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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 – 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
 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
 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.

I’m leaning towards stocking a smaller grab-and-go sort of bag:
something like the Skip-Hop
  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.

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
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.

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.

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
– diaper ointment
4 – hand sanitizer, for all those people
wanting to hold the baby
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
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.

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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