Guest Blogger - Philippa Mackenzie, Founder of Neo & Nessa
Once upon a time, in my pre-baby days, I used to trot out at the drop of a hat swinging my miniscule clutch bag under my arm in a carefree manner. My checklist for buying a bag was ‘does it look fabulous?’ and ‘can it hold a phone, bank card and lip stick?’
Fast forward to 2011 when I found myself perusing the shops for a baby bag. Back then there really wasn’t much choice. Most changing bags resembled lap top bags with no style or thought for the mother – the clue was in the name ‘baby bag’. In the end I settled on a bag that neither looked good nor lasted longer than a year. What peeved me greatly was that I had forked out lots of money on a changing bag with a tiny ‘parent pocket’ to house my essentials and I still had to cart around a separate handbag. When you’re sleep deprived you need the hassle of remembering two bags like a hole in the head!
Packing to leave the house is very similar (I imagine) to an SAS expedition, minus the hydration salts. Time is never on your side, so my advice is always to keep the changing bag stocked up with the essentials (nappies, wipes, spare item of clothing). I bought duplicates, that way you’ll never have that moment when you’re griped by panic halfway through dealing with a nappy explosion (the ones where you have to clean their arm pits) and going cold remembering you left the elusive wipes on the kitchen table.
So…the £64,000 question…what do I need to pack in a baby changing bag?
Short answer, a lot, long answer – I’ve compiled a packing list.
Essentials (From Birth)
4 x nappies (6-8 in the first few weeks)
Cotton wool/baby wipes (fragrance & alcohol free)
A spare outfit (as light as possible)
2 x muslin cloths (can double up if you feel uncomfortable breastfeeding publicly)
A couple of small toys (preferably ones that clip to buggy) & small book
Breast pads (if you’re leaking)
Anti-bac hand sanitiser
Age appropriate medicine
Dribble bib (2 if teething)
2/3 sterilised bottles per baby (check sterilising guidelines)
Ready made formula/formula powder measured out into container
Insulated bottle bag if storing expressed breast milk (check storage guidelines & always throw away leftover milk after the feed)
From the Weaning Stage (Around 6 Months) Add These Items
Spoon & bowl
Sealed food container/food pouch or jar
Ready made formula (if you’re not breast feeding)
Good to Have Packed
Flask of boiled water (if baby won’t take the bottle cold)
Spare clothing pouch (include socks in the Summer if visiting a soft play age otherwise your child can’t play)
It’s important to remember that you probably won’t be very adventurous with your outings in the first few months of having a baby in tow so don’t panic if you run out or forget an item. If you’re flying solo and feel comfortable then ask another mum with a similar aged child. It’s very unlikely you’ll be judged – she’s been there, done that, got the (milk stained) t-shirt. Chances are you’ll be frequenting baby-friendly establishments so don’t be afraid to ask a member of staff, or nip into a shop. I remember vividly dashing into a department store with a naked baby in my arms and manically buying a pack of nappies. The trauma left me 10 minutes later. In the singer Gloria Gaynor’s words ‘I (and the baby) will survive’.
Don’t Let Your Baby Bag Scream ‘Mama’ Like Your Baby Will
While we’re on the subject of baby bags, do check out our range. What makes Neo & Nessa stand out from the other brands is the detachable clutch. No more faffing around looking for your phone or keys and no need to transfer your items from a day bag to an evening bag when you get the chance of some child-free time. When you leave your baby with your other half or nanny to run errands or go to work, simply detach the clutch bag and off you go.
Our totes are spacious and filled with deep, easy access pockets. There are two insulated pockets on the outside to minimise those annoying drinks spillages. These pockets double up as storage for an adult sports bottle, an umbrella or hair straighteners/tongs if you’re using it as an overnight bag. Included with every changing bag is a padded, folded change mat, a clothing bag with two waterproof pockets and can also be used as a capsule bag for wipes and nappies or even a swim/beach bag. You also receive a large capacity insulated bottle bag that can fit the widest of baby bottles, a 750ml sports bottle or snacks. Both the bottle bag and clothing bag have straps to clip on to a buggy if you need to save space inside the bag. You could say we put the fun in versatile! Above all, our bags are just as great for use without the baby and beyond the dreaded potty-training years #notjustfornappies. Hurrah for that!
YouTube (for product demos): Neo & Nessa
Philippa is a mum of two spirited young ladies and a needy cat. She lives in Hertfordshire with those three dependents and her childhood sweetheart husband. She launched Neo & Nessa in December 2019 and is on a mission to prove that fashion can indeed blend gloriously with function in the form of a baby changing bag.