My other diaper bag is an enormous Coach tote.
Recommend this product?
I chose it before my child was even conceived during a day of window shopping with a close friend. I am a handbag-enthusiast, so I thought about what diaper bag I would carry long before I had any opinions on strollers or crib bedding. The cavernous, yawning space inside seemed like plenty of room, and it included a changing mat and plenty of useful interior pockets. Most importantly for me, the bag was fashionable but classic, and would never be spotted as a diaper bag if there were no baby in sight. I knew that I could use it for work after I didn't need it for baby paraphernalia anymore. It cost more than my travel system and convertible car seat combined, and pregnant girls everywhere can't keep their eyes off of it.
But if you already have a child or two in diapers, the bag you will be much more jealous of is my Skip Hop Pronto mini-changer. Priced at about thirty dollars, this is an item I recommend to absolutely anybody. I thought I had everything I needed in my original diaper bag purchase, and I did - until what I needed was to simply be free from slinging that enormous burden over my shoulder.
Skip Hop Details
The Skip Hop Pronto is a great space-saving option to keep diapers, wipes, changing pad, and a few essentials in one place. There are two zippered pockets, one on the front of the pouch and another on the inside, and one mesh pouch that closes with velcro. The Pronto includes a red case for baby wipes. A generously-sized, plastic-coated changing pad folds up neatly and easily in the middle, and it is closed with a buckled strap. You can unzip the mat to use it separately, or leave it attached. When it is all folded up, the bag measures about eleven inches wide, seven inches high, and maybe four inches deep when it is stuffed to the gills. It can be carried by a handle at the top or a second buckled strap on the side. The side strap is very convenient for attaching the pouch to the handlebar of a stroller or shopping cart. The pouch is solid canvas, and the laminated side of the changing pad is a colorful mod print. There are three color options: black pouch, green and purple changing pad; red pouch, red and gray changing pad, and aqua pouch, red and blue changing pad. Mine is aqua, and it's to die for.
Perfect for Umbrella Stroller Kinds of Days
Allow me to define stuffed to the gills by revealing what I carry. Skip Hop says the inside zippered pocket can hold up to four large diapers. By large, I believe they mean very large, because I can easily fit five size three diapers of any brand. I still have room in that pouch to fit a small item, like a bottle of baby Tylenol, next to the diapers. In my mesh pouch, I have the travel case of wipes, a bib, my cell phone, a small tube of diaper cream, two travel size bottles of baby soap and hand sanitizer, my keys, a lipstick, a mascara, and a hair clip. My front pocket holds a very flat billfold, my tweezers, loose change, and a packet of oil-absorbing blotting tissues. Is space tight? You bet. But I am able to fit all that inside and still buckle the strap, and the bag is still compact and doesn't look misshapen. This is all I need to carry for most outings, and my full-sized diaper bag no longer waits for me by the door each morning. If it is an umbrella stroller appropriate sort of day, then it is also a day for the mini-changer.
But what about Her Royal Highness's lovey, sippy cup, and that baseball cap she insisted on wearing this morning but threw on the ground as soon as we got to the post office? My daughter carries a few small, light things in her own little purse, which she is crazy about. I'm not sure if this decision to have my eighteen month old carry her own possessions will result in character and accountability, or thousands of dollars in therapy. Who let me have a baby, anyway? All I can say is that so far, this arrangement works beautifully and I feel much less like a pack mule.
A Portable Diaper Command Central
Not everybody can give up their full-size diaper bag before their child gives up diapers, and some hang onto it even after that. If your baby is small, she needs extra clothes, blankets and burp cloths, feeding supplies, and other items that require a capacious carry-on. While a diaper bag usually comes with a changing pad and nice organizational pockets inside, it doesn't take long for those pockets to get buried under all the other items. This leads to searching for things during the most inopportune situations - such as while you hold your baby's feet with one hand, trying to prevent him from kicking them into his own poopy diaper, while you aimlessly dig around for more wipes with the other. This will probably happen on one of those fold-out changing tables in a public restroom, so you will be squatting on the ground and trying to look at your baby above you and the bag below at the same time. Times like these make you appreciate how nice it would be to have all your changing supplies organized together in one small pouch. You can take the pouch with you to change the baby and leave the rest of the bag in your stroller or car.
Many of the changing pads that come with diaper bags are not very practical. Most of them are a wipeable fabric stuffed with batting. Wiping, however, is not going to cut it for some of the messes that occur when you change a diaper. They can generally go in the washing machine but not the dryer, take all day to drip dry, and even with that kind of care the stitches might open up and bleed stuffing all over your bag. The laminated changing pad that comes with the Skip Hop is great because you can really wipe everything off of it and then spray with a disinfectant. For these reasons, I recommend a Skip Hop Pronto even if you already have a diaper bag. I also like using it with my backpack carrier for hiking. If you are an aggressively anti-diaper bag kind of girl, the Pronto can be dropped into any large tote or satchel and transform it for mommydom.
The Limitations of Liberation
If your child has grown beyond twelve diaper changes a day, back-up outfits, and a liquid or pureed diet, you might be ready to ditch the diaper bag altogether for most outings. I had to make a few changes to wean myself from the diaper bag lifestyle, since I grew accustomed to bringing half the house along for a trip to the grocery store. What I accepted was that I would find a way to max out the space in any bag I carried, be it a sequined evening clutch or a rolling suitcase. Once I started using the mini-changer on its own, I realized that I rarely missed anything I would have packed if I had more room. Some things I have done to adapt to this minimalist approach are using refillable travel bottles or trial sizes, carrying blotting papers instead of a powder compact, and buying the flattest wallet I could find.
Now that I have had my Pronto in aqua for awhile, I wish I had chosen the black one. Since the changing mat must often be unfolded onto the ground, the canvas exterior needs frequent cleaning. Most marks come out with a few swipes of rubbing alcohol, but you can machine wash the pouch in cold water if you remove the laminated mat.
Be the Envy of the Playgroup
Every time I unfold this bag and change my baby in the sight of other mothers, they cross the room to ask me What, Where, and How much. It's a Skip Hop Pronto mini-changer, available online and in stores at Nordstrom and Babystyle, and it's worth every cent of the thirty dollars it costs.
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