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How to Choose the Best Diaper Bag

How to Choose the Best Diaper Bag
Bag with diapers and baby accessories on white wooden table against pink background.

By Laurie Leahey, CookScrapCraft

One of the most important pieces of baby gear on the long list of items new moms and dads need is the diaper bag. In today’s world, there are many types of diaper bags to choose from, and parents use their diaper bags as a way to express their fashion sense and style almost as much as they use it to carry around all of baby’s stuff. Of course, you do still want your diaper bag to be functional, but just what kind of function you need is up to you. So how do you go about finding the best diaper bag for you? 

I am going to share some tips on how to choose a diaper bag that I wish I had known when I started my mom journey. There are so many options, making it difficult to know how to pick the best diaper bag! Because I was just as confused as you probably are right now, I ended up with three diaper bags (two more than you need), and while I liked elements of each one, neither one served that ultimate combination of style and function for me.  So, from my own personal experience, here are key elements to remember as you seek out your best diaper bag. 

Space

There are so many styles of diaper bags from the traditional bag that holds it all to diaper clutches that carry one or two diapers and a slim pack of baby wipes. One question you should ask yourself is, “How much space do I need?”  

If you think you are going to be the type of parent who wants to carry all the essentials with you all the time (baby bottle, formula powder, water bottle, small toy, a pile of diapers, a big pack of wipes, your wallet, your car keys, your phone, etc.), then you will probably want to go with a larger, traditional diaper bag. These come in shoulder, messenger, tote, and backpack styles. 

But do you need a diaper bag that is the size of Texas? Of course, not. If you do not want to be weighed down by a baby and a bag, then something smaller like a diaper clutch or portable changing station might be the better choice. 

Organization

A feature that is related to space is organization within the diaper bag. Are there enough pockets to securely hold what you need to bring and will it be easy for you to reach into your bag to find and retrieve them? The placement and number of pockets will make it easier for you to figure out how to pack a diaper backpack or bag. 

One of the things I did not like about the shoulder-style diaper bag that I used was the bag’s lack of structure. Sure, it had exterior and interior pockets, but the bag itself did not hold its shape. This made it really hard for me to keep the bag open when riffling through the interior pockets for a spare diaper. 

If you end up with a diaper bag that does not have the organization you would like, diaper bag organizer cubes can be purchased separately to insert into your bag. 

Insulated Bottle Pockets 

And speaking of organizational pockets, most diaper bags have a built-in insulated pocket or two for keeping a baby bottle of breastmilk or formula cold while you are out and about. None of the diaper bags I used had this feature and I survived, but insulated pockets can make your life a little easier. 

Changing Pad

These days, most diaper bags include a coordinating changing pad. In traditional bags, there will be an exterior pocket out of which you can slide the slim, yet padded changing pad.  

One of the more recent diaper bag developments is the changing pad handbag. This slim bag, which is usually worn slung over a shoulder or carried by a small handle, unfolds to reveal a changing pad with small pockets for carrying one or two diapers, a travel pack of baby wipes, and maybe even a change of clothes. This is a good option, as I said above, for parents who do not want to carry around a bulky bag. 

But perhaps the diaper bag innovation that I love the most is the built-in changing pad in diaper backpacks. When it is time to do an on-the-go diaper change, just unzip a panel of the backpack and a changing pad rolls out, complete with pockets for the diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, and whatever else you need to clean up your kid. 

Ergonomic

Speaking of diaper backpacks, I think they are the most ergonomic diaper bag choice. No matter what is stashed inside the backpack, the weight is evenly distributed across your back when wearing both shoulder straps, which also usually have a breathable mesh padding to keep you cool. A diaper backpack also keeps both hands free so that you can more easily hold your baby.  

But it is possible to find a comfortable diaper bag in a different style. Messenger bags can be helpful because of the way they are worn across your body. You may have to test out a few different styles at the store to see which one you like best. 

Easy Clean

Another feature you might want to consider is the diaper bag’s material. Is it going to be easy to wipe clean? Is it machine-washable? Your diaper bag is going to be with you for a long time, especially if you use it through multiple kids, and it will get a little banged up, not to mention that it will also be holding your child’s soiled clothes and dirty diapers. So you definitely want to make sure that your diaper bag can somehow be cleaned. 

These are just a few key features that you might want to look for when picking the best diaper bag for you and your family. One of the main things for how to choose the right diaper bag for you is that it meets your personal criteria for form and function. Whether you go with a small diaper backpack or a large diaper tote bag, if it looks good to you and feels comfortable to wear, then it will be the best diaper bag for you. 

About The Author

Casey Christiansen

Casey supports the PR team at Zulily.

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