Manisha Ferdinand on all the junk you lug around, week in, week out, for YEARS…

Before you get pregnant, the idea of buying a bag dedicated solely to nappies seems, frankly, insane. ‘50 quid for something to carry wet wipes around in?!’ you scoff. ‘Not I! I will repurpose that old gym bag I never use and not fall victim to the ridiculous, cynical marketplace that preys on new mother’s inexperience!’.

And then you get pregnant of course, and the devil himself couldn’t stop you from that weekly spending spree in Mothercare.

But whilst some of those ‘must-haves’ for new mums are definitely to be taken with a pinch of salt (they managed without baby poo monitoring apps for literally THOUSANDS of years) a good changing bag really can help you out. Choosing it is an art in and of itself, requiring precision, foresight and yes, a not insignificant amount of cash. What you might not realise when you’re pregnant or dewy-eyed (or, if anything like me, pregnant and vomiting incessantly) is how much your use of your changing bag will, erm, change as your baby gets older. What a newborn needs every time you venture out of the house (spoiler: it’s basically a nappy and you) is EXTREMELY different to what a one year old needs (spoiler: it’s basically everything in the house) – so make sure your changing bag is equipped to handle the sprawling range of pure STUFF.

Your changing bag isn’t just for nappies. It might be the key to your very sanity. So forget Tesco’s: a changing bag is the true Bag for Life.

Newborn

  • What you pack (lovingly and immaculately): Nappies, wet-wipes, changing mat, as least one change of clothes, hat, gloves and coat for the baby (even if it is the middle of summer), bottle / formula if required, breastfeeding shawl, nipple cream, at least two muslins, extra blankets, the red book, a list of emergency phone numbers in case you lose your phone and need to find a phone box, a stack of coins (also for phone box)…
  • Things you forget: your phone, keys and purse because you are so focused on making sure the baby has everything / so proud of making it out of the house that you forget everything you need

 1 – 3 months

  • At some point around the 6 week mark you’ve probably chinned off the breastfeeding shawl because who can be arsed with that and the red book now tentatively sits on your dining table awaiting the next doc appointment (when you will inevitably forget it and have to go back home to get it).
  • Additions: a few foam books, Calpol because this is prime ‘jabs’ time and it is your saviour, a packet of crisps / chocolate bar to keep you going, your make-up bag because dammit you’re going to try and make an effort

3 – 6 months

  • This age heralds the appearance of a myriad of plastic teething toys including the third or fourth Sophie the Giraffe because they keep getting sodding lost, some musty old muslin that the baby inexplicably loves, wafer biscuits as you test the weaning waters (most of them will lie, gathering dust, in the bottom of the bag because they are never packaged sensibly), toys that involve flashing lights or the most annoying music you’ve ever had the misfortune to listen to, three packets of crisps / chocolate bars to keep you awake.

6 months to 1 year

  • Now, in that trusty bag you stuff whatever toy(s) it takes to keep your kid happy even if that happens to be a massive tractor that takes up most of the bag and leaves little room for everything else, a book, at least two packs of wet wipes, nappies, three different packets of Ella’s Kitchen (snack, main, dessert), a halfhearted attempt at something homecooked either in tupperware or foil that will go wholly ignored in favour of the Ella’s pouches, plastic cutlery and crockery, three bibs, three inexplicable pieces of plastic that were at one point part of a toy – you’ll never know now, old wet wipes, three or four dummies at varying stages of cleanliness, five packets of crisps / chocolate bars to keep you standing.
  • Things you don’t bother with anymore: extra layers (they’ll be fine), changing mat (just do it on the floor), changes of clothes (what’s the point).

1 year onwards

  • A couple of nappies, a coolbag stuffed with food and snacks and a whole separate bag for the toys and books
  • A six pack of crisps / family sized chocolate bar. How else are you going to stay sane?

@Ferders @mushmums