From diaper bag backpacks to machine-washable options, here are the best diaper bags to stash those baby (and mama!) essentials.
With a little planning and some thought, a diaper bag can be a mom’s best friend. You know, the friend who always has a spare quarter for the parking meter that only takes coins, the one who has a breath mint ready to go after a lunch date, or a spritz of hand sanitizer after an outing? That kind of friend.
Your diaper bag is your “Mary Poppins” go-to kit to help out in any sort of adventure you may counter while out of the house with baby. A good, organized diaper bag can not only offset some of the stresses of motherhood, it can be a fashion statement
What to Look for in a Diaper Bag
Before you start clicking away on any diaper bag purchases, there are some things you may want to keep in mind to help you find just the right diaper bag for your lifestyle. Take a closer look into the diaper’s bag:
- Function: What’s the purpose of your diaper bag? Will you be using it to transport little one’s stuff from daycare and back home or will it primarily be with you the whole time? Are you a suburban mom who uses your own car to get around (and thus have a place for back-ups and emergency changes) or are you a city gal whose baby transport mainly consists of the stroller?
- Size: Think about your current, everyday purse. Are you they type that packs something “just in case” or are you more of a minimalist mom? Does the thought of lugging around a carry-on sized diaper bag reduce your stress or does it make your back hurt just thinking about it?
- Fabric: Sure, that diaper bag may look cute but can you toss it in the washing machine? Is it the type of material that can take a beating for a couple years? (Keep in mind: chances are you will be using some form of diaper bag until the kiddo is out of diapers…and then some.) And what about that adorable flower design you have your heart set on? Will your partner be carrying this bag too? They might have different opinions.
- Design: Just like on clothing, pockets tend to be a mom’s best friend when it comes to diapers as well. Does your bag have enough of them and are they in convenient locations? Is there a place where you can stash a baby bottle and keep it warm? What about pouches? A changing pad? Do you need the diaper bag to provide them or will you provide your own?
- Straps: Do you favor a backpack, a tote, or want the option of both? The key questions about straps are: how many and where? Many moms find it beneficial to have the option to shoulder carry and backpack carry, so having a several types of straps is a plus. Other moms find excess straps to get in the way. Will you be attaching the diaper bag to your stroller frequently? Then you might consider a bag with stroller straps (or buying stroller straps as an accessory).
- Ease of cleaning: Seeing as this bag will be going along with you to most places baby goes along with you including, ahem, public restrooms, having an easy-to-clean diaper bag is imperative. If it’s not machine-washable, does it wipe down easily? Is it made with antimicrobial fabric? Is it stain resistant? These are just a couple questions to consider.
- Users: Sure, it’s a diaper bag and the diapers are for your little one, but it’s also a bag for mom and dad too. Keep in mind that this bag will most likely also serve as your purse too. Does your bag have room for some “mom space” where you can keep some go-to essentials?
Do You Really Need a Diaper Bag?
The short answer is yes. While it doesn’t have to be a designer bag right off the runway, you will need some sort of bag to hold baby essentials. Whether you are a minimalist mom who only needs a clutch or a “ready for anything” mom of multiples who needs something bigger, a diaper bag is an integral part of going on an outing with baby.
Another thing to think about is that you may want multiple diaper bags. Some couples prefer to keep their own diaper bags. Some moms have a diaper bag for short car trips and another larger one for longer outings. While there are tons of diaper bags to choose from, the upside is that there are diaper bags in all styles now to fit every occasion, from hiking with baby to attending a wedding. And if this diaper bag is going to replace your handbag from now on, why not have it represent your style?
Truly Mama’s Picks for the Best Diaper Bags
Skip Hop Forma Backpack Diaper Bag
From newborn to toddler, the Skip Hop Forma was designed to be a mom’s best friend. Pouches and pockets galore allow easy-to-reach access to all those diapering needs. With both cushioned shoulder straps and stroller straps, this bag helps you get up and go easily. An insulated cube is perfect for holding bottles while the mesh cube is a great place to store that extra set of clothes you’ll need when baby has a blowout. This bag also includes a cushioned changing pad in a convenient pocket that can one day hold your laptop when you’re out of the diaper phase.
