I've got the baby ... where do I put everything else?
April 13, 2012 10:07 AM   Subscribe

When babywearing, how do you carry the rest of your stuff? Do you lug your diaper bag? Backpack? Is this a special fanny-pack-okay situation?

I love carrying my kid around in my Beco (like a Bjorn or an Ergo) but it's super-awkward to carry any other stuff. I've taken to wearing the baby on the front and a backpack on the back, but that means my wallet is behind me, so I have to do a lot of futzing to buy anything. I've also tried a purse with a long shoulder strap, but it doesn't hold much and it gets all in the way.

I feel like this is the sort of thing I should be able to figure out on my own, but I'd like to hear others' best practices. Also, what's the minimum amount of stuff you're comfortable being out with for a few-months-old baby?

- Baby is not old enough to be carried in back yet.
- I'm talking about 2-3 mile round trips with errands, so I can't throw caution to the wind and go extra-diaper free. (Can I?)
- Child hates the stroller, hence the babywearing.
posted by purpleclover to Travel & Transportation (38 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I do the backpack thing, although I'm a guy, so I usually keep my wallet in my pants pocket. Our Beco (the "Butterfly 2") has a little sleeve-style pouch in the front of the waist strap that we often slip a pacifier into. It probably couldn't fit your whole wallet, but it could easily fit a credit card and some cash.

And, no. A fanny pack is never OK.
posted by Betelgeuse at 10:11 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Why wouldn't a fanny pack be okay? By the time you are strapping actual miniature humans to your physical person, you are officially operating beyond the laws of conventional fashion.

If anyone gives you crap about it, just say, "Great -- to be clear, you've just officially volunteered to follow me around carrying all of my stuff for me instead, right? Right?"
posted by hermitosis at 10:11 AM on April 13, 2012 [23 favorites]

If you don't want to wear a traditional fanny pack, I've heard great things about a SPIbelt - it should hold your phone, wallet, and keys for easy access, then you can carry the baby items in a backpack.
posted by insectosaurus at 10:14 AM on April 13, 2012

I have a backpack diaper bag and bring an extra diaper, a few wipes in a ziploc, and a 2oz premade formula/pumped breastmilk bottle with nipple.

I put card/cash/phone in the ergo's front pocket.

If a fanny pack works for you, it's okay!
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:14 AM on April 13, 2012

When I carried my two around, I would use a backpack with the extra stuff in it. I tried a regular diaper bag, but it was really awkward feeling/looking on my shoulders.

Plus it freed my hands and hips to hold the toddler who didn't like a stroller and wanted to walk or be carried.
posted by Sweetmag at 10:15 AM on April 13, 2012

(but I think it might interfere with the baby's feet so something with a lower profile might be good. )
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:16 AM on April 13, 2012

I tend to use either a backpack or my shoulder diaper bag. The shoulder bag is nice because I can swing it around to get stuff out of it, but it is not as comfy as the backpack with a baby on the front. Once my older son got big enough for the side carry it did make the shoulder bag easier. I also tend to keep my wallet in a coat or pant pocket to get at it easier.
posted by katers890 at 10:17 AM on April 13, 2012

Thanks all so far.

Also: Where do you even buy a fanny pack? Other than 1993?
posted by purpleclover at 10:18 AM on April 13, 2012

Outdoor stores, like REI or Campmor or Eastern Mountain Sports or whatever your local equivalent is. Online you can get them from Zappos and eBags and similar.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:20 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I agree that "No fannypacks, so unstylish!" is kinda funny when you're already lugging around a kid on your front who's drooling on your chest.

I actually think a fannypack is a pretty great idea and I wish I had thought of it. Instead, I always tried to carry the bare minimum (one diaper, one tiny wipes thing) and I carried it in a cross-body bag which I then draped over the Ergo in front. Does that make sense? Just diagonally across the kid. If the strap was long enough it just hung next to my hip, out of the way, and as long as I was carrying very little, it wasn't heavy enough to be annoying or pull. And I could reach into it without having to take off a backpack.

