Diaper Bags, Updates

How to Choose a Diaper Bag

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Finding the perfect diaper bag, like finding any perfect accessory, really depends on your personal preferences.

You may be happiest with a repurposed purse or backpack from your closet, or you may fall in love with a designer diaper bag complete with insulated bottle pockets and a matching changing pad.

No matter your style, you’ll need a bag for all your baby essentials—which probably means more than just diapers. Here are some general factors to look for when selecting a diaper bag:

Plenty of Space

You’ll need a lot of gear when you bring a newborn on the go. Plan on putting at least 5 diapers, 1-2 baby outfits to change into, bottles and a blanket in your bag, along with your own essentials like wallet and keys. If you can, it’s also useful to fit an extra shirt for yourself in case the baby spits up.

Easy to Clean

Your diaper bag is going to live most of its life in close proximity to poop and spit up, so you may want to steer clear of materials that stain easily or are hard to clean.

Easy to Share

If other people will be taking care of your baby regularly, such as your partner or a nanny, it’s good to get their input as well. That way, you can choose a style that everyone likes. (Some families opt to get a special diaper bag for dad that doesn’t scream baby.)

Extra Features

Many diaper bags have hooks that let you hang them on your stroller handles. That’s a plus if you plan on taking long walks with your stroller, but first make sure your stroller is sturdy and balanced enough to not tip over. Look for interior pockets—they’re a handy way to keep things organized in a space as big as your diaper bag. Insulated bottle pockets are also a big plus if you’re using bottles (and a great way to keep your own water cold). And a zippered opening is a nice way to ensure nothing will fall out when you bend over to pick up your baby.

Messenger Diaper Bag

Skip Hop Dash Signature Messenger Diaper Bag <<$ price product>>

Messengers are traditionally used as diaper bags—and for good reason. Lots of pockets make your bag easy to organize: put diapers in one pocket, fresh clothes in another and snacks in a third. The cross-body strap keeps your bag secure and gives your body more ergonomic support than a one-shoulder carry.

The designated pockets can make this bag less versatile: the pocket that’s designed to perfectly fit a wipes case or a bottle may not work as well for anything else in the future.

Skip Hop’s Dash Signature Messenger Diaper Bag (shown here); Petunia Pickle Bottom City Carryall Diaper Bag.
The Tote Bag

timi & leslie Charlie 7-Piece Diaper Bag Set <<$ price product>>
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If you don’t like the look of a traditional diaper bag, you might enjoy a large tote, which closer imitates the style of a large purse. This fashionable bag can double as your work computer bag or even your everyday purse, and no one will ever know its usual job is carrying diapers and wipes. You can toss everything you need in and sling it over your shoulder for a day out.

Totes usually don’t have a lot of interior organization—it’s easy to lose Cheerios in the bottom of this bag. Most also lack a cross-body strap, which means your bag could easily fall off your shoulder when you bend down to hear what your toddler is whispering. If your heart is set on a tote, then you might be able to add a longer strap or use a removable organizer to solve either problem.

timi & leslie’s Charlie Diaper Bag (shown here); Skip Hop Greenwich Simply Chic Tote; Vera Bradley Stroll Around Baby Bag.
Backpack Diaper Bags

Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Backpack <<$ price product>>
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With plenty of space and the weight evenly balanced on both your shoulders, you’ll have no problem filling a backpack with all the essentials and then some. Most backpacks have plenty of pockets, too, so you’ll know right where to dig for snacks or your keys.

If you plan on babywearing, also carrying a backpack might get in the way. It is possible to wear a baby in front and a backpack in back (or vice versa), but you may need to build up your strength first! A backpack is also less accessible than a tote or messenger, since you have often have to take it off to reach inside.

Fjallraven’s Kanken Daypack, Freshly Picked Ebony Diaper Bag, Nena & Co. Convertible Day Bag, Fawn Design, Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Backpack (shown here), and Skip Hop Forma Pack & Go Diaper Bag Backpack.

See all of our favorites in our best backpack diaper bags guide and check out this Babylist Facebook Live comparing the features of some of these backpacks.
Choosing what’s right for you
Since your diaper bag might be your constant companion for the next few years, it’s important to pick one that’s right for your style and comfort. It’s a good idea to try on a few at the store before you pick one out. You could even test what it feels like full by putting your current bag or purse inside of it and then walking around with it slung on your shoulder. And remember that your needs will change as your baby grows—you might find yourself in the market for a new bag again after a year or two.

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