What’s in a (Diaper) Bag?


By: Tamara Bailey

“Pretty soon I’ll be lugging around a diaper bag”, lamented an expecting mom I know. I can commiserate. Before baby arrived, my son had just turned two and I had gotten used to keeping our  bag in the car or leaving it at home for shorter outings. I’d cram a few granola bars in my purse and pray that my son wouldn’t get thirsty because squishing a sippy cup in didn’t really work. After the birth of my second child, I ended up carrying around my purse and the bag, mostly because I got a new purse for Christmas and was determined to enjoy it even though it looked like I was going on a major expedition with all the bags and car seat in tow.

Like it or not, motherhood means you are suddenly responsible for keeping track of necessities for your child even if it means shlepping them around in a knapsack. These days there are many different options for diaper bags from super-cute, high-end designer to utilitarian and functional, for either sex, and for big or small trips.  My Ju Ju Be Messenger bag continues to serve our family quite well, but if I were to look for a new bag, this is what I’d be sure to search for:

Structural Integrity

I have learned the wisdom of avoiding the floppy bottom bag. Digging around for my car keys in a loose big bag is just not fun, especially with a screaming baby in the background. I shudder at the thought of digging around for wipes in a blowout scenario.

Lots of Compartments and Pockets

I often see moms with bags overflowing with items. Keeping each item in a designated place saves you precious time. You don’t have to think (which trust me, is a good thing if you are already sleep-deprived) if the change pad, diapers, wipes, a backup outfit, and the all-important “bags to dispose of dirty items” have their own compartments. Additional slots for baby food, a bottle/sippy cup, a few small toys, a nursing cover and my wallet and keys makes me feel more prepared.

Portability and Accessibility

Having a shoulder strap is very handy to be able to reach into the bag with one hand and get items while carrying it. I’ve been caught in change rooms with no hooks or shelves to sit the bag down and have become a pro at balancing baby on a table and changing her with the other hand.

If you primarily wear your baby when about town, a knapsack style might be great. If you mostly go to places where there are more amenities available for your child, a small bag is likely all you need. Or you might just find keeping a large bag in the trunk of your car does the trick.

Keeping it Useful

All these things said, a bag is only useful if you know what’s in it. If the bag is doing double duty between parents, it is very important to keep each other informed of what’s in the bag. Honestly, it can be pretty easy to arrive home from an outing, shove the bag in a corner and forget about it. A good practice is to restock the bag right away so you can use it again at a moments notice. No one wants to be on the hunt for the necessities when the next poo disaster hits!


Tamara Bailey is mom to a sweet 2 year old and adorable 5 month old, and wife to an amazing husband. When not sorting Lego and diapers, she enjoys her role as Leader, Technical Communication at PMC-Sierra, a semiconductor innovator that designs products enabling storage, optical and mobile networks. You can connect with her on Twitter @tam_ba.

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