Go Lean: Ditching the Diaper Bag


Lately, I have seen more than a few moms rocking some pretty impressive diaper bags. Not only are these bags fashionable, they also can be enormous. Though I admire the level of preparedness of these moms, carrying a huge diaper bag everywhere I went with my baby was never in the cards for me.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I developed serious back pain including sciatica. I eventually was diagnosed with a herniated disc and required surgery. Given the strain on my back, we already had decided against the traditional infant carrier/car seat, opting to wear our baby and use a convertible car seat. 

But what about the diaper bag?

Go Lean: Ditching the Diaper Bag | Duluth Moms Blog

Although traditional diaper bags are super convenient and often come with great features like a waterproof changing pad and pockets for soiled clothing, they also end up being a catch-all for everything from apples to zebra stuffies. I mean, why pack a single serving of puffs when you can fit the entire container in your diaper bag? Then there’s the regular wipes, the boogie wipes, the extra change of clothes in case there is a blow-out, the extra-extra change of clothes for blowout #2, diaper rash cream, a sweater, a blanket, pacifiers, pacifier wipes, sunscreen and let’s not forget a book or two, toys, a water bottle, the baby’s bottle, the infant formula and a snack for mom. Oh, I almost forgot the essential item for any diaper bag – the diapers.

Ugh. My back aches just thinking about it.

“But hold on!” you might be saying to yourself. “My diaper bag doubles as my purse, so what’s the problem?”

Ok, so now we need to toss in your car keys, phone, charger, wallet, make-up bag, tissues, spare change, hairbrush and whatever else you might need while away from home.


Now I recognize that carrying a diaper bag may double as your strength training for the day. If so, more power to you! But if lugging around a ginormous bag is starting to become a drag, read on for tips on how you, too, can ditch the diaper bag.

Go Ergo

First, start shopping for a lightweight, nylon backpack-style purse. When I was pregnant, I found a super cute backpack purse at REI and fell in love with its comfort and convenience. No longer would I have a missile flying off my shoulder every time I bent over (which happens a lot when you have little kids) and your back, shoulders and neck will appreciate how using two shoulder straps evenly distributes the weight of your bag. Typically, these backpack purses have a ridiculous number of zippered compartments, making it easy to find exactly what you need. I finally had to throw away my first beloved purse but found many replacement options on Amazon by searching for “lightweight nylon backpack purse.”

Get Real

Ok, let’s get down to brass tacks here. What do you REALLY need to physically carry with you EVERYWHERE you go with baby? For me, it was 2-3 diapers and a travel size container of wipes tucked into my backpack purse. That was it.

Now, this is not to say I did not have other supplies close at hand. I always kept a bag in the car with extra clothes, plastic bags, books and toys. This bag would be checked and restocked as needed. I carried snacks in a stylish little insulated cooler that typically stayed in the car until I needed it. And I never bothered with boogie wipes. What about the germy changing tables in public restrooms? I simply wiped them down and lined them with paper towels or, worst case scenario, my jacket. 

Now I will be the first to admit I was very fortunate in that my daughter was not prone to blow-outs and hardly ever had diaper rash. But there was plenty of room in my backpack purse for an extra onesie and a tube of A+D.

So, are you convinced? Are you ready to boldly go forth and ditch the diaper bag?! I guarantee your entire body will thank you!

Let’s have a little fun! How much does your diaper bag weigh? What it the strangest thing you’ve had in your diaper bag? Tell us all about it in the comments!

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A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Sarah is a dyed-in-her-wool-socks Minnesotan whose life-long love of woods and water drew her to move to Duluth 23 years ago this November. An avid hiker, she loves to explore all locales on Lake Superior’s shore, snowshoe frozen North Shore rivers and go for walks in Duluth’s Lester Park. Working in Higher Education for over 20 years, Sarah’s greatest joy was to talk with students about how to navigate the challenges of college, what they wanted to do with their lives and how to make their dreams come true. After stepping out of this career to be a stay-at-home-mom, Sarah has returned to her passion of helping people achieve their personal and professional goals as a Board Certified Coach. To find out more about coaching and her background, visit sarahvandermeiden.com or find her on Facebook at Sarah VanderMeiden Coaching . Sarah’s family lives in the country and share their five acres with a small flock of laying hens, deer, wild turkey, way too many mice and 10,000 honeybees. Sarah has given up gardening and keeping her house clean to pursue her many interests including enjoying the lake, singing, photography and spending time with her family camping in their vintage travel trailer or tickling each other on the couch.