Diaper Bag Essentials | Stylish and Functional Diaper Bags DO Exist

The Bag | Grey Fox Co. Diaper Bag in Pebble

I.LOVE.MY.DIAPER.BAG. Next to the magic sleep machine, this is my favorite baby purchase. I spent months researching different diaper bag companies, styles, features, fabrics, sizes, even colors until I finally settled on the Grey Fox.

After using it for a couple months, I’m just as thrilled with it. This bag gives me everything and I like to use it even when I’m not with Theo because it looks so damn good. Here’s a breakdown of why it works so well for my lifestyle:

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Backpack vs. Side Bag

This bag is versatile, it can be worn as a side bag over the shoulder or it can be converted into the very popular backpack style.

I always wear it as a backpack because it is so comfortable and it’s really helpful to have my hands free and not constantly readjusting a shoulder strap when I have a little one to wrangle. C is also totally cool with throwing this on as a backpack when he needs to haul Theo’s gear. The straps are breathable and padded and really easy to adjust when we’re trading off who is in charge of the bag.

Fabric

I really didn’t want a diaper bag I couldn’t clean and maintain easily. This meant anything cotton, linen or even leather (I’m not ok with scratches either). I need something like my changing pad: wipe it down with a wipe or a tide pen and go. I just don’t have time to stress about how the bag looks, I need it to function on the highest level, hide the fact that I’m a bit of a mess, and not make my life harder.

Thank you, high-quality vegan leather. It’s just so simple to maintain. The fabric was so important to me, I even asked the company how they recommend cleaning the bag and how easy it was to do on their Instagram stories. They were amazing at getting back to me and it really sold me on the light gray color too, which I was a little unsure of at first because of course I’m going to spill coffee on it. At least once. They also offer a really great medium-toned brown (Acorn), and a classic black (Inkwell). After using the bag for a couple months, I’m happy to say it still looks pristine.

Compartmentalization

I may be in the minority here (don’t hate me for this!), but I really don’t like to use small inner bags inside a main purse, or in this case, diaper bag, to organize all my stuff. The whole Russian nesting doll style of bag organization just takes way too much time when you need something on the fly and for me, nothing ever ends up back in the right inner bag. Shit is everywhere.

With this in mind, I really needed a diaper bag that had enough compartmentalized spaces built in so that smaller, inner bags were unnecessary. This bag is FULL of different compartments and inner pockets – more than I’ve even used yet! The main compartment (accessed from the front) is roomy enough to hold my wipes, diapers, burp cloths, changing pad, swaddle blanket and extra outfit, with room to spare.

There are lots of inner pockets here to stash small things like nipple cream, diaper rash paste, or teether toys. The upper compartment is smaller and accessed from the top of the bag. This is my spot for things I need most often and quickly: my wallet, sunglasses and lipstick, as well as Theo’s pacifiers, which conveniently get tucked into the two paci-sized compartments with elastic tops to keep them secure.

My wallet gets stashed in the zippered pocket because it’s safer. Next, I love the genius back pocket that can fit a laptop or tablet. It also has a divider in case you’re stashing files or papers back there too. I LOVE this as a working mom whose laptop goes almost everywhere with her. I also stored all Theo’s hospital records there during his first few appointments. Last, the insulated side pockets! These are what really set this bag apart.

here are two and they’re perfectly sized for bottles, sippy cups or adult-sized beverage containers. I prep and store bottles in there every time we go out. No other bag compares to this level of organization and it’s perfect if you need to be able to work on the go when you’re taking care of your little one.

Size

I wanted a bag that was big enough to be a mobile baby care station, but not so overwhelming that it felt like a piece of luggage.

This bag strikes just the right balance – it’s roomy and fits my whole life, but it isn’t too big to wear as a backpack or hang from the push handle of my stroller. It’s comparable to the size of a great work bag that will accommodate a laptop, some files, and all your accessories. I looked at a lot of photos on the company’s instagram to make sure I liked the scale when it was being worn by actual people.

