The chic parent’s guide to stylish baby bags

On the hunt for a good baby bag that doesn’t look like a baby bag? You’ll love these stylish hold-alls

When you think of a baby bag, what comes to mind? A bulky, pastel monstrosity with endless pockets that will soon be filled with squashed raisins and soggy teething rusks? 

If you shudder at the thought of spending your money on a *baby bag* the good news is, there are plenty of spacious shoulder bags and convertible totes that will do the job well while still looking minimalist at face value. 

Making a long term investment with your baby bag purchase – one that won’t end up shoved in the bottom of the linen cupboard in 12 months time – is a financially savvy decision, and there is nothing wrong with using your new baby as an excuse to purchase that leather tote you’ve been lusting after. 

But before you complete your transaction, let’s make sure you’ve ticked all the appropriate baby-related boxes.  

What makes a great baby bag beyond its good looks?

While there are many great bags on the market designed specifically for carrying your nappies, wipes, bottles et al, you can also achieve the same level of functionality with a regular tote bag or backpack, provided it’s fit for purpose. 

Space and organisation: Look for a bag with a mix of zippered pockets, open compartments and spacious interiors. You need enough room for nappies, wipes, bottles, snacks, a change of clothes, and your own personal stash of treats. If the bag you love has none of these things, buy a bag organiser insert. 

Ease of access: You don’t want to be elbow-deep in your bag while juggling a squirming baby. Look for bags with wide openings and easy-access pockets for items you need in a hurry, like dummies and hand sanitiser.

Comfort: Remember, you’ll be lugging this bag around A LOT. Opt for adjustable straps, padded handles, and lightweight materials. Your shoulders will thank you.

Durability: Baby bags endure a lot – spills, drops, and the occasional tantrum toss. Choose materials that can withstand the chaos. Wipeable surfaces are a bonus, so opting for a nylon bag is a great choice as this material can be water-resistant too. Polyester is another easy-clean fabric to consider. Leather is wipeable too (on the smooth side) and is a material that’s made to last (and looks nice even with a bit of wear and tear). If you’re after a good middle-ground material, canvas is a sturdy fabric which you can spray with a protective coating. 

Versatility: A bag that transitions from day to night, park to cafe, and parent to parent is ideal. Neutral colours and unisex designs ensure everyone is happy to carry it.

What needs to go in a baby bag?

Packing a baby bag can feel like prepping for a mini-apocalypse. Here’s a checklist to keep things organised and ensure you’re never caught off guard:

Nappies: Estimate one for every hour you plan to be out, plus a few extras.

Wipes: For nappy changes, sticky hands, and mystery messes.

Changing pad: For those times when a public bathroom isn’t an option.

Bottles and formula / breast milk: If you’re not breastfeeding, bring enough for the duration of your outing.

Snacks: For both baby and you. A hangry parent is as volatile as a hangry baby.

Change of clothes: Blowouts and spills happen. You need an extra outfit too.

Blanket: For warmth, a clean play area, or an impromptu picnic.

Toys/dummies: To keep baby entertained and soothed.

Hand sanitiser: Because germs are everywhere.

First Aid Kit: Or at least a few bandaids.

Stylish bags built to last

The minimalist tote: Sleek and simple, perfect for the parent who prefers understated elegance. Plenty of space and often comes with detachable organisers or room to insert one – like this affordable option:

Felt Bag Organiser Handbag Insert, $23

Left to right: Honest Wolf The Everyday bag, $289, Moochi Noir Tote, $129, Yu Mei Landscape Tote, $490, Citta Frank Leather Duffle Bag, $214, Saben Roma Carryall, $629

The chic backpack or convertible bag

Distributes weight evenly and keeps your hands free. Modern designs and premium materials make it a favourite among active parents. A convertible bag can transform from tote to messenger to backpack, adapting to your style and needs.

Left to right: Status Anxiety Comes in Waves Bag, $429, Bellroy Lite Totepack, $219, Coach Beck Roll Top Backpack, $717

The purpose-built baby bag (that’s actually nice)

In-built pockets for everything you need, designed specifically to give you a place for all your baby’s bits and bobs – no extra inserts needed.

Left to right: Audrey & Me The Adapt Nappy Bag, $233, Beetl The Ultimate Baby Bag, $139, Lululemon New Parent Backpack, $239