How to Choose a Diaper Bag
How to Choose a Diaper Bag
March 26, 2019

How to Choose a Diaper Bag

How to Choose a Diaper Bag.
Photo by @_monicajean
How to Choose a Diaper Bag

The diaper bag: constant companion, toter of allll the things and a parent’s best friend.

A never-leave-home-without-it accessory, the diaper bag is one of the most-used pieces of baby gear some new parents buy. But there are a lot of different types of bags on the market, with many features to consider. So what’s right for you?

Here’s everything you need to know about this handy piece of gear, and how to choose the diaper bag that works for your family.

Diaper Bag 101

It’s no secret that babies need a lot of stuff. From blowouts to bottles, there’s much to deal with when you’re taking care of a little one, especially when you’re not at home.

A diaper bag is a perfect spot to store everything you need for baby in one place when you’re out and about. Even if you’re the most minimalist of parents, it’s a must-have for toting diapers and wipes, of course, but other necessities like a change of clothes, extra pacifiers, bottles and a toy or two.

Finding the perfect diaper bag definitely depends on your personal preferences. Here are a few things to consider before you make your decision.

How Will I Use My Diaper Bag?

Before you take a deep dive into diaper bag research, you’ll want to think about how you’re going to be using your bag.

Some considerations:

  • Are you a city parent who’ll be regularly pushing a stroller and will need your hands free? Then a backpack-style bag may be right for you.
  • Are you planning on bottle feeding at all? Finding a diaper bag with insulated pockets is probably a good idea.
  • Are you having twins, or thinking about adding another baby to your family in the near future? You may want to look into a roomier style bag that will offer plenty of storage space.

Think about your lifestyle, your specific needs and how you plan on using your bag, and it will make your decision process a whole lot easier.

Diaper Bag Features to Consider

Are you a sucker for style? Then you’ll probably want a designer bag that looks more like a purse than a traditional diaper bag. If you’re more of a minimalist, then maybe a streamlined backpack or a diaper clutch is a good choice for you. There are lots of options across a huge array of styles, but there are a few features you’ll want to keep an eye out for:

  • Plenty of space. See above about babies needing a lot of stuff!
  • Easy to clean. Dirty diapers or clothes. Leaky bottles. It’s good to have a wipe-clean surface or even a machine-washable bag.
  • Shareability. What works for you may not work for your partner or caregiver, so keep in mind who else will be using the diaper bag when making your choice.
  • Ergonomic. You’ll want something that’s comfortable to carry, especially when it’s full!

Extras that are nice to have:

  • Insulated pockets: These keep bottles, water or snacks cool.
  • Changing pad: Some bags include a foldout pad you can change baby on.
  • Stroller clips: This convenient feature allows you to attach your diaper bag to your stroller, so you don’t have to carry it or take up precious space in the stroller basket.
  • Lots of pockets: Having designated spots to put things can help you find what you’re looking for more easily.

Now let’s get shopping.

Backpack Diaper Bags

Why We Love It

Backpack diaper bags are a popular choice for lots of parents, and for good reason. They enable you to comfortably carry everything you need for a day out with baby while keeping both hands free—a huge plus. They’re generally roomy, feature lots of pockets and compartments for extra storage, and come in a huge variety of styles.

Keep in Mind

The one downside of a backpack-style bag is that it can get in the way of babywearing. Although it’s not impossible to babywear and carry a backpack, it can be a bit uncomfortable. (And heavy!) And since you have to take it off to reach inside, a backpack is also less accessible than a tote or a messenger.

Popular Picks

Birdling Backpacker, Petunia Pickle Bottom Inter-Mix Backpack, Little Unicorn Marindale Backpack, Lassig Goldie Diaper Backpack, Carter’s Handle It All Diaper Backpack, Freshly Picked Ebony Diaper Bag

Messenger Diaper Bag

Why We Love It

Messenger-style bags are often used as diaper bags. Lots of pockets and zippered compartments make this style of bag easy to organize: put diapers in one pocket, fresh clothes in another, snacks in a third…you get the idea. The padded cross-body strap keeps the bag secure and gives your back and shoulders more ergonomic support than a one-arm carry.

Keep in Mind

It can be tricky to easily access the contents of your bag. The foldover front that gives the messenger its signature style can be aggravating to open and close for some parents.

Popular Picks

Mark & Graham x pbk Camo Diaper Bag, Skip Hop Duo Signature Messenger Diaper Bag, Little Unicorn Rambler Satchel

The Tote Bag

Why We Love It

With its diaper-bag-that-doesn’t-look-like-a-diaper-bag design, large, open storage space and one-shoulder carry, the tote hits the mark for function and style. It’s perfect for the parent who likes the look of a traditional bag or who wants a diaper bag that will double as a work or laptop bag. And the tote has plenty of space for everything you’ll need for a day out with baby.

Keep in Mind

One of the things that’s great about a tote—the large, versatile storage space—also makes it easy for items to get mixed up and fall to the bottom of the bag. That can be frustrating when you’re trying to quickly find that pacifier for your fussy baby. (Any type of small, removable organizers are a great solve for this issue.) Also remember that totes usually don’t have a cross-body strap (although some do come with that option, which is ideal), so there’s always the chance of your bag slipping off your shoulder.

Popular Picks

Lassig Mix ‘N Match Diaper Bag, Ju-Ju-Be BFF Convertible Diaper Bag, Bella Tunno Boss Diaper Tote, Ju-Ju-Be Wherever Weekender

Choosing what’s right for you

Now that you’re up to speed on what’s out there in the world of diaper bags, don’t hesitate to go to a store and test some out. Zip and unzip, check out all the features and carry the bag around for a few minutes to get an idea of how it feels on your shoulders and back. Soon, you’ll be ready for all kinds of adventures with your little one.

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