If you’re expecting a new addition to your family, you’ll soon find yourself puzzling over the many choices in gear for a new baby. And unless your baby is miraculously free of the realities of dirty diapers, you’re going to need a diaper bag. You may think you can get by with that little one they give you on your hospital tour. While that bag will certainly come in handy for little jobs, everyday use of a diaper bag requires the perfect combination of size and amenities.
If you’re expecting a new addition to your family, you’ll soon find yourself puzzling over the many choices in gear for a new baby. And unless your baby is miraculously free of the realities of dirty diapers, you’re going to need a diaper bag.
You may think you can get by with that little one they give you on your hospital tour. While that bag will certainly come in handy for little jobs, everyday use of a diaper bag requires the perfect combination of size and amenities.
Here is a guide to finding that perfect fit -- the bag that meets all your needs without weighing a ton. These six basic styles fulfill the requirements of nearly every parent.
The classic tote: This bag is all about economy and tradition. It’s one of the more affordable options on the market, and given its size, it can carry a lot of items. The heavy canvas and stitching and antimicrobial finish make this a bag for parents who want to use it long past the baby years.
Because of its simple style and myriad colors, it works great for both girls and boys, making it reusable for future babies, and you can turn it into your beach or market tote once baby is out of the diaper stage.
Reinforced handles and bottom help it stand upright. Three pockets inside provide organization without overdoing it. Totes like this are also known for their size. You’d be able to pack practically the entire nursery in this bag even if you’re just headed for the store. It’s can be monogrammed, too.
Canvas tote by Land’s End, about $23
The messenger: This is a great bag for parents who find themselves in need of both their hands because it can be thrown over your shoulder and across your chest, freeing your hands but keeping the bag on your hip where you can access items quickly.
It features 11 pockets in a variety of sizes. Special straps make it possible to connect the bag to practically any stroller. Magnetic closures are its best feature because they make it easy to get in and out of the bag with one hand when you’re wrestling a baby.
Dash Deluxe by SkipHop, about $60
The fashion bag: This bag is as much about the look as it is about function. It’s for the fashionista mom who’d like a bag that could be mistaken for a stylish purse and be worn with that little black dress. This model features pockets to keep your phone, wallet, keys and other personal items within quick reach. While it may look like a couture bag that needs to be protected, this bag is faux leather, so it’s durable, and the boxy design conceals nine pockets. If you’re looking for an even more luxurious look, Nest also makes the studded leather Elliott bag for $340 that’s used by supermodel mom Heidi Klum.
Faux leather quilted bag by Nest, about $175.
The backpack: For the hard-core trekkers, the backpack style is the most ergonomic and best for keeping your hands free. The key for parents that prefer the backpack style bag is comfort: You will find it’s much easier to fill up that bag with heavy items and lug it around when it’s strapped comfortably to your back.
This is a great style for parents who share a diaper bag, because dad won’t feel so conspicuous with its sleek, athletic look.
Best of all, backpack style bags can be opened much wider than most for finding items and easy cleaning. And like the classic tote, when baby is beyond diapers, it transitions perfectly to a bag for carrying your lunch to work. This model features a quick-release key fob and a pacifier pocket.
Trekster by Columbia, about $45.
The traveler: This is the option for parents who travel a great deal and need multiple bags. You’ll be the most coordinated parent in the hotel with this set. A main bag for daily use, a larger bag for traveling, an insulated bottle bag, changing pad and a dirty clothes pouch — all those options mean you’ll never leave home without a single item you need and you’ll satisfy your desire to make sure everything matches.
5-in-1 bag by Baby Boom, about $30
The sling: This is the bag for the parent that likes a little bit of everything: size, comfort, pockets, style. It comes in dozens of color combinations to suit dad, mom or baby’s style. It has 14 pockets for extreme organization, including special pockets for a cell phone and MP3 player with an outlet for the cord, insulated pockets for bottles and a pod just to keep baby’s pacifier clean.
It’s a good option for first-time parents that tend to bring one of everything when venturing out. The bag has a wide strap for those who need comfort and straps for attaching to a stroller. An across-the-shoulder sling style keeps everything comfy and within easy reach.
System bag by JJ Cole, about $70.
The Holland Sentinel (Holland, Mich.)