One of the top items on many new parents’ to-buy list is a nappy or diaper bag. It can shine like a beacon of hope against the fear that having a baby will mean you can never leave the house again. With a nappy or diaper bag you can hit the streets, hit the road, hit the town! Most people with whom I’ve worked nappy bags three or four times the size of their baby and filled to the brim.
I’ve already written about paring down your nappy bag so you don’t carry around more than you need. If you lessen the amount of stuff you bring with you on baby outings, then do you still need an expensive and large specialised nappy bag or just….you know… a bag?
#7 piece of baby gear you probably don’t really need: A specialised nappy or diaper bag
What makes a actual ‘nappy or diaper bag’ different from a regular bag?
- Size: Most nappy or diaper bags are over-sized like a swollen tote or satchel. There’s a sense the nappy bag should be big enough to carry everything you might possibly need, but what actually seems to happen is that you carry everything it can possibly fit, regardless of whether you need it.
- Aesthetics: The nappy or diaper bag often falls into one of two camps; super babyish or super stylish. Rather than chose whether to use a bag that announces your parenthood or one that defies it, why not use a regular bag that suits your style and budget that happens to have baby things in it?
- Pockets: Nappy or diaper bags should have lots of pockets and sections to divide (and conquer!) all of baby’s bits and bobs. This is undoubtedly a boon, but there are many and varied regular bags that have just as many pockets and compartments.
- Insulation: Some nappy or diaper bags have a layer of insulation, to keep milk and food warm or cool. This is a function that most people seem to use rarely and when you do, I think you’d be better off using a smaller – and more portable – insulated bottle bag or pouch.
- Cost: A nappy or diaper bag will cost you more than a regular bag because it is called a ‘nappy or diaper bag’. Like many designer items, giving something a desirable label boosts its perceived value. A messenger bag or satchel, backpack, tote, or any other regular bag may do just as well as a nappy bag without costing as much.
Benefits of using a plain old regular bag instead of the nappy or diaper bag
For me, it comes down to cost, usefulness both in the short and long term, and personal taste. I think a nappy or diaper bag is likely to be overly expensive, less useful than it seems in the short term and in the long term potentially useless (will you keep using the baby patterned bag when your own baby is no longer in need of it? Will you use the posh bag that hides plastic lined pockets when you go out with friends?), and I find them cumbersomely large.
When I put the question of nappy or diaper bags or regular bags to some readers of a baby forum, several said they had used one initially but soon realised it was more of a burden than a help. Some suggested using adult bags like I’ve mentioned, and others embraced the baby style but at much less expense by buying children’s backpacks. For my money, I’d prefer to keep a nappy or diaper wallet – which is just what it sounds like, a large wallet that fits a few nappies or diapers and wipes – along with a few other small essentials in a casual bag I can use both with children and without. There are lots of choices out there and they almost always cost less than the specialised nappy or diaper bags!
What do you use to carry your baby’s things?