Thursday, June 10, 2010

Vera Bradley Baby Bag Review

Ahh, the search for the perfect diaper bag.  With my first pregnancy, I began this search very early on, as it seemed like a very important item to get checked off my list - one that I was going to be quite picky about, so I wanted to take care of it myself.   For months I extensively searched online boutiques, blogs, baby websites, department store websites, and any brick-and-mortar store I came into contact with for the 'perfect' and 'cool' diaper / baby bag.  Exhausting - frustrating - not as much fun as I thought it would be.

Now, there are your typical higher-end diaper bag / baby brands (Petunia Picklebottom, etc...), then your average 'designer' brands with a 'baby' niche in their line (Coach, Kate Spade, Juicy, etc...) and then the super-high-end brands about which, I will admit, I know nothing about. I mostly focused on the middle category when conducting my search.

There are some moms who will choose to use non-diaper bags - like a larger handbag, tote, etc.... (Michael Kors and Dooney are some good examples) instead of an actual baby bag.  And while I have recently found that I can make those bags work (with a two year old who now has his own backpack to stuff his crap into) this was definitely not an option for me for the first couple of years... and remains a struggle even now.  There is a reason companies make bags specifically for baby-use .... there is a difference!

As it turns out, just like with everything else when you become a parent for the first time, you really have no idea what you are getting yourself into.  I really didn't know what I was looking for in a good and useful diaper bag.  Some things I did know about what I personally wanted:

* Lightweight is key - this bag is going to be bigger than your average purse/ handbag (for most people).  Therefore, heavy and thick leather with really not a plus.

* Handles are very important - length, comfort, etc... They need to be long enough to go EASILY on your shoulder and hang off of your stroller.  (this was a big factor with the Coach baby bags, which have shorter and stiff handles)  Double handles verses one single handle are best so you can open the bag up while it's hanging off your shoulder to get into it. (uhh... multi-tasking)

* Cleanable - this thing is going to be used a lot and hold a lot of potentially messy things, such as.... bottles, formula, milk, juice, baby food, soiled clothing, etc... and as clean and uber-anal about being neat as you think you are, shit happens.  SO ... it needs to be washable, or at least wipeable, otherwise you are going to be stuck with a stinky-hot-mess of a bag before you even lose your baby weight.

* POCKETS!  And good ones, at that.  Specifically ones that will hold bottles and sippys UPRIGHT. (this is the biggest trouble you will find with bags that aren't specifically made for diaper/baby use ... and even some of the designer baby bags!)

OK - I think that pretty much covers the main factors.  Being cute is a given.... the extent of the cuteness, negotiable based on meeting the above criteria.

With my second, I again visited the idea of finding a cute, designer diaper bag that would compliment my wardrobe while serving it's all-important role as baby-crap-carrier.  I was willing to put up some bucks this time, knowing how much I would use it (and having unfortunately developed a slightly more expensive taste in the last 3 years) but after a short sifting through the available options (mostly online, some in person) I was right back to where I had ended up the first time around.

And where is that?


Well, here it goes....

*comfy, long, double handles.... check
*washable... check
*lightweight (like, weighs almost nothing when empty!)... check
*lots of good inside and outside pockets ... check
* full-zipper top so crap doesn't spill out ... check
*matching accessories to organize diapers, personal items, etc... check
*cute patterns to compliment seasons, sex of the baby, etc...that also hide dirt and stains.... check
*and a price-point that allows you to have one or more so you can "switch it up" every once and a while.

I've had my original Vera Bradley Baby Bag in Capri Blue for, well, almost three years now.  I've washed it probably about 4-5 times total and hang it to dry.  Easy.  The 2 pockets on the end are UBER-important to me.... milk in one, juice in the other (used to be: 1 bottle in each pocket!) and they sit up perfectly, just like the bag with it's sturdy flat bottom. 

Oldie but goodie.  A now slighly faded pattern, this bag still has plenty of life in it even after almost three years of hard use!  I used the matching large cosmetic bag to hold diapers and wipes, so they can quickly be pulled out and taken to the nearest restroom without dragging the entitre bag around!

My new baby bag (for use starting this coming August!) is in the Mediterranean Blue print.  Vera has updated the styling of the Baby Bag this year, making it a bit more square, which I really like.  All the same important features remain, including the coordinating diaper changing pad.

This is my new one.  You can see the style was greatly improved to be smaller and more rounded.   I also got the matching wristlet and the small and medium cosmetic bags to hold and organize diapers and other smaller goodies.

My favorite bottle/sippy cup pockets on each end of the bag!

Soft plastic lined for easy cleaning and a ton of inside pockets!

I also have the Baby Bag in Vera Bradley's dressier Black Microfiber fabric, which I didn't use as much as the blue one (just cause) so I'll still be able to use that one with baby #2.  It appears there is a cuter, updated style of the microfiber baby bag {see it here} that I would LOVE to have, but I just can't spend any more money on diaper bags right now! :(    I'll do a review on that bag here if I end up getting it at some point!

Bottom Line: I just cannot say enough about the Vera Bradley Baby Bag. I'm not an expert on baby bags, but I'm an expert on this particular baby bag. 
No, I haven't tried any other ones (other than just on my shoulder in stores... which was enough to convince me they were a NO!) but I can't imagine another bag being MORE versatile and useful, especially coming in at under $100 (plus, there are almost always certain patterns on sale... some for as low as $50 right now!) 
Check out Vera Bradley's website {here} where you can shop for all the baby bag patterns and matching accessories... love it!


  1. If I ever have another baby I will get this bag. I had more of a stroller bag (to leave on the stroller) than a real diaper bag (to carry on the shoulder) so I don't know much about the options out there but this one looks perfect. love the summery colors!

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you! You gave a fab review. I am checking out the site right now.

    Hope you are feeling good. I'm finally starting to show a lil' bit rather than just looking like a girl with a beer belly and a big ole' bootie.

  3. I have had this same bag for over a year now with my second child. I love this bag. Not one complaint or wish to change it at all. Your gonna love it. It is easy to find things quickly with plenty of storage with the pockets inside and out. I love the outside end pockets, which are great for bottles (if you go that route) or water bottles. I have used other bags that were not as organized and esay to use. Good luck with the baby and congratulations.


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