Nine Months More

The Evolution of Parenting: The Baby Bag

Like buying a pram, buying a baby bag is one of the defining moments of becoming a parent.  As a first time Mum, I bought the biggest baby bag possible. I knew that this bag had to hold all that I needed. What did I need? As a first time Mum, I needed everything.

AJ was born and I was home only a week before going stir crazy and needed an escape. Mum came over and together the four of us went down to the local shopping centre for a coffee. I say four of us because there was Mum, AJ, me and the baby bag. For the one hour adventure I packed so many things that the bag could barely close. Never mind that this shopping centre housed Target, Kmart, Coles and Safeway. I had to have everything. Just in case.

When PJ came along, there were now two babies I needed to pack everything for. Just in case. But my beautiful monogrammed baby bag was heavy. It was bulky. To find something, I had to take everything out first. Then put everything back in. Very soon, this bag became nothing more than a nuisance. Here the evolution of parenting began. I evolved from the oversized, baby bag to the bright coloured, two pockets Toy Story 3 back pack, purchased on a whim. It was my attempt to downsize my need to have everything.

Immediately, half the contents from the first baby bag were ditched. What a sense of freedom. I felt so liberated, so hip – so much like a mummy with toddlers and not one with babies. Until, very quickly, the zip broke on the smaller pocket. A hole appeared in the bottom corner. Through that hole my excitement drained. While I did love Woody and Buzz, I did not love this bag.

Baby Bag

One rainy Sunday afternoon, we found ourselves in Fitzroy. We sat down to enjoy a coffee. PJ was asleep in the pram and AJ was happy to play on my phone. We indulged in hip, trendy, Melbourne life. Consumed in this sense of fantasy we walked out of the café into the Crumpler store across the road. There amidst their gorgeous bags I convinced myself that I absolutely needed to upgrade the baby bag.

Immediately in the car, I transferred the contents of the Toy Story 3 back pack into the new bag. It was love. I justified the purchase – it’s a gorgeous backpack – I can use it forever. Well, forever lasted a year and the nag of parenting evolution began to nip again. It seemed the lifting of the mummy fog brought with it a sense of clarity. All around me I saw mums with no baby bag at all, just an oversized shoulder bag. I wanted to be part of this new breed of mummy.

The new bag needed to house only some of the things: two water bottles, one bag of wipes, mobile phone and wallet. So in the same store where I purchased my first baby bag, I purchased my new beautiful, monogrammed hand bag. I had joined the new breed of mummies and so the evolution of parenting continues.

What bag do you carry?

  • lydia C lee

    With my second child, in a clearly hormonal driven moment, I got a million $$ (well, not quite, but ridiculously expensive) nappy bag, because I decided I didn’t use my last one because it was ugly. I also didn’t use this one – I just end up using a back back or whatever bag is lying around…because who needs to be carting TWO bags around???

  • I think I went through about three baby bags searching for the ‘perfect’ one. But I did love the day when I could actually go back to using a ‘normal’ handbag!

  • Sophie Allen

    I can’t even recall how many I have had tried. When they were little babies I always used a baby bag, but it quickly got too annoying and everything ended up in my had bag anyway, I used to use messenger bags. Just last month I upgraded my camera bag, and not I just use that. And that way I always have my camera with me too).

    • I have seen some very fancy “mummy bag-camera bags” around and I have been so tempted to buy one. My camera bag is a good old fashioned Crumpler bag – I should buy shares in that store!

  • Love this Josefa. I actually have never had a baby bag, which is quite reflective of my non-conventional parenting I think! I just have either a large handbag, or a small handbag with a market basket full of whatever children need. Random, but good for my psychology. Come over and hear news about my new blog! Zanni x

  • AParentingLife

    I am a terrible bag person, in that until the last two years I never really did bags. I was always more of a pocket girl. I struggled finding the right bag to use as a nappy bag. So glad I don’t need to worry about it any more.

    Fairy wishes and butterfly kisses #teamIBOT

  • I tend to chuck stuff in a big bag and hope for the best!! I would love a nice baby bag this time around though but really I would be better off with a small suitcase!! I have been enjoying my freedom these last few weels with just carrying a handbag and keeping a kids bag in the car just incase.

    • We still keep a kids bag in the car, just in case, some habits are just too hard to break xx

  • Leanne Shea Langdown

    I carry an enormous hand bag … usually purchased at Colette … which houses note books, iPad, client notes, phone, bandaids, tissues, school notes, far too many business cards, just as many pens and the occasional squished muesli bar and zip lock bag of mushed up cookies (thanks kids).
    Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

    • My new “hand bag” is quite big and often gets full from the most random of things, I am trying to clean it out as often as I can, just to keep on top of it xx

  • I just bought bigger handbags, when my daughter was younger. I was never very organised either though. I remember the first time I left the house with my daughter to visit my gran, it took my 2.5hours to leave the house!

