Sleek and streamlined diaper bags

Diaper bags — like purses and wallets — can be magnets for clutter. I speak from personal experience when I say that things go into them and rarely, if ever, come out. The smaller the bag, usually the easier it is to keep it clutter free and stuffed only with essentials.

I’m quite fond of the Pronto! Changing Station because it comes in fun, modern prints and it has a wrist strap for easy portability:

Small bags like this also can be slid into a larger bag, if you need food or blankets for a longer trip.

Fisher-Price makes a very similar product for about half the price, but without the wristlet and it is adorned with cartoon animals:

Both options are great for reducing the bulk and the clutter that plagues so many traditional diaper bags on the market.

28 Comments for “Sleek and streamlined diaper bags”

  1. posted by Nicole : Three By Sea on

    This is my kind of diaper bag. I ditched the diaper bag early in my son’s life because of it’s bulkiness, plus I realized how much of it was unnecessary. A two-hour trip to the mall for lunch probably doesn’t require the equivalent of an overnight bag!
    Even now (he’s two), I simply carry a small pack of wipes, a couple of diapers and a handful of cars in my purse for 99% of our outings. You’ve got your hands full with a child- you need to travel as light as possible!

  2. posted by Lydia on

    Babies R Us also sells an inexpensive changing station very much like the Pronto one (and in stylish prints, too). Search for “Amy Coe changing station.”

    I have one downstairs in a basket with some diapers and wipes. It saves us from having to go upstairs every time the baby needs a diaper change during the day. And the brown print doesn’t clash with our living room decor.

  3. posted by Mags on

    I have one of these inside the pram bag (slung over the pram handles). We use cloth nappies so need a tad more room, hence a bag that is very strictly managed (changing kit, a change of clothes, a muslin cloth, wet wipes and a water bottle for parent).

    If I’m popping next door to the children’s centre, I just take this out of the pram bag and put it in my handbag.

  4. posted by Imprudence on

    You don’t need a changing bag at all.
    Put a nappy and some wipes and a change of clothes in any old bag! Hey ptresto it’s a changing bag.
    What do you mean you can’t change a baby on your lap?

  5. posted by Mags on

    Imprudence – want to put a soaked or poopy cloth nappy in your bag without any kind of protection for your own stuff? Go ahead!

  6. posted by Ann on

    totally with imprudence on this one! I keep 2 diapers, a small thing of wipes and a sippy cup in my purse for my 11month old. a change of clothes and extra diapers live in my car trunk. When the 3 year old comes out with us I add in a few toy cars and a bag of fruit snacks. I remember the HUGE bag we used with the first one, kinda makes me smile now! oh, and I totally change my baby on my lap, or on the car seat, or even on the family room floor.

  7. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Imprudence — My 15 mo old is so tall and squirmy, lap changing isn’t really an option. Besides, changing pads aren’t about protecting the baby, they’re about protecting whatever is under the baby from the baby’s, um, “gifts.” Maybe it’s a boy thing, but a little cold breeze, and it’s “gifts” for everyone! They’re so, uh, generous!

  8. posted by Letitia on

    I have a small bag with a easy to wipe off changing mat (folded less than 12x12x2cm), 3 diapers, wipes and spare clothes in separate ziplock bags, if there is no trash can, we simply put the “poopy diaper” in a ziplock bag. Sometimes we also take some toy car or sippy cup too. Most places have a changing station in the ladies room or when we are shopping we find a shop that sells baby clothing, they always have a baby changing station.

  9. posted by H on

    Can I also mention the patemm pad? Its been my goto babyshower gift for years!

  10. posted by Mags on

    @Ann – and if you don’t have a car? We don’t, so we need the change of clothes on us.

    The mat does double service: it protects what you’re changing them on from their presents, and if you’re using a public changing room it protects them from anything a previous baby may have left on the mat.

  11. posted by Bill Burge on

    For those of us that forgo disposable diapers in favor of producing less landfill *clutter* by using reusable, cloth diapers*, a diaper bag is a necessary evil. We’ve got to put those used diapers somewhere.

  12. posted by Ann on

    I like the first one. I always used a generic looking backpack so that DH would carry it without feeling/looking foolish. I could not see him with the cartoon animals.

  13. posted by The Coffee Lady on

    I’m with everyone who said No Nappy Bag on this. A nice bag. A nappy. A fold up mat.

    Because all too soon they end up toilet training, and then you’re left with a useless thing you’ll never want to use again.

