I live in an ongoing tension between my desire to be prepared for anything that may arise and my aversion to excess. This was played out in deciding not only what type (and size) of diaper bag to purchase, but also with which items should go in the diaper bag. For the diaper bag, I had a couple musts:
1. Plenty of room for the obvious, but also little extras
2. Compartment for my stuff. I didn’t want to carry this bag AND a purse, so I needed part of the diaper bag to serve as my purse
3. Because it was going to serve double duty as mine and my daughter’s bag, I didn’t want it to look too diaper bag-y. In appearance, I wanted to be farther on the purse end of the scale rather than on the typical diaper bag end.
4. Seemingly contradictory, I didn’t want it to be too feminine. My husband needed to be able to take it with him and not feel like he was carrying a woman’s purse.
Thanks goodness for Amazon. It took a long time to find one that fit all of the criteria. We decided on the Skip Hop Grand Central bag. It was a lot more than I wanted to spend on a diaper bag, but more than one person warned me that the cheap bags were not worth it because they fell apart so quickly. I quieted that cheapskate voice in my head and purchased this bag.
I have not regretted it once. It does exactly what I wanted it to do. The middle compartment is sizable and fit all of her diaper stuff, a set of extra clothes, ointments, and a pouch with medicine and other toiletries. One of the outside pockets has a designated spot for my phone and worked perfectly to hold my stuff. We use the other outside pocket for toys or stuff for feeding.
One of the reviews I read said that they didn’t like it because it got bulky. It can get bulky, but that’s usually because we’re stuffing it full. One feature that I didn’t think would be a big deal, but that I have come to LOVE are the straps that allow it to easily hang on the handle bar of the stroller. They are sturdy and easily hold a very full bag, which allows us to use the entire under compartment of the stroller for other stuff without having to carry the bag on our shoulder. I do wish that it came with a long strap so that you could carry it across your body, but I’m not sure that a bag that size would be able to be comfortably worn on your hip.
Once we had the bag, we had to decide what to put in it. I handled this much the same way I handled all of these issues that came up with a firstborn – I went to Pinterst. I found a number of lists that were helpful, but almost all of them had a bunch of things on them that I didn’t intend on even using, let alone carry around in our diaper bag. Truth be told, in my tension between wanting to be prepared and my desire to not have a lot of stuff, more often than not, the minimalist tendencies win out. And if something happens, I make due with what I have. It is almost always sufficient.
I made a list of diaper bag contents before the baby was born, and, of course, it changed within weeks of bringing her home from the hospital. But not by much.
1. Diapers (obvi…)
2. Wipes – Hint: When our packages of wipes would get low, I would make them the diaper bag wipes so that I didn’t have to lug around 100 wipes. It was way cheaper than buying the small package
7. Medicines: Tylenol, ibuprofen, gas drops & corresponding droppers
11. Nipple Shield – This was an unfortunate reality for me, but using this was the only way I could nurse. I heard horror stories of how annoying it was, but I didn’t think it was that bad. I had two and kept one in the diaper bag, so wherever we went, I had what I needed to nurse her.
16. Clutch purse – I downsized my purse to a clutch so that I had everything I needed in one spot. The clutch fit nicely in the diaper bag, but when I didn’t have the diaper bag with me, I could grab the clutch and go.
As she got a little older, the only two changes were that I didn’t keep a change of clothes in there for her because she didn’t have blowouts anymore and there wasn’t the need for the swaddling blanket anymore either. The only addition I made once she started eating solid food was a container of cheerios. If we were going to need to feed her, I packed the diaper bag for that with food, a spoon and bib.
For the most part, I feel like I found the balance I was looking for. We always had what we needed, but haven’t had to lug around a bag that weighs as much as she does in order to be prepared for whatever her little life brings.