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Minimalist Diaper Bag vs. Big Diaper Bag (Which Is Best?)

Kibou minimalist diaper bag worn by moms

Congratulations! If you are searching for a diaper bag, that means a little one is coming into your family soon. This also means you've got a lot of baby gear to review and potentially purchase.

The good news - you don't have to worry (at least when it comes to finding the right diaper bag). We’re here to help. 

If you're trying to settle on how big of a diaper bag you need, you should have a better idea after reading this article.

So back to the burning question of which diaper bag is best - the minimalist diaper bag or the big diaper bag? The answer may surprise you.

What is a Minimalist Diaper Bag?

A minimalist diaper bag is typically a smaller diaper bag compared to diaper bags such as totes, backpack diaper bags, or messenger bags.

With a minimalist diaper bag, you have just the essentials (and no more). It really comes down to having the bare minimum with you. You need food (formula or breast milk), clean clothing (onesie, diapers, and wipes), and a few necessities for comfort (pacifier and a snack for you!)

Is a Diaper Bag Even Necessary?

Yes! We certainly think so.

Deciding not to buy a diaper bag feels like a huge parenting miss. (And that's from a mom of two!) Especially when you are trying to change a diaper in the back of your car with no detachable changing pad or frantically digging through a laptop book bag to find the bottle when your baby is crying uncontrollably.

It just makes sense to make your life easier and commit to finding the diaper bag that's best for you.

The truth is a diaper bag sets you up for having the necessities you need (provided you pack it correctly) and staying organized.

It's a baby registry item I highly recommend adding.

mom wearing minimalist diaper bag at playground

What Type of Diaper Bag is Best?

In today's market, a parent has so many to choose from. You have...

  • The diaper bag minimalist fanny packs or bum bags (like our Kibou!)
  • A diaper bag backpack
  • Diaper bag totes
  • Messenger diaper bags
  • A diaper belt bag

If you already have a toddler or you're expecting multiples, this also plays into what you need for your diaper bag. More kids may mean you need more capacity in the bag you're carrying or need to think about functionality a little differently.

What to Look for in a Diaper Bag

Think about your family's lifestyle and intentions.

No matter which bag you choose (it's true the best minimalist diaper bag can be the perfect parenting game-changer combined with a big diaper bag - but we'll get to that in a minute), there are qualities you want to consider when making your selection.

Those considerations circle around price, style, material, durability, functionality, weight, and capacity.

Price

Spending a little more on a diaper bag is easier to justify when you intend on using it as your family grows. Knowing what you want to invest can help narrow down your choices.

Style

Some new mommas don't want their diaper bag to look like an actual diaper bag, while others are indifferent. And then there are the dads who may have some input into the style of the diaper bag as well. Either way, there's no question that how your diaper bag looks plays into what you purchase.

Easy-to-clean material

Having a diaper bag you can clean easily also makes a difference when messes are what you'll encounter daily. Between dirty diapers, feedings, and dirty clothes from your baby, you want to consider a material like vegan leather, which is soft and moisture-resistant. (Perfect for a quick wipe-down!)

Durability

And when you're on the go with your little one, you need a diaper bag that will hold up well. (Think quick trips to the grocery, car rides, park strolls, and pediatrician checkups.)

mom using on-the-go changing pad in minimalist diaper bag at the park

Functionality

But far up on the list is making sure you find a functional diaper bag. You want a diaper bag that works with the needs of you and your family.

Do you want to be completely hands-free or do you mind a shoulder bag? There are important questions to ask yourself. Not to mention, there are unique features you wouldn't want to miss out on (like the built-in detachable changing pad or waterproof pockets).

Built-in detachable changing pad

Having a detachable changing pad you can use on-the-go is pretty important and highly functional. (You'll be changing A LOT of diapers!) The reality is that babies need to be changed at all hours of the day, and often, you need to be able to change them anywhere at a moment's notice.

Waterproof pocket

A built-in waterproof pocket comes in handy for storing baby wipes or soiled onesies. Forget needing to remember to close the wipes completely after use (oops, hello, dried-out wipes!) or needing an extra bag from the blowout onesie you need to take home and wash.

A waterproof pocket can save the day (and happens to be unique to our Kibou!)

Lightweight

With carrying around an infant car seat, stroller, and of course, your baby, having a lightweight bag will help lighten the load.

Aim for diaper bags made of less heavy materials. You'll have plenty to carry day-to-day. Your feet and body will thank you for choosing a lightweight bag.

Capacity

Storage capacity is also something else to consider.

Minimalist diaper bags help you focus on carrying only the essentials, while a big diaper bag may have more interior and exterior pockets to hold more stuff.

It comes down to how much you really need to take with you (and honestly, that's where having both a minimalist diaper bag and a big diaper bag could be helpful.)

But before jumping into why having both bags is a parenting game-changer, we've got a checklist you need to check out.

minimalist diaper bag with just the necessities

What Do I Really Need in a Diaper Bag?

