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This is the Rolls Royce of changing bags - stylish, built to last, very expensive, but when only the best will do...
I treated myself to this after winning some vouchers in a competition - at nearly #60 it wasn't the kind of thing I would have chosen under normal circumstances. In fact, it's hard to see how it justifies this kind of price tag from anyone who's got to pay for it themselves, but it is extremely well designed and made.
It has two separate main compartments, with a rigid central spine - useful for separating the basic functions of eating and changing (whatever most department stores are thinking when they offer you a smelly nappy-changing room to feed your baby, these two don't mix any more pleasantly for babies than the rest of us). You can access these sides with separate zips, and they flap down to reveal an array of smaller pockets and elastic straps along the central panel - for bottles, tubs, jars etc, - as well as wider wallet-style pockets for nappies, bibs etc.
This feature is particularly handy for changes in less than ideal facilities (one of the least ideal I recall was an intercity train!) - the weight and structure of the bags keeps it upright whilst the side you want 'points' towards you with everything on view. This means single-handed access is possible, whilst the other hand attempts to restrain your wriggling bundle. You could probably just about open it with one hand too.
The elastic/webbing small pockets are a particularly thoughtful touch, that will be recognised by any parent who has ever had to deal with the aftermath of a leaky beaker of juice/ pot of youghurt/ tub of nappy cream. The top few pockets can be successfully reached simply by unpoppering the top flap of the bag (ie without unzipping either side), very useful for keeping a drink handy whether on the back of the buggy or in the back of the car.
There is one longer zip-up compartment, which I believe is meant for bottles and is insulated. As we didn't use bottles I found it handy for a mobile phone! There is also a discreet purse section in what I think of as the feeding side, although this could be more accessible - I generally end up jamming car keys etc in one of the webbing pockets reachable from the top.
The strap is another nice design touch - poppering together it adjusts instantly from shoulder-bag length to fit the handles of a pram or buggy with minimum 'flap around' factor. It's also designed so as you grap the strap (eg from the back of the car with a struggling toddler under the other arm) it rights itself and keeps everything pretty much upright however much you yank it about. It does come with the ubiquitous changing mat - do they imagine you won't already have one? - but I found this so thin and unpadded as to be not much use.
I've seen the ad where the bag's appearance seems to be likened to a smart briefcase or handbag, and in terms of looks it doesn't do badly. It's black, fabric covered with a silver catch - not a Winnie the Pooh in sight, which makes a change. But it's not the kind of thing you could really pass off as a general 'bag about town' - it's the wrong shape for a briefcase and simply too large/rigid for a handbag. I think when we finally have no further need of nappies I shall pass it on to someone who does, rather than really envisage using it again for anything else. But we still have a lot of journeys to make as a family first.
It's probably too early to be looking for them second hand yet, as it was a new product when I bought mine, but it's well made enough that in a few years this will be a real possibility. Despite how useful I've found it I have to say that for most new parents, considering the massive demands on your cash at this time, it's probably not a high priority buy. But if you have good friends with a bit of spending power who ask you what you really want (instead of just buying you your fiftieth cute, impractical newborn-size outfit) then this could be a hint well worth dropping.
Ah I found it! Theres so much to consider and you make it sound so easy!! A changing bag..I hadnt thought of this..I had thought of a changing mat which Ive seen and was pleasantly suprised at seeing just a plastic chnaging mat at £3 in my local Co-op, but hadnt thought about travelling. This sounds like top stuff but at £60 is possiblby OTT for me at present, but still the thoughtful and practical tips you've raised in this opinion will make any consumer more aware being making any purchase be it a changing mat or changing mat cum bag. Superb and very thoughtful opinion as always -CH
niclemamy 26.03.2001 14:02
This is just what I could do with but like you say its to expensive..I make do with a bag I bought from my local market.Its not a changing bag but it works for me and I can get everything but the kitchen sink in it,lol...I know what you mean about winnie the pooh etc..alot of changing bags have silly things on them but I for one don't want to walk around with the cartoon network on my shoulder...Very informative opinion,cheers:)