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How to Select the Right Diaper Bag

Updated on November 15, 2012
Select a diaper bag that will meet the needs of your baby while making life easier for you.
Select a diaper bag that will meet the needs of your baby while making life easier for you. | Source

With a baby on the way, one of the most important things you will need is a well-stocked diaper bag. With millions on the market, how to do you select the right one for your family? The best place to start is to consider your budget and your travel or outing habits. Diaper bags are meant to carry a few of the essentials as you're out running errands or taking a day trip with your baby.

Other things to consider when choosing a diaper bag include:

  • Size
  • Compatibility with a stroller
  • Needs of the baby or babies if you have multiples
  • Overall style
  • Durability
  • Funtionality

What is your budget?

Diaper bag prices cover the spectrum from inexpensive to very expensive depending on the brand and style. Determining how much you want to spend will help narrow down the choices as you shop. Do you have a particular brand you want to stick with? Did you get a recommendation from a friend? You can shop online for a specific brand and then price compare other websites and retailers to find the lowest price for the item. If you visit a store, you could also have them price match an item to get the most savings.

How much does your baby need for the day?

A typical newborn will need a diaper change approximately every 3 hours, so if you are going to be out for a long period of time, you'll need 3 or 4 diapers and a package of wipes for changing on the go. If you have multiples, you will need 6-8 diapers plus the wipes. Do you use baby powder? Do you use diaper ointment? Do you want your own changing pad? All of these items will need space in your bag.

Is your baby breastfed or bottle fed? Your bag will need space for bottles, nipples, container of formula, or extra water. If you want to cover up while breastfeeding, you may want space for a privacy drape or receiving blankets. As your baby gets older, you'll need space for jars of baby food, eating utensils, bowls and snacks.

After you have considered how much your baby actually needs while you're away from home, you can select a bag that will carry that much stuff, as well as keep it organized. Look for a bag with mesh pockets on the inside lining of the bag to hold travel size changing supplies like powder, wipes, and ointment. Outside, side pockets are perfect for extra bottles and nipples. There are small snap-on pouches for pacifiers to make for easy access when your baby starts to cry or fuss.

Who will be carrying the bag?

Choosing a size and style that fits the baby's needs are the most important factors to consider, but another angle is to think about who will actually be carrying the bag most of the time? Most people assume that Mom will be the one with the baby all the time, but there are thousands of stay at home dads or dads that want to take on errands with their children. My husband pointed this out after taking our daughter to the doctor's office. He was a little embarrassed to carry the "bright purple purse" around with him, even though he and everyone else knows its for the baby, it was still something he thought about. What about diaper bags for dads? There are styles and colors that will make Dad happy and do the same job as the pink or purple bags.

A diaper bag is not meant to be a fifty pound monster that drags on your shoulder every time you leave the house with your baby. If you have just enough supplies to get you through your outing until you come home. A few diaper changes, change of clothes, supplies for feedings, and maybe a few small toys are all you really need.

If you get a bag that is too small, you might not be able to fit all of your supplies in it, but if you get a bag that is too big, you might overfill it and be overwhelmed with your huge diaper bag, then add the baby carrier, purse, stroller, cup of coffee, etc. that you will also be carrying.

Choose a bag that will hold the things your child needs and that is styled to fit your family's personality and preference. Convenience factors like extra pockets, a clip for car keys, a strap that fits on your stroller handles, a changing pad, or a pocket for baby wipes are all very nice things to have when you're out and about with a small child. Look at bags with one strap or bags that are more like backpacks with two straps. Shop around for the best price and don't settle until you find the exact bag you want.

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