Nappy Changing
Nappy Changing
A review of the best designer messenger bag as a baby nappy changing bag with different compartments and zipped pockets for storage
Travel Mat
Travel Mat
A review of the best designer messenger bag as a baby nappy changing bag with different compartments and zipped pockets for storage
Michael Kors
Michael Kors
A review of the best designer messenger bag as a baby nappy changing bag with different compartments and zipped pockets for storage
Work Mode
Work Mode
A review of the best designer messenger bag as a baby nappy changing bag with different compartments and zipped pockets for storage
Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs
A review of the best designer messenger bag as a baby nappy changing bag with different compartments and zipped pockets for storage

Baby Changing Bag? Stylish Work Bag? Man Bag!

Author: Charlotte O'Shea

If you could read the title of this post in a kind of cave man/Neanderthal stereotypical type voice then that would be super (and make me laugh.)

I guess this is a kind of two-in-one feature – a “What’s in my bag” (on a day to day basis) plus my quest for a decent baby changing bag. Regarding the latter, I didn’t really like anything. There were a couple of designs that were quite nice ( I must have perused the offerings of John Lewis on at least fifteen different occasions in the months before Mabel’s due date) but who wants to lug around something on a daily basis that was quite nice?

A few of my best girls have Pacapods and they work really well for them, for me personally they just seemed to be a fairly normal um… bag, but with a few extra smaller zip-up storage compartments inside. I completely appreciate the compartmentalising aspect, I just wasn’t sure I wanted to pay a premium for it. And as I mentioned before I didn’t fall head over heels for any of the shapes, colours or prints that were available at that time anyway. Please do feel free to correct me if I’m missing something glaringly obvious here.

I ended up finding a brown satchel in Zara Man, it wasn’t too “wide” and had a separate pocket on the front, two zippy sections inside and a fold-over part that you could also store stuff in. It was less than forty quid and has worked really well for longer “day” trips. Plus I send it off with Mabel’s grandparents on a Monday as it houses everything she needs whilst I’m working.

As you may know I’ve been toying with the idea of a fancy keep-for-ever designer investment for years, it will likely be a bag as most of you know how much I love womens bags… Yet have never taken the plunge. All of you lovely folk made lots of helpful suggestions so I was encouraged to re-consider my options – quite a few of you suggested Micheal Kors might be worth a butchers so whilst investigating The Selfridges sales in Birmingham I may have had a wee peek. Interestingly (or not, are you detecting a theme here?) it was a subtle yet sexy “flight bag” for men that took my fancy. And guess what? it was reduced from £215 to £95. I may have done a little dance of glee when I read the price label.

Much like my masculine Zara find, the Kors option had all sorts of perfect pockets and zippy sections. Plus the strap was adjustable for cross body wear which for running around London to meetings and jumping on and off tubes is a much easier option than anything hand held or one-shouldered. I can store my iPad, my phone, note book, glasses, make-up bag, hand cream, spare grips and credit cards comfortably. I can also fit a book and/or mini magazine for the train journey AND a pair of flats to change into should I envisage sore feet after pounding the pavements for a day in heels.

As I was clutching my find in the Selfridges queue waiting to pay I wondered if there might be scope for my purchase to work for baby changing also – not necessarily full on “day trips” but certainly the majority of outings we seem to partake in. And here’s the thing – thinking about it, we tend to “pop” out for a couple of hours, no more than 3 I’d say, be it to the shops or the park or tea and cake with friends…. And there we were lugging around enough stuff for more than twice that length of time. Yes we have a very small person, yes we always take a “spare” “just in case” but as well as this big holder of bumpf I was carrying another handbag to house all my garb as well.

Can you see where I’m going with this?

My Michael Kors bag is AWESOME. It works for just about everything – meetings and Mabel. The first image you see is missing a spare change of outfit which also fits in, and there are always two nappies and two muslins, just for clarity.

I do appreciate that my bag is similar to some of the “messenger” styles around but I looked at these and they were a little on the small side. Plus the Mulberry one (although lush) was super spendy and simply didn’t have as many clever separate pocket bits.

