If you’re like me, you hate lugging a traditional diaper bag around in addition to a handbag.
Something about all the pockets and compartments and giant multi-colored polka dot patterns screaming “Look at me! Look at me! I’m a mommy!” just turn me off. Not that there’s anything wrong with motherhood of course, or broadcasting it for that matter, it’s just that the three children trailing behind me at all times are pretty good at screaming that I’m a mom for me.
So, yeah, I’m a mom and I need to carry diapers on my person around the clock. I currently have two children in diapers (although we’re working on changing that with the toddler), so there’s lots and lots of diapers a-changin’ over here.
Over the years, I’ve owned a diaper bag or two or three. Some were very generously given as gifts, others purchased when my first son was born and I was under the assumption that you had to own an actual diaper bag and couldn’t under any circumstances just own a handbag that doubled as a diaper bag. I ended up ditching the diaper bag a couple weeks after my second son was born. They were never big enough or functional enough to hold all the contents of my purse in addition to my baby gear and, as I mentioned, I’ve never liked the idea of having to carry both a handbag and a diaper bag. Plus, their busy, baby-centric patterns always seem to clash with my outfits, unless I live in one solid color and I tend to wear prints.
With my second son, I realized it’s so much easier to streamline the process and pare baby gear down to the essentials. About three years ago, I purchased a giant, slouchy leather handbag with shoulder straps and magnetic closures that I still use daily as a combined handbag and diaper bag. It works perfectly with any outfit, whether the kids are in tow or I’m out solo. If the kids are with me, I just toss in a few toys for the baby, a great oversized cotton, washable clutch I purchased from H&M for like $6.95, which I use for diapers and wipes (it’s so functional, I bought two and use one as a cosmetics bag and you can find similar bags on Etsy) and my trusty nursing cover for feeding on the go. If you’re formula feeding, just use a second cotton clutch to hold bottles (cotton is great because it can be tossed in the washer after any bottle leakage and it’s more eco-friendly than using plastic bags).
I really enjoy the ease of traveling light because — while strapping and unstrapping kids in car seats and strollers a zillion times a day — I just can’t be bogged down by any more stuff. I find that having a large catch-all handbag that can hold both mommy gear and baby gear combined, is essential. In my opinion, there’s really no need to carry two bags.
Here’s my handbag, which I purchased from Banana Republic. It’s still holding up quite well, even after enduring baby spit up, food spatters, spilled juice and an occasional poop explosion over the years:
These are the contents of my
diaper bag handbag on a typical day for the baby: diaper clutch to carry wipes and diapers, toys and teethers, a spare outfit, a portable fruit mash which is great on the go, nursing cover and maybe a light weight muslin blanket (I live in Southern California, so it’s rarely cold and even a lightweight blanket is sometimes overkill):
Recently, I stumbled upon a great tote while cruising Marshalls, which I grabbed for $19.99. I thought it was the perfect bag for an overnight with the kids or as an alternate “diaper bag” to change it up a bit, or when I’m not wearing a pattern it might clash with. It’s extra roomy and sturdy and can basically fit the entire nursery in it:
or at the very least, a 20 pound, 7-month-old baby boy.
So there you have it — the non-diaper bag, diaper bag. Proof that you don’t have to spend a fortune on a fancy baby bag to make traveling with baby stylish, functional and affordable.