8 best baby changing bags for all your essentials

Eleonore Crompton
·10 min read
From backpacks to cross bodies, these bags are practical and aesthetic    (The Independent/ iStock)
From backpacks to cross bodies, these bags are practical and aesthetic (The Independent/ iStock)

Along with pinning a “Baby on Board” badge to your lapel and learning how to fit a car seat in under three hours, buying a baby changing bag is a parenting rite of passage.

It’s the moment you acknowledge that for at least a year, you will never leave the house again without a ridiculous amount of baby paraphernalia that needs to be corralled into a winning combination of pockets, pouches and compartments.

Choosing a good, serviceable baby change bag is paramount. This bag will likely accompany you to the delivery room, packed with teeny, tiny hats and blankets and will then be by your side for at least one child’s time in nappies or possibly more.

Here are our favourite changing bags that not only work hard to make your life easier but will hopefully keep your style cred up too at a time when, let’s face it, you’ll need as much help as possible in that department. We judged these bags on portability, quality of finish, and ease of use.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

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Tiba + Marl x Selfridges eco elwood backpack

This is the achingly hip baby changing bag you pray your office coworkers or friends will club together for. Not off the charts expensive (compared to some designer versions) but still definitely an investment buy, this is one of those price per use items that will really pay off.

The design is ultra cool and urban, with attention paid to the finer details like chunky zips with additional pull tabs for easy access, robust faux leather trims and generously padded, adjustable shoulder straps which are extremely comfortable. Usually available in a nylon or faux leather finish, this particular model is the result of a design collaboration with Selfridges and is made entirely from recycled plastic, so you can feel reassured that you’re shopping responsibly and helping to reduce landfill.

As well as being worn as a backpack or carried by its top handle, it can also be securely attached to buggy handles with additional stroller clips. This bag is by no means all about looks; the practical elements that make life on-the-go with a baby more relaxed are extremely well thought out. An integrated insulated bottle compartment, removable clutch bag, coordinating change mat, roomy, easy to rummage pockets and an internal padded laptop sleeve are all excellent features.

The quality of finish is fantastic and the longevity and versatility of this bag means you can and more importantly, will want to carry it way beyond the child rearing years.

Buy now £140.00, Selfridges

Vertbaudet day changing bag

If you’re looking for a changing bag that is sturdy, practical, unisex and relatively inexpensive, this is a great option. This chunky holdall has a smart utility feel with its sturdy coated cotton canvas exterior that's easy to wipe down and contrast piping – for those who like something a little softer looking there are other fabrics available.

Inside, the bag continues its practical feel with a wipeable star print lining and several elasticated, easy access pockets for stowing all your essentials. The bag comes with a double sided changing mat that we really liked for its soft towelling cotton side and waterproof underside, which provides a nice soft base for laying your baby on and can easily be washed.

This bag also comes with a key ring which is a sweet added extra, a separate insulated bottle holder, and a separate zipped pouch that’s great for storing wipes in, all in the coordinating star print. The external pockets all feature magnetic closure so they’re really easy to get in and out of in a hurry and brilliantly (for the price), this bag comes with buggy attachment loops, so you can easily attach it to your buggy handles (double or single) without having to order more equipment.

Buy now £42.00, Vertbaudet

Liewood Melvin mommy bag in leo print

Made from ethically produced organic cotton, this bag is lovely to look at and kind to the planet too. In fact, for every bag bought, a percentage of the sale will go towards planting a tree in Zambia. Despite being made of cotton, this bag feels very robust: the thick strapping handles are firmly stitched on and the zips are well finished and smooth running.

This might not be the bag for you if you walk a huge amount, as heavy rain really won’t be its friend, but if you’re someone who nips in and out and drives or you’re looking for a lighter summer bag, this would be perfect. While it might not be wipeable, this bag is machine washable at 30C and you can also iron it, so if you do need to freshen it up and extend its life you can.

Storage wise, there is plenty of room, with poppers that can be unfastened to create more space if need be. The pockets are all well placed and easily accessible both inside and out and the bag comes with an extremely cute, quilted cotton change mat and those all important detachable pram straps. Definitely a bag that will outlive its original intended use as it will make a great cabin or overnight bag when nappy days are long gone.

Buy now £121.00, Smallable

Cam cam Copenhagen changing bag in grey

It says grey in the product description, but we’d say this falls between grey and pale dusty blue. Definitely a bag for those who want to openly embrace all the accoutrements of parenthood, its tactile quilting, chunky hardware and sweet cloud and stars logo are shorthand for new parents with style.

