How can something so small require so much stuff? As every parent knows, even the shortest trip to the shops with a baby means lugging more stuff than Take That takes on tour - and hearing a similar amount of screaming.
Normal handbags and backpacks just don’t cut it when you not only need to carry lots of things, but to get access to them instantly. A few moments fumbling inside a disorganised bag can mean the difference between mewling and a complete meltdown.
The best changing bags are easy to clean and water resistant - you don’t want the contents to get soggy either because of a downpour or a leaky bottle - and have thermal insulation for those all-important bottles.
Changing mats are a must, and a “messy bag” for dirty clothes isn’t a bad idea either. Multiple pockets inside and out are very important, and comfortable straps are a must. Secure pram attachments make life a whole lot easier too, and if the bag looks good as well then that’s a definite bonus.
It's always useful to think about who will be using the changing bag the most... Mum or Dad? If it's Mum, opting for a bag that looks like a handbag would be a great option. If it's Dad, a more gender neutral messenger changing bag might be a better choice. Also, where do your days out usually take you? It's all very well and good having a great looking handbag style changing bag but not if you often go walking or are out on adventures; this is when the backpack changing bags really come into their own.
There are lots of changing bags out there but we believe that these five are the ones you’ll like the best - and we’ve based that on real mums’ and dads’ reviews, parenting magazine awards and our own inimitable sense of style. And speaking of style, check out this list of the top trendy changing bags if you're particularly fashion conscious.
1. Mia Tui Emma Changing Bag
The changing bag that looks like a proper bag
Dimensions: 44 x 17 x 31 cm | Main fabric: Faux Leather | Weight: 0.99kg | Changing mat: Yes | Shoulder strap: Yes | Easy clean: Yes
Mother & Baby magazine gave this stylish bag a Gold Award in 2017, with good reason: it doesn’t look remotely like a changing bag, but it still does the job of a changing bag. It’s available in a range of colours including browns, blues and reds as well as black, and it includes two removable internal bags: a clear PVC one for baby bits such as the obligatory Ella’s Kitchen pouches and pieces and a clutch bag for mum’s stuff. There are two insulated pockets for bottle holders, a travel changing mat and clips to attach the bag to a pram and to make sure you don’t lose your keys. This handbag style changing bag also comes with 2 different straps; a longer handle for throwing over your shoulder when you're in a hurry and shorter straps for a classic handbag style. It puts the fun back into functional and doesn’t cost too much either.
2. Koo-di Lottie Changing Bag
The best changing bag for everyday life
Dimensions: 48 x 18 x 52 cm | Main fabric: Polyester | Weight: 0.82kg | Changing mat: Yes | Shoulder strap: No | Easy clean: Yes
The Koo-di Lottie is doing big numbers on Amazon and with good reason: it’s another Mother & Baby Award winner, with the judges raving about how it changed their lives. Like the Mia Tui, it looks more like a proper bag than a changing bag, and while polyester isn’t the most luxurious material it is water-repellent and wipe-clean. That makes it particularly well suited for messy babies and British weather. It’s like a tiny Tardis with three internal pockets, an insulated bottle holder and six external pockets for wipes and other essentials. This is the best baby changing bag for parents that generally carry a lot things around day to day. There’s a strap for your keys and a shoulder strap, but it’s not really a shoulder bag unless you’re quite small: the main strap is fairly short. A modern design with more space than you will probably ever need.
3. Mothercare Messenger Changing Bag
The best changing bag for those on a budget
Dimensions: H31 x W45 x D15cm | Main fabric: Polyester | Weight: 0.95kg | Changing mat: Yes | Shoulder strap: Yes | Easy clean: Yes
At £40 RRP, this messenger changing bag from Mothercare makes for a great quality choice for parents who share the load. Unlike some of the other options in our list; this baby change bag is much more male and female appropriate. It comes in a rainbow of colours from vivid red, pink and blue to more sober clay and black. It also has a padded shoulder strap to stop the bag from hurting, an external drink pocket, includes a padded changing mat and messy bag for easy baby changes and has been treated with microban anti-bacterial protection to keep things germ-free. We reckon this one’s a good unisex option, even in pink: that option is the hot pink of sportswear rather than a pale pink. Mums and dads love it and the Reevo reviews are positive about pretty much everything. No, it doesn't look overly pretty in the darker colour options but yes, it will do the job.
4. Jem + Bea Jemima Tote Changing Bag
A designer choice for the fashion conscious
Dimensions: H29 x W42 x D17cm | Main fabric: Leather | Weight: 1.25kg | Changing mat: Yes | Shoulder strap: Yes | Easy clean: Yes
OK, so this designer changing bag has a hefty price tag, but bear with us. If you hate the thought of giving up your designer accessories once you've had a baby, Jem and Bea have got your back. The Jemima Tote Changing Bag gives you so much more than just a diaper bag. Each part of this bag has been carefully considered to give you the best of both worlds; multiple pockets and baby friendly storage galore, teamed with luxurious leather and designer accessories to boot. If you are used to carrying a Mulberry handbag around and the thought of giving that up is a thought too far, this Jemima Tote is your go-to piece. This changing bag includes all of the usual suspects for baby; padded changing mat, thermal bottle holder and water repellent lining and then some luxurious items for mum; leather keyring holder, luxury leather vanity pouch and it even comes with a dust bag. For any Dads out there looking for a sure fire way to put a smile on Mums face after the birth.... this is the perfect gift to put you firmly in the good books. You're welcome. And if you're struggling to come to terms with its hefty price-tag, look out for any Black Friday deals.
5. PacaPod Picos Pack Changing Bag
For urban adventurers and outdoors explorers alike
Dimensions: H45 x W34 x L20 | Main fabric: Polyester | Weight: 0.95kg | Changing mat: Yes | Shoulder strap: Backpack style | Easy clean: Yes
Part changing bag, part tongue-twister, the PacaPod Picos Pack is happy in the hills and in the high street. The backpack straps double as pram attachments and the 3-in-1 design means you can keep the removable changer pod and cool bag inside or attach them individually to your pram. There’s a chest strap too, which you can use if you’re carrying baby in a sling or harness, and it comes recommended by Radio One’s Jo Whiley as well as the Made for Mums Awards 2017 and stacks of other parenting awards. It’s brilliantly designed and while it’s a little pricey it’s made to last and can handle any kind of environment. This really is a super-stylish adventure changing bag, designed for parents who spend a lot of time in the great outdoors. There’s a 30-day no-quibble returns policy too.