Menu

*We’ve partnered with JJ Cole to help streamline your momlife. Admit it: you probably overpack your diaper bag. And we know it’s for good reason: we mamas need to be prepared for anything and everything! But an overpacked diaper bag can quickly turn into a black hole, making it impossible to find what you need in a pinch. So we’re partnering with JJ Cole to help you apply Marie Kondo’s “KonMari” method of decluttering and organizing to the place your momlife needs it most: your diaper bag. We recently enlisted our gear editor and founder of King Kidlet, Natalie Gentile, to help NYC mama of two Fallon Carmichael Santiago clean out her #diaperbagblackhole. Below, she shares the 5 tips that helped whip Fallon’s JJ Cole Bucket Tote diaper bag into shape. Want to win the JJ Cole Bucket Tote Diaper Bag that Fallon’s using in our story? Share what’s currently happening inside your diaper bag on Instagram stories with the hashtag #diaperbagblackhole for your chance to win! Don't forget to tag @wellroundedny and @jjcoleusa. We'll announce the winner on May 1. 1. Get organized. The key to an organized diaper bag is having a designated spot for every single item. Not only will this keep your bag tidy, you won’t have to rummage through to find a pacifier when your baby is already at a level ten freakout. JJ Cole’s Bucket Tote has 12 pockets (including 2 side bottle or sippy cup pockets), but you can also use zipper pouches for bottles or snacks, diapers and wipes, spare clothing and so on. Bonus tip: Include one removable pouch for your personal items such as your wallet, sunglasses, and favorite lip gloss, this way you can easily toss it in your purse for date night! 2. Pack less stuff. You can immediately lighten your load simply by reducing the quantity of products in your diaper bag. Instead of carrying an entire pack of baby wipes, opt for a travel-sized pack. Better yet, just throw some in a ziplock bag, and off you go! If you have a tendency to overpack, though, opt for a diaper bag with padded shoulder straps, or use the JJ Cole no-slip grips™ (they come with the JJ Cole Bucket Tote) and let your stroller do the carrying. 3. Keep the toys to a minimum. Keeping your little one entertained is important, but you don’t need to carry the whole toy store around with you. Instead, I suggest choosing one or two small toys, then swapping them out every few days to keep it interesting. 4. Stay in season. If you leave the house and it's 75 degrees, you probably don't need an extra sweatshirt, ski pants and winter boots for your baby....you know, just in case. Make sure the seasonable items you tote around are actually in season. 5. Maintain, maintain, maintain. Ok, so your diaper bag is now organized, but how do you keep it that way? Every morning, quickly check your diaper bag’s stock of formula, wipes, etc. Then give it a deep clean once a week: wipe down your changing pad (JJ Cole’s Bucket Tote has a matching one tucked inside) and tidy up any errant crayons or cheese stick wrappers that made their way to the bottom of your bag. Photography by Stylish & Hip Kids for Well Rounded.  

FEATURED VIDEO

SHOP JJ COLE DIAPER BAGS JJ Cole Bucket Tote Black Aztec, $69.95

JJ Cole Bucket Tote, Red Trellis, $69.95

Back when my husband and I were creating our wedding registry, it was a fun, low-pressure opportunity to select some new dishes and linens. After all, I knew a thing or two about stocking my home and making the "wrong decision" with thread count was the only thing that posed any risk to my sleep at night.

Fast-forward a few years to when I created a baby registry before the birth of my first child—and I found the experience to have a much steeper learning curve. Unlike those sheets, it felt like a bad swaddle or bassinet selection would be catastrophic. Unsure of what to expect from motherhood or my baby, I leaned heavily on advice from friends who already ventured into parenthood. (Starting with their reminders to take deep breaths!)

FEATURED VIDEO

Now a mom of three little ones under the age of four, I'm happy to be in a position to pass along some baby registry wisdom.

Go shopping with a veteran parent

As first-time parents, my husband and I barely knew the difference between a bouncer and a swing, let alone what specific features we would want. So when a mom friend recommended we head to Walmart to build my registry together—because she found them to carry the trendy brands she loved AND make registering a breeze during her pregnancy—I leapt at the chance.

By walking through the aisles together and actually getting to see the products, I was much more confident in my registry selections. Thanks to that quick, in-store tutorial from my friend, I understood exactly how to match a perfect infant car seat with an extra base and stroller—which is something I would have been clueless about on my own.

Include items at a variety of price points

When it comes down to it, a registry is really a wish list. So, while I had a personal budget for a stroller if it had to come out of my own pocket, this was an opportunity for me to ask for the stroller of my dreams. And, wouldn't you know it? A few family members went in on it together, which made a bigger price tag much more manageable.

At the same time, it's nice to include some of the smaller ticket items that are absolutely essential. I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I was to skip buying my own diapers for those first few weeks. (With super cute patterns, these are also surprisingly fun to give, too!)

Think about the gifts you would like to give

The first time I bought a mom-to-be a gift after my own child was born, I knew immediately what to look for on her registry: a diaper bag backpack, which I had come to have very strong opinions about after battling falling straps with my first diaper bag. This allowed me to feel like I had a personal touch in my gift, even if I brought one pre-selected by her.

I also appreciate it when my friends clearly incorporate their style into their registry choices, like with adorable baby outfits or nursery decor—and there's no sweeter "thank you" than a picture from a friend showing your gift in use.

Ask for things to grow with your child

Even though it's called a baby registry, there's no need to limit yourself to gifts to use before their first birthday. (To this day, I still have people who attended my baby shower to thank for the convertible bed that my oldest child sleeps in!) Knowing that, I would have included more options with long lifespans into my registry—namely, a baby carrier that can be used during the newborn months, baby months and well into the toddler years. A well-designed baby carrier would have saved my back from serious pain because it would have allowed me to comfortably and ergonomically carry my toddler as she made her way into the 25lb+ club. One brand that's designed to grow with your baby and accommodates 7-45 pounds (up to about four years old) and offers both inward and forward-facing positions is Ergobaby. With several different design and style options, you can easily find one that caters to your parenting needs. From an all-in-one carrier, like the Omni 360, that grows with baby from the newborn stages into the toddler years or a newborn-specific carrier, like the Embrace (and don't worry you can later upgrade to a carrier for an older baby, I recommend the 360 Carrier). The best part? All ergonomic designs are supportive and comfortable for both baby and parent, offering extra lumbar support with breathable, lightweight mesh styles. Everyone (even grandparents!) can get a kick out of babywearing, which is a nice and welcomed break for parents. Having one of these on my registry would have certainly made those first few years so much easier.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

This article was sponsored by Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


You might also like:

Shop

Whether I live next to you or across the country, social media makes it easy for us to stay updated on each other's lives and that's a wonderful thing. I love seeing pictures of your kids and I think it's great that you choose to share videos of your child singing, giggling and taking his or her first steps.

I simply choose not to share pregnant pictures, or even a family photo from the hospital once our daughter arrived because my pregnancy, birth and growing family are parts of my life I wanted to protect from the outside world.

Keep reading Show less
Life