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Bagging It

I'm back from a three-day weekend visiting my new nephew (more
on that later), and finally have a chance to check in on last
week's poll and how you deal with the Diaper Bag Dilemma.

Almost half of you have only one bag, which also acts as your
purse. A few confessed to being a diaper bag addict , the new
accessory obsession for mommies, while a couple of you said you've
got a few bags that you choose from depending on how long you''ll
be gone. And one person admitted to carrying a diaper bag and
separate purse, and feeling like a pack mule.

I have to say at the outset of this article that I haven't
solved this dilemma myself. I'm not one of those people who
collect diaper bags as the mommy upgrade for satisfying your purse
fetish; the thought of changing diaper gear too frequently exhausts
me. Nor have I surrendered and begun using the diaper bag as my
purse; I still carry a separate , though slim , purse with me most
places I go. I have a couple different of diaper bag "plans",
depending on how long we'll be gone from the house, so I guess
I'm all over the Dilemma map.

I carry the Skip-Hop Duo diaper bag. It's amazing for
urban living , it's slim and unobtrusive, clips easily to a
stroller, is machine-washable, comes in several cool fabrics and
colors, and at around fifty bucks is significantly cheaper than
many of the pricier, more stylish diaper bags like Fleurville or
Petunia Picklebottom.

As much as I like the diaper bag, though, it's still
significantly larger than my purse, so I don't take it with us
unless we're gone for more than a quick errand. It's stocked for
emergency clothing changes, plenty of food, a couple toys and board
books, and some drink toppers that adapt any water or juice
bottle to a leakproof sippy cup. I'll take it along for a meal
out, to church for the day, a trip to the shopping mall or target,
and so on. But I don't enjoy lugging the thing to the park, or
even a grocery store run.

So I'm leaning towards stocking a smaller grab-and-go sort of
bag: something like the Skip-Hop Pronto  that has the
essential space for wipes and diapers, and not much else. At this
point, though, I've not taken the mini plunge; I mean, if I'm
going to do something like that, why don't I just shove a diaper
into my purse?

Which leaves me with my current situation , a smattering of
solutions, none of which I really love. For what it's worth,
though, here's what's important to me.

No matter where I am, here's what I consider essential:

1 , at least one clean diaper

2 , a Ziploc of a few wipes

3 - a bit of snack food , a small tub of Cheerios or an
individual container of applesauce

4 , hand sanitizer

These are the minimum items I need to, say, get through the
grocery store. A toy or two would be great, but keys work in a
pinch, and let's face it, the snack's just as good of a
distraction most times. The sanitizer is nonnegotiable since Maddie
spent time at the grocery store one day playing in the raw chicken
packs in the grocery cart , wipes just don't cut it.

Right now, I've got our stroller permanently stocked with these
things. A handy clip-on sanitizer dispenser dangles from one
stroller handle, while a mini clip of wipes (they're for
hands or messes, but are all-natural and can clean bottoms in a
pinch) hangs from the other. With a spare couple of diapers smushed
in the storage basket and an emergency container of applesauce
(with spoon) in a small pouch, we're pretty ready for emergencies.
Of course, I often have the diaper bag with us, and on park trips
I'll put in fresh snacks to "save" the emergency one, but it's
nice to know I'm always at least marginally prepared.

Keep in mind, too, that Maddie's 16 months now, and so we're
not changing diapers as frequently as we used to. I'd probably not
be venturing from home nearly as much without a fully stocked bag
if she were, say, six months old. If I were stocking a new diaper
bag for a new baby, here's what I'd consider "essential":

1- diapers , at least 4-6

2 , wipes , a travel container, replenished frequently

3 , diaper ointment

4 , hand sanitizer, for all those people wanting to hold the

5 , at least a full change of clothes, and probably an extra
onesie on top of that

6 , a gallon Ziploc bag, for storing the clothes that got poop
all over them

7 , a laminated card listing all the "emergency" contact
numbers, such as your family cell phone numbers, the pediatrician,
and so on. The laminating's optional, unless you enjoy it as much
as I do.

8 , a couple of burp cloths, for burps, spills, or even a diaper
in a pinch.

9 , spare nursing pads for when you start leaking

10 , a small toy or two, preferably chewable

11 , some sort of Tylenol that you can take while

As you can see, the list is considerably longer. I just don't
need to carry that much gear for every trip now, and so I'm
wrestling with the best way of dealing with the Diaper Bag
Downsizing. I firmly believe that however big your bag is, you will
fill it, so I try to stay on the smaller side; if I had an enormous
messenger bag that I used as a combination purse/diaper bag, it'd
weigh 30 pounds and I'd swear every piece was essential. So I'm
still attempting to go small. It just doesn't always work. If
you're shopping for a diaper bag, I'd say you want one with a few
compartments, a changing pad, a space for your cell phone etc., a
holder for a bottle or sippy cup, and that's it. Having an
insulated compartment is a bonus, first for breastmilk and then for
chilled teething rings, but not essential. All the extra gadgets -
like a full manicure set, or loops for brushes and so forth - were
unnecessary to me. Go for one that's machine washable if you can,
since you'll be spilling strained squash in it at some point.

I'm guessing I'll end up buying a bag slightly bigger than my
purse, stocking it with the "essentials", and then throwing my keys
and cash into it as I head to the grocery store. And many of you
probably don't stress so much about traveling light, since you
drive most places rather than walk or take public transportation.
For those of you in those ranks, with your large, stylish,
well-stocked diaper bags, I have simply one question ,

Can I borrow some wipes?


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