I carefully pried the fruit snacks from my 2-year-old’s little fingers, emphasizing, “Yes, you can have them. I will open them when we get to the car.”
It was the third time we’d gone through it and he was done.
He threw himself on the store floor as the cashier began scanning our items.
“No, not right now,” I mumbled as I scooped him up, securing him on my hip, and heading to the pay station.
I shrugged one backpack strap off my shoulder. Shifted my toddler to the other side and slid the other one off so I could grab my wallet.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed my 3-year-old dragging pool noodle after pool noodle out of a stand, while the cashier gave me a less-than-enthused look. I snapped at him to put them back and leave them alone.
“I’m just looking at them,” he argued, continuing on.
Eventually, we left the store unscathed while I juggled my bags, diaper bag, and my younger toddler.
Outings during the toddler years can require a supernatural amount of hands. Whether you have one or more toddlers, a good bag is essential to simplifying the process (as much as possible).
Just like there’s a fine science to life in each age and stage of development, I’ve found there’s also a fine science to the best bags for moms with toddlers.
The Best Bags for Moms with Toddlers – Quick Shop
- Freshly Picked Classic Diaper Bag $199
- Ruvalino Diaper Bag Backpack $42.97
- Freshly Picked Mini Class Diaper Backpack $119
- Kibou Vegan Leather Bag $98
- Freshly Picked Classic Park Pack $69
- Fawn Design Satchel Diaper Bag $79.99
What You Need in a Bag
- Hands-free options
- Outside Pockets
The Best Bags for Moms with Toddlers by Style
The Best Backpacks
Backpacks are the new diaper bag for good reason. Having a bag that you can secure to your body is essential for outings with toddlers (and babies). Plus, have abundant space, even for water bottles or sippy cups. With a large main compartment and ample side pockets, there’s room for all your items. And backpack purses make carrying a backpack a stylish option.
- Lots of Pockets
- Lack of Quick Access
One of my least favorite things about a backpack with toddlers is the lack of quick access. Sure exterior pockets are great. But you have to take the backpack off (at least partially) to access anything more than a side pocket. This has been a big negative for me as a toddler mom.
My Pick for the Best Diaper Backpack
This diaper backpack has side pockets that are wide enough to fit a kid’s water bottle (I use these water bottles and can fit two). Enough interior pockets to fit two sets of clothes, numerous snack options, and essential mom items. Plus, the top magnetically snaps closed so I don’t have to fumble with a zipper to get to my wallet. The company also sells matching stroller straps. (And, if you need an insulated bottle bag, this one has one built in.)
It also includes a machine washable changing pad, key clip, and space for up to a 13″ laptop. This is my current favorite bag for the toddler years. I use it for my kids and work, which saves me from having to carry a separate bag to work. The Freshly Picked bags are available in lots of different colors and look more like a mom purse than a diaper bag or backpack.
The Best Bargain Option
This bag has a 4.8 rating on Amazon with over 30,000 reviews. And it comes at an affordable price. If you’re looking to try a diaper backpack, but not sure if it’ll work for you, this is a great option. Reviewers love the space and features, like insulated pockets, a wipes dispenser, and diaper storage. I appreciate that it has a specific place for extra diapers so they don’t get lost in the bag and pacifier storage.
The Mini Backpack
A mini backpack can be a great option if you’re petite and don’t want to lug around a large backpack. It’s a good choice if you only have one toddler and are a minimalist. A mini backpack offers sufficient space for snacks, extra clothes, and your own items. However, space will be more limited. If you want to carry everything, I’d stick with the full size. But if you find yourself only needing to carry a few things, a mini might be a great option.
The Crossbody Bag or Belt Purse
The crossbody bag/belt purse/fanny pack is a new favorite for toddler moms. A belt purse allows you to carry a few essential items on the front of your body. And it’s completely hands-free. You can carry your toddler and still have access to your debit card.
- Easy Access
- Limited Space
The Best Crossbody Bags for Toddlers
This bag isn’t your average fanny pack. It’s made for moms as a minimalist diaper bag. It has a crossbody strap that you can wear however fits you best. It even includes a changing pad and space for wipes. Wear it crossbody to keep every item you need at your fingertips.
The Freshly Picked Park Pack is another crossbody option that’s made for moms. It has an adjustable strap that you can wear around your body. And includes enough room for a few diapers and wipes, slots for your cards, and an open exterior pocket that you can quickly shove your phone into. This is perfect for running into a store or short outings. Strap it to yourself and carry your toddler with ease. Plus, there’s a zippered pocket in the back that keeps any important items safe.
What About a Diaper Bag?
Bags aren’t great options for chasing after a toddler, but there are a few scenarios where this might make sense. If you’re a working mom and/or have an older toddler (3+). If you never put your toddler on your hip in the grocery line, bags offer easy access, are stylish, and allow you to carry a lot of stuff. Plus, if you work, you may prefer a diaper bag so you don’t have to switch between bags.
- Easy Access
- Not Hands-Free
- Difficult to Juggle
- Falls Off
If you have young toddlers, a bag isn’t the best option. It can leave you with too many things to juggle and an annoying should strap that constantly slides off.
My Favorite Diaper Bag for Moms with Toddlers
The Fawn Design Satchel Diaper Bag is one of the best purses you can carry as a mom. It’s a stylish bag that looks like a work bag but functions like a diaper bag. This bag has top handles and an adjustable shoulder strap. It has plenty of space to carry your and your toddler’s items, snaps closed magnetically, and has side pockets for organization.
If you want more versatility you can carry this crossbody as a shoulder bag and still hold your toddler. If you’re looking for a multipurpose diaper bag, this is a great option and could be the perfect pick for a busy mom with a lot of roles.
You may find that the best option for you is actually a combination of bags.
I use the Freshly Picked Park Pack in my Freshly Picked Classic bag. This works perfectly for my needs. I have everything I need in the large bag and essentials in the Park Pack. If I run into a store or take my kids to the park, I strap on the Park Pack and leave the rest in the car.
So if you find yourself fumbling between your toddler and your bag at the grocery store, it might be time to apply some science to your diaper bag decision. I hope these top picks of the best bags for moms with toddlers help you find the perfect bag to make things easier with your toddler(s).
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