A Better Diaper Backpack
I think there's a lot of room for improvement in diaper bags. The thing is, most diaper bags are designed to be cute. And that probably sells because most people purchase their overpriced bag while they're still pregnant and they don't realize just how physical motherhood is. I bought a very cute purse-like diaper bag. It goes over one shoulder. Anyway, after I had the Tubaloo I was totally bowled over by how much physical work it is to take baby on an outing! Forget about looking cute! You need to be functional! I really think the diaper bag companies need to stop studying fashion trends and start paying attention to innovations in carrying heavy loads.
What's Wrong With Most Diaper Bags
First of all, the diaper bag and the mode of baby transport have to jive. Right? Well, recently, more babies are being carried in baby carriers because companies are coming out with designs that divert the baby's weight to the hips (duh. camping backpacks figured that out forever ago.) So, after suffering with shoulder and back pain for like 6 months or something, I finally found one of these wonderful carriers (it's the Beco Gemini). My life would have been perfect, except that my stupid diaper bag was still a purse! Let's think through the logic here. Most of the diaper bags are designed to either be carried by you the whole time you're out, or be hooked onto the handle bar of your stroller.
- So, if you have a light little umbrella stroller, the weight of your diaper bag on the handle bar will tip it over if when you take baby out. It's nice that they provide stroller hooks, but it's kinda annoying to have to consider weight and balance issues every time you take tubaloo out of the stroller.
- If you have a monster stroller, the stroller might be heavy enough to handle the diaper bag without falling over. But then you have a monster stroller. Which I have, and love for certain things. But frankly, who wants to bring a monster stroller everywhere? They're heavy!
- The last option is the baby carrier. It's light and easy and you don't have to load it into the trunk. One of the wonderful things about getting a good carrier is that you can make sure the baby's weight is distributed evenly on your body, so you don't get any pain from asymmetries (like carrying baby on your hip, right?) But what happens when you ad the diaper bag? You put in on one shoulder, right? Then your asymmetrical again! Darn! Well, you can wear it across your chest. Oops! That's where baby is. So, then you have to contend with the strap/baby issue.
Well, I'll just skip to the punchline. We ended up loading all our diaper bag stuff into a regular old backpack, and our fancy cute diaper bags have been sitting in the closet for a while. With a backpack, you can have baby in front, stuff in the back (the straps just go over the carrier straps, one on each shoulder,) and go anywhere without throwing your back out. And guess what folks: There is nothing special about a diaper bag! A regular backpack works just fine! All a diaper bag has is a few more subdivisions, and changing pad, and a wipes case.
Now if you decide to go and buy a backpack-style diaper bag, you will be very disappointed in your options. Because very few of them are designed to carry any weight. Oh, they're big and spacious, alright. But they don't have straps that can support that weight.
Here are a few examples I found searching Diapers.com for "diaper bag backpack" .....
Pretty pathetic. Thin straps. Big metal buckles that will probably dig into your back. Terrible weight distribution.
(Note, there are a few more standard backpacks that I've seen available online. But pretty much without fail the reviews say that they are made of cheep materials that break down easily. broken zippers etc, are a pain. You would never have that problem with a backpack that was made for hikers.)
So, this is what I propose - let's look at what stores like REI and Easter Mountain Sports have to offer backpackers for day hikes (because that's basically what you're doing, going on a day hike with baby, right?), and then adapt that to the needs of a mother! Besides, some backpacking gear is very cute in a sporty way. And I'm getting sick of baby gear with cute flowers all over it.
With this in mind, here's my idea for the ideal diaper bag. It's a sporty, expandable backpack with two small bladders (so you and baby can drink stuff without having to take off your backpack every 10 minutes,) and diverts the weight to your hips without interfering with the carrier waist belt. Ah...you may need a diagram.
The part that diverts weight to your hip might be a bit confusing. It's basically just a stiff curved band that rests against the back of your hips. The reason I think this would be good is a that the backpack can't wrap around your hips if you're using the baby carrier that goes on the hips. That real estate is already taken. But, you can design it so that it rests on top of, or against your hips and still divert some of that weight. I based this on the way this Kokopax baby carrier works. I've never used it, but it looks clever. Note the waist:
The carrier is basically like a lever arm. It works better as the weight gets heavier, which is good.
So, basically, you have two bladders in the backpack. One with water or milk for the baby. Their straw would be a different color, and have slower release straw/sippy cup type spout. And there would be another one just for you. This is optional, of course. If you don't use it, then you have more room to store stuff. There's also a kangaroo style zippered pocket that goes along the bottom, so that you can reach into it while the bag is still on. Same with a a pocket on the top. You can keep stuff you'll need quickly there. You could use one for you and one for the baby. The main compartment will be where you keep the bulk of the stuff: diaper changing stuff, (including your wipes case with suction cups on it) Snacks, change of clothes, you name it.
I really hope someone out there makes this for me.
But until they do, I'm buying my next diaper bag at REI!
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Dr. Dad = My darling husband. The Great Tubaloo, or the GT = what we like to call our son (rhymes with "tube of glue".) Note, it's a title, not a name. as in "The Great and Almighty Tubaloo who has traveled from from over the mountain to impart his wisdom!"
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