Also, I think some makers of carriers like Ergos/Becos make special pouches that clip on to the bag. I don't know how expensive or useful they are, but might be worth looking into.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 10:23 AM on April 13, 2012

Buy clothes for yourself with pockets in them. They're not easy for a woman to find, but I think it's the only way.

(Related to a previous question I asked.)
posted by Ery at 10:24 AM on April 13, 2012

Amazon has many.
posted by insectosaurus at 10:24 AM on April 13, 2012

An old friend of mine (who is suddenly on baby #3 somehow) had something similar to this made a while back, and she absolutely loves it. Hers is big enough to hold cellphone, keys, coin purse, chapstick, etc, and everything else goes in the massive diaper bag (which, admittedly, is being carried by daughter #1 who is now 14 how how omg how). The ones listed in that shop are pretty pricey, though.
posted by elizardbits at 10:30 AM on April 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

thirteen hip fanny packs
posted by changeling at 10:37 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I use a shoulder bag (this one: by moop). Crosswise, putting it on first, then baby/sling. I can reach into it while it's still on. I also have an iPhone case that holds a credit card and subway card. I keep this in my pocket (or the sling pocket) for easy accessibility.
posted by xo at 10:37 AM on April 13, 2012

Cargo pants for your wallet/keys/phone and a small pack for the extra diaper/wipe and whatever you buy while you're out.
posted by mogget at 10:45 AM on April 13, 2012

Hip, cool and happening fanny packs are called "utility belts" and can be found places like Etsy and Amazon.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 10:49 AM on April 13, 2012

I go for either a shoulder diaper bag or a wristlet pouch with diapers wipes and my wallet. I thought about a fanny pack but decided it wouldn't play well with the ergo strap.
posted by girl scientist at 11:09 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I carried a mini messenger bag made custom for me.

The modifications were: 10" wide, 12" tall, 52" end to end strap.

With a long strap, the bag fell over my hip and I could safely strap baby over top. I am 5'11", so you might need a shorter strap than that to hit your desired spot.
posted by crazycanuck at 11:11 AM on April 13, 2012

Everyday on my commute, I carry my daughter in front in a bjorn, have my son by the hand, and a backpack with everything for both of them in it.

I keep my phone and wallet in a pocket, and just got really good at one handing things as needed.

I have an hour to an hour and a half commute with the kids in tow on public transporation everyday. I know my shit when it comes to transporting kids and things on foot.

I carry five diapers for the seven month old, and two to three for the three year old. My daughter goes through one to two diapers on the roundtip commute, my son sometimes zero and sometimes one. I keep the extras in case of delays. I have a bag of wipes. I keep a plastic grocery bag to dispose of trash in if I think I'm unlikely to encounter a trash bin. I forego a changing pad and change the baby on my lap and my toddler in a restroom while standing up.

I put a cup of water in one water bottle net on one side of the bag and a cup of milk on the other. Everything I need for me except for my wallet and phone goes into the bag --- this for me mostly includes my own water bottle and my own drink. I also have snacks for my son in one of the main pouches of the bag.

When I wear clothes that don't have pockets, I use a super small pouch --- just a small bag on a long strap --- that I put my phone and my most used cards in. I put that over my neck and around my torso, put the baby on, then put the backpack on. This way I don't have to worry about carrying things I need to buy other things with in an inaccessible place. My mother-in-law sent this from New Mexico. I believe she bought it at a Native American and/or Mexican goods store. It's very much like this but leather.

Like I said, I travel with both my kids on my own everyday while carrying the baby and taking the toddler by the hand. I'm happy to talk more about my system if you ever want to MeMail me.
posted by zizzle at 11:14 AM on April 13, 2012

You can also try searching for "hip bag" which is what some of the cool kids are calling the nice, fashionable ones today.
posted by magnetsphere at 11:15 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, and sometimes, I manage to carry a bag that won't fit inside the backpack in one hand --- like if I need to bring diapers to daycare that day and forgot to buy them the night before on my way to pick the kids up and have to bring them the next day when I drop the kids off.
posted by zizzle at 11:16 AM on April 13, 2012

For short trips, I bring my messenger style diaper bag. I clip the waist belt of the ergo first, then put the bag on, then put the baby on. Having the bag on one shoulder gets uncomfortable after 30 minutes or so. For longer trips (hikes, zoo, etc.) I pack a backpack. If I'm just running into the store for 15 minutes, I put my debit card in my pocket and leave the rest.
posted by chiababe at 11:23 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

We used a lightweight backpack for everything, with occasional other useful items stored in the front pocket of the Ergo, or carabinered to one of the 8000 loops on it. Wallet went in whatever pants pocket the carrier allowed me to.

