The first time my husband and I took our then-newborn son out of the house for his first-ever pediatrician appointment, we had no idea what we might need to bring with us. So we brought basically everything. As we entered the pediatrician’s office, we were carrying more bags and supplies than you count. And the sweet lady at the desk gave us a wink and asked in half-whisper / half-giggle whether we were running away.
Over the next few weeks, we learned both how to keep our son alive and how to consolidate in the schlepping-baby-stuff-around department. On weekends, our staple was the Diaper Dude Messenger Bag and an Eddie Bauer diaper backpack. I didn’t have any particularly attractive baby bags for the office, but I dropped my son off at daycare before heading to work every day, so perhaps I figured I didn’t need one.
Given my “babies” are now 5 ½ and 8, I reached out to newer mamas for advice on what the best baby bags are these days.
The following 7 bags were the top picks of working mamas who are alums of my Mindful Return program:
I know this technically isn’t labeled a “diaper” bag, but this was the mamas’ top choice by FAR, with many rave reviews. Moms wished it was around for their earlier children, and they continue to use it as an overnight bag, even after the pump was gone. The company’s founder also has an awesome story about how her own experience inspired her to create these stylish bags.
Another favorite for its versatility. This diaper bag can be carried as a hand-held tote, a backpack, or a fold-over messenger bag. According to one mama, “It’s big, and it doesn’t read as a diaper bag. I love the backpack option, and I’ve even used it for work and as a travel bag when I’m not with my baby.”
After trying many diaper bags, one mama wrote, she is “obsessed” with this one. Leave it to Fisher Price to know kiddos! This backpack has a built in cooler compartment in the front zipper and also a laptop compartment on the inside. “I will definitely continue to use this once my baby grows out of it,” she wrote, “especially when packing perishable food for a trip to beach, etc. Plus, the other bags were putting a strain on my back and were just cumbersome. I can’t recommend this bag enough.”
This one also doesn’t look like a diaper bag, and it’s much more affordable than some of the other options. One mama raves, “I LOVE my Land backpack. I got it on Amazon, and it’s the perfect size.”
5. Fawn Design Bags.
These leather bags come in a few different styles, sizes, and colors. “I think they are (relatively) chic,” one Mindful Return alum weighed in, “with decent (though not intense) interior pocketing.” She had the Fawn Design Original.
6. Lily Jade.
Definitely a more pricey option, but mamas love these really nice leather bags. They come with a convenient diaper bag insert that you can simply take out when you don’t need it.
7. LL Bean Tote Bag.
Don’t forget that classic totes can continue to serve you well, even in the onslaught of baby stuff! One mama noted that it “fits all my pump parts, cooler, snacks for the day, and water bottle, which just makes my life easier!”
Wherever your life – and baby – takes you, mama, may you schlep it all in comfort and style. And most of all, may no one accuse you of looking like you’re on the run out of town!
Lori K. Mihalich-Levin, JD, is the founder of Mindful Return and author of Back to Work After Baby: How to Plan and Navigate a Mindful Return from Maternity Leave. She is a frequent speaker on topics related to work-life balance, navigating the return from parental leave, and (in her legal role) Medicare graduate medical education payments. A partner in the health care practice of a global law firm, she also is mama to two red-headed boys.