- Dimensions: 16” L X 8” W X 14” H
- Fabric: Phthalate-free, PVC-free
- Spot clean or hand wash cold using a mild detergent & dry flat
- Best for: Parents on the go who need their hands free and a little help to stay organized
“I really love this bag, it’s perfect for me! For a changing bag, I need lots of different pockets/storage as I hate rummaging through a rucksack trying to find everything! The two pods in the front pocket are perfect storage for anything, I have a change of clothes in 1 and all my creams, tissues, spare breast pads etc. in the other. It has two pockets on the side for bottles/water bottles and the inside of the bag is huge and perfect for nappies, wipes, snacks etc. Can fit enough disposable or cloth nappies and wipes in etc. and comes with a changing mat for when you’re out and about which is great as I kept forgetting to pack my other mat before I got this bag. Would definitely recommend!” (Amy Bennett, Amazon Review)
Columbia Carson Pass Backpack Diaper Bag
Sporty on the outside, practical for baby on the inside: this Columbia Carson Pass Backpack Diaper Bag can keep you organized while you are on the go, whether it’s to the local playground or a kid-friendly day hike. Unlike a regular day pack, this diaper backpack is specifically geared for parents of little ones with 14 total pockets for storage, a thermal pocket for bottles, and even a pocket for the pacifier. The back is padded and straps are adjustable, making it comfortable for both mom and dad to haul around baby’s things. Another added feature of this sporty pack is its Microban antimicrobial protective lining on the included changing mat, white lined pockets, and main compartment, which protects against stains, odors, and product degradation. Plus, it attaches easily to a stroller handle, making it convenient to access everything you need, right at hand.
- Dimensions:02 H X 7.09 W X 16.9 D
- Fabric: Polyester
- Best for: Sporty parents on the go; great for parents who want a diaper bag to attach to the stroller
“Seriously, as a father and carrier of diapers, bottles, toys, burp cloths, changing pads, pacifiers, socks—I so wish I had known about this backpack before even the first kid. Now with a third child on the way, I can say: if you are tired of the HUGE bags you have to lug over your shoulder and in one zip the child can completely empty…This is the bag for you…” (Amazon Review)
Fawn The Original Diaper Bag
Sleek, stylish, with butter-feeling vegan leather and gold hardware, this beautiful diaper bag is a perfect combination of fashion and function. With 12 pockets (6 outside, 6 inside) to hold all of baby and mom’s stuff, The Original Diaper bag has a place for everything you might want to take. Its versatile design allows you to use it either backpack or messenger style and the convenient grab handle helps you make a swift exit. The faux leather material is also super easy to clean—just wipe down with a damp cloth and when your diaper bag days are over, this classic looking bag is one that can adapt to all your handbag needs. Keep in mind, this bag does not come with a changing pad, so you will need to add that on your own. However, Fawn also makes a changing clutch that could easily pass for a chic wristlet and pairs beautifully with the bags.
- Dimensions: 13″ H x 15″ W x 8″ D
- Fabric: Vegan leather, spot clean-only
- Best for: Parents who value both sleek style and practicality
“I’ve had this bag for over 3 years. It’s been through 2 kids and I use it every day. It has so many pockets inside and tons of storage room for all your littles necessities. The leather holds up really well and wipes off easily. The original size and the mini are perfect staples if you’re looking for the perfect backpack bag.” (Review on Nordstrom.com)
Skip Hop Pronto Changing Pad
Do you already have a bag you love but need to convert it to a diaper bag? Are you a minimalist mom who only needs the bare essentials and doesn’t want to get bogged down with carrying a bag everywhere you go? Then the Skip Hop Pronto might be for you. Whether you drop it in your bag, slip it on your wrist, or attach it to your stroller, the Pronto is ready to go with you on your next baby adventure. Equipped with not only a pull out and zip-off changing pad and wipes case, it also features a mesh pocket that can fit up to four diapers. The front zipper pocket can be used for keys, wallet, or phone. Compact and portable, this little powerhouse of a diaper clutch is easy to clean and the perfect accessory for quick trips.
