We’ve all been there. It’s the weekend. You’ve graciously offered to take the baby out for a few hours to give his knackered mother a well earned break. She might know that you’re going to the pub to meet some mates and watch the rugby. She might find that out later. Either way, just as you’re preparing to leave, you remember that the only bag that’s on hand and, crucially, big enough to fit the insane amount of baby kit needed for a three hour excursion, is her pretty pink floral changing bag.
You spend the next five minutes quietly debating to yourself whether you feel comfortable enough in your masculinity to leave the house (let alone, go to the pub) with such a girlie appendage on your arm. Or whether, it might be less awkward (and attract less wolf whistles) to just pack all the necessary kit into an alternative bag. You decide on the latter and spend the next 10 minutes rifling through the under stairs cupboard in search of something more suitable…
You consider your gym bag, but even after a quick spray of Febreze, it still doesn’t pass the sniff test. You contemplate a Sainsbury’s bag for life…but where the hell would you put the 50 other plastic bags that currently reside within it? So you grab your work briefcase, but quickly realise that cramming in three nappies, the changing mat, wet wipes, Sudocrem, a change of clothes, his bottle of formula, food pouches, bibs, rice cakes, toys, dummies and muslins is never going to work.
And so you take the executive decision to just pile it all into your ancient (so ‘vintage’ it’s now considered cool again) school backpack instead. It’s not exactly convenient, but it’ll do the job.
That is, until you arrive at the pub and realise that the bottle of formula has leaked, leaving the entire contents of the bag covered in a sticky white film (and leaving you up shit creek). While sipping a consolatory pint and planning your next move, you come to the conclusion that perhaps your other half’s pink flowery changing bag might not have been such a bad shout after all…
OK, so maybe you’ve not experienced quite this level of dad fail yourself, but the underlying issue remains the same. The vast majority of changing bags for babies are designed especially for mums, as they’re the ones who do all the nappy changes, right? Err, NO.
As I and other dad bloggers have written about numerous times before, dads are just as active in the nappy changing stakes as mums, even if the availability of public changing facilities for dads with babies is seriously lacking.
Luckily, a number of businesses have started to recognise this and, not only are there now more changing facilities for parents (rather than solely for mums), I’m pleased to report that there’s also an increasing selection of changing bags on the market designed especially for dads.
On that note, top baby bag brand PacaPod recently sent me their new Gladstone unisex changing bag to try out for the blog, which has been created with dads in mind. And let me tell you…it’s a game changer.
Not only does it look nothing like a traditional mums’ changing bag, what with it being all black with leather detail and free of any girlie trimmings, it’s also a million times more practical than your old school rucksack or a bag for life. What’s more, it’s incredibly functional, with a set of clever moveable straps, which lets it transform from a briefcase style that can be clipped onto your buggy, to a shoulder bag and even a backpack, in a matter of seconds – very cool.
And being from PacaPod, it’s internal design is, honest to God, bloody ingenious, with three separate and seriously useful compartments;
- One for your own important dad shit (i.e. your iPad, chargers, extra strong mints and baby instruction manual);
- One for the baby’s toys, muslins and extra outfits in preparation for the inevitable ‘all the way up the back’ explosive poo that always seem to happen when you’re out and about;
- And a third which contains the most innovative invention of all…their two patented pods (a beige one for changing and a red one for feeding).
I can honestly say that those two removable pods are (and have been) a total lifesaver – on road trips, pub trips and emergency service station nappy changing trips – making even the most inexperienced dad look like a seasoned pro.
The beige pod comes with its own padded changing mat (which can be easily unfolded and reassembled with just one hand), about 20 different pockets for all your nappy changing essentials and even a separate bag for any dirties.
Meanwhile the red/feeding one comes with just as many useful pockets, as well as a Velcro thermal wrap that fits around any bottle to keep your baby’s milk warm for a good few hours. Plus – my favourite feature – this particular pod is designed in the style of a mini toddler back pack, so when they get a bit older, they can carry their own snacks around (for once) – seriously clever.
So next time you find yourself in a quandary over whether to;
a) leave the house with, essentially, your wife’s handbag on your arm, or;
b) shove all the baby’s kit into your stinky gym bag…
…it may be time to consider option C, and invest in a proper dad’s changing bag of your own. After all, why should mums have all the fun?
So, are there any other dads out there who already have their own changing bag? What do you keep inside yours? If not, what’s holding you back from getting one? As always, we’d love to hear from you, so please do share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.