You will definitely need a bag to contain all your baby’s necessities when you bring your baby out. In case you are wondering, you at least need to bring a changing mat, a change of clothes, a couple of diapers, baby wipes, and if you are not breastfeeding, feeding bottles, formula, water, etc.
So, is a diaper bag really necessary? Well, if you are referring to those bags that are specially made for carrying baby stuff, not really. Diaper bags usually have more compartments to help you be more organised. Some are really no different from an ordinary bag. I think any ordinary bag will do. But please buy a diaper bag that is lightweight because you are going to carry a lot of things in it and don’t need the extra weight from the bag itself.
However, if you do want to get a diaper bag, please, please, please, do not get those with all those cutsie designs. I really do not understand why anything that is related to babies have to have cutsie designs (including maternity wear!). Is your husband going to help carry the bag most of the time/part of the time? Is he willing to walk around town carrying a cutsie bag? I don’t think so.
If you already have bags that can double up as a diaper bag, good for you. You save money by using what you already have. If you need to buy one, get one that at least look ‘normal’ so that in case you want to use it NOT as a diaper bag, you can.
Backpack or sling? I recommend backpack style. Remember, you may be handling a baby, a stroller AND a bag all at one go. You only have one pair of hands. Backpack will be more user friendly and convenient. Try, if possible, to get a bag with a few compartments so that you can organise your stuff. I find sportbags pretty useful for this purpose. Last thing you need, with a wailing baby needing a change, is to have to dig through a mess of things in a bag to find a diaper. These days, you can also buy organisers but they tend to cost a lot. In actual fact, such bags are very cheap to manufacture generically. I got mine as a free gift (corporate gift style). Alternatively, you can make use of a few waterproof cosmetic/toiletries bags or pouches to keep things separate in your diaper bag.
For the bag itself, do remember to get something waterproof as well.
If you have the cash, consider Le Sportsac. Fashionable and light. You should also consider getting a good backpack that is ergonomically designed for good weight distribution. Check out outdoor activity stores like Sports Connection.
For die hard diaper bag fans, Landsend seem to have quite good ones. Most of the diaper bags that can be found in local department stores are blah! The good and nice ones are expensive. So if you are checking out on diaper bags, check out Landsend at www.landsend.com.
If you breastfeed, you only need a small bag. That’s additional incentive for you to breastfeed. : )