Best changing bag: Quality changing bags for new mums
Choosing the best changing bag when I found out I was pregnant made me almost as excited as having a baby itself. I shit you not. I have always been a bag girl, I just love them. So much so I convinced my mum when I was younger that my job was going to be a bag maker. Needless to say, that did not work out, and nor did me being a dancer, but, anyway, I digress...
But there's more to the best changing bag than just what it looks like – these are not your average bags. When you realise just how much stuff your baby might need while out and about, you'll quickly realise a changing bag needs a number of requirements to help make your life easier.
From bottles and formula to nappies and numerous changes of clothes, you'll be surprised how much stuff tiny humans need (seriously, check out my hospital bag checklist if you don't believe me). So this isn't just simply a case of choosing one you like the look of, there are a few things to consider when buying a changing bag...
The best changing bag: What to consider
First up, you need to think about whether the changing bag you choose needs bottle storage, although you might not know the answer to that yet. I thought I would be breastfeeding Rex but it didn't work out so had to swap to bottles and I was therefore very thankful that my chosen bag had a dedicated compartment for them. That said, the best changing bags these days come with insulated bottle compartments as standard. Many also include a pull-out changing mat, which come in super-handy.
Other things you need to think about are the practicalities of the changing bag you are using. How do you want to carry it? Would a backpack or messenger style bag so you can be hands-free work best? Or maybe an over the shoulder design that can be clipped on to a pushchair easily? Will you be sharing the changing bag with your partner? And if so, does the brand you like have designs that suit you both? All of the above brands take all of the above into consideration, and do so in serious style.
Below are my top five changing bag brands, all of which take the above into consideration with their designs. Three of my picks I have had hands-on experience with, the other are ones I would purchase if I had the cash and could justify an endless supply of baby bags. Trust me when I say I've done the research and these here are some some of the best changing bags money can buy.
The best changing bags in 2021
01. Tiba & Marl
Img (and lead): Tiba & Marl
When it comes to the quality changing bags, Tiba & Marl is up there with the best of them. The range includes a number of different styles, from backpacks and holdalls, to hospital bags and kids options too. My favourite is the Eco Elwood backpack, which I can confirm looks as lovely in real life as it does online. I know because I purchased it in the Black Friday sales last year in preparation for my new arrival.
Not only does it look and feel great, it's a fab size and will easily fit every essential in. It's a unisex design, which means Chris won't roll his eyes when I ask him to carry it (although he might flatly refuse if I pass him the clutch that's included). This is just one of many styles Tiba & Marl have come up with, in fact there are so many lovely ones I found it very difficult to choose. Many of them are made 100% recycled plastic, which is easy to wipe clean – big tick.
The range starts at around £130, depending on the style you choose, which I realise isn't exactly cheap. But as quality changing bags go, and for the amount you're going to be using it, I think this is actually really good value.
02. Avery Row
Img: Avery Row
As previously mentioned, I am a big bag fan so I actually (don't tell Eamo) bought myself this one (above) from Avery Row recently. And I was very pleasantly surprised when it arrived. The pictures on the website don't do this changing bag justice in terms of space, it's huge, with the main compartment being easily able to hold clothing, nappies, bottles, cotton wool pads, as well as things like a mobile phone, wallet and keys.
But more than being practical, this was a purchase based very much on the colour and beauty. It's rare to find a changing bag of this quality and size that isn't black (or floral), so this burnt orange, or cinnamon as its listed, immediately caught my eye. It is also available in a gorgeous ocean blue colour. The only slight downside is the material, which is a soft quilted fabric that just makes me want to stroke it, however I can imagine it's not the best when it gets covered in all manner of baby fluids (which it inevitably will).
The price is super affordable (£58 at time of writing) and this could easily be used as an everyday/overnight bag when the little one grows. When it comes to the best changing bag, this is very much (almost) topping my list right now.
03. Skip Hop Forma
Img: Skip Hop
Skip Hop specialise in baby essentials, and that includes some really lovely changing bags. My pick of the bunch has got to be this quilted (paid link) Skip Hop Forma backpack. Not only does it look great, it's spacious enough to pack in everything your baby might need. The backpack includes an insulated cube for bottles of milk, plus a mesh cube, which can be used for clothing, snacks, anything you can think of.
The front section allows for easy access to cubes and the main compartment, and a changing pad pockets is big enough to hold a tablet or laptop up to 15 inches. The backpack can be either worn or attached to a pram, and the unisex design makes it appealing to everyone. As the best changing bags go, this is up there with the best of them.
Last, but by no means least, on my pick of the best changing bags is PacaPod. As the name suggests, this brand loves a pod to pack things in, which gives these super stylish looking bags hidden depths. As someone who strives to be more organised, I feel like the design of PacaPods products would really go a way to helping me achieve that.
This particular bag featured (my favourite from PacaPod's current range) features a changer pod and clear travel pod, so you can organise all your items into separate bags and the days of fumbling about in the depths of a huge bag to find something long gone. There's also a large expanding pocket on the inside, mini pod and two large pockets on the outside - basically there's a compartment for everything. And when you've got so much stuff to pack in, that can only be a good thing.
Not only a really lovely looking bag, many of these products are super affordable. And right now even more so with the company having a sale across a range of products. The Croyde bag (pictured) for example, is just £79 at the time of writing, which is a far cry from the usual £135 it usually costs. Bargain.
As I mentioned earlier, I'm a big bag fan. And when I was pregnant with Rex, the dreamy one I wanted was from Storksak. It was a gorgeous black leather holdall that cost £250 and I wanted it SO BAD. Being totally out of my price range, I held off for ages buying one, hoping that I would catch it in the sale before Rex arrived. But I needn't have bothered because my utterly wonderful friends clubbed together and bought it for me. I cried – yes, I really do have the best friends.
It was a huge treat and I cannot tell you how much I loved it. It looks beautiful, the quality is amazing and there's a load of space, as well as insulated compartments to help keep bottles at the right temperature. It included a lush changing mat and I loved that I could just attach it to the pushchair and access anything as and when I needed it. It was – and still is – marvellous.
As Rex got older, however, I found it suited our lifestyle a little less, which is purely a personal thing. When out and about with him, I often wished I'd had a backpack rather than a holdall as it got in the way somewhat. But, much like Tiba & Marl, Storksak has a wide variety of styles to suit individual choice so it's all about going with what's best for you. If I was going with Storksak again this time around, I would totally go with this dreamy-looking Alyssa Black backpack (pictured above).
KeriKit is a brand I came across recently on Instagram and I wish I hadn't, in a 'I want EVERYTHING' kind of way, you understand. The brand is owned by Keri Jamieson, an experienced handbag designer and mum of two. Keri's struggle to find a bag that suited her during pregnancy and beyond lead to her developing what I can only describe as one of the most beautiful handbag ranges on the market right now.
But probably the best thing about the KeriKit range, second to the stunning designs, is the fact that these bags will last you long past pregnancy and the early years of motherhood. Yes they've been designed with babies' needs in mind, but with a different approach to many other changing bag brands that make them much more versatile for use when you no longer need to pack three bottles and eight spare changes of clothes.
This independent business is, in my opinion, an absolute triumph of the bag world. KeriKit products are more expensive than the average bag, but when you divide the cost over the amount of years you're going to get out of these products, it, to me, seems a fair and solid investment. There are so many gorgeous items to choose from, but if I had my pick of the bunch it would absolutely be this to-die-for Amber Black Leather Backpack.