Saturday, May 07, 2005

My Diaper Bag

In spite of the fact that I have recently given birth to my fourth child, it took me ten years to actually purchase a diaper bag. With the birth of each new baby my very loving friends and family gave me a new assortment of diaper bags. I gave birth to each of my children in a hospital so I also received a new bag, stuffed full of baby samples and coupons, each time I was discharged with a new baby.

Never needing to purchase a diaper bag for myself, I simply used the diaper bags I was given. Many of them were cute, decorated in tasteful colors and patterns, but some of them were simply awful, ghastly looking things that, while meant to be cute, made me want to run screaming in the other direction. Some of the diaper bags were large, while some were more compact. Some had extra pouches and compartments, while some had one simple section to hold all of baby's things. I dutifully used each and every diaper bag I was given, even if I secretly hated it, out of a sense of obligation to those who gave the bags to me. I love my friends and family dearly and would have felt much too guilty had I stashed an unwanted bag in a closet or given it away.

Last year, however, I gave birth to a baby boy who weighed in at nearly ten pounds. At 5 months old, he tipped the scales at 23 pounds. After a few months of lugging around a very cute, but back breaking, heavy baby boy along with a too bulky diaper bag that had the unfortunate tendency of sliding right off my shoulder, I decided enough was, in fact, enough.

I emptied the offending bag of all my baby essentials and took a good, hard look at it. It was a large rectangular bag that could hold plenty of baby care essentials, but it was so bulky I could barely fit it, myself, and baby through the door when I was wearing it. The adjustable strap was a great idea, but for some reason the strap just would not stay on my shoulder. I cannot describe just how annoying it was to need to stop every 3 steps to put the strap back up on my shoulder. The hip blue denim cover was cute but not cute enough to ignore how the bag contributed to my aching back.

I moved on and examined the next available diaper bag in my closet, given to me by my best friend. My best friend has great taste in clothes, jewelry, and makeup. I often enlist her help when I am having difficulty choosing something fashionable to wear. Why she threw that impeccable taste out the window to buy me a diaper bag in pastel colors, decorated with cutesy cartoon characters is way beyond me. The bag did have lots of pockets and included its own changing pad, but there was no way I was going to walk around wearing that vinyl nightmare. A few years ago I would have felt the need to at least give it a try, but I was over finally over that foolishness.

I took a look at the cute, black diaper bag I received from my neighbor. It was cute and stylish but way too small. There was no way I would be able to fit diapers, wipes, wash cloths, diaper cream, sweater, extra clothes, changing pad, and snacks and water (important for a breast feeding mom) into it.

I spied a duffle bag across the room that used to be my eldest child’s soccer bag. I was desperate, I guess, to even consider that duffle bag. Not desperate enough, however, to actually use it. After taking a look at a few more sad alternatives, I threw the whole lot in a huge plastic bag and drove it right on over to my local charity thrift store. I felt good donating the diaper bags, secure in the knowledge that though I hated them, there was sure to be someone who thought they were just great.

Newly diaper bag free, I drove on over to the mall to find a diaper bag to fit my lifestyle. I looked from store to store finding more of the types and styles of bags I had just rejected. I was getting discouraged; baby was getting cranky, when suddenly I spotted it. It was the diaper bag of my dreams. It was brown leather, soft, and supple. It was definitely a grown up diaper bag, totally lacking in cute kiddie creatures. It was a backpack! So I knew there would be no more of that dreaded sliding strap syndrome. The shoulder straps were even padded for added comfort. It contained a removable pouch with a zipper to carry things just for me, the very important mommy. It included its own changing pad and a wet/dry bag. As if these helpful features were not enough, it was full of compartments, pockets, and pouches to carry all of baby’s things and keep them separated as needed. It had two handy bottle pouches for moms who bottle-feed. I knew I would not use them anytime soon, but they might come in handy later. I even discovered a smaller bag, with a cold pack in it, inside the diaper bag. I was sold!

I couldn’t be happier with my new diaper bag. I have had it for a few days now and have found it to be durable, practical, stylish, and easy on my back. I think baby likes it too!

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