How to Choose the Right Diaper Bag For You
If there are so many great diaper bags out there, how do you sort through all of your options to find the best diaper bag for you? Here are some things to consider:
Before you choose a bag, you’ll need to make a decision. Do you want a traditional bag? Or a backpack-style bag? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each:
Traditional diaper bag
- Versatile: Many traditional bags have the option of two straps to carry by hand or a shoulder strap to sling over your shoulder
- Roomy: Traditional bags hold more than a backpack-style bag
- Easy with good visibility: Open the zipper and throw things in. This horizontal storage makes it easy to find things fast.
- Heavier: A full tote is much heavier than a full backpack
- Harder to carry: Weight is not evenly distributed across your shoulders and back
Backpack diaper bag
- Easier on your back: Wearing a backpack distributes weight evenly, so you’re less likely to experience shoulder or neck pain
- Compatible with babywearing: Even with a back carry, you can easily wear the backpack on your front
- Less space: Backpacks don’t fit as much as traditional bags
- Vertical: You may end up digging for things since the vertical orientation makes it harder to see everything at first glance.
How many compartments do you really need? This is a personal decision, and it primarily depends on how you plan to use your bag. For instance, a cloth-diapering mama of twins will need considerably more space than a mama with one baby who only ventures out for a short period of time each day.
Consider getting a bigger bag if you:
- Are out of the house for hours at a time (playdates, errands, etc)
- Cloth diaper
- Have more than one child
- Need to bring your breast pump with you
- Travel regularly
This is what sets a diaper bag apart from other bags. Many bags feature special compartments to make your life easier. Examples include:
- Sections for baby bottles
- Easy access to a compartment for wipes
- Special features for mama, including fleece-lined sunglass pockets, key hooks, pacifier places, etc
- Waterproof sections for dirty clothes (it happens!) and soiled diapers
Material is the toughest criteria when it comes to choosing a bag. Most diaper bags are not made of natural or eco-friendly materials, because they feature waterproof linings and pockets made of harmful plastics, like PVC or neoprene. Ideally, look for materials that are natural, including cotton, leather, or hemp.
Tip: If finding a natural material is a priority, you may need to expand your search for a diaper bag to include other types of bags—bags that aren’t necessarily labeled as a “diaper bag.” There’s no rule that says you can’t do this, and it will open up your options tremendously!
This is a personal preference, but one that makes shopping more fun. Some diaper bags look like slightly larger purses, while others look more playful. And some bags are gender neutral, so you can easily switch between mama and papa. Once you know what you need, have fun exploring your options, and pick the style you like best.
The Bottom Line
The right bag, filled with the right essentials, can really save you in a pinch. But ultimately, the one you go with should fit with your lifestyle—not be a burdensome extra. Before you select a bag, ask yourself:
- When do I plan on using this bag?
- Will I use this on public transportation a lot?
- What do I plan on carrying? A breast pump? Lots of bottles?
And, hey, maybe you don’t need a diaper bag at all! Many mamas get by just by keeping a few essentials in their purse or car. Do what works best for you!
How About You?
What is your go-to diaper bag?