Changing bags are one of those parenting buys that people seem to have a lot of opinions about. Some say you don’t need an official changing bag, just get a bag you like. Others suggest one or two, depending on what you’re up to. Some don’t seem to bother with one at all (that is a baby wizardry far beyond me). And lots of people seem to throw their sense of style completely out of the window and opt for the most practical, yet ugliest, bags I’ve ever seen.
I’d pitch myself somewhere in the middle of all of that. I knew I wanted a changing bag as I knew I’d be the type of Mum to chuck everything I could possibly need into it and hope for the best. I’ve always been a more is more type of gal. But I also knew that my changing bag would probably replace my handbag entirely so I wanted something beautiful and stylish and not at all mumsy.
After a lot of internet searching and internal (and external) debating, I decided to treat myself to one from Tiba + Marl. They looked so cool but also v.functional and that pleased me. The attached price tag did not, but it was a present to me from me to say well done for pushing a human out of your vagina.
Looking online, I decided against a backpack because I figured I’d have to carry it and why would you want to carry a bag as well as push a pram? So my head was turned by the Raf Holdall, because I figured I could sling it over my shoulder or clip it onto the pram and it would be big enough for everything I might want to throw in it. It also seemed like the style that everyone had, ergo it must be good. Right?
Well I’d love to say it was perfect given it cost me £130 of my finest English pennies (+ £15 for buggy clips) but sadly it isn’t. And I am cursing past me for being so daft!
So it really is a beautiful, stylish and wonderfully crafted bag. It’s faux leather but still strong.
It has useful internal pockets.
It comes with a changing mat and a clutch bag with long strap to grab easily.
It’s roomy inside, with zip pockets and a little clip to attach things to so you don’t lose them.
It has handles and a shoulder strap.
So the biggest thing for me is how damn difficult it is to find anything in it once it’s all packed in there. Yes there are internal pockets but they’re not sturdy or big enough. Everything kind of collapses and squishes together once the bag is against the pram.
The buggy clips are useful but once the bag is on them, it’s not all that easy to get it on and off, especially not if you’re holding your baby. I often go to baby groups where I leave my pram outside and so need to just take the bag off and in with me. I need it to be quick and easy and instead it’s slow and fiddly.
It’s really heavy. And because it’s a shoulder / carry bag it means you have to hold your shoulder awkwardly high to keep it on. And when your baby drops their muslin / dummy / Sophie / teether / sock and you bend down to pick it up, it will inevitably swing off your shoulder and take out whatever’s in its path – shop display, mug of tea, child, it’s indiscriminate in its attack.
In short, I should have bought the bastarding backpack (this one specifically). Because I ended up buying the Land backpack that every savvy Mum has that cost me £20 from eBay. Yes it’s shite quality but it’s designed by a genius. It has every pocket you might need and several you didn’t realise you needed (access to the bottom of the bag – GENIUS!!) And I don’t have to wear it all the time because I can just chuck it in the bottom of the pram. I can also wear it when slinging Sebastian and the husband wears it too. Why didn’t I think of that before?
The Raf Holdall is a beautiful, luxury, capacious changing bag that will be absolutely perfect if you keep it attached to your pram all the time. But if you think you’ll be more like me, buy the backpack one!