I’ve realised that I’ve experimented with 3 baby changing bags since HB arrived in August 2016. For some reason, I was quite fixated on having the ‘right’ baby changing bag, after all, this was going to be an extension of myself and the little one. I didn’t want one that looked ‘babyish’ – I figured I’d be looking mumsy enough (I’m very much a leggings girls). I also didn’t want one that looked too ‘posh’ – that’s just not me. I also wanted one which would be practical and easy to get things out of. In this post, I’m going to take you through the three stages of my Baby Bag evolution, in the hope it’ll inspire you to find the right choice for you.
We hadn’t spent that much money on stuff for HB in the run-up to his birth, so I was torn between feeling like I deserved to splash out on my Baby Changing Bag and wanting to continue being thrifty*. Turns out Baby Changing bags are actually quite pricey… so I thought f**k it, and splashed out.
The Storksak Noa, £79
I’d seen this in John Lewis and online elsewhere and thought it looked lovely. Smart, muted colours, no garish patterns and whilst I wasn’t so keen on the brown handles, I liked the main grey colour. It also looked roomy enough to carry what I needed for the little one, and myself (snacks, obviously). I also liked that it had several pockets, came with a changing mat and was waterproof (by this, I figured if I accidentally boobed milk all over it, it’d be ok…)
The reality: It was a lot heavier than I first anticipated, mainly due to the thick waterproof material. It was definitely sturdy and well-made and I liked that it came with a changing mat. There are loads of pockets inside which was great for having easy access to muslins, bottles, wipes etc. There are also lots of compartments outside too – which is fabulous for someone like me who likes to fill pockets with EVERYTHING, from tissues, to plasters, to dummies. However, it was more of a brown colour, than a grey, which, although surprising, didn’t bother me too much. We didn’t have a buggy for the first few weeks so it was a little awkward to carry both the baby and the bag, as it had an over the shoulder strap, and I ended up feeling a little lopsided. And when we did get the buggy, we got a Babyzen YoYo which is fantastic but as it’s so light, it can easily topple the pram over unless you’ve got it well counter-balanced.
Final thoughts: I loved the design and how durable it was but I’d have been better off with a rucksack.
Best for: The buggy (but only if you’ve got a sturdy one).
Fjallraven Classic Kanken, £80
I’d seen these foxy little numbers EVERYWHERE in the summer of 2016 and I was rather smitten by them. I even included them in my Christmas Wish List. I liked the fact they looked so simple, came in great colours (54!) and seemed pretty durable. I was lucky enough to get one for Christmas (thanks Rosie for taking the hint…), in Sky Blue. There are two flat pockets on either side and a small zip pocket on the front.
The reality: It’s more ‘boxy’ than I thought it would be so can stick out quite a lot when it’s on your back. I also had great trouble with sorting the straps but it turns out I was just being a little stupid (I blame it on baby brain). It comes with a rectangular foam insert which sits against your back to protect you from anything hard and knobbly you may have in there. In essence, this is a great idea, but also seems a little DIY (they claim you can take it out and use it as a seat) and can be a little annoying as it rides up so pops out the top of where it’s supposed to remain hidden. The zip opens the whole front As a baby changing bag, I use the side pocket to keep a water bottle in, the front pocket for tissues and small toys and within the bag, I have a packing cube which sits at the base which I put nappies, a change of clothes, foldable changing mat, nappy bags and wipes. I find it works well but it drives my husband mad as he’s too lazy to open the zip the whole way. I’ve actually got it down to a T, as if I face the zippered side to the front, I can reach in a grab what I need without needing to take the cube out. On top of the cube, I have another zip bag which I put milk and snacks in. Books and small toys fit alongside that.
Final thoughts: The backpack is comfy and cute and I can fit a whole bunch more in it than you’d initially think. I love how sturdy the material is (I think it’ll survive forever…) and whilst it’s a little tight on Tom, he doesn’t mind wearing it.
Best for: Practicality
Fact + Fiction Lea Backpack, £112.50
Formerly GymTote, Fact + Fiction is known for it’s stylish bags and innovative functionality. Their bags are sleek and sophisticated and out of the three bags, this one will set you back the most financially. The features listed are impressive – it’s made from material which actively removes smell, has many well-thought out compartments, from insulated ones to hold bottles to a breathable, bottom compartment which can be flattened when not in use.
The reality: The day I got this my sister came round and asked if she could have it. Normally, we don’t have the same taste (she thinks everything I have is a bit loser-ish, lovely sister that she is…) so that immediately told me it was covetable. It had its first outing to Kew Gardens with myself and my 19 month old. I really needed something to make me feel less frumpy, as 37 weeks at the time, I was starting to waddle and nothing fit properly. With so many compartments, I wasn’t sure where to put everything. In the end, I shoved the packing cube with his nappies in, into the main compartment and piled his food and snacks on top. I liked the generous front pocket, especially all the little pockets although it was only after that I twigged that they could be used to keep bottles cool or warm. This is a game-changer when you’ve got a baby! I was pretty keen to use the bottom separate section and had thought I’d use it for any dirty nappies but since most of the places I change HB at have nappy bins, that was a bit moot. Luckily (or unluckily), HB managed to tip a bottle of water over himself when I wasn’t looking which resulted in wet clothes and an outfit change. Guess where I put the wet clothes…?!
Final thoughts: I wouldn’t normally spend as much on a baby changing bag (I was gifted it), but because of it’s versatility and stylishness, I think it’s worth the money. It really does have everything you could think about and is a good mix of all my favourite features of the Storksak and Fjallraven – it’s waterproof, has loads of useful pockets, is comfy to wear, is easy to attach to most buggies and what’s more, it looks great. It’s not probably something that my other half would love to carry around but with the adjustable straps, he wouldn’t be able to claim it doesn’t fit! I’m also planning on using it as my gym bag once I’m back into exercise after number 2 comes along.
Best for: Glamming up your mummy outfit
* As it turns out, when HB arrived, we realised we hadn’t got half the stuff we needed (no one told us that 0-3 month clothes isn’t the same as ‘newborn’!) so ended up throwing money at the problem and spending ridiculous amounts on stuff we never knew we needed.