Regardless of diaper bag size, you want to pack confidently and choose the most functional diaper bag that works for you.

Here's what to consider packing for the two different diaper bag types.

Minimalist Diaper Bag Essentials

  • diapers (2-4)
  • wipes (20 should do the trick for a short trip out)
  • detachable changing pad (Kibou has an on-the-go changing pad that's detachable too)
  • extra outfit or onesie
  • formula with a bottle (if you're formula feeding or supplemental formula feeding)
  • burp cloth
  • extra pacifier or lovey (whatever gives your baby comfort)
  • diaper cream (great to include if your baby is needing some extra bum attention)

If you're using your minimalist diaper bag as your crossbody bag or fanny pack purse, you will want to include these personal items as well:

  • keys
  • phone
  • cash and/or credit card
  • ID
  • lip balm
  • snack for yourself
  • collapsible water bottle (to rehydrate on the go - don't forget the water too!)

Pro tip: You have to restock more often with a minimalist diaper bag. That means making it a habit to check every time you come home or are on your way out to make sure you have all you need. Keeping your minimalist diaper bag near your diaper stash can remind you to load up before going out with your little one.

Big Diaper Bag Essentials

Having a larger diaper bag does allow you to pack more. And sometimes, it's nice to store baby gear and backup items you can leave in the car when you're running errands.

Here are some items to consider in addition to what you would pack in your minimalist diaper bag:

  • first aid kit
  • extra clothes (clothes for baby and then maybe an extra shirt for yourself)
  • extra diapers
  • extra wipes
  • hand lotion
  • nursing cover
  • additional burp cloths
  • extra diaper rash cream

But back to my argument on why you would want to consider having both...

Kibou minimalist diaper bag inside big diaper bag

Why a Minimalist Diaper Bag AND a Big Diaper Bag Work Together

Both bags can be a killer combo when parenting, and here's why I think you're crazy not to include both on your registry. Here are 3 top reasons:

  1. Having both bags gives you options.
    Who wants to be restricted to only one option for all the different moments and trips that pop up in life? Buying both diaper bags allows you to choose which size works best for what you have planned. For example, your minimalist diaper bag may be your bag of choice for taking a walk through the park, running a quick errand, or needing to run to the grocery store. At the same time, the bigger diaper bag could be needed for longer weekend trips or extended time away from home.
  2. Both diaper bags can be carried as ONE while on the go.
    What's great about the minimalist diaper bag is that it's a small enough size to fit inside your bigger diaper bag. Simply slip it in your tote bag packed with your minimalist diaper bag essentials, and when you need to use your credit card or cash, pull it out for easier access (vs. searching through a bigger bag.)
  3. Having both diaper bags ensures you always have what you need.
    Being a new parent is stressful. So it's understandable if you feel a little uneasy taking a minimalist diaper bag, and that's it. So you can still wear the minimalist diaper bag, but take a big diaper bag fully stocked with extra baby essentials and leave it in the car wherever you go. This way, you can be hands-free holding your little one in and out of places, but you have the peace of mind of knowing you have more baby items in the car if you need them.

Below are additional questions you may ask yourself if you're searching for diaper bags.

dad using detachable changing pad in minimalist diaper bag

Diaper Bag FAQs

What is better - a diaper bag or a regular backpack?

Diaper bags (small or big) are designed with compartments specific to carrying baby items like diapers, wipes, and bottles. A regular backpack will not have this organizational system. And when you're bringing multiple things (often smaller in size for baby), digging through a regular backpack is not helpful when you're in the middle of a diaper change, and your baby needs comforted quickly.

Do I bring a diaper bag to the hospital?

If you're giving birth at the hospital, the good news is they will have plenty of diapers and wipes for you. And if you're formula feeding, they will have that as well. But taking your own diaper bag to the hospital may be a good idea if you want to have special baby clothes for those cute hospital selfies before you leave.

Do mom and dad each need a diaper bag?

That depends. There are gender-neutral versions of diaper bags that fit both moms’ and dads' styles and can be easily shared. (Take our Kibou, for instance! Dad's love our bag.) But sometimes each parent has their own way of organizing baby's essentials that they may want to select a diaper bag that fits their own personality.

At what age do babies stop using diaper bags?

Diaper bags start getting used less when babies grow into that potty training stage (18-24 months). However, if you buy a diaper bag that can grow with your family, you can swap out the diapers and bottles with toddler underwear and a sippy cup. You may end up using your diaper bag much longer than you think (especially if you love it to begin with).

mom wearing minimalist diaper bag instead of diaper backpack with kids

Best Diaper Bag for You

Finding the best diaper bag for you (whether it's a minimalist diaper bag, a big diaper bag, or both) comes down to your needs.

What works as one bag for one parent may not work well for another. And a combination of bags could be the solution.

What's essential is that you take a careful look at what your diaper bag needs to do for your family, assess how much you want to spend, and pick an option (or options) that work for your day-to-day life.

 

Purchase your Kibou fanny pack diaper bag today.

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