  • You sound like me! First time round I had a huge nappy bag which was full to the brim with all the things you ‘need’ when taken baby out and about. This time around I have an oversized leather bag (with no cartoons in sight), I love my bag and it’s big enough to fit a water bottle, a nappy or two, wipes and a bib. Perfect!

  • Alicia O’Brien

    I bought a big black wicked sista bag from the chemist for $40 and haven’t looked back, it’s still going strong!

  • bodyandfeetretreat

    I was like you – I bought the biggest nappy bag I could find – just in case I was out and got caught without everything that I absolutely needed to look after my child and not kill her off while on an outing !!!
    I very quickly learned that it got very heavy and I very seldom actually used a lot of what was in the bag – and so just got a smaller bag. Now sometimes she asks me to carry things for her if we are going out and depending on the size of my bag, I can either accommodate her or not !!!!
    Have the best day !

  • Despite the fact I still have one in nappies and a 3 and 5 year old I have TOTALLY downsized to an over shoulder handbag and I’ve totally shrunk what I need – I can fit three stainless water bottles in it, 2 nappies, wipes and wallet and that’s about it, the rest I can wing or buy if desperate! (plus spare clothes in the car) Em

    • There have been times when I haven’t taken anything (or just the bare essentials) in my bag and it is like the buggers know – cue vomit or pee – and I have to stop and buy a new change of clothes :S

  • I am down to just the handbag! It is a large one with room for a pack of wipes, drink bottles and a pair of knickers, but apart from that, I am clutter free again! Gee it feels great!

    • Oh yes, I think there will be spare undies floating around my hand bag for quite some time 🙂

  • I love this post Josefa. I got a re baby bag from Target before Punky was born an it did come in handy in those first few months when she was a gold-medal winning poo and spewer and I couldn’t go more than a couple of hours without needing to change all of her clothes! It still comes in handy now if we are going out for tr whole day and I want to take along a change of clothes and her PJ’s. but most of the time now I just shove a nappy, some wipes, drink bottle and little container of bribes, I mean food, in my handbag.

    But with the new bubs coming, and the fact I am in need of a new handbag, I’ve splurged and layby’d a nice new handbag/baby bag for the shorter day trips. The red baby bag will now become the one I keep in the car at all times, stocked for emergencies and the extras I don’t need to carry with me at all times.

    • yay! for the new bag – I can’t believe that you are going to be using it so very soon! time has flown xx

  • Ah baby bags! Remember them well. Not sad to say goodbye to them either – so nice to carry something that doesn’t weigh as much as an elephant!

  • I love bags that make being organized so simple that you can carry a smaller bag while still having lots. I carried JuJuBe bags and loved them. Now that I have no need of most baby supplies, I use just my purse when out most days and use a carryall when going places for many hours where we ned toys and medicines and a change of clothes. It’s still JuJuBe because of how much I love that you can machine wash them!

    • How gorgeous are those JuJuBe bags – just looked them up now – almost convinced myself that I needed one!

  • Pip (@melbournelass)

    haha I started off like you – with a bag gradually growing with my needs and then … I got lazy. I now stuff a nappy & wipes into my handbag in the hope she can do without a change for a few hours. Lazy much? Yup – your bag evolution looks much better than my stop gap!

  • We went through a few too, always had to be waterproof, as we were at the beach a lot. I love having a big handbag, and still carry snacks when we go out. 🙂

  • I go through stages with my bag too. I have a handbag for me & a little backpack for the 3 boys. it is certainly easier as they get older

  • TwitchyCorner

    *Heaving sigh of relief these days are behind me*… My youngest is 6, she carries her own backpack of needs now, just like her brother does. My own bag, however, is hanging on the kitchen door as I now do school runs with merely a little pocket on a string- big enough to hold my money card and phone. My shoulders thank me EVERY day.

    PS I still have one mother of a once-expensive baby bag here, wondering what I should do with it? Because no one will likely want one of these again, will they?

    • When we sit down to plan our next holiday certain destinations overseas get thrown into the conversation and my response is – not until the boys can carry their own backpack, wheel their own luggage and drag it off the conveyor belt at the airport – hence some of those destinations will just have to wait AND can you use the expensive baby bag as a bag for you now? will people notice that it is a baby bag? I use mine all the time and people are none the wiser 😉

  • I was so relieved to dump the baby bag and then the backpack. It is lovely to leave home with just my small handbag and no longer worry about what the kids might need. Although my car glove box still carries a packet of baby wipes.

  • Yellow_Dandy

    The oversized baby bag is still my staple. But it is a lovely Vera Bradley one so I’m not complaining! I have recently bought a toddler back pack too, it helps (it also has a tether, in the case of a runaway child!!!)

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