I have a confession (and hope it doesn’t stir as much as my colleague recently proclaimed that skinny jeans are dead): I don’t believe every mother needs a diaper bag. Despite the many versatile, well-designed and eye-catching diaper bags now available, I could never bring myself to buy a traditional diaper bag with lots of pockets, wet/dry bags, bottle holders and tiny zippered pockets.
Perhaps my reluctance to accept a diaper bag had to do with my change of identity after becoming a mum: I struggled to come to terms with the sight of myself pushing a double stroller with a diaper bag on a shoulder and a minivan full of goldfish crumbs. Just because I was now a mother, that meant I **had** to do and own all mom’s stuff?
But, with a new baby and what seemed like an hourly diaper change, I had to find a way to be able to leave the house without packing what seemed like three suitcases.
Enter the Skip Hop Pronto changing mat. The size of a large book, my cousin gave me this portable changing pad when I was seven months pregnant. I remember her saying seriously, “You’ll need it. I use it everyday.”
I casually ignored her advice, thinking she was like many well-meaning mothers who tell their pregnant friends and family exactly what they need and why. But as soon as I pulled it out of the closet and started using it, I felt immediate relief and understood why this changing station had such a loyal following and why my cousin was so serious when she gave me this. I felt like I was indoctrinated into a special club with an optional diaper bag. (Don’t take my word for it. Over 3,000 people gave it a four-star review on Amazon).
Fast forward a few years, and with two kids under three still in diapers (yes, potty training took us forever, but that’s a story for another day), I’m still using the Skip Hop Pronto changing mat for every outing. It stays filled with nappies and wipes and lives in my favorite Herschel backpack which I use instead of a traditional diaper bag.
Here’s why I love it: There are two main pockets (one of which is mesh) where you can store nappies and wipes. There’s also an exterior zippered pocket where I keep my son’s epi-pen and extra plastic bags for those rashes. The pillow folds out and has wings, which means there’s extra surface area to hold wriggling babies and toddlers of all sizes. And, perhaps most notably, having this easily portable changing station meant that I never needed a traditional diaper bag.
I’ve taken it everywhere, from airport (and airplane) bathrooms to the trunk of the car for a quick diaper change to the park for a quick change (just lay it directly on the ground). When my parents are watching my little one, I bring the diaper station to their house filled with diapers and wipes, and if they take it out, it’s easy to grab it and stick it to the bottom of the stroller. It’s $27.99, which for a product I’ve used weekly for my two kids, is worth every penny (in fact, if I had to do it all over again, I’d buy another one to keep in the car ).
If you use it often, remember to wash it. The diaper pad section comes off via a zipper and I just throw it in the washing machine and hang it to dry.
Don’t get me wrong, I think diaper bags can be fantastic (in fact, we’ve got 31 stylish choices here). But, if you’re like me and just want the basics, Skip Hop’s Portable Changing Pad won’t let you down.