Choosing A Diaper Bag: A Guide for Overwhelmed New Parents
The paradox of choice makes choosing a diaper bag one of the most overwhelming experiences in new parenthood. You may ask a parenting Facebook group for recommendations and you get 100 answers with conflicting advice—that don’t even fit your style. But finding a bag with a few pockets is all you need, right? Not exactly.
Here are some important things to consider when choosing your diaper bag, like must-have features, types and sizes, and lifestyle fit for your new stuffable sidekick.
Types of Diaper Bags: Pros And Cons
Shopping for a diaper bag is like shopping for a purse—different strokes (and styles) for different folks. While there’s a spectrum of fashion and function, know what type of diaper bag works for your family. Here are the pros and cons of popular styles as a starting point.
Let’s start with the GOAT. We’ve tried every option, and backpacks are the most comfortable and versatile.
Pros: Hands-free(!!!) and better for your posture when worn correctly. Accessible for those who use mobility aids and most caregivers. Tend to have better fasteners than totes and messenger bags, making them a spill-friendly option.
Cons: Quality matters—cheaply made backpack styles may cost you your sanity and cleanliness. A backpack may not go with that ballgown you’re planning to wear for your cousin’s wedding.
Totes are carried on one shoulder or arm with handles, making it a popular grab-and-go diaper bag style for busy caregivers. Like a purse, totes come in various fabrics to match any outfit.
Pros: A minimal aesthetic and structure for throw-and-go storage. Great for using minimally (like with older kids) or for formal/professional events.
Cons: Not the best for your posture, especially if you’ll be carrying around a baby or toddler all day. Hauling liquids can be a nightmare. Easily spills contents if not fastened.
Messenger-style diaper bags have one long crossbody strap and a liftable flap. These tend to be easier to open on a table and see contents but aren’t always the most comfortable or convenient.
Pros: Great visibility into the main compartment. Relatively hands-free.
Cons: Uncomfortable for wearing long periods and can get heavy on your strap-bearing shoulder. Like a tote, can also spill easily depending on the closure style.
Diaper Bag FeaturesOnce you’ve decided on a style, it’s time to think about what makes a good diaper bag for you. Features most parents will need include:
- Pockets: All the pockets. Baby items are small, and there are a lot of them. Pockets help keep things organized and accessible.
- An expansive main compartment: You want to fit and see your toddler’s favorite lovey, an extra outfit, and a sippy cup but without diving into The Upsidedown.
- Insulated cooler pocket: Whether you’re toting bottles of formula, thawing breast milk, or ice pops for the pool (good luck), you’ll need a spot to keep them in the diaper bag with temperature control and leak prevention.
- Easy closure mechanism: A huge zipper hidden beneath three different origami flaps is more hassle than it's worth. Huhu’s Everyday Baby Bag has a magnetic fid-lock closure for single-handed opening and closing.
- Accessories: A changing pad, extra storage pouches like these, and name tags are handy bonuses.
- ID tag: Remember those 17 identical tags at the playground? It happens. Make sure your tag is clearly labeled with your family’s name and contact info.
Other Considerations for Your LifestyleA diaper bag is only as good as how it fits into your life. Here are more considerations new parents can easily overlook.
- Size: Kids change quickly, as does what you need to haul around. You may not be able to fit all the newborn gear in a small tote, but you don’t need to carry a gigantic duffle bag for your five-year-old.
- Material: How sturdy is the material? This is where high-fashion bags sacrifice function. Your diaper bag is predestined to go through all the wear and tear. Choose a waterproof, easy-to-clean material, especially if you’re an active and outdoorsy family.
- Weight: You don’t want a heavy bag carrying your heavy baby stuff, especially if you plan to use and wear it daily. Our Everyday Diaper Bag weighs less than two pounds.
- Aesthetic: Aesthetic is about personal style but gets tricky when partners or caregivers share an accessory. Make sure all regular users sign off on looks!
- Price point: Determine your budget for a diaper bag, keeping in mind the cost-per-use formula (aka value = how much you’ll use it). Beware of the low-end bags for lack of durability, but there’s no need to spend an arm and a leg on something that will likely end up with milk or juice stains.
- Longevity of use: Diaper bags aren’t just useful for the diaper stage (which can seem like forever). As your family grows, your load will, too. Consider if you’ll enjoy using the diaper bag in another year or five.
Go Forth And Find Your Perfect Diaper Bag
Fashion! Functionality! Fun-size!
There’s so much to consider when choosing a diaper bag for your family: style, features, accessories, and more can influence your choice. The good news? You’re not stuck with what you put on your registry.
While we’re the first to admit there is no such thing as ‘the best diaper bag of all time” for everyone, Huhu hopes to get pretty dang close. Sign up to be the first to know about our official Huhu Everyday Diaper Bag early-access release.