In this week’s baby bargainista column, Jenny shares her wisdom about choosing the right diaper bag.
As a new parent, perhaps the most important accessory in your childcare arsenal is one that you will be toting for the better part of the next two years: the diaper bag. Choosing the right diaper bag for your needs is critical. The wrong bag can leave you fumbling, wailing and/or smelly-bottomed baby in hand, for that elusive diaper/wipe/soother/bottle that has slipped to the bottom of a too-large bag or that is lost in one of too many compartments.
Happily, there are a multitude of options available, and diaper bags nowadays can even come in stylish prints or classic leather. I recommend checking out the bags that other parents are toting and asking for their opinion – ideally, ask a friend who’s a parent if you can give theirs a “test drive” by carrying it for them on your next outing together. This will give you a good sense of how awkward or comfortable that particular style is for you, and how easy or hard it is to find what you’re looking for within it.
Personally, I’ve used three diaper bags, each a different brand and style, for the varying needs as my oldest went through different ages and stages.
1. California Innovations makes a sturdy yet lightweight shoulder bag that I’ve used for both my girls in their infant stage. It boasts a multitude of compartments for the multitude of necessities that I won’t go anywhere without in the first year: diapers, bottles, Tempra, gripe water, wipes, extra burp cloths, my breastfeeding cover-up, soothers, and more. There’s even a thermal compartment with an easy-access double zipper that you can stand a large bottle in! Granted, in a stain-resistant solid navy blue it’s not the most trendy – but at this stage that’s not important to me, accessing what I need when I need it is.
2. skiphop makes gorgeous bags in a huge number of stylish prints and solids. I used one when my oldest was a toddler and found that its one big central compartment was perfect for toting toys, books, whatever would keep her amused when in a store, at the doctor’s, in a restaurant. I also liked the smaller side pockets for other necessities like wipes, a couple of diapers, and extra underwear when toilet training, as well as the top zip compartments for my own personal stuff – wallet, keys, etc. Since at this stage the diaper bag became my own de facto purse, I appreciated the wide array of trendy colors available!
3. Finally, during the preschool years, a simple Roots backpack became my mainstay – perfect for hauling toys, books, extra clothes, ballet gear, gymnastics gear, whatever – and best of all, small and lightweight enough for our #1 girl to haul her own stuff for a change!