When I got pregnant with my first child in 2007, I made a unilateral decision that diaper bags were too damn expensive, and I had a closet full of bags anyway so I wasn’t going to get one. I thought long and hard about my diaper bag needs and selected one from my collection that I thought would serve me best: the gunmetal gray student backpack I’d bought to lug books around campus in grad school. Yep. Instead of a SkipHop or Petunia Picklebottom, I was carrying the same backpack that had held my reading packets for courses like the Legal Environment in Public Policy Making. (What? That course was really interesting!). It was not cute. It was not stylish.
It worked though. Really well. The three-pocket design gave me ample room for all the different stuff and mom and baby both need to have at easy reach. And the non-frivolous look of it meant my husband had no issue slinging it over his shoulder. The backpack style meant I was hands-free — very important when taking public transportation — and stains didn’t show on it. Plus, it’s big enough that I’ll be able to use it now as a baby/toddler bag.
I did load my backpack up with some great diaper bag accessories to take it from laptop friendly to poop-blow-out ready. Here are some of my favorite add-ons:
Changing Pad 1 of 6There are cuter pads out there, but I loved the size and durability of this one. It comes with a plastic case for wipes and I could easily stow that and several diapers in the pad when it was rolled up. It's still in good enough shape that I could use it for my second baby.
Babies R Us
Pacifier Pouch 2 of 6
Bottle Cooler 3 of 6This was great for toting bottles to and from work and daycare. It has pockets to slip an ice pack into to help keep precious expressed milk or pre-mixed formula chilled and fresh.
Snack Trap 4 of 6This is for older babies, obviously, but I loved these. The slitted lid kept Cheerios or blueberries confined but still provided instant access for little snack-seeking fingers.
Babies R Us
Bag Dispenser 5 of 6Yes, this is a dispenser designed for bags to pick up dog poop. But what's good for the puppy can be good for the baby, too. You can fill this with plastic grocery bags to have at the ready for wrapping up dirty diapers or clothes.
Cosmetic Case 6 of 6I carry no fewer than seven lip balms and glosses with me at all times. I have no idea why since I only use one of them regularly. I also usually have eye drops, Kleenex, hard candy, and hair clips. It's easy to stash them in a cute cosmetic bag next to my wallet and keys so I always know where they are.
Petunia Pickle Bottom
Photo credit: Author