When I was pregnant with Cullen, one of the things that remained on my “things to do before baby comes” checklist the longest, was buying a diaper bag. I had no idea what to look for – size, style, accessories – because I had no idea how much I would actually need to carry around with me. I ended up buying a relatively inexpensive, bulky and boxy diaper bag that my husband and I picked out together. I decided that I wanted something that was neutral enough that we could both use it. That was my first mistake.
Why did I think my husband was going to spend significant time carrying around a diaper bag? Don’t get me wrong – he’s a great dad and spends every waking non-working minute doting on his family. But I think he’s probably carried a diaper bag twice. There is just no need. After trying to haul my massive diaper bag around for the first few weeks, I ended up abandoning it in my car, and started stuffing my pockets full of baby supplies. Yes, you read that correctly. My pockets. It was absurd.
I waited way too long to get a new bag, but by the time I did, I knew exactly what I wanted. Something light, something portable, something that would be easy to keep organized. I wish I could link out and share the wonder that is my specific bag, because I absolutely love it and I got it for only thirteen dollars.
But of course, sometime in the last few weeks between me ordering it and writing this post, it has disappeared from the website. (UPDATE: It’s back online! Here’s the Little Tripper Diaper Bag from Lands End.)
Now I keep my big, boxy bag in the back of my car – stocked with overflow outfits, extra diapers, and emergency snacks. But I carry this new bag everywhere I go! There are a lot of bulky, awkward diaper bags out there, but there are also some other great portable options. To save you the embarrassment of stuffing your pockets full of diapers, here are 8 things to look for in your next diaper bag.
Is it easy to carry? 1 of 8One of the main reasons I chose this particular diaper bag was the option to carry it cross-body. It's too hard for me to carry Cullen on one hip, and balance a bag on my other shoulder. Make sure to choose something that works well with carrying kids around!
Overall size 2 of 8My biggest gripe about most of the other diaper bags I looked at was the massive SIZE! I get that it's nice to have a million pockets and extra storage space, but all that bulk can be really cumbersome to carry around. I keep a bigger, stocked diaper bag in my car, and use this smaller tote for quick trips and errands where I shouldn't need as much.
Goes with everything 3 of 8When choosing a diaper bag, you are essentially picking out a new purse. I know that's why there are fancy designer brands that make diaper bags that look like nice purses now, but who wants to shell out that much $$? Not me! But I tried to pick a color that was relatively neutral, and would work for any season.
Side pockets 4 of 8This is probably my favorite feature on my particular bag. There is an elastic-top pocket on each side of the bag. At all times, I have my cell phone on one side, and a sippy cup for Cullen on the other. I love having such easy access!
Plenty of zippers 5 of 8I like having zipper pockets in order to make sure little things - like chapstick, pacifiers, etc. - don't fall out of the bag. Also important - a zip top! With a bag constantly being thrown on the passenger seat or under a stroller, you don't want to risk things falling out if the bag topples over.
Outside storage options 6 of 8My bag has a flap with a few pockets underneath that I use for storing things like my keys and wallet. It drives me nuts to have to dig through my bag for items I use frequently, and outside pockets help me know exactly where to find those items quickly.
Roomy interior storage 7 of 8It is definitely possible to find bags that are small and portable, but still have plenty of room. I find the bulkier bags tend to bulk up from much thicker fabric, too many extra accessories (thick changing pads), and an inefficient design. This bag has four interior storage pockets, as well as a deep center space that can hold quite a lot. Looks can be deceiving - I stock this bag with an extra outfit, jacket, and hat at all times, as well as snacks, lunch, and occasionally a big camera!
Interior pockets 8 of 8The point of a diaper bag, after all, is to store diapers, right? You don't want a cavernous bag with diapers, wipes, and Cheerios just floating around aimlessly. Interior compartments help you locate your supplies quickly when you discover someone has sprung a leak!
Read more from Emily on her personal blog Daily Garnish, where she creates healthy vegetarian recipes, recaps her latest running adventures, and chronicles life as a new mom to her son and two crazy dogs. You can follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest too!