- Dimensions: closed: 11.75” L x 4” W x 8.25” H; Changing Pad: 23.5” L x 21.75” W
- Fabric: Polyester; spot clean with mild detergent
- Best for: Turning any bag into a diaper bag, minimalist moms
“Works great. I now use this instead of lugging around a diaper bag (I leave that in the car) for my 8-month-old. It holds about 3 diapers, 1 onesie and pants, diaper cream, hand sanitizer, small stack of wipes and a couple small plastic bags for dirty diapers” (K.G., review on Amazon.com)
The company that made one of the first legendary luxury strollers, has also made a pretty great, no-nonsense and stylish diaper bag for parents on-the-go. Not just for Bugaboo strollers, this handy diaper tote can attach itself via Velcro to most strollers. Don’t let the petite nature of this bag fool you: it has been expertly designed to maximize usage to meet the needs of both babies and parents. Two front outside pockets hold a generous amount of stuff, from your wallet and keys to a spit-up bib and baby socks while a back easy access pocket is a great place to slip your phone. Inside, there is an insulated baby bottle holder, a large pocket with Velcro closure along with a back zippered mesh pocket perfect for holding a change of clothes or phone. The key feature that sets this organizer apart from the others is the easy transition it can make from stroller detachment to shoulder tote without any stroller hooks. This Bugaboo organizer makes a stylish, functional, and easy diaper bag for everyday outings and can be popped into a larger bag for longer, weekend trips with baby.
- Dimensions:80” H x 4.30” W x 11.20” D
- Fabric: 100% Polyester, wash separately
- Best for: Strolling parents, no-nonsense parents who want optimal organization with the smallest footprint
“Very nice looking bag, versatile–can be hung from handlebar (without hooks) or on the back of the stroller seat (came with attachable Velcro hook adaptors for hooking to back of stroller seat). Definitely holds more than I expected – no need for a diaper bag with this thing. I’ve used it on many different brands of strollers and even on our wagon! It’s AWESOME!” (Amber, Amazon Review)
Itzy Ritzy Diaper Bag Backpack
The Itzy Ritzy diaper bag backpack in coffee and cream is a fan-favorite diaper bag for a reason. It's incredibly stylish, functional to use, and beautiful to boot. Truly Mama editor and mom of five Chaunie Brusie swears by this backpack–and it never fails to collect legions of admiration wherever the bag goes. Her personal favorite comment from a waiter went something like this: "How do YOU have such a nice bag?" The features that make this bag shine are: a super-well insulated thermal bottle holder on the side for easy-access, three convenient (and deep) front storage pockets, a portable changing pad with its own slide-in pocket, plenty of storage, and Chaunie's personal fave, a structured, flat bottom to the bag so it stands up perfectly and won't fall over. The main part of the bag is also wipe-down-ready faux leather, so it's really easy to clean.
- Dimensions: 10.5 x 7 x 18 inches
- Fabric: Faux leather and polyester/wool blend
- Best for: parents who prefer a backpack diaper bag; multi-child families (this bag is pretty big!), or someone who just appreciates a stylish piece of baby gear
“I absolutely adore this diaper bag backpack. I didn’t discover the joy of a backpack diaper bag until my last baby and let me just say: life-changing. It’s been invaluable to be able to wear this as a backpack while wrangling all of my kids, including a baby and now toddler who has been super high-needs. I was a full-time pumping and bottle-feeding mom and this bag was roomy enough for me to stash everything in it and I LOVED the insulated bottle holder that was conveniently open on the side so I had easy access when I needed it. Plus, the rubber bottom that allows the bag to stand up straight without falling over is a feature I never knew I needed until I had it.” — real-life review, Chaunie B.
What to Pack in Your Diaper Bag for Your Baby
When packing your diaper bag, remember the following essentials for your baby:
- Formula (can be helpful, even it’s just as a back-up)
- Toy wipes
- Pacifier and holder
- Hand sanitizer
- Extra change of clothes (one size too big is fine)
- Burp cloth
- Infant medication, including Infant Tylenol, Infant Motrin, and EpiPen Jr., if your child has any allergies
- Snacks for mom
- Blanket (muslin blankets are versatile and don’t take up a lot of space)
- Nursing cover/car seat cover
- Diapers (1 more than you think you’ll need)
- Diaper rash cream
- A toy (not too many, optional)
- Disposable placements
- Plastic bags (essential for those poop blow-out situations)
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you really need a diaper bag?
If you ever plan on leaving the house, then yes. You may not need your mother’s animal-print diaper bag of the past, but you need some kind of bag to carry at least a few essentials, like diapers and wipes to get you from Point A to Point B.
Can I use a normal backpack as a changing bag?
Yes, but like everything, baby makes you adapt, so that favorite bag you have may need some help. Lack of pockets, specialty areas like coolers made for bottles and clips for strollers and changing pads may be an issue and are what give diaper bags an upper hand, but you can also purchase those things to add to your bag if you like.
Are Skip Hop diaper bags machine-washable?
Skip Hop suggests that you wipe down their bags with a damp cloth and mild detergent and air dry. They do not recommend putting your bags in the washing machine.
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