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Diaper Bags for the Hip Mama

I am a bag girl. I looooove a good handbag. What I really love is having a handbag that no one else has. BUT…since diaper bags tend not to be one-of-a-kind finds…mine are not all that unique. I have been able to test out a few of the very well known bags for mamas & definitely have a VERY clear favorite. Ready? Ready!

My diaper bag needs to hold a lot of stuff. Here is my bare essentials list:

  • wallet. I love my HOBO Lauren. It houses everything I HAVE to have, including my iPhone. This is my second one, Nordstrom replaced my first (which split) no questions asked. I carry this if I ever go anywhere by myself & transfer it bag to bag with all my “grown up” necessities.
  • Nalgene bottle + cap cap
  • Nalgene sippy + inchbug (this is the ONLY cup that doesn’t leak!!)
  • snack trap (filled with raisins)
  • costco wipes (half empty so it’s not so heavy–used to use the cute little thing that comes with diaper bags…but who has time anymore!)
  • hand sanitizer, alcohol free
  • an extra FuzziBunz diaper
  • books for caroline

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& here is the thing no one ever told me: if you breastfeed…you do not need to carry bottles. (DUH) Why that didn’t click in my head I will never know. BUT, when I left the house, I never needed anything but my hooter hider & stuff to change the baby. I could have definitely thrown a pad for changing the baby into any other bag & never needed a diaper bag at all. & in reality, I ALWAYS went to my car to change the baby (thus taking away the need to bring any changing stuff with me anywhere) and really, I almost always nursed either in the car or in a friend’s home, so the hooter hider lived in the car too. I think diaper bags might be a really good gimmick! But…I had them all…

The Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Backpack

purchased at: this was a gift from Nordstrom.

really great for: an over the shoulder or cross shoulder bag. Holding bottles upright. Keeping everything compartmentalized. Wearing as a backpack on the airplane, while wearing the baby in a carrier in the front.

not so great for: Holding a lot of stuff, if you wanted the flap to close neatly over the bag. If I stuffed it full, The flap would not reach the velcro & it ended up being really bulky. I also didn’t like long hanging shoulder bags–which is just a personal preference. It fell off my shoulder. & because I am busty, I don’t like to wear bags across my body.

what I loved: You can keep everything really organized in all the compartments. It is SO PRETTY. Loved the pattern.

what I wished it had: Just a different shape & mode to carry. It was not the right bag for me.

preference: bag # 4 of 4. Used this the least.

The Diaper Dude

purchased at: TJ Maxx. Lucky find. Only paid $40 on clearance. (about 65% off!)

really great for: A dude. (seriously, it’s a diaper bag that doesn’t look like one!) or a mom who is on the go & needs something very durable that she wants to wear as a messenger bag.

not so great for: a mom that really wants a diaper bag that looks like a purse.

what I loved: This bag fits like a glove. I normally do not like cross body bags, but this one I would wear. We used it for trip to the zoo or parks where we needed both hands & a bag that could hold up to dirt. My hubby really liked this too, but he only used it a handful of times. It can easily be stuffed under my bugaboo. & though you can’t see it, it does have the diaper dude’s standard triple zipper compartment under the flap.

what I wished it had: Hmmm. I am really happy with this as is. It’s a nice tough bag for a dude. or a mom.

preference: #3 of 4. Used less than 10 times total. But usually for family outings.

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Petunia Pickle Bottom Cake Cameo Clutch

purchased at: Hautelook.com on clearance

really great for: taking the bare minimum & throwing it under the stroller.

not so great for: holding a lot of stuff.

what I loved: it was a nice small bag that still had a changing pad that could fit my wallet + a diaper + wipes. I took the pad out now & without it, it can fit a sippy zipped.

what I wished it had: it was perfect for it’s purpose: a small multitasking bag.

preference: #2 of 4. I did use this bag, but never “carried” it. It was a nice little bag to consolidate everything I needed & throw it under my bugaboo.

