a big bag that you already own, but diaper bags are designed with your baby, and you in mind when you’re away from home. They have nice roomy pockets to hold all of those essential tools for your baby’s on-the-go needs. Remember, you’ll need diapers, extra sets of clothing, feeding bottles, food, snacks, baby wipes, a toy or teething ring, burp cloths, etc. Most diaper bags come with a built-in washable changing pad that folds out and then neatly folds back when your finished and insulated pockets for baby bottles. Some have soft-side coolers to keep perishables cold, some even have a pocket designed just for a portable DVD player so you can keep your baby (or you) occupied if restlessness sets in. Diaper bags help a new mom or dad keep everything organized, some have designated pockets for cell phones, car keys, wallet, etc. Some have specially designed water-proof pockets to keep dry things dry. All in all, a diaper bag is essential for neat, organized and fun trips away from home. You might think about having two diaper bags, a large, feature-packed one for weekends or all-day trips and a smaller one for quick trips away from home.
OK, What Type of Bag Should I Buy?
There are several types of diaper bags, some are designed for moms and dads that are constantly on-the-go and some designed more for stay-at-home parents. One thing for certain, all are designed for comfortable trips away from home for you and your baby with an adequate number of pockets and compartments. However, some have more features than others.
Tote style bags basically look like a very large handbag but with more pockets and space. Some have detachable straps so you can sling it over your shoulder or you can just grab the handle on top of the bag. Totes can be super fashionable or overly cutesy, remember to keep function over fashion in mind when choosing a tote.
The backpack style bag looks like an ordinary backpack and is worn like one, comfortably distributing the weight evenly on you shoulders. The backpack is specially designed to carry all of baby’s needs and most have changing pads either built-in or that detach. These types of bags are also popular with dads and are great for hiking and walking.
The messenger or “sling” style has just one handle or strap and is worn across your chest or over your shoulder. Messenger style diaper bags are popular with dads as they’re available in unisex designs. You can find them in floral or more feminine designs, as well, however. It’s best to choose one with an adjustable strap so both mom and dad can use it comfortably. Most messenger style bags are also designed to carry a notebook computer as well as all of your baby gear.
Other styles of diaper bags include hobo bags that are styled after the popular fashion designer bags. Convertible diaper bags have a detachable sling strap, dual backpack straps and a handle so that it can be used as a tote, messenger or backpack style, very cool. There are also mini diaper bags that are designed to attach inside a larger bag and can be detached and used for short trips.
What Else Should I Look for in a Diaper Bag?
Make sure handles on tote bags are not too long so that the bag does not drag on the ground when you carry it, but also long enough so that you can sling it over your shoulder, if it does not come with a strap for that purpose. Make sure the construction of the bag is strong, with reinforced seams and at points where straps attach, etc. The fabric should be durable and water-resistant, easy to wipe off and should also be machine washable. The changing pad should also be easy to clean and have enough padding to keep baby comfortable. The openings of compartments should have good strong zippers, with large handle grips, not buttons or magnetic closures. Be sure that the bag is not too heavy when it’s empty, it will become heavy enough once your finished packing it.