Rather than listing every conceivable item I lug around I’ve put together a little box of space saving tips to the right of this feature. Please do leave your experience/advice on changing bag packing and let me know what brand and design you’ve chosen (we love links – please do add them to your comments so we can see!)

Have you ever considered a “man” bag? Obviously James thinks my choice is great – there were some on offer that perhaps he wouldn’t have felt so confident carrying around…

Please feel free to ask any questions as I’m sure I’ve probably left out a few details, I’m working from my Mum’s today as we’re having new radiators fitted (hooray!) which means it will be bloody freezing AND noisy in the O’Shea abode. I’ll do my best to get back to you as soon as I can though.

{Top Packing Tips}
  • I love this travel changing mat, it really does roll up small and you can keep nappies and wipes in the netted compartments.
  • A large purse is just a pain in the arse to try and fit in these days (plus I used to carry around so many receipts and stuff I hardly ever used), this card holder from & Other Stories is chic and compact, comes in the softest leather and houses my 4 most used cards plus a bank note (or two!) and small change.
  • Most baby products come in neat smaller sizes – You can buy 30g tubes of Bepanthen ointment from Boots for example (I use this size in my bag usually, but it was at my parents when we shot this so the bigger version had to do!)
  • Bottle wise I use the velcro tabbed Tommee Tippee insulated carriers, I simply attach them to the straps of my bag or Mabel’s buggy.
  • Carex Moisture plus anti-bacterial hand gel comes in a teeny bottle and is the only version I’ve tried that doesn’t aggravate my eczema.
  • When you first purchase your bag have a play around with all the bits and pieces you will need to see where everything fits best, you’ll soon get it down to a fine art. Promise.
Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.
Follow Charlotte on instagram @charlotte.oshea
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26 thoughts on “Baby Changing Bag? Stylish Work Bag? Man Bag!

  1. My Pacapod was one of my first baby purchases when I was pregnant – I’d had a look around for a changing bag that didnt look like a changing bag and still was my style. I went for the Firenze and I LOVE IT! I know it was the more expensive of the range but I justified it by saying I’ll use it every day for at least two years! My husband finds it useful too as he just takes out the ‘pods’ when he goes out on own with our daughter. Plus it looks really good on the buggy so even when I havent had time to brush my hair or pick a decent outfit, at least the bag looks good!
    Love the Michael Kors bag Charlotte, also love the Monday baby posts. xx

    1. That’s a nice colour Rebecca, some of my friends have also mentioned the ability to remove the pods too – I can see the benefits. Also you should see my hair right now – tragic 🙂 x

  2. Oh, and my baby is only 6 weeks old so I’m still very much learning, but my advice on changing bag would be ALWAYS take a spare baby outfit in case of nappy explosion! x

  3. I too disliked most of the nappy bags that were around. I did rather like the StorkSack but couldn’t bring myself to spend that much on a bag that essentially carried around nappies and wipes!! In the end I went for a Cath Kidston cowboy print one which was big enough for everything and had the fold up mat in it too. I rather liked the fun print. I still carried my own mulberry messenger bag (I love this style as so much easier with kids!) or just chucked my purse and phone in the nappy bag. When Molly went to nursery I switched to a SkipHop owl rucksack (they do the cutest stuff!) as it was much smaller and easier to pack and with Alice I pretty much went straight to this rather than lugging a big nappy bag around as you don’t actually need that much. Agree that spare clothes is always a must. The times I’ve forgotten them are the times I need them. Plus a good old muslin for pretty much everything. My lovely hubby got me a Bayswater when Alice was born which is big enough to fit most stuff in although must admit housing crushed up biscuits and baby wipes is probably not what a Mulberry is intended for!! xx

    1. A cowboy print you say? I don’t believe I have witnessed this! We started off hauling around so many things! plus you can always keep a muslin and a few bits and bobs in the buggy, save carrying it all. x

  4. I carry a Zatchel. And put everything for the baby under the buggy.

    I did buy a nappy bag, but didn’t really get on with it, didn’t love it… so gave up.