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The Petunia Pickle Bottom Cake Cosmopolitan Carryall

purchased at: Bloom Maternity a local shop, now out of business :( for 20% off during a holiday sale. fun fact: I bought this bag two weeks after the positive pregnancy test…it was the first & only baby item I bought for MONTHS! I bought it right away because it was part of a rare sale & these NEVER go on sale. & I knew it was the only bag I wanted. :)

really great for: daily use as a purse/diaper bag. Even padded enough to toss in your DSLR!

not so great for: mamas that do not want to carry a bag on their shoulder

what I love: My friends joke that this is my mary poppins bag–this sucker can hold EVERYTHING! I love the strap length. The internal & external pockets. This bag has been used every day for 19 months & it still looks brand new with not a speck of wear & tear. I can fit it under the bugaboo. Sippies can sit upright. It stands upright on its own. My nalgene fits standing up. I can use it as a purse & no one suspects it is a diaper bag.

what I wished it had: The *only* thing I wished is that there was an easy way to attach it to my stroller. BUT…I know stroller clips are dangerous. (my pediatrician friends say DON’T USE THEM!) So I am kind of glad I am not even tempted. :) It does fit under my bugaboo.

preference: #1 bag. Use EVERYDAY. love. love. love.

So…let’s help all the new mama’s out–what was/is your favorite diaper bag? Why do you love it? What diaper bags did not live up to your standards? I am always eager to hear about products I have never seen before, so please tell me about all the fabulous stuff I am missing! :)

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  • The Up North Writer Mama - I have a Skip Hop Versa and I *LOVE* it. It’s a wonderful diaper bag, and doesn’t look like one. I love that the handle is so easily adjustable, so it can be carried on your shoulder or cross-body. It has a zipper that helps expand/shrink it according to what size you want and need. It’s so practical and a nice size (plenty of space, but not overwhelmingly huge).

    I have a Tignanello leather shopper that I also really like (it’s beautiful and looks pricier than it was… they’re impossible to find now but I got it on clearance at Younkers). It’s perfect if I want a bag that can go from handbag to diaper bag, but I don’t carry it if we’re out and about for the whole day, or going somewhere for a long time where I might want something easier to carry.

    My disappointment was my Coach diaper bag. It was so pretty and I thought I’d love it… but it ended up being too heavy and awkward. I still have it, but it will probably end up being a laptop bag for me in the future.ReplyCancel

  • The Up North Writer Mama - Oh, and I forgot to mention that you have lovely taste. :) Diaper bags don’t have to be cheap nylon with Winnie the Pooh on them! Which is fine if you don’t mind, but I was a total handbag gal prior to baby and I still want to carry something stylish, you know?ReplyCancel

  • Esme - Oh I want your #1 and #2 picks…diaper bag envy for sure!!! But I just can’t spend that on a diaper bag right now!!! Maybe one day…I have the Kate Spade ‘Aubrey’ Nylon Baby Bag and I love it!!! It is simple yet classic. Holds everything, several compartments and zippered pockets!!! So glad you shared all your lovely bags with us!!!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - I love my JuJuBe Packabe for long days out on the weekend. I can fit everything in this bag for 2 cloth diapered kiddos and still have room to spare. It can be used as a shoulder bag or a backpack which is a nice feature. My daily diaper bag is a large Coach bag that I used to use for work. It is Huge. Although it is not a “diaper bag” It has all the requirements of being roomy having 2 outside pockets with magnetic closures and a couple of inside pockets. It is the most beautiful burgundy suede with chunky hardware and it still looks great after 5 years of use. I passed down my black Target Skip Hop to my husband when I relized the Coach bag would work.ReplyCancel

  • Ruthie - LOVE this bag!! PPB is my fave. I have the weekender bag and, to be honest, it is way too big and not structured enough (it’s really ‘floppy’) to be my everyday diaper bag, but is perfect for vacations and stuff. I’m definitely going this route instead for my ‘everyday’ bag.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - I use a Coach diaper bag that I managed to get for like $100 at the outlet. It definitely can hold a good amount and has lots of pockets, but seeing as I’ve never tried anything else I don’t know if I would like something better. I’m kind of jealous of your cake bag, and am almost tempted to ask for one for my birthday. Except I was going to ask for the Kelly Moore bag. Hmm…

