The evolution of a nappy bag: From ‘Mary Poppins’ to ‘can I borrow a nappy?’

Posted in Parenting Essentials.

The other day I took my almost three-year-old to a birthday party. He’s just started toilet training but still wears nappies when we go out. Seeing as he’d done his business earlier that day, I didn’t bother packing wipes or odour-combating poo bags. I just threw a nappy in my handbag (just in case) and went, like the experienced second-time mum I am.

Big mistake. Silly, silly me.

Within half an hour of arriving at the party an all too familiar waft hit my nose. Even in the sea of kids I knew straight away the foul smell belonged to my little guy. I led him to the party boy’s room for a change, borrowing wipes and clothes, because as Murphy’s law would have it, it was a poo explosion that day.

The whole messy task made me think about how much my nappy bag has evolved over the years. In fact, I’ve pinpointed the six stages all nappy bags eventually go through on their way to becoming obsolete.

Can you pick which one you’re in now?

Stripy nappy bag with food, toys and products around the bag

Stage one: Fully stocked and ready for anything

When you take your tiny bundle of love out for the first time, chances are you’ve spent at least half an hour packing your nappy bag to prepare for absolutely everything. You’ve packed a minimum of eight itty bitty newborn nappies, baby wipes, a change of clothes, a sun hat, a cardigan (even though it is summer), a bottle with formula (if required), a breastfeeding and pram wrap, extra blanket, nipple cream, at lease two cloth nappies, the blue book and a list of emergency phone numbers in case you lose your phone – which you’ve probably left at home in your panic to not forget anything. You’re basically the Mary Poppins of nappy bags!

Stage two: Heavy as but necessary

As your baby grows you learn to pinpoint exactly how many nappies you’ll need while you’re out. You’ll also realise you don’t need the blue book because you don’t actually have an appointment with the GP. You’ll cut back to one muslin wrap that can double as a pram cover and feeding wrap, and throw in a dummy or two. Your nappy bag will start to look less ‘new mum panic’ and more practical. It still weighs a tonne, but you’ll have everything you need and nothing you don’t.

Stage three: Portable teething station  

As your baby’s pearly whites start erupting, you find Sophie the Giraffe makes her way into your nappy bag, along with a myriad of other teething toys, teething gel, teething biscuits and multiple bibs for drool. Yes, teething is upon you and your nappy bag is prepared.

Mother with heavy nappy bag removing baby in carseat from car - feature

Stage four: Pantry and toy box on the go

Then your nappy bag suddenly transforms into a portable pantry. There’s Tupperware containers of homemade baby food, pouches, rusks galore, a sippy cup and an old banana that you forgot to toss in the bin last night. There will also be a multitude of ‘that will keep him busy for five minutes’ toys.

Stage five: The old handbag will suffice

Then comes the time you realise you don’t really need a nappy bag, and you retire it for one of your old handbags. But for some reason you find yourself lugging more stuff around for your toddler than when you were a ‘pack everything just in case’ new mum. In addition to five toy cars, two change of clothes (Do. Not. Let. Him. Near. Water),  a sun hat, sun cream, a tractor, two muesli bars and a bag of popcorn, you also have, a rock, a special feather and 10,000 sultanas floating around the bottom of your bag.

Stage six: What nappy bag? 

Once your nappy bag has been replaced by an old handbag, it enters the last stage. This is where it is ditched for one of your trusty small pre-kids favourites (so light!), or even just a plastic bag. Oh but this is also fraught with danger. This ‘nappy bag’ isn’t a nappy bag at all. It contains whatever you THINK you MIGHT need, but doesn’t actually have your back. As I discovered at the birthday party last Saturday. Maybe it’s time to go back to the old handbag after all?


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