One of the things I was the most apprehensive about when I first had Bean Man was the diaper bag situation. I just didn’t know what to do with it. I couldn’t figure out what to carry in it, or if I should even carry one at all. When I went to the grocery store, was I supposed to take my diaper bag in, too? If we were going out to dinner, should I change out what was in the diaper bag that Bean took to daycare? And how the heck was I supposed to balance a baby, a baby carrier, and a diaper bag all without falling over? While I have learned a few things in my two and a half years as a mom, I still haven’t conquered the balance issue when carrying baby things. I fall or drop things quite often, I must admit.
The other questions, however, I have managed to figure out answers to. Diaper bags have different functions for different families, but here are a few tips we’ve discovered over the years.
Where do I take my diaper bag?† When both the kids were fresh out of the baby oven, I carried my diaper bag everywhere. Both Bean and Gracie had acid reflux, so spitting up happened often and was quite a production. My diaper bag was mostly a burp cloth carrier, really. We couldn’t go far without burp cloths, and so we couldn’t go far without our diaper bag. Also, with newborns or infants who spit up frequently, you need to have several changes of clothes handy, and a diaper bag helped with this. Once the babies were not spitting up so often, I found I could leave the diaper bag in the car sometimes if we were running in quick somewhere. The emergency phase was over, and should I need anything in the bag, I could get out to it quicker now that my babies were older.
Should I change out my diaper bag for different purposes? I tried this at first with Bean. When he started daycare, I had a big daycare diaper bag for him that he took every day and then I had a smaller weekend bag when we were running errands. I know some families who use this two-bag approach flawlessly, but for me it was a little messy. Things wound up in the wrong bag, leaving me at crucial times without something I really needed. It was more of a hassle to juggle two bags for me. What I ended up doing was using Ziploc bags to compartmentalize my diaper bag. I have one Ziploc with Gracie’s toys, one with Bean’s toys, one with a change of clothes for each kiddo, one with eating-out supplies (bibs, spoons, disposable placemats, etc.), and one with diaper changing materials (a diaper, a small pack of wipes, and a small tube of diaper cream). Now, depending on what we are doing or where we are going, I just pick and choose which Ziplocs need to go in or come out. It also makes it really easy to find things when you’re digging them out in public somewhere.
What kind of diaper bag should I buy? The first diaper bag I had was my absolute favorite. It was so functional, and totally by accident. I didn’t know what I was looking for when I bought my first bag, but I ended up discovering that my favorite kind of diaper bag is wide open with hardly any compartments. I loved the first because it was huge, easy to reach into, and had very few pockets for things to hide in. When that one was taken during our home invasion a couple years ago (we guess that they must have used it to carry things in?), I bought another one that was the same style. It is so convenient to be able to throw everything into the diaper bag and not have to worry about if I’m putting the bottle in the pacifier spot, or if the sippy cup is in the diaper compartment. Everything goes into the center and I used my Ziploc bags to compartmentalize myself according to my needs. To me, it’s just a lot easier to get into and out of if the central pocket is large with a wide open top. Just be sure to find one with a zipper. The diaper bag I have now is beautiful and very functional, but I do miss having a zipper at the top so that things don’t spill all over the place when your diaper bag tips over or when you bend down to pick up your baby with your bag on your shoulder.
I’ll do a few more Huggies posts this month about dealing with diaper bags. I’ll talk about what we pack in ours, what we’ve taken out of ours, and what we used the diaper bag for at different ages. Feel free to leave comments below giving your own advice about diaper bags. As a new mom, I think the black hole of a diaper bag is one of life’s greatest mysteries…
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