Buying for Baby - Guide to buying Changing Bags

Wednesday, 29 April 2009  |  Admin

Alright, following on from my out and about theme, let's talk changing bags. I should say up front that I'm not a handbag type of girl. Shoes and handbags don't do it for me, if I'm out and about on my own, I just take what I need in my pockets – after all, card, cash and lipgloss is all this girl needs.
I have one 'smart' small black leather handbag for weddings and special occasions and a sloppy silver bag for more casual. So when it came to looking for a changing bag, I was always going to go for function over fashion. First time round, I went for an Avent Changing Bag. It had everything I was looking for;
Shoulder Straps
Good size
Separate wet / dirty area
Pockets for all the baby bits and pieces
Incorporated changing mat
Washable / Wipeclean outer (and believe me when you've wiped baby sick off your bag for the umpteenth time, you'll be glad of this)
Built in bottle insulator
Not too girly for times when my husband would use it
It was great. It did everything it needed to and I could always cram everything I needed into it baby wise, even for a weekend away. It was matt black so it didn't show any dirt, was comfortable to wear and easy to hang from the buggy. The inside was plastic coated, so again, you could wipe it clean easily. There was nothing wrong with it, but no-one would ever have had changing bag envy.
The downside was that it was just a bit drab. And the plastic coating inside got a bit brittle and tore on the bottle insulating bit, which gave me an excuse to get another one for baby no2.
This time round I went for a Skip-Hop one in red to match my buggy. It looked better, but still functional, and my husband would have been quite happy to carry it (not that he ever did you understand, chance would be a fine thing!) This time round I didn't have the built in bottle insulator and instead carried warm water for formula in a thermos flask. This worked well, but was a bit bulky and I found it difficult to find things in the bag as it was limited on space – especially using washable nappies which are bulkier anyway.
By the time I'd got to baby no3, I'd realised that I didn't need a specific changing bag with all the bells and whistles. My highest priority was a BIG bag to carry my essentials (phone, purse, lipstick) snacks and drinks for sons 1 & 2, nappy changing bibs and bobs for youngest 2 and finally bottles etc for no3. I'm surprised I make it out of the house without a giant samsonite suitcase to be honest.
I'm currently using whichever tote bag is bag of the week that week (switching between a big canvas beach bag and a lovely one from made in london). I've invested in a tommy tippee bottle insulator which holds one bottle and can just be bunged in when I'm ready to go out. I've got space for my Cheeky Wipes Fresh and Mucky Wipes bags (my Mucky Wipes bag doubles up as a wet bag for any dirty nappies) and I don't bother with a changing mat – if there isn't one around I just lay a muslin down first. Best of all the bags can be chucked in the wash, and given the propensity to accumulate random raisins, sticky bits of fluffy sweet and crumbly biscuit, that's the most important benefit of all.

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