With my first baby, I didn't research diaper bags extensively.
I remember going to Buybuy Baby (which is closed now), looking at the tote diaper bags, and picking out a Carter diaper bag with black and white stripes. My husband and I took that tote-style diaper bag everywhere.
And like most baby bags, it wasn't a bag I continued to use after diapers. It was too bulky and not the most comfortable to carry. It also had a flimsy changing pad that took up an entire outside pocket. It just didn't have long-term bag potential.
But if I could go back in time, I would have made more of an effort to find a baby bag to grow with my kids. (A diaper bag that didn't look like a diaper bag!)
With so many baby diaper bags on the market, here are key features I would look for in a baby bag to grow with my kids based on what to pack for them at all ages.
What Features Matter Most in a Baby Bag?
(These are the same features that apply to your toddler bag and travel bag with your little ones.)
Many moms want a diaper bag that doesn't look like a diaper bag. (Again, totally get it!)
They want a stylish diaper bag, where if you looked at it, you would have no idea that it was a diaper bag at all - but rather just a fashionable shoulder bag or handbag.
If you want a diaper bag for more than just carrying diapers, pay attention to diaper bag styles that look classic and timeless. It needs to be a diaper bag that looks great walking out the door and can be repurposed as your favorite purse later.
Now a mom of two kids, there's no question, I would tell other moms to go for a minimalist and big diaper bag. Purchase both.
A minimalist diaper bag is your "grab-and-go" lightweight bag for a day out of the house. It holds all the typical purse essentials (keys, cash, credit cards, chapstick, ID, hand sanitizer, phone), a few diapers, baby wipes, and a pacifier for your little one. The Kibou diaper bag gives you this AND provides a changing station on the go with its portable built-in changing pad.
A big diaper bag, on the other hand, could be your choice of a diaper backpack or tote diaper bag (still stylish of course). Use it as your "backup" baby bag to stay in the car full of extra diapers, burp cloths, clothes, and your baby's essentials.
Durability is essential when looking for a bag to grow with your kids. Baby bags need to be able to withstand a lot of trips in and out of the car, random spills, and sticky fingers.
Some higher-quality materials to look for include vegan leather, full-grain leather, and nylon, found in many diaper bags.
Invest in materials you know will last for years if you want it to be a bag that also goes into the toddler and little kid seasons with you.
Can you clean it easily? This is a question you will ask yourself A LOT regarding the many baby items you purchase. It's got to be easy to clean!
You want a baby bag you can wipe off with a wipe when baby food or bodily fluids somehow find their way on or inside your bag. (Yep, it happens!)
Trust me...stain resistance will be key for keeping your baby bag looking nicer longer.
On top of paying attention to timeless style, you want to feel comfortable carrying your baby bag. If it's not comfortable and the weight is too much, there's no way you'll want to keep carrying it for years to come.
And a bonus is if you can find a bag that allows you to wear it in different ways.
Take the Kibou. You can wear it as a fanny pack or a crossbody bag. Having options on how you want to wear your bag is a big plus because you know it's true - styles will change.
Easy to open and close
Another factor to consider is if your baby bag is easy to open and close.
Your hands will be full with a baby, toddler, or little kid you're chasing after. Being able to open your bag easily (and in a hurry) is going to make a big difference when you're trying to get out the door, stand in a line, or carry multiple items at a time.
Find a bag you can easily access and close quickly.
The number of pockets you need in your diaper bag comes down to preference.
Do you need insulated pockets to keep bottles warm? If you do, what will go in those pockets when you no longer need them for bottles? How many multiple pockets are necessary to organize toys, pacifiers, and supplies?
Think of your lifestyle and what items are must-haves to carry. Truly try to nail down what's needed from ages infant through 10+ years. I've discovered that I only need a few pockets (less is more). What helps is understanding what you need to pack for multiple ages.
What to Pack in a Baby Bag for All Ages
When packing your minimalist diaper bag, there are mom essentials you have to include no matter what age of child you have. Those necessities include:
- Credit cards
- Chapstick or lip gloss
- Hand sanitizer
These are items I absolutely notice are missing if I don't have them on me.
Packing List for a Baby
In addition to your mom essentials in your minimalist diaper bag, the following are items you want to also include for your baby:
- 2-3 diapers
- Diaper cream
- Baby wipes
- Spare set of clothes
- Changing pad (the Kibou has one built in!)
This would have you covered for a morning or afternoon out of the house. Having a backpack diaper bag fully stocked in the car could also cover you with extra supplies if needed. (Again, looking back, I would have definitely purchased both a minimal diaper bag option and a big diaper bag for additional items.)
Packing List for a Toddler
With a toddler, that packing list for a baby changes some while trading some items out. Here are some items to pack if you have a toddler:
- 1-2 diapers, pull-ups, or toddler underwear based on potty training
- Baby wipes
- First aid kit (like Kibou's small and convenient bou boo bag)
- Changing pad (or detach it from the Kibou for extra pocket space)
With little ones starting to become more mobile with walking, there's no doubt you'll have some bumps and ouchies that need a little extra care with a first aid kit on hand.
Packing List for a Little Kid
And when the potty stage is over, and you've officially transferred out of diapers, the following is what you could pack for your little kid along with your core mom essentials:
- Water bottle (this collapsible option helps save space)
- 1-2 Snacks
- Breath mints/ gum
- Baby wipes (situations still get sticky)
- First aid kit
Diaper Bags Don't Always Have to Be Diaper Bags
If you choose a diaper bag that's fashionable and one you love to carry, your chances of using it for those years after your little one is out of the infant and toddler stage is much more likely.
The key is thinking through how you're going to use it for much more than your baby's essentials. Happy shopping!