    1. Hi Sara, I really like the Barrel style! Our buggy doesn’t really have much room underneath (I deliberately chose the most compact/lightest one we could find) x

      1. Neither does ours – we traded in our iCandy for a Maclaren Quest which is a great umbrella fold but pretty small. I just shove it in, hope for the best and try and make sure I don’t need to get anything out while Juliet’s napping because it’s pretty much impossible once it’s reclined.

        I do love my Zatchel but it’s deceptively small. I have a medium satchel and it fits my purse and keys in, and that’s pretty much it.

  5. I’m 20 weeks now and have been keeping a sneaky eye out for a suitable ‘changing bag’ for a while, so this post is timely for me! I haven’t been overly keen on any of the actual nappy bags I’ve seen, so have been looking for a normal bag I can use for housing baby stuff. Still haven’t bought anything though, as I can’t decide between getting a leather shopper/satchel/tote thing or a Kanken backpack…

    1. Hi Tracy, cross body was a must for me but having said that, I think a backpack might be even more handy. x

  6. Charlotte my everyday handbag is also a ‘manbag’; a soft brown leather cross-body satchel from Men’s Gap which I receive loads of complements on. In terms of baby changing bag, I’ve been considering the Lässig Green Label Changing Backpack which isn’t exactly a covetable thing of beauty, but it has an aesthetic appeal with its grey melange with bright contrast inside and seems practical, comfortable and better still, Mr Philippa won’t feel a div carrying it.

    I love the Kors, that’s right up my street. Its full price now on the Selfridges site so maybe its an in-store-only offer or you just got lucky! A friend splurged on the Mulberry and is now contemplating ebaying it as she never uses it and feels it’s now too big to tote around with a toddler but too small to use as an overnight bag.

    I’ve been thoroughly enjoying your Monday posts and have been keeping my eye out for your verdict on the Snüzpod as that’s the thing we’ve completely decided on (and the grey one too!) so I look forward to hearing how you and Mabel have got on with it…

    1. Phillipa I’ve actually done a full on video of the Snuzpod (!) just waiting for Adam to edit it (it could come our crap mind you – I may have to write about it instead)

      I know about the full price thing of the Kors, bummer, I could only see it in brown as well. For the record, I think that backpack is really quite cool – I actually was tempted by a similar design from Ikea earlier in the year (I think it was meant for picnics but whatever, it had good compartments!) x

  7. I’m still on the look out for a replacement after husband-stole-the-hotel-butters-and-they-wrecked-ours–gate. I have gravitated towards the man bags too – I’m not sure why – do they just have something a bit ‘practical’ about them?! (Also v. handy for trips out with daddy) Its the bottles and powder dispenser that bulk ours out. I do occasionally throw everything into my marc jacobs cross body bag but more because it just has a flap over the top rather than needing to zip – so things can squeeze in and be spilling out – looks v classy!
    I have kept stalking the mens mulberry’s at sale time but then I’m aware we are approacing weaning time and I’m not sure mushed corgettes and mulberrys’ will be that well suited… and it seems way off but I think we have only about 6 months until we have to pack in the kg of multicoloured glitter swimming in a tub of PVA, resting on a soggy piece of paper home from playgroup!
    I love the CK cowboy bag Charlotte M – my sister in law has that one for her little baby girl and it always looks so gorgeous loaded up with pretty blankets.

    1. I just think “man bags” seem to be designed better, regardless of a baby I need separate areas to keep my stuff in, otherwise I just get myself in a tizz looking for my phone….

      I think one Mabel gets a little older we may have to consider an extra large man bag mind you, there is a LOT of bumpf a toddler requires 🙂 x

  8. I’m thinking of changing to a backpack, I have always kept my handbag and changing bag separate to make it easy to manage dropping off my little boy but am getting sick of needed two bags now we use the buggy less. I sometimes end up carrying my toddler plus two bags and it’s too much!
    I want something weather-resistant, but not something a 12 year old would put their PE kit in. And not too expensive! £30? Obviously not expecting leather at that price. Generally I carry 3 nappies, a packet of wipes, nappy cream, a drink, a snack or two, sometimes a toy, my purse, lipstick, keys, phone, umbrella and 2 glasses cases. I also tend to bring a change of clothes but could probably keep that in the car going forward. I can’t remember the last time it was actually used!

