Friday, 5 April 2013

Choosing a diaper bag

Hello everyone! What diaper bag would you recommend to a new mom?

Hollywood stars have made designer diaper bags famous: from Rachel Zoe's Alexander McQueen black tote to Sandra Bullock's custom-made Louis Vuitton Speedy for her son Louis. I think we all agree, however, that spending one grand or more on a diaper bag is not within everyone's reach. There is also the issue of whether, should you have the money to buy a designer bag, you would really spend it on a diaper bag, rather than go for that Celine handbag that would last you a lifetime, and definitely well after your kids are out of diapers.

A diaper bag is still one of the essential items a new mom needs. This is why it is the first thing I concentrated on when I was getting ready for my baby boy's arrival (all right, in small part it was also because I am a bit, just a bit, obsessed about handbags). When my son was born six years ago, I had not realized how much the diaper bag would have become part of my daily wear. I chose a cheap one, and by the time I realized that I really loathed to be seen in public carrying it, my son was a bit older, so it seemed silly to invest a lot of money to fix my original mistake. Hence I bought another cheap diaper bag. Before you know it, I think I bought at least four cheap diapers bag, and I did not like any of them. They thus all ended up at the local consignment store as soon as I bought the first pair of training diapers for my son.

As I started afresh with our new arrival, I think what I have learnt can help you as well. Let me begin by saying that strictly speaking you do not need to buy a diaper bag. Any bag you already own that fits your needs will do the trick. A couple of things to consider before you convert your Louis Vuitton Neverfull into a diaper bag though. First, you should not worry about the outside or inside of the bag getting stained -- which will likely happen sooner rather than later (think about that baby bottle with a too-loosely-screwed cap you will eventually throw in). Second, at some point that insulated pocket may come in handy. (Just saying)

There are a lot of "frilly" baby bags out there. When I looked for buying a new diaper bag, my challenge was finding one that could be mistaken for a regular bag -- one that does not scream mommy, and that will not embarrass you even if you bump into your boss or childless ultra-fashionable best friend at the grocery store. I knew that the diaper bag wad going to hang mainly from my stroller, but that I would have not carried a regular purse most of the time so that my wallet, keys and cell phone were going to fit in there as well. I considered Rebecca Minkoff Knocked up Baby Bag and Marc by Marc Jacobs Preppy Nylon Eliz-a-Baby Bag (both available through Shopbop). I also reviewed many mid- to high-end diaper bags such as those by Emporio Armani and Cavalli available through Children's salon. I have to confess that the price tag was the main deterrent in all these cases. As much as I knew I was going to use it a lot and for at least a year, I could not bring myself to spend 350$ or more on baby bag.

That's when I stumbled upon the Holy Graal: the Skip Hop Versa diaper bag (pictured above), priced at about 80$. Its sturdy, waterproof nylon and golden hardware give it a quintessential Tod's feel. It is also functional: it has five front pockets (two of which are insulated), one back zippered pocket with a changing mat, and four internal pockets for all your knick knacks. If you live in Montreal, you can go and check it out at Thyme Maternity and Kido BebĂ©. Otherwise you can order it online through Amazon.

P.S. More new-mom essentials here.

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