Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Q&A: DITCHING THE DIAPER BAG


Note: Over the past few months I've received a few emails from readers asking for input regarding diaper bags. Here's my two cents:

I lucked out and had a pretty easy going pregnancy. In fact, the most complicated part of those 39 weeks was making a decision about what diaper bag I'd use when Max arrived. Once October rolled around and the love nugget made his grand entrance, I was still without a technical diaper bag. For months, I looked all over the web at various options. While there were plenty of cute bags available, I couldn't find anything to fit my personality or aesthetic. When I did come across a tote I sort of liked, I had a hard time justifying the price tag. Diaper bags can be awfully spendy and even the best options still look rather dowdy. For me personally, the whole dilemma felt forced. Now I realize this all sounds slightly haughty, but I'm a bag lady who takes her tote game seriously. 

In the months leading up to your baby's birth, everyone LOVES to tell you how your life is going to change and they're right in a lot of ways. They love to remind you of all that you will have to give up and the little luxuries you'll have to learn to forgo. Perhaps I'm just a tiny bit (A LOT) stubborn, but I refused to bid my favorite bags adieu. I don't know about you, but depending on my mood or outfit I like to switch out my accessories. And if my wardrobe is already limited because of the babe, you better believe I'm going to turn to my trusty bags and shoes for a little pizzazz. Over the past seven months I've learned any tote can be transformed to be tot ready.

The first time I ran errands solo with Max, my bag was chock-full of unnecessary items. As a VERY new and inexperienced mom, I wanted to be prepared for anything and everything—even a zombie apocalypse. There was so much stuff crammed into my tote, I almost began to question my decision to ditch the diaper bag altogether. When I finally arrived at the register to checkout, I was one frazzled hot mess. I couldn't find my wallet or the pacifier I placed aside to silence my wailing newborn. It felt like a disaster and my Type-A(shley) personality knew I needed to reassess my bag game BIG time. Later that afternoon when we got home and Max was asleep, I dumped everything out of my tote and started fresh. After many trips into town, I've narrowed it down to these necessities.

THE ANATOMY OF A MOM BAG:
  • THE TOTE // You may be devoted to a bag you already own, or you may look at having a baby as an opportunity to treat yourself to something snazzy. Either way, there are plenty of great options available at various price points. For a splurge, I look to my favorites: J.Crew and Kate Spade. I've also had a lot of luck at Target, Zara, and H&M. When I'm not carrying around something colorful or trendy, I rely heavily on my Transport Tote from Madewell—superb quality and a fabulous neutral option. In the event we're traveling long distance and have to bring more of everything, I really love my Market XL Tote from Herschel Supply Co.—so many great patterns and machine washable.  
  • ZIPPER POUCHES // Baggu had some amazing zipper pouches in various colors and prints. I have some that I bought awhile back, but after putting today's post together I realized they're not that easy to find anymore. Aw, shucks! Bring them baaaaaack por favor! At any rate, I bought this set from Eagle Creek when we visited my parents and they work just as well. In fact, with the exception of stuff I keep in my clutch, I can successfully fit all of Max's necessities in the medium-sized pouch. When I look at the graphic I created it's hard to believe, but I assure you it can be done. Note: Whenever I go to the store for a few items, I like to keep a foldable/reusable bag (like these from Baggu) in my tote just in case there aren't any shopping baskets available, which always seems to be the case at our Walmart. 
  • YOUR CLUTCH // I like to keep my stuff separate from Max's for organizational purposes and convenience. Finding my keys and wallet is so much easier when stored separately. Ain't nobody got time for digging around a "diaper bag" in a state of panic. I've found that it also makes it a lot easier to grab my main essentials if I choose to switch bags, or for special instances when I run errands alone. I typically stow necessities like my wallet, tinted lip balm, and sunnies in my favorite clutch (Blair Ritchey). In case of emergencies, I carry along a Tide Pen and Chewbeads now that Max is teething. 
  • DIAPER DUTY // In most cases, we make short trips into town so we don't have to worry about taking A LOT with us because we're always pretty close to home. I like to keep my bag stocked with OXO's travel wipes dispenser, two diapers, a tube of Aquaphor (multipurpose ointment that can be used for a variety of things), one disposable changing pad, and this diaper bag dispenser. After a few blowouts, I quickly learned it's nice to have this dispenser on hand to store dirty clothes, etc. I have a cute travel changing pad that I used initially, but since we rarely use it and it's kind of bulky, I swapped it out for one of the disposable options from Munchkin. Note: The Diaper Bag Buddy featured in the graphic is something I keep in the glove compartment in our car just in case of an emergency.
  • ODDS & ENDS // In addition to the items already mentioned, I like to keep an extra onesie handy in case Max makes a mess. I've learned that it's also a good idea to keep a small toy on-hand to keep him entertained, especially if we're waiting to checkout or he's teething. While Max never really took to a pacifier, I keep one in my tote just in case. Sometimes it's nice to shove in his mouth when we're stuck in a long line and he's getting extra fussy. It never seems to work for long, but I figure it's worth a shot. Now that Max likes to feed himself, I typically bring a transition cup along with some formula. I've found it keeps him satisfied when we're working our way through HEB or Walmart. 
  • MISC. // When we traveled with Max to visit my parents this spring, I ordered this diaper bag insert and it was incredibly helpful when keeping my oversized tote organized. There were tons of various pockets to hold bottles, diapers, etc. If you don't want to rely solely on zipper pouches, this is an awesome option to transform any tote into a diaper bag.

To all the moms out there, what are some of your necessities? Where have you found cute diaper bag options?
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