    1. Kathryn try Zara – I love this and it has compartments! I find the fake leather totally waterproof ( I have one similar to this…..—bags/woman/handbags/shopper-with-cutouts-and-compartments-c665016p2005856.html

      And this comes in two different sizes (I love the orange!)—bags/trf/handbags-c665018.html#product=2045084&viewMode=two

      Honestly there are loads that would work – have a butchers x

      1. I bought the large Zara doctors bag for work, big enough to fit all my bumpf in including laptop, lunch etc. It’s also got a couple of zip compartments inside which means I don’t loose track of my phones, purse, keys…

  9. I am only 12 and a half weeks pregnant so am very new to this – although I have started to look admiringly at Bugaboo’s..

    But I have a Cath Kidston rucksack that is 100% waterproof, is a lovely navy blue with polka dots and is very roomy. It doesn’t have any side compartments but they do have a front compartment, a main bit in the middle and then a seperate section at the back that can fit a laptop. And recently a friend of mine bought one in a double decker bus print that I’m very jealous of!

    1. Jennifer congratulations! Your rucksack sounds perfect, nearer the time simply try and see if you can fit everything in it, you never know – it will save you trying to find an alternative! x

      1. Thank you! It’s a bit overwhelming trying to get my head around it all. Let alone starting to think about important things like accessories! Xx

  10. I know nothing about babies and what they need but this post caught my eye as I’ve been researching changing bags for my sister-in-law who is due soon. I offered to buy a changing bag for them, then looked up how much changing bags are, and wished I’d offered to buy a nappy instead!!!! So expensive! So she found a couple she liked and I ended up buying one from Next, which is navy polka dot with leather-look straps and was £30. So my brother won’t feel too ridiculous carrying it (some I found said yummy mummy all over them which I thought was a bit naff) and not to baby-looking. I also have done extensive research into changing mats (as I’d offered to buy one of those too before seeing the prices of bags!) and have bought them a grey and white stars one from Babies R Us (hellish place!!) for a fiver.

    1. Sounds lush Victoria, and you are right Babies R Us can be hellish – but worth a mooch for the bargains. We bought Mabel’s cot from there and I’m yet to see a nicer one x

  11. I have to admit I completely splashed out on my nappy bag but it was the best decision I ever made. I went from feeling like a girl-about-town to frumpy mum in days once I became a mum and found myself being out and about with a frankly rather dull, ‘mumsy’ nappy bag, pre-bought in my 8th month of pregnancy.

    There was no point carrying my favourite handbag too- I just stuffed my wallet, keys and iPhone into the nappy bag. And having still not lost my baby weight (and therefore not yet fitting into my old wardrobe yet) the nappy bag was the only part of my outfit ensemble that could boost my style and chic-factor.

    I searched for hours online and ended up totally splashing out on this Marc Jacobs number from the States:

    Although it was a huge splurge I’m so thrilled with it. It’s style is still the old ‘me’ and I can use it as a gorgeous oversize bag once I don’t need it for my darling daughter any more.

    My thinking with nappy bags is choose something that makes you feel good, and fits in with your style, no matter what the cost. You’ll use it more than you’ll ever use your favourite pair of jeans, and for me, especially in those early new-mum days, it was literally the difference between feeling fab, and feeling frumpy.

    1. Gorgeous Karen! and what a well thought out comment, I completely agree with you – I have never thought about it in terms of actually, it could be the one thing that makes you feel a bit more like the old “you” x

  12. Just checked back to see what the suggestions were and am now in love with the Marc Jacobs bag…am going to treat myself if I have a second baby.
    Have just bought a cheap Aztec-print rucksack from Primark to take on holidays, combined with a Minnie Mouse make up bag which is the right size for wipes, nappy, drink and snack. So a bit random but I think it will work. And for £12 outlay I can’t really go wrong.
    Really like the Zara Doctor bag too, so may be purchasing one for the winter months!

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