Carried with a long shoulder strap that can be hooked over buggy handles or sturdy cotton webbing handles, this is a more traditional style bag. The quality feels great and we were particularly impressed by the well made, brass zips and clasps which are lovely to look at and easy to grip onto and operate.

For anyone worried about those inevitable stains and marks, the fabric inside and out is coated with a wipeable acrylic finish and parents will also be reassured by the fact that this bag is ethically made from 36 per cent organically grown materials.

Buy now £66.95, JoJo Maman Bebe

Konges slojd quilted mommy bag in navy blue

Very generously sized, this pared-back baby changing bag is for those who like to pack for every eventuality. The bag is soft, light and pillow like in feel, but the stitching, padded handles and straps are high quality and strong.

Made from 100 per cent organic cotton which is infused with an eco-friendly water and soil repellent coating, this is a great practical choice as you can throw this in the washing machine regularly with no issues.

We really liked the good selection of side and internal pockets and the fact that it comes with a high quality, quilted changing mat that stays fastened to the inside of the bag with poppers, helping you locate it easily. We also liked the two-way zip with lovely grosgrain ribbon pulls that mean you can peek into the bag from both ends. All in all, this is a great traditional hand held and shoulder strap changing bag with fantastic attention to detail.

Buy now £106.00, Smallable

Cath Kidston backpack nappy bag

Everyone knows that Cath Kidston is the place to go for retro, preppy chic with a hint of kitsch, so if this is your bag (pun intended) then this carrier in one of the brand's archive prints is a great option for you. This backpack is a joyful celebration of pink and flowers while still working hard to be a seriously practical and useful addition to your baby kit.

The best thing about this bag is its frame opening (like a doctor’s bag) which makes it really easy to access the contents and have a good rummage. The coordinating bottle insulator, changing mat, zipped pouch and a nappy organiser will not only please matchy-matchy fans but make this feel like it is a really good value purchase – the bag also comes with detachable buggy straps which is a bonus.

The thick, coated canvas fabric is easy to give a thorough wipe down and makes this bag feel pretty sturdy – the base feet on the underside also give it added resilience from wear and tear. A great option for people who want a compact bag that can be passed down through several babies. This is available in several different patterns.

Buy now £75.00, Cath Kidston

Pacapod Hastings pack

This is one of Pacapod’s most lightweight and compact offerings and consists of a minimal style backpack containing two separate, removable pods, one for changing equipment and one for feeding equipment. These cute looking pods are designed to hold every single piece of vital kit you could possibly need and the best bit is that each compartment (of the changing pod) is labelled with an easy to read symbol to tell you what it should contain so that if you’re suffering from baby brain, AKA life altering, off the charts fatigue, you can simply go through the motions of filling the designated slots with what they’re supposed to hold and be confident that you have packed everything you need.

The pods are removable so you can carry them separately if you want to, and keeping feeding and changing equipment in separate pods means that food and drink stays sealed off from nappy bags or dirty clothes. Handy features include deep, easy to access pockets, a keyring bungee cord sewn into the internal pocket (rooting about for keys with a crying baby is never fun) and an easy to open and close magnetic popper clasp, as well as an elasticated side pocket designed to hold a water bottle for you or your baby.

The bag can easily be clipped onto buggy handles with the included pram clips and an added bonus is a cute key-ring size pod that clips onto the outside of the bag, perfect for transporting a dummy or snacks.

Buy now £89.00, Pacapod

JEM + BEA Jemima black

Made from soft grainy leather with beautifully finished pockets and handles, this changing bag exudes subtle luxury. Minimal and elegant, it is definitely one of the least conspicuous changing bags on the market and could easily be mistaken for a capacious handbag or even a chic weekend bag – something that will definitely appeal to parents with strong aesthetic sensibilities.

The practical side of this bag starts on the inside, with a wipeable, water repellent lining, plenty of useful interior pockets and a roomy main compartment. The bag comes with a padded changing mat, a separate thermo insulated bottle holder as well as a very cute matching leather pouch, which can be attached to a metal loop on the inside of the bag so it doesn’t go AWOL.

There is a special mobile phone pocket inside the exterior pocket for easy access (always a godsend) and you can either carry the bag with a detachable crossbody strap, the hand held handles or attach the bag to your buggy handles with the optional coordinating stroller straps. The leather luggage tag that can be personalised is another chic touch that makes this bag feel really rather special.

Buy now £275.00, JEM+BEA

The verdict: Baby changing bags

For ease of use, practicality and style, the Tiba + Marl Elwood in whichever fabric you choose is a great buy. The fact that this bag is robust enough to be passed down through several children and will last way beyond the baby years makes it a long term investment.