This is such a great way to get a sense of whether it will work for your lifestyle and daily baby needs.

Style

This bag LOOKS as stylish as it is functional. It doesn’t resemble a traditional diaper bag. It looks more like a really chic work bag. The grey color also comes with gold hardware, which I’m a big fan of.

Inside the Bag

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Gathre Changing Mat

Marpac Rohm White Noise Sound Machine

Sugar House Muslin Swaddle Blanket

Burt's Bees Burp Cloths

Burt's Bees Sleeper Extra Outfit

Bibs Pacifiers

Como Tomo Bottle (5oz for newborn)

Seventh Generation Baby Wipes, Travel Pack

Honest Co. Diapers

Mini Travel Hand Sanitizer

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Gathre Changing Mat

This was a gift from one of our sweet employees, but it is something I would have selected for myself. I am obsessed with how stylish it is, that it is quick to fold up into a very manageable, napkin-sized square, and that it’s easy to wipe down if there are any messes during changing.

It never needs to be laundered as it’s made of water impermeable vegan leather, which is a lifesaver if you’re busy and just don’t have time to worry about washing even one more tiny baby thing. It’s a great alternative to the crinkly, plastic mats that wear and stain and are so common at Target and Amazon. Gathre makes a ton of beautiful products that come in the prettiest neutral hues and patterns. In addition to changing mats, I also really love their larger playmats, which also work great under high chairs to catch spills and messes if your little one likes to go all Jackson Pollock on the floor during meal time.

Marpac Rohm White Noise Sound Machine

One of the soothing recommendations from the Happiest Baby on the Block video was using a Shhhh sound or white noise to calm fussy babies. This works SO well with Theo, both when he is in the Snoo or when he is napping elsewhere. Enter: this palm-sized gadget.

We received a portable SkipHop white noise machine for Theo’s stroller at my shower, but the volume setting was so low that it didn’t really work well for him. I ended up ordering this instead because Rohm is known for the original white noise machine and it had so many great reviews. It is so much more functional and we use all the settings interchangeably, though most often we stick with the “deep white” noise setting.

It’s light and easy to use one handed and sometimes I toss it in his carseat like a grenade as he starts to fuss when the car is stopped. It also tucks into a diaper bag or can be easily hung from the stroller. As much as I loved the cute design of the little owl machine from SkipHop, this is so much more effective for us.

Sugar House Muslin Swaddle Blanket

I don’t use these blankets to swaddle Theo but I LOVE them for a few reasons. They are the perfect thickness if he’s a bit chilly and needs an extra layer in the carseat or just when we’re out of the house, without overheating or smothering him. I also find having one handy in my bag especially useful during pediatric appointments.

They always do a naked weight check before the doctor comes in and then ask us to keep him in just a diaper, so we wrap him in the swaddle blanket while we wait that way he doesn’t lose his mind being uncomfortable and cold. For some reason, the pediatricians we have seen have also really liked the blankets, both have commented on how great they are, which is funny because they’re SO simple.

They also come in 20 really pretty shades; I ended up ordering terra, balsam, mustard and light gray right away and just placed a new order for charcoal and olive. The best part is they are almost always on sale and you can snag them for about $10 each.

Burt’s Bees Burp Cloths

I always have at least two of burp cloths stashed in my bag for spills or spit ups and this brand makes my all-time favorites. Another new mom friend sent them to us and we use them ALL THE TIME.

They’re organic cotton, super soft, feel thick and absorbent, and come in the best neutral shades. I’m not a fan of brightly colored everything and I love how low key they are. Burt’s Bees sells them as a 5 pack, which is the perfect starter size, though I’ve already ordered more.

Burt’s Bees Sleeper Extra Outfit

On Theo’s second outing (to his grandparents’ house for Christmas Eve), he had a major spit up waterfall that soaked the onesie he was wearing (and a good portion of C’s shirt). As a new mama, I was crazy proud of myself for having an extra outfit on hand to change him into. I felt like such an OG pro in that moment. I always make sure I have something to change him into now since it was so convenient that first time.

