I have a confession (and let's hope it doesn't stir the pot as much as my colleague recently proclaiming skinny jeans are dead): I don't believe every mom needs a diaper bag. Despite the many versatile, well-designed and eye-catching diaper bags now available, I could never bring myself to buy a traditional diaper bag with the many pockets, wet/dry bags, bottle holders and tiny zippered pockets. 

Perhaps my reluctance to accept a diaper bag was related to my identity shift after becoming a mom: I had a hard time accepting the vision of myself pushing a double stroller with a diaper bag on one shoulder and a mini-van full of goldfish crumbs. Just because I was now a mom did that mean I **had** to do and own all the mom things? 

But, with a new baby and what felt like a diaper change every hour, I had to find a solution so I could leave the house without packing what felt like three suitcases. 

Enter the Skip Hop Pronto Changing Pad. The size of a large book, my cousin gifted me this portable changing pad when I was seven months pregnant. I recall her saying seriously, “You'll need this. I use it every day.”

I flippantly wrote off her advice, thinking she was just like many well-intentioned mothers who tell their pregnant friends and family exactly what they need and why. But as soon as I dug it out from the closet and started using it, I felt an immediate relief and understood why this changing station has such a loyal following—and why my cousin was so serious when she gifted this to me. I felt like I was indoctrinated into some special diaper bag-optional club. (Don't take my word for it. Over 3,000 people have given it a four-star review on Amazon).

Fast forward a few years, and with two kids under three both still in diapers (yes, potty training took us forever, but that's a story for a different day) I still use the Skip Hop Pronto Changing Pad for every outing. It stays stocked with diapers and wipes and lives in my favorite Herschel backpack that I use in place of a traditional diaper bag. 

Here's why I like it: There are two main pockets (one is mesh) where you can keep diapers and wipes. There's also an outer zippered pocket where I keep my son's epi-pen and extra plastic bags for those blowouts. The pad folds out and has wings, which means there is extra surface area to hold squirmy babies and kids of all sizes. And, perhaps most notably, having this easily portable changing station meant I never needed a traditional diaper bag. 

I've whipped it out everywhere from airport (and airplane) bathrooms to the trunk of the car for a quick diaper change to the park for a quick change (simply put it right on the ground). When my parents watch my littlest, I bring the diaper station to their house packed with diapers and wipes, and if they take him out it's easy to grab and go and stick in the bottom of the stroller. It comes in at a cool $27.99, which for a product I have used weekly for both of my kids is worth every penny (in fact, if I were to do it all over again, I would buy another to keep in the car).  

If you do use it often, remember to wash it. The diaper pad section detaches via a zipper and I simply throw it in the washing machine and hang dry it. 

Don’t get me wrong, I think diaper bags can be fantastic (in fact, we have 31 stylish choices here). But, if you're like me and simply want the basics, Skip Hop's portable changing pad won't let you down. 

skip hop changing pad

Skip Hop

$27.99

Pronto Changing Pad

About the size of a large book, this changing pad is available in five different designs and can replace your need for a full-on diaper bag.