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Bag Ladies

By Amalah

I desperately need to seek some advice from a fashionable mom/advice columnist.
Hubby and I are expecting our first (a girl, which may or may not be relevant to this question) in the beginning of June, and I have recently started the online search for a cool/hip/functional diaper bag. It’s been a little overwhelming especially since many of them are not cool or hip at all. I’m sure you know what I mean!
It would be great if I could make my husband carry it sometimes too, which means it probably shouldn’t be pink or fluffy. I have heard from others that I will actually be happier with several bags (one for just me, one for me/husband together, one for daycare, etc) but I don’t know if that’s true. I don’t have any objections to this situation since I love bags anyway. One more caveat is that I am not a very tall person, so I don’t want something huge and bulky that will dwarf me and tip me over.
Would love some advice on this burning issue so I can look like the cool mom instead of the one carrying around an extra piece of luggage.

Okay, first of all, yesssss. You will be happier with several bags. Get your husband his own bag and then get one for yourself. And then maybe another one. Later. As in: not now, when you really don’t know what is actually required to go in the bag. (I packed up my lovely diaper bag weeks before Noah was born and pretty much his ENTIRE NURSERY DISAPPEARED INTO THAT BAG.) Now I’ve finally learned to streamline, but also decided that I am a big fan of functional, multi-pocketed bags instead of the big black hole types that offer one bottle pocket and that’s it.
I once asked my readers for advice in finding the Perfect Bag, and oh my god, look at the response I got. So many cool and gorgeous bags. You might want to spend the rest of the day checking out those links — am pretty sure a lot of them still work and are still drool-worthy.
Personally, I went out and bought the first bag that struck my fancy at the store, and then bought another one a couple months later, and now we’re up to about four or five bags. None of which I’d call “perfect” but all of which get heavy regular use.
Anyway. Now for the links!
skiphop.jpgFor your husband, go small and utilitarian. We got this cool backpack from Columbia, and then later got the over-the-stroller bag by Skip Hop. (I actually carry the Skip Hop one most days too — it may not be super pretty or purse-like, by hot damn, it’s a well-designed little bag.) I also kind of dig the look of the Baby Bandolier. (Cool Mom Picks actually have reviewed a bunch of guy-friendly bags.) There is also the Diaper Dude line of just-for-him diaper bags.
Okay, now on to what’s really important. YOU.
I bought a Petunia Picklebottom bag, but can really only give it a half-hearted thumbs up. It’s gorgeous at first, but eventually kind of loses its shape and looks kind of squashy now. Plus it just doesn’t have enough freaking pockets. I have similar complaints about the Coach tote I got as well (I went to a factory store and found a nice plain black one for cheapish), because both bags just tend to turn into bottomless pits right when you REALLY REALLY REALLY need to find your keys or a pacifier or burp rag. But! They are so lovely, and the perfect choice for when we’re going out for dinner and I’d like to look nice and stylish.
(Hey! I just noticed that the Picklebottom bags now have FOUR bottle pockets. Argh! Not fair!)
Most other times? The Skip Hop wins. I really do love that bag.
SoySauce.jpgBut I’m still learning. Now that we’re past the age of bottles and 20 explosive poops a day, I got a Diaper Valet and keep that in the car (along with the changing pad from the Coach tote), which frees up valuable real estate in whatever bag I’m carrying. Honestly, remove the diapers and wipes and I can get away with using an actual for-real normal-sized purse! What a concept!
Other bags I’ve seen moms use and looooove: the 2 Red Hens totes, the Fleurville Mothership, and (if I could ever make up my mind for more than five minutes) I’d totally go for one of these custom-designed bags from 1154 Lill Studio.

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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  • Maria

    March 19, 2007 at 11:25 am

    You might look at Lands End. The bags aren’t as stylish as the ones Amalah linked to, but they are inexepensive, indestructable, and super practical.

  • CallistaWolf

    March 19, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    We got my husband a Diaper Dude and I got one of the Wendy Belissimo bags from Babies R Us. Truth? Diaper Dude gets the most use. That is one DEAD HANDY bag. My husband loves it too, which helps, and he can’t wait until the baby is done with is so he can use it for other things. Seriously.

