Baby Gear Health & Safety

Do You Need A Diaper Bag? Pros & Cons

The subject of which baby gear items you really need can be a topic of real debate among parents.

Take diaper bags for example – for every mom or dad that tells you they are essential, you’ll find another parent that will claim they are simply not worth buying or putting on your baby registry.

As the name suggests, diaper bags are designed for one thing in mind – carrying baby gear – so given this singular purpose they are a handy item to have when raising a baby.

You’ll find most come with multiple pockets, pouches, space for baby bottles and even waterproof changing mats attached, all in the aim of making life that little bit easier for mom or dad.

But are diaper bags necessary?

Can you use a regular backpack as a diaper bag instead?

And how many diaper bags do  you really need?

Let’s find out.

Do I Need A Diaper Bag?

To help you decide if you really need a nappy bag (or diaper bag), it’s helpful to look at both the advantages and disadvantages in more detail.

Pros Of Diaper Bags

  • With cleverly designed pouches, pockets and purpose-built storage, diaper bags make it easier and faster to find what you’re looking for. This should eliminate the need to remove items or scrummage around in your bag to find what you’re looking for.
  • Available in many different styles, colors and sizes, including diaper bags specifically designed for dads and ones that look like a regular backpack.
  • Many new designs come with insulated pockets to keep your child’s milk, water or other beverage cool.
  • Some diaper bags are designed to be both carried or hung on the back of the stroller, which can be more convenient and allows for easier access compared to putting it in the storage area underneath the stroller.

Cons Of Diaper Bags

  • You may only get a few years of use out of the bag.
  • Some people believe they are overpriced for what they are.
  • May contain features that are a little gimmicky and that you won’t use.
  • Can be fairly bulky – if you’re not planning on putting too many items in the bag then you may find a diaper bag is bigger than you really need.
  • If you aren’t planning to use the bag as your purse or put your personal items in it, then you’ll also need to carry around a handbag too.

How Big Of A Diaper Bag Do I Need?

When it comes to choosing what size diaper bag you need, it’s easy to get carried away with all the amazing-sounding features.

It’s wise to therefore ask yourself what you’ll typically put in the bag when you venture out with your baby.

Laptop pockets, insulated pockets for two or three baby bottles, removable changing mats and space for extra clothes, toys and swaddles all sound great, but ask yourself whether you will actually use all these features.

Another thing to keep in mind is the typical duration of you excursions with your child, because on longer day trips you will clearly need a bigger bag compared to what you might need when heading out to pick up a few groceries.

Why Are Diaper Bags So Expensive?

A lot of times parents are against the idea of buying a diaper bag simply because of the cost involved.

As with most baby gear, diaper bags are available in a range of prices depending on the brand, design, material and features.

Practically speaking, diaper bags need to be functional, stylish and durable enough to withstand a lot of wear and tear, so this may also explain why they can be on the costlier side.

However, a good diaper bag doesn’t necessarily have to set you back hundreds of dollars.

The example below has a 4.8 star rating and is only $42.99 on Amazon, and has every feature most people could ever want in a diaper bag.

RUVALINO Diaper Bag Backpack ($42.99, Amazon)

Can I Use A Regular Backpack As A Diaper Bag Instead?

Yes, there are good alternatives to diaper bags out there, so there’s nothing stopping you using a regular backpack, a large handbag or a tote bag instead.

Millions of parents happily live without using a diaper bag, so this is definitely an option if you don’t want to buy one.

If you do want to use a regular bag, it’s worth ensuring the bag you have in mind is waterproof, big enough to carry all the necessary items including a foldable changing mat, and can be hung off your stroller (the clips below are perfect for this).

PBnJ baby Stroller Hooks for Hanging Diaper Bags ($12.98, Amazon)

How Many Diaper Bags Do I Need?

Typically most parents find that one diaper bag is enough.

However, everyone’s circumstances are slightly different, so a few things to think about to help you answer this question as best you can include:

  • Do you want a separate bag for mom and dad given they may want to pack different personal items?
  • Do you need to leave one at a place where your child visits frequently – for example at daycare or at a relative’s house (e.g. at grandma’s home).
  • Would you find it beneficial to have one smaller bag for short trips, and one bigger bag for those time when you are out for hours or on a vacation with your baby?

See Also: Deciding What Baby Gear You Really Need – The Complete Guide


So there you have it.

Diaper bags are one of those items that some parents swear by, while others claim they’re a nice to have but ultimately not worth buying.

With their clever design, multiple pockets and space for just about anything you can think of, diaper bags can make your life easier when you’re out with your baby.

Keep in mind however that they are not the only option out there, and many parents find that a regular backpack, tote bag or handbag can also do just as good a job.

Nick is a passionate dad who co-founded Rockinbaby to share his parenting journey with other new parents. He has a BSc and MBA, and works as a senior marketing professional. In his spare time Nick loves watching sports, staying fit and traveling. Learn more about Nick here.

Pin It