One of the things that comes with being a mum is often the loss of your lovely fashionable handbags! They are stashed away and out comes a huge changing bag containing everything your baby could ever need. So it's always a good idea to find yourself a changing bag which fits in with your usual style as much as possible. There are loads out there but watch out, a lot of them are not that cheap. You will probably be using this bag every day for the best part of a year though, so think of it as an investment. I've put together a few ideas below on changing bags and what you should put in them!
Changing bags - the brands I would recommend are Pacapod, Oioi, Storksak and Yummy Mummy. These brands produce practical bags which include changing mats and insulated bottle holders but still provide a touch of style. Depending on your personal taste, you can get simple prints in grey or beige, or cute floral and cupcake prints. These brands can all be bought at John Lewis or good baby boutiques. I also found it helpful to keep an eye out on a website called Achica.com, which has discounts on designer brands. I got a Pacapod and an Oioi bag and paid around half of the usual RRP for each of them.
Changing station or nappy wallet - these are smaller bags that you can take with you if you're popping out quickly, or keep within your changing bag to have everything to hand for a nappy change. Good brands for these are Skip Hop, Yummy Mummy and JJ Cole. Some of them have the changing mat as part of the bag, so you just unfold it and you've got your changing mat there and pockets for your nappies and wipes.
Mini packs of baby wipes - these are a lot less bulky than carrying round the full size packs so take up less room in your bag. Asda do these small travel size packs for around 50p.
Snooze shade - I keep one of these in my changing bag so if baby J wants a sleep while we are out, I can put the shade over his pushchair to ensure it is dark and he doesn't get distracted and grumpy when he is actually just tired! On a recent holiday to Norfolk this worked really well and we managed to have a few lunches out while he slept. Ideal if your baby is nosy or needs darkness to sleep well.
Small toys - it's always a good idea to keep a couple of toys in your changing bag and when your baby gets bored you can whip one of them out. I like the mini Lamaze toys and Nuby toys (which you can pick up from supermarkets and are often on offer). Colourful links will often entertain babies for a while and can be bought for less than £5.
These are just a few of the things that I would always keep in my bag - I haven't mentioned the obvious like a change of clothes, muslins etc! If I have missed your 'must have' let me know...