  • Stacitee

    March 19, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    I agree about the Skip Hop bag. I have one too and it is my favorite!
    And yes, more than one diaper bag. Consider a small one for the trunk of each of your cars (you know, just for emergency diapers, wipes, outfit changes… and possibly an extra pacifier).

  • wilddreemer

    March 19, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    COACH COACH COACH COACH…Oh and I made my hubby have his own bag and I have my own and my parents have one and so on

  • cagey

    March 19, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    I’d like to 2nd the “get one bag now, then get a few later”. When they are newborns, you want to carry EVERYTHING. Then, eventually, you get to a point where you can leave the diapers and such in the car. I finally ended up with black leather Coach bag that is tote-ish and then I have a smaller Coach bag that fits inside the larger bag. The larger bag mostly lives in the car trunk, but I adore that I don’t have to cower in shame when I do need to carry it around.
    My “real” diaper bags consist of the Eddie Bauer mini-tote and the backpack – both were indispensable when my son was younger. If you are going to be traveling a lot, like we do, I really recommend a backpack for when your baby is younger. When you are dashing through an airport with a baby in a front carrier, it’s convenient to have your hands free for luggage and such.

  • sundayschoolrebelsam

    March 19, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    We’ve finally found out the sex of our kidlet, so now I can shop for all the accessories. I’ve bookmarked the Skip Hop bag and the Diaper Valet – even though I know all my Southern, monogram-happy friends will gift me with other lovely things.

  • jane said

    March 19, 2007 at 11:26 pm

    If you want to go cheaper – we registered at Target and they had an Eddie Bauer, backpack diaper bag. We have used this one all the time. the two elasticized side pouches are great for quick-draw bottles or babyfood jars. The front zipper pouch has always held their immunization records (something we’d always forget, so now they don’t come out) and through almost 3 years and two kids there is very little raggedness going on. I’m totally against multiple bags because I can not have 3 of everything to lose. 1 clothes change, 3 diapers, 1 wipes travel box and bottle(s)+mini cooler all fit nicely. Plus it is quite ambiguous and nice to be able to carry like a backpack.

  • ikate

    March 20, 2007 at 9:53 am

    I bought 3 bags when prego – two from Ebay and one on-line. We got the Combi Urban Sling from some discount place online, this was my husband’s choice. I got the Skip Hop Duo and a Loom Marsupial on Ebay (New with tags) for about half the price.
    The Loom was my first choice – seemed very practical and decent looking. I didnt’ like the looks of the Skip Hop but it got such great reviews. I used both for a 2 week block and the Skip Hop won. Amy’s right, that’s one damn fine bag. I re-sold the Loom on ebay.
    The Urban Sling is also used a ton for short trips. It fits so well you hardly feel like you’re wearing it and it holds more then I thought it would.
    (Note – I’m the mother of a 6 month old who WILL NOT take a freakin’ bottle. Or eat solids well. Ugh. So the only things I have to haul are diapers, change of clothes and a couple of toys.)

  • wilddreemer

    March 20, 2007 at 11:01 am

    And another thing, I just found out I’m pregnant with baby number two, and now I log on to see a post about diaper bags, and even though I’m only 4 weeks along I want to run out and purchase 43 diaper bags! Thanks guys….really, my husband thanks you for this. Good thing I already pointed out the new Coach spring ultra mega super jumbo diaper bag WITH AN ACROSS THE BODY STRAP to my mommy!

  • SprengBlingBling

    March 22, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    About three years ago, I fell in love with the Kate Spade diaper bag and told my mom if I ever got pregnant, that’s the bag I wanted.
    We announced the pregnancy and a week later, I had myself a sleek, black Kate Spade bag and I was so happy.
    It’s stylish and very minimalist and holds all the crap I need. But like you said, only two bottle pockets and it’s a gaping black hole. BUT I refuse to give up on it and am still singly devoted to it at almost 14 months!