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Diaper Bag Round Up: Good Enough Stuff

By Erin Garner

With the arrival of the new baby you trade in your mini clutch and your stilettos for a bulky diaper bag and comfy flats (and probably a pair of maternity jeans). Well, you need not throw fashion out the window --there are plenty of diaper bags to smooth your transition from chic gal to hot mama!

By Erin Garner

With the arrival of the new baby you trade in your mini clutch and your stilettos for a bulky diaper bag and comfy flats (and probably a pair of maternity jeans). Well, you need not throw fashion out the window --there are plenty of diaper bags to smooth your transition from chic gal to hot mama!

My search for the perfect diaper bag initially focused on function. I settled on a casual diaper backpack that my husband would be equally comfortable wearing. But I quickly tired of the unfashionable, gray bag. I needed something new. Welcome home Fleurville Sling Tote! My hot new bag with pink stripes and green accents was way too cute for him, but just right for me and all my baby essentials. The Fleurville Sling Tote has an easy to clean surface that's PVC-free and it even comes with stroller attachments -- a new and welcome trend in diaper bags.

Are you looking for something to spice up your mommy style? Here are some tips to help you find the perfect diaper bag. First, size up what you carry. Do you go on all-day outings or short trips to run errands? Do you change your baby with every drop of spit-up, or let him sit in the onesie until it's soaked? Can you leave home with just your wallet and ChapStick? Or do you bring your hairbrush, make-up, iPod, Palm Pilot, and laptop everywhere you go? Visualizing what you need to take with you will help you decide how big a bag you need.

If a quick trip is in store or you are a minimalist, try the Fleurville Escape Pod ($49.95). This small diaper bag includes a wipes case, changing pad and carabiner-style key hook and has room for your wallet, cell phone, a change of clothes and some lipstick. Like most of Fleurville's bags, it has an easy-to-clean surface and comes in several colors and patterns -- tres chic! (I recently saw a bag that looked just like the Escape Pod, except with a picture of Winnie the Pooh on one side, for around $12 at Target.)

Fleurville Mothership Bag
If a large bag is your style, try the Fleurville Mothership Bag ($139.95, or get the similar-looking Trend Labs Messenger bag online at Wal-Mart for $34.88) --my friends love this bag because its many compartments make it easy to keep track of everything; the Posh Baby Ultimate Diaper Bag ($175)--it has a water-resistant exterior and includes the 'bum rug' (a.k.a. changing pad); or try the Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Backpacks ($158). This one includes a removable dirty diaper pouch, a built-in changing station with detachable pad, and straps that go from backpack to shoulder bag. All three of these big bags come in fabulous fabrics, so your husband will love it! Not! Next, consider how you will use your bag. Are you the outdoorsy type who needs a rugged bag that can stand up to the wild? Or do you prefer to brave the largest malls? Select a bag that suits the tasks at hand. A fancy, silk brocade bag, like those made by Petunia Pickle Bottom or Wal-Mart's Pretty Baby Asian Print Bag ($19.97), may be perfect for treks to the mall, but not great for a day at the park. These bags are surface washable, but I'd be curious to see how they stand up to repeated soiling. A more durable bag is the Skip Hop (starting around $50), available in canvas, corduroy or denim and in many colors and styles. They even make a new double version of their popular Duo bag. This one is up to the task when it comes to carrying lots of stuff for two or more kids and it attaches to a side-by-side double stroller! I recently used mine on a long flight and had no trouble carrying everything I needed for both kids and my husband and me.

Who will carry the diaper bag the most? If it's baby's dad you're buying for, Diaper Dude has some very cool manly bags. Their smallest bags, the Mini Dudes cost around $36. Their larger Dude bag costs between $50 and $98, depending on the fabric. Eddie Bauer's Mini Coordinator diaper bag ($17.99) and their larger Weekender ($34.99) are perfect for dad with their simple design and neutral color options. Both of these bags are available at Babies 'R Us. Dad Gear has some great messenger style and backpack style diaper bags and even a diaper vest if he's not interested in carrying a bag.

2 Red Hens Whole Roost Bag
If you're not new to the world of diaper bags (i.e. you have two of each bag I've mentioned so far) or you prefer something different (i.e. your friends all have two of each bag I've mentioned), you may want to consider a more unique bag. 2 Red Hens Whole Roost bag ($98) has a distinct design, comes in several prints and colors, has a vinyl outer layer and is large (20" x 13"x 7"). And, you can feel good about buying one because 2 Red Hens contributes a portion of each sale to cervical cancer research. If you're into retro designs, Holly Aiken Diaper Totes ($152) and Messenger Bags ($165) will fit the bill. These bags are very cool with their geometric designs and vinyl construction. If you epitomize refinement, Sally Spicer bags ($100-130) should suit you well. Sally Spicer makes backpacks, totes and messenger style bags in several prints. The Amy Coe Belle diaper bag is navy with brown trim, has several exterior pockets and does not look like your typical diaper bag. For $24.99 (only at Target) the Amy Coe bag is also easy on your pocketbook. If money is no object (and you want a bag few people have because few can afford it), go for a Mia Bossi bag, which costs up to $1200. These bags are beautiful and very fashionable--you'll probably continue to use it long after baby is out of diapers. (For that price, I hope you'd be able to use it until the baby's in college!)

My creativity award goes to Reese Li bags. The Cambridge bag converts from tote to stroller bag and will even attach to the grocery cart. This bag has length adjustable handles and a waterproof interior. The Georgetown bag (which does not convert to a stroller bag) is perfect for the truly fashion savvy. This bag comes with three different ribbon belts that can be swapped out to change the look of the bag. They suggest using your own belts and scarves to expand the fashion-versatility of this bag; the possibilities are endless.

So, do you really need a diaper bag? A newly pregnant friend of mine recently asked me why she needed a diaper bag--couldn't she just carry any bag? Well, the answer is absolutely. Just choose carefully--do you really want poopy pants and spit-up-covered burp cloths in your favorite bag?

Erin Erickson Garner is a writer and a specialist in maternal and child health. She currently is home with her two young children except for Saturdays, when she and her mom co-host the Good Enough MomsTM radio show on WFMP-Radio, FM107.1 in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Categories: Babies, Advice, Ideas & Stories, Children, MomShare,

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