Bibs Pacifiers

I feel like pacifiers are so controversial! Some mamas swear by them, while others swear they will ruin their child’s latch, teeth, and future ivy league college prospects. I fall into the “do what gets you through the day” camp. I usually have two stashed in the top compartment pockets of the bag, just in case. We don’t use them often for Theo, mainly because I don’t want to have to constantly be popping them back into his mouth after he drops them. I’m not about to be a paci butler.

We let him suck on them when he needs help latching during breast feeding, sucking on a paci helps get him ready and will get him to latch faster if he’s really hungry OR when he’s at the pediatrician’s office and needs to stay calm while they check him over.

I looked into a bunch of different brands and so far, Theo prefers either the Soothie (the hospital gives these out for free) or the Bibs in the 0-3 size. I really like the Bibs because it has a little loop handle and can easily be connected to a clip in case we decide to let him use them more often as he gets bigger. They also come in the best color range and have a ton of different sizes. They’re from Denmark, but I found them easily on Amazon, though I haven’t been able to find them locally in major stores like Target.

Como Tomo Bottle (5oz for newborn)

If we’re headed out and will miss a feed at home, I always take a bottle prepped with formula. We combo feed and because I’m still struggling with breast-feeding, I’m just not comfortable doing it in public yet. My diaper bag is amazing and has two insulated zipper pockets, which ultimately sold me on the bag because I can stash a cold bottle of formula, and it will last while we’re away from the house and my nursing station.

I also really love this little egg shaped bottle, it was a lifesaver for us when having some serious drama with nipple confusion. You can read more about our dive into bottle experimentation in my breast-feeding post HERE.

Seventh Generation Baby Wipes, Travel Pack

A travel package of wipes is a staple for any diaper bag, I’m not sharing any great secret here. Your little one is going to need a diaper change at least once per outing, probably more.  I really like the Seventh Generation brand for these, it’s fragrance free, which is important to me, and scores well on the Think Dirty App.

The Honest Company wipes are also a fave (they score even better!), I use them when I’m at home, but it isn’t as easy to order a small travel pack when I’m placing an Amazon order or dropping by Target, so I opt for the Seventh Generation brand for my diaper bag. I’m also really happy with how easily they come out of the package and how gentle they are on Theo’s sensitive skin. The 30 pack is also just the right size for when I’m out and about.

Honest Co. Diapers

I spent a ton of time researching diapers for Theo before he got here. I have pretty sensitive skin and I wasn’t sure if that was something he might inherit, so I knew whatever we stocked up on had to be gentle AND absorbent. I got a bunch of newborn sized diapers at my shower and tried a few different options but kept coming back to the Honest brand.

They gave us a much better fit than the Seventh Generation, were just as resilient as the Pampers Swaddlers, but are known for being gentle and we have yet to see a diaper rash on his little bum. He also tends to pee A LOT and then have a few really extra slimy poo diapers that are especially explosive and Honest has done a better job at containing them than both of the other brands.

They even held up when we were still learning how to properly diaper our teensy 6 pounder as first time parents (raise your hand if you had never diapered a baby until the nurses showed you how!). I usually keep 3 on hand at all times and re-stock my bag as needed.

Mini Travel Hand Sanitizer

If you’re out and about with baby, a mini hand sanitizer is a no brainer. I use mine all the time. You can buy a 12 pack on Amazon if you like to stock up and have a stash, or you can snag one in the Target checkout line like I did.

I use this before touching Theo anytime I’m in a public space with lots of germs, after changing him, or for others who want to hold him when we’re not at home. I’m not a total germaphobe, but he was born during cold/flu season, and our doctor recommended being extra cautious until he had his shots at 8 weeks.

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I also like to keep my wallet, a lipstick and sunglasses in the top zippered compartment in my bag. Most everything I carry around is for Theo, but those are my three “me” essentials. Sometimes I’ll throw in a granola bar in case I need a snack. My phone usually slides right into the front snap pocket for easy access.

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