    You have a lot of sweet bags. I’m way jealous.ReplyCancel

  • meghan - I had a cute little stylelish one for Haley, but when Kale came along there just wasn’t a 2nd arm for holding stuff besides a kid and a hand. So, I went to a really great North Face backpack (Mentor) with a nice green color to it. It had external zipping pockets that held each kids’ sippy upright and separate, plus about a million hiding places. I was able to keep my stuff in the very front, diaper stuff in the middle, and the back always held an extra set of clothing (potty training and a newborn = 2 sets), and a sweater or something warm to throw over them. It’s now their overnight bag and just something great to have when I need to carry a bunch of stuff for them… ie the zoo, because we’re just about out of the double jogger so no more stroller to throw things on the bottom of – I need it on my back.ReplyCancel

  • Monica - I have the Coach Alex, and really like it. It has lots of pockets inside and even with those full of “must haves” there is still plenty of room left for a few toys, FuzziBunz, my wallet, etc. I will be glad when it is actually warm enough outside to not have to pack extra blankets and such. My husband thought I was nuts to spend that much on a baby bag, but once he saw it actually had alot of space he was onboard, he new I had a Coach obsession before baby, glad he didn’t expect that to change. However, I do LOVE the look of your PPB carryall…may have to have 2 bags to choose from…sounds like a great Mothers Day gift to me ;)ReplyCancel

  • Erin - I knew that I was going to need a diaper bag that stood the test of time and so I went to my friend that has 3 children and said give me the skinny! She has been through so many diaper bags and finally landed on the Fleurville Mothership.

    I love this thing so much I bought my sister one for her 2nd child and made my very closest friend buy the same one.

    I have the White Corduroy Bag (http://www.babybox.com/fldibagwhco.html) which you can buy at that site by calling them.

    Here are a few reasons why I love it:

    – The outside is vinyl so you can easily wipe anything off
    – The shoulder strap is thick and is rubberized underneath so it doesn’t keep sliding off your shoulder.
    – It’s a big mama. I can fit 8 diapers, a change of clothes, a changing pad, a full size bag of wipes, a few toys, a bottle, formula dispenser and nothing is spilling out the sides.
    – When I’m done using it as a diaper bag it will be just as nice for a carryon or beach bagReplyCancel

  • molly flanagan - love your mary poppins bag! geez, totally forgot about needing to buy a new diaper bag. silly me had mine monogrammed for the first 2… so now i HAVE to buy a 3rd. :-)ReplyCancel

  • Ashlee - Can you tell me where you got your Nalgene sippy & the cap cap? I would love to find both somewhere I won’t have to pay for shipping.
    Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Baby Shopaholic - Just read your day in the life on Domestic wanabee! I actually bought the PPB Cake bag too, but sold it on Ebay because I ended up with a different stroller and it didn’t match! Now I don’t care and think I will get another one. I have the diaper dude too! Mister uses that one.ReplyCancel

  • kate - just came across your blog and i love love love it! so cute!!
    thank you so very much for the awesome reviews…just what a mama needed:)ReplyCancel

  • Renee - I have the Kate Spade Stevie Diaper Bag. It’s a perfect bag for holding three kids worth of stuff! It can hold sippy cups upright, cloth diapers, change of clothes, wipes, etc. You name it and it fits! It’s kind of like your “Mary Poppins” bag.ReplyCancel

  • Hwannie - Great post! I have a toddler who just turned 2 years old. What kind of things do you carry for your daughter now that she is 2? I feel like I’m still carrying the whole kitchen sink with me, and I know I can pare things down! Any tips? Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • cutediaperbags - Thanks for giving such a nice information and a helpful blog.
    cutediaperbagsReplyCancel

  • timi & leslie Rachel Diaper Bag, Caramel | Demo Site 1 - […] FEATURED timi & leslie Rachel Diaper Bag, Caramel Insulated bottle holder with clip-on handleStroll…mel" src="http://howtobuildupconfidence.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/4438e_Clutch_Bag_51p2g-Ny1WL.jpg" alt="timi & leslie Rachel Diaper Bag, Caramel" /> […]ReplyCancel

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