I’m obsessed with finding a functional diaper bag that isn’t ugly and that will also hold my stuff. Yes, MY stuff. I have stuff that I need and it matters, dammit! All of it!
I spend a ridiculous amount of time looking up diaper bag reviews and watching a shocking number of YouTube videos of random people showing you the stuff they can fit in their various diaper bags.
Before I gave birth, I got a popular diaper bag by one of the more popular brands: the Skip Hop Duo.
I used it a few times but I found the strap cumbersome and uncomfortable to sling over my shoulder and I didn’t like the configuration of pockets. I like zippers and it had 2 deep front pockets that were open. And I found that when my wallet and makeup was in the bag, it was hard to get to the baby stuff inside.
I decided I needed a better bag that was easier to carry. Since I loved the design of the stroller straps that come with all Skip Hop bags, I wanted to stick with that brand and was torn between the messenger bag or backpack. I watched video reviews. I read Amazon reviews. I found both bags in stores and inspected them in person (as always, baby contentedly sat in his car seat stroller and calmly watched). I decided I liked the way the pockets were set up on the messenger and I ordered it for as cheap as I could find it.
After using it for about a month, I got tired of how stuffed it was all the time when my stuff was in there along with baby’s. Apparently this is a problem with the Skip Hop brand: when you use all the outer pockets, there’s not a lot of room in the inside of the bag. And I really don’t think I carry an excessive amount of stuff on a regular basis.
- Checkbook-style wallet
- Makeup (several lip glosses /sticks/balms, small blush compact, small concealer, small tube of highlighter)
- i Phone (often in my pocket if I’m wearing something with pockets)
- Box of mints
Ok, I probably carry too many lip products. But come on! I like variety! And my baby is still little so I will need more room for a few toys and books when he gets bigger.
I don’t want to be one of those assholes who carry around a million things to amuse their kid. But as it is, the bag is stuffed with just what I think are basics to be prepared for any outing of more than a few hours:
- 2 Avent 9 oz bottles and 2 bottles of ready to drink Similac- 8 oz
- 1 change of clothes (bodysuit and pants or footie pajamas if we’re taking baby out at night)
- 1 burp cloth
- 1 receiving blanket
- 1 small rattle
- 1 pacifier wipes holder and 2 pacifiers
- 1 tiny bottle hand sanitizer
- 1 tiny bottle of dishwashing liquid
- 4-6 diapers and a small plastic wipes case
- 1 small tube A&D ointment
- 1 tiny bottle of Cetaphil (for sticky poos!)
- The small changing pad that came with the bag
Anyway, I looked and looked and looked at a million bags. I’m very particular about having a place to put MY stuff. I’m also very particular about having a place to keep the changing pad separate. I always wipe down a public changing table before I spread the changing pad on it, but I still think it’s gross to have the changing pad just sitting right there in the middle of the bag. And I’m not even a germophobe!
Also, I wanted a simple design and many of the higher end bags are very colorful and I find a lot of the patterns hideous.
I liked the Marc by Marc Jacobs bags, but there was no outer pocket for a changing pad and they were crazy expensive.
Bags by Petunia Pickle Bottom got good reviews but I found the textured patterns hideous and the changing pad part is cloth; not easily wipeable.
I was almost ready to get the Le Sportsac bag but the plain black one had a black lining and I like a lighter lining inside so you can see what’s inside. And though I’m a fan of the brand, I wasn’t crazy about the other patterns available.
I finally found a cheap Fisher Price backpack whose pocket configuration suited my requirements. And it had great built in stroller straps that were easy like the Skip Hop ones.
I bought it and transferred everything into it before going out. As I was closing it, the zipper broke. I transferred everything back into the damn messenger bag and returned it the next day.
Beyond disgusted, I decided to take a break from looking and to just suck it up and carry a purse in addition to the messenger bag.
Also, because of the lousy selection of bags on the market and a poo stain on the changing pad that wouldn’t wipe off, I got a Skip Hop Pronto portable changing station with pockets for changing accessories (lotion, etc). The inside of the pad is very easy to wipe clean and I thought maybe I would just get some separate stroller clips and use a regular backpack as my diaper bag.
It’s very important that the bag is easy to carry on the shoulder, but also that it can be clipped to the stroller. I don’t like to just hang things off the stroller and I don’t like those little hooks that don’t close. I like a more secure clipping system.
Of course, 2 weeks after I resigned myself to the messenger bag, part of the inside lining completely ripped from the trim and immediately started fraying apart.
Again, I embarked on an obsessive search. This time, I embraced the idea of getting what you pay for. After once again looking at a million videos and reading a million reviews and trekking to a store with a good selection of higher end bags, I settled on the brand Ju Ju Be. Their bags are all coated in Teflon and all have definite “mommy pockets”. After much back and forth, I ordered the “Be Spicy“- a style which is unfortunately discontinued- in the one print that didn’t make me want to barf and was on sale for a good price.
I also got some separate stroller straps, in case I decide to just give up entirely and use a regular backpack.
My “Be Spicy” hasn’t arrived yet but I’m super excited! It looks really sturdy, the straps seem nicely padded and comfortable, the frame seems big enough to actually expand when you use the outer pockets. It’s pretty purse-like in appearance, so my husband won’t be thrilled to carry it, but he rarely takes baby out alone, so I think he can manage.
If this one doesn’t work out, I already have another bag in mind to try. I’m also anxious to see what will be new for fall.
And in the interest of reducing clutter, I sold the first bag and will return the second bag as soon as the new one arrives.
This whole process has been a bit fun but also frustrating. I guess I’m pretty nuts, but I find most of the bags out there to be awful.
I’m not complaining, though. What a terrible problem to have, right? I can’t find the perfect bag to lug around excessive amounts of designer lipgloss and basic items for my awesome baby who lets me take him everywhere without fussing all the time.
I guess I need a more productive hobby than shopping diaper bags. I will stop soon, I promise.