Wondering how to choose a diaper bag that’s best for you? Today’s parents have so many options when it comes to choosing a diaper bag. With our first baby, many of us go through several bags before we find the right one. Sometimes we’re gifted a diaper bag, or we’ll go with the recommendation of our best mom friends only to find it just doesn’t meet our needs.
As we know very well, what works for one mom does not work for all moms. Whether you’re a mom (or dad!) to-be, or you landed here because your current diaper bag just isn’t cutting it, we’re here to help decode how to choose a diaper bag that’s right for you.
For starters, the right diaper bag for you depends on your lifestyle--where you live and how you get around and spend time with your little ones, the number and ages of your kids, your style preferences, and what you prioritize between form and function.
When you start your search for the perfect diaper bag, there are several important aspects to consider before you choose. If you’re starting from scratch with no dream bag in mind, these considerations below should help you narrow things down. And if you’re mulling over a few options, keep those bags in mind, and make a mental checklist as you read through the sections below. Your final choice(s) should check all of those boxes.
How big of a bag do you really need? The new mom almost always opts for the biggest diaper bag, packing anything and everything just in case. Those of us who prefer to be prepared for all possibilities may stick with this ever-ready diaper bag, which is totally fine! But over time, many of us find that all that bulk makes things harder to find, too heavy, or frustratingly, the diaper bag keeps slipping off our shoulders when we’re trying to tend to our little ones.
If you’re going for a quick outing with the family, here’s a quick checklist of the necessities you’d want to pack. If you’ll be out for the whole day, you’ll also want to add a change of clothes to the list! Your diaper bag should be able to accommodate these things:
- 1-2 Diapers
- Changing pad
- Diaper cream
- Bottles (as applicable)
Toddler and little kid essentials:
- 1 Diaper
- Bottle of water
The minimum you’ll need for yourself:
- Credit card (or cash)
- Hand sanitizer
Sometimes the diaper bag itself can be heavy before you even pack it full of the things you need! As you choose your diaper bag, consider the weight of the material and the bag itself, plus the weight of all that you’ll pack inside. How will you travel with this bag? On foot? By car? With a stroller or on a bike? Keep in mind how much you want to carry around all day.
A diaper bag with intentional design and organization just makes your life easier: you can quickly see that you have all you need before you leave the house, and when you’re out you can easily find what you need.
Designated spots for diapers, wipes, keys, and a phone are non-negotiables in our mind. If you’re bottle feeding, you may want pockets designed to hold bottles, perhaps even insulated ones to keep them cold. While tons of pockets aren’t necessarily helpful, having an open diaper bag with no organized pockets will mean that when there’s a poop emergency or a full-on meltdown, you’ll be rifling through the clutter while at maximum stress level.
When you need to grab something quickly for yourself or your little one, you want to be able to easily open the right compartment and grab it. This means if you’re babywearing, you want a diaper bag that you can easily access while your baby is on you (do you really want to put it down on the ground?). Some bags even have outside pockets so you don’t have to go alllll the way inside.
Sometimes, diaper bags will come with extra perks that make all of the difference. For instance, a built-in changing pad so you’re ready no matter where you are. Built-in wipes compartments makes them easier to find and if waterproof, makes things less damp. Clips for pacifiers or keys can make all of the difference during a meltdown or a dash to the car. The ability to hang the diaper bag from a stroller is a must for many moms! And if you opt for a tote, you’ll want to look for a bag with “feet,” to protect it from the contents of the ground but also to keep it from falling over and spilling everywhere.
Wondering how to make an informed decision when it comes to how to choose the exterior of the bag? We have a few important considerations for your diaper bag material: how easily can you wipe down or sanitize the material? How durable is it? Having a leather bag may be beautiful, but how easily can you get off all the gook from your little guys’ hands or the mud and mystery grime from setting your bag down at the playground?
When you look inside, think about how easily you can wipe or wash the interior clean when yogurt or fruit explodes. Vegan leather or water-resistant nylon are great for this. Darker colors can also hide some of the “love.” However, some prefer lighter color lining because the contrast makes it easier to quickly see what’s inside. This is especially important with bigger bags.
Just because we’re parents doesn’t mean we should have to sacrifice on aesthetics. It’s important to choose a bag that looks good and makes you feel good when you wear or carry it! Also, if you’re sharing a diaper bag with your partner it’s helpful to have a style that you both like. Alternatively, you can each use your own.
Diaper bags can range from $30 to $400. Start by looking at the price range that you’re realistically able and comfortable investing in a diaper bag. From there, weigh your priorities. A trendy, durable bag can be expensive but if it lasts, it’s worth the investment. On the other hand, there are many stylish, low-cost options available if you’re working with a smaller budget.
Now that you’ve gone through the most important considerations for how to choose the perfect diaper bag for you, do you have your checklist? Did your diaper bag candidates make the cut?
The truth is, diaper bags are like any other bags in our life. Just because we become parents doesn’t mean that one bag fits all outings in our lives. Sure, there are those convertible work-to-gym bags that seem to magically solve the bag-lady challenge, but in general, each of us has multiple bags we wear for different reasons: work, a night out, exercise, a day in the park. And with our little ones it’s no different.
Whether there’s one diaper bag that suits all your needs, or your chosen bag only checks some of these boxes and means you’ll be a 2 diaper bag family, having these considerations in mind can ground your choice in style and function.