By Christina VanGinkel
A diaper bag was once considered a frontrunner if it had cute little bears or maybe a romping horse as the featured decoration across the front. A pocket or two extra, besides the main compartment also made the bag a sure winner. With today's kids being transported to daycares and parks as much by fathers as they are by mothers, cute is no longer a priority. While there are, still plenty with cute as an option to choose from available, organization in the truest sense is the only factor that is going to mark one bag over another as a champion of its class.
When choosing a diaper bag, consider both what you need to take along with your infant on any excursion now, plus how those needs might change in a few months. Before picking a bag that will become baby's constant companion for many months to come, consider all the options, including traditional diaper bags, knapsacks, backpacks, and totes.
If you will be using the same bag as a carryall for your own items as well, be sure to consider this when deciding on a bag's worthiness. Also, consider how the bag is to be carried, especially if you end up choosing a large sized bag. A small handle on a large bag just will not work. If you have ever tried carrying an infant in a carrier, plus a diaper bag, and whatever else you might be toting as well, you know all to well that handle size is an important factor. Backpacks work well for this very reason, allowing your hands to stay free for holding onto the more important things, such as baby. Be sure to check that the straps are wide enough to be comfortable and not so thin that they cut into you when you toss the pack on your back, or carry it in your hands.
How the bag sits is another important factor, for if every time you set the bag down it falls over, you will quickly learn the meaning of spilled milk, or should I say formula. A bag that has a large, flat bottom will work best, but also consider the configuration of the bag. If the main compartment is towards one side instead of the center, the bag will have the tendency to be lopsided weight wise. In the same vein, consider the lining of the bag. If something becomes spilled, you will want it to stay contained inside not only the bag itself, but also whatever compartments it was spilled. Check the inside of the bag to be sure it is lined with waterproof material, and that at least several of the interior sections are zippered off from the others. One large zippered interior compartment, which is both insulated and tall enough to hold bottles, along with other similar sized zippered areas for items such as lotions, is the best design, accompanied by several medium and small sized partitions.
Velcro on some of the interior and exterior compartments can also be useful. Velcro is easy to pull open one handed, and this is often the scenario when you are holding an infant in the other. Color of the bag should be a personal decision, but keep in mind that a light bag will quickly show stains and dirt. Check the cleaning instructions on any bag before making your final decision.