Finding a changing bag is something that is almost a right of passage or it feels like one when you are looking around at different parents and what they are styling. It can also be extremely overwhelming to understand the difference between any old bag and a changing bag.
I found my changing bag pretty easily and once I decided I could put it out of my mind but honestly it isn’t simple for everyone. Cora for example didn’t want to buy a new bag for when she was out as she had a bag she already loved so we decided to make that work for her instead.
You can definitely use any bag as a changing bag as long as you feel like it is practical, comfortable and holds everything you need for when you are out and about. This can be in any style you choose as long as it works for you and your routine.
In this article, I am going to talk about what to look for in a changing bag so you can put your already loved normal bag to the test and work out if it really will work for you and ways to use your normal bag as a changing bag.
What To Look For In A Changing Bag?
I wanted to start by talking about some of the things that are handy to have in a changing bag (whether this is a dedicated changing bag or a normal bag). These are all things that you may decide you want to incorporate or feel like your current bag doesn’t offer.
This is to simply help you work out what you want from your bag, what you need to incorporate or what to look for if you decide to buy a new bag.
Pockets both inside and out of the bag are really helpful, that way small items such as dummies, creams or money can be kept in the small pockets and organised away from the big and bulky items.
I found pockets really helpful for things you want to find quickly and that are generally too small to just pull out from the main area. Look for at least 2 small pockets within the main bag and maybe an exterior one for things such as money or for a phone.
Many changing bags come with at least 1 side pocket or space for a bottle to be held in place. There are of course many normal bags that also come with straps and pockets either in the bag or on the exterior that hold bottles.
The bottle holders are perfect for if you are bottle feeding and don’t want to bottle to spill in the main compartment or even for yourself to carry around a drink.
Ample Space Inside
Something you are definitely going to want to look for in a changing bag is ample space inside the main area. This will be handy as you will have nappies, wipes, extra clothing and even a changing mat to fit in.
Look at how much space those items take up and see if you can still fit in your other items such as purse/wallet, phone etc. If you struggle then you can look at taking some excessive items out or look at finding a larger bag.
This also depends on how long you plan to be out, where you are going etc so take into account these situations.
Easy & Comfortable To Wear
What you want more than anything in a changing bag is for it to be comfortable. I really like backpacks so I find them the most comfortable. Look for a style in which you like the most whether this is a handbag, backpack or crossbody style.
With many changing bags they come with adaptable handles to hang on the pushchair or wear in 2 or 3 ways. I love this idea but don’t find it necessary.
You will want to look for something that you find comfortable and will wear the most as this will make your whole experience with your changing bag better.
Can I Use Any Bag As A Changing Bag?
Yes, you definitely can use any bag as a changing bag. There are no set rules to using a specific changing bag or style for changing bags, the main concept of a changing bag is that of pockets and side pockets that can hold bottles and wipes.
If you have a bag you love and are wanting to use that as your changing bag you can do. Sometimes you might find yourself enjoying having a bag you already use as you know it well, familiar with the layout and even what it can do. This can be anything from a backpack to a designer handbag.
If you struggle to find a changing bag that suits your style and requirements look at other bags that you would normally wear. There are many ordinary bags on the market that have multiple pockets, side pockets for bottles and compartments that will fit the job and be just as practical.
Tips For Using A Normal Bag As a Changing Bag
If you are looking at using your trusty bag you know and love but wondering if you can adapt it to fit a new role then here are some helpful tips and tricks.
Use Dividers To Separate Items
Some backpacks come with or you can buy dividers to break up the space inside to help create compartments for things to be stored in. This is popular with work bags or even photography bags for lenses but you can also find inserts that fit into handbags and backpacks with a similar concept.
That way you can use your normal bag but keep it organised and easy to access what you need by creating compartments. Each compartment then hold something from nappies to wipes or even an area dedicated to baby stuff.
That way you can use your normal bag but adapt it to fit use with baby stuff.
For example, we have an XD Design Bag which is popular for a number of reasons but we liked them as they were big, spacious and sturdy especially with our laptops inside. You can buy inserts that create divides into these bags – mainly for packing for a trip or camera gear but the same concept can be used for baby-related items.
Use Packing Cubes
While you might think packing cubes are going to be unhelpful and hard work they can actually make it much easier for you to use a regular bag and still keep your baby stuff organised. Especially if you are looking to have other things from your purse/wallet and other personal items in there too.
You can use one packing cube within your bag that solely holds nappies, wipes, cream and even extra clothes for your baby so you can still keep everything you need in one bag without having to rustle around and struggle to find what you need.
Don’t Bother With A Changing Mat
One of the things you can do to save both space and even time is to not bother with a changing mat. If you are limited on space a bulky changing mat in your bag can be useless and annoying especially when having to pack it away again.
Many parents have suggested to me using a muslin cloth instead, they are easier to carry around, thinner and smaller to fit in a bag. They aren’t as padded but are still great for using if you want to cut down the amount of bulk in your changing bag.