  14. posted by Rhian on

    I agree with what others have said – these types of bag are useless if you’re using cloth nappies. They’re too thin to hold a bulky clean nappy (or two), and there’s no way they can hold a dirty wet one!

  15. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Rhian and @Bill Burge — I can understand why someone would use cloth diapers to save money. However, with all the research out there about how washing cloth diapers damages the environment, too, are people still using them thinking they’re “green”? I’ve read numerous articles about the biodegradable ones being the “greenist” option on the market, and they’re the same size and as convenient as regular disposables. Or, you could do what many Chinese and African families do, and don’t put a diaper on a kid — cloth or otherwise. (Have you seen the movie Babies? It’s SO cute!!)

  16. posted by zaf on

    But..but…but..who needs a diaper bag? Really. Do you need an extra item?
    What’s wrong with a nice bag you already own and a plastic bin bag? Baby is happy on a newspaper, a sweater, even, believe it or not, a patch of grass…

  17. posted by Patti on

    I found my husband’s old backpack from college worked best for us. Before that, we used this hideous formula-sponsored thing we got at the hospital.

    As for cloth vs. disposable, I don’t think the research is clear, as is the case for so many green things. I used cloth when my daughter was little, but then I reconsidered because we were in a drought and I was worried about water use. I tried to research the issue but every “study” I found that gave disposable diapers the edge was funded by companies motivated to keep us using disposables. I called a top water expert in the country who was at that time living in Massachusetts and she gave the edge to cloth despite the drought after considering what goes into making disposables … the life-cycle analysis, I believe she called it.

    Anyhoo, to each her own, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. I do think the above contraptions are quite cute (-:

  18. posted by Karen (scotland) on

    I think the general conclusion in the UK is that cloth is “greener” IF and ONLY IF you follow the guidelines for laundering – half the detergent, no softener, full load in machine, 40 degrees not 60 degrees, no tumbling, line dry, no ironing (as if!). And obviously, the more children they are used on, the greener they become (some of mine are on sixth baby’s bottom now! 🙂 ).
    Landfill is the biggest issue on our tiny island so that’s my main reason for avoiding disposables.

    And, yep, haven’t changed a baby on a mat since my first child. Since then, it’s been a quick lap change with maybe a terry placed over my knee if I’m in someone else’s home. I actually find it easier to change wrigglers on my knee as I grip their ankles and pull their legs up over their head with one hand and they can’t twist off my knee as easily as they twist around on a mat!

    As to the bag, I find a cheap rucksack with a few sections works best. Nappies, muslins, stinky nappy bag in one section; snacks and water and other stuff in another section. Maybe purse (wallet, billfold?), keys, mobile in another section.
    Rucksacks have the added benefit of leaving your hands free and letting you maybe use a sling too.

    I feel like a packhorse but, hey ho, my arms are free…
    Karen (Scotland)

  19. posted by Mags on

    Cloth nappies cost less, including washing costs, than disposables and can be passed on for others to use. The overall energy impact is about the same, so I’m going to use the cheaper option. I’m using less chemicals near baby’s skin as well.

    Also, it gives baby a nice big soft bottom – she’s much easier to carry in a cloth one than a disposable! Especially when squirming!

  20. posted by Lady in a Smalltown on

    Munchkin makes one as well.

    I carried a diaper bag as my only bag for my son’s first 3 months. He was born last spring and I had the summer off from school. Once we both started school in the fall I carried 2 diapers and a small plastic box of wipes in my Vera Bradley Villager bag. I also keep a box with diapers, a big container of wipes, and a change of clothes in my car. I never go to a mall, so my car is always nearby.

    This summer I had a different bag for anywhere we might go (my parents’, the park, the pool, just out) with diapers, wipes, an outfit, snacks and a sippy cup, plus whatever extra he might need in the special places (books, toys, swimmy diapers). I could throw my wallet, camera, and cell phone in whichever bag and I was all set. I also carry my keys on a carabiner so I can just attach them to the bag.

  21. posted by Jay on

    A suggestion for those who do NOT want to carry a diaper bag: use “PeeWees Disposable Multi-Use Pads” or something similar. The PeeWees Pads are thin, waterproof, and provide a barrier between your baby and wherever you place him/her (keeping your child sanitary, and furniture or whatnot clean and dry) . If the pads do not get dirty or wet, reuse them. For disposing of a dirty diaper, put it in a Ziploc or similar bag.

    Amazon sells the pads at

  22. posted by Karen on

    I used a backpack. Because it’s just easier to wear when you’re out and about with kids. Ever try bending over to pick up your kid while wearing the diaper bag over your shoulder? Plus a backpack can be repurposed when the kid’s older!

  23. posted by Rhian on

    As others have said, the idea that disposable nappies are greener is a myth put about by companies that make disposable nappies! It assumes that you wash nappies at 95 degrees, tumble dry them and iron them. Actually, most parents wash them at 40-60 degrees, line dry them (which also bleaches out stains) and most definitely do not iron them. You can also pass them on to another child when yours is toilet-trained which reduces the energy impact even further.

    They are also dramatically cheaper than disposables, and don’t go into landfill which is a huge issue on its own.

  24. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Rhian — I don’t think any scientists are claiming regular disposables are better for the environment than cloth diapers. It’s the environmentally friendly companies like Seventh Generation and Earth’s Best that make biodegradable disposable diapers (a totally different product than regular disposable diapers) that are making the claim that their products (which are free of harmful chemicals like bleach) are better for the environment. Other scientists are backing up their claims, because the products actually degrade. Additionally, you and I know that MOST people who use cloth diapers use bleach on them, wash them in hot water, and dry them in the dryer.

    Cloth diapers DO end up in landfills, too, and they degrade at a similar rate to the biodegradable disposables … at least according to the scientists who study such things.

  25. posted by Rhian on

    Might be a cultural thing then – I’ve never met a cloth-nappy mum who would do any of those things! If you care about the environment enough to use a cloth nappy, why in the world would you do those things?! Plus as I said, sunlight is the best way to bleach stains out of a washed nappy.

    (it really might be a US/UK thing – I was reading recently about how few Americans line dry clothes, whereas in the UK far fewer people even own tumble dryers, and tend to line dry in preference. We didn’t even own a tumble dryer for the first year of my son’s life, and now we have one – came with rented house – we almost never use it. Landfill is also a much bigger issue here as we’re a small island with limited space. Councils are fined for sending too much to landfill and consequently often offer incentives to parents to buy cloth)

  26. posted by Mags on

    Agree with Rhian. I know a lot of cloth nappy mums and we all use a 40C wash and line dry if we can. I’d NEVER use bleach – what if you didn’t rinse it out thoroughly enough? I use half as much powder as the powder manufacturers suggest and a natural sanitiser to keep them fresh.

    I was last in my family and I think the terry nappies were eventually cut into thin strips and used to stuff my rag doll.

    Anyway, getting back to the changing mat/bag… 😉

    I put a clean cloth nappy, prefolded, into a waterproof bag and then wrap my changing mat around it. A second waterproof bag – colour coded – is in there ready for the dirty. Both bags are washable and go in with the nappies. Again, less landfill than using a ziplock and probably the same environmental manufacturing costs.

    Using a mat/bag like this to hold all the kit is a bit like the purse organisers Erin has featured in the past. It doesn’t matter what bag I’m using: as long as I’ve grabbed this, I’ve got all the kit I’ll need.

  27. posted by Jen on

    A lot of people have said that a diaper bag is not necessary. And it certainly isn’t for every single trip – something like this product would be great to grab for a quick trip someplace. But I used my diaper bag for the first 3 years or so of my son’s life, and I think that’s a pretty good amount of life for a bag. If you have multiple children, you’d get even more life out of it.

    I will say that I initially bought one that was WAY too large and was not functional for me. I traded down to one by Skip Hop, they make a few different styles that are all great, depending on your exact situation and needs. They hang well on strollers and are fairly small and have lots of compartments. It would be enough space for a product like the one metioned here, plus some snacks, a couple of small toys, and first aid type stuff (band-aids, etc). They also look pretty stylish and come in lots of colors.

  28. posted by queen stuss on

    I don’t have a nappy bag either – just a bigger handbag with a small pack of wipes, a plastic bag, a disposable nappy and a muslin wrap. The wrap doubles as a change mat, breastfeeding cover, light sheet in the air conditioning, and cloth for wiping baby dribbles. If I know I’m going to need to change a nappy, I’ll throw a spare cloth nappy in my bag or in the bottom of the pram, but if I’m only out for a couple of hours I probably won’t need to change it, and I have a disposable for unexpected changes.

    When bub is bigger then I’ll throw in a toy, a small snack and a small drink bottle. (and this is baby number two, so I’m just doing what worked last time)

    I keep spare clothes and extra nappies in the car. If I’m out all day or without the car, then I’ll take an extra bag. I don’t need an overnight bag full of baby gear!

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