At 2-3 months, traveling similar distances, I had a changing pad, extra outfit, travel pack of wipes, and 3-4 diapers in case of super blowout. I think we had a pacifier stuck in the Ergo pocket around then, too. When my husband was solo with baby, he had a bottle with a specially-sized bottle bag (freebie from formula company, only ever held breastmilk. Ha!) It sounds like a lot but there was tons of room in the backpack and we got lots of comments on how light we traveled.
posted by tchemgrrl at 11:25 AM on April 13, 2012

Fanny packs can be super hip--even Gucci makes them. I have a very stylish one from Roots as well as a Tokidoki (Le Sportsac) one. I used a fanny pack and a knapsack and it was by far the easiest option. There are fanny packs /utility belts galore available on line. I'd also recommend a knapsack with the thinnest shoulder straps possible as it'll stay on easier on top of the carrier straps.
posted by Go Banana at 11:27 AM on April 13, 2012

For 2-3 hour trips, I would take the bare minimum for baby. 1 or 2 diapers and little travel wipes, one formula bottle (you can skip if you're BF), and a little spit up rag. That's it. I never understood massive diaper bags for tiny babies. I used to throw it all together in a little wristlet pouch and either put it around my wrist or clip it to my jeans belt loop with a carabeener. Wallet and keys went in there, or pockets depending on my outfit.

Fanny packs are cool again! Except they're called "hip bags" or "belt bags." Stylish and way functional! Sounds like you need one ASAP!

I also give you permission to go diaper less if you want! I take my now one year old out without extra diapers all the time. I'm reckless, I know!
posted by katypickle at 11:29 AM on April 13, 2012

Babies are bendy- just tuck your wallet in between you and baby. One diaper, rolled up, with a small, soft towel around it, can be snuggled on the side of baby, like a little pillow. The only reason I recommend bringing a spare diaper is because my son always peed on me when I carried him. Something with the change in temperatures with going in and out. If you don't have this problem, then be don't worry about it.
posted by myselfasme at 11:34 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Babies are bendy-
I love this sentence.

Ok, for the real advice: If you don't like backpacks because you have to fiddle around with them to get to things and it's constantly behind you and inconvenient, then a fanny pack is equally as terrible, because those go on your backside too. I'd suggest carrying a backpack, for diapers and creme and wipes and bottles or what have you, and also carrying a hip bag, to keep things you'll need most often, like your phone and wallet, maybe a pacifier. Since the hip bag only carries a few things, you can keep it small and fashionable [even though you're a new mother and anyone judging you should be ashamed].

So, try search for "hip packs", "belt bags" "hip bags", etc. This one is kind of cute, and claims to be made out of recycled materials.
posted by FirstMateKate at 11:43 AM on April 13, 2012

Oh geez, don't listen to anyone who says you can't look fly wearing a baby, of course you totally can. Carry your wallet/lip gloss/phone in your pockets, wear a scarf or shawl that can double as a breast feeding cover or spit up cloth, and tuck an extra diaper and a packet of travel wipes into the baby sling. For longer trips or if you need to carry bottles or other extra items, a regular purse should be fine.
posted by milk white peacock at 12:01 PM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Datapoint: I carried my daughter in a backpack carrier from the time she was 2 weeks old. We went on hikes, as well as to the grocery store. It was never an issue - she loved being up high and looking around at the world. This left both of my hands free to carry whatever.
posted by MexicanYenta at 12:15 PM on April 13, 2012

Oh, wow, many great answers.

Um, it never occurred to me to put the cross-body bag on before the carrier, but ... of course that's the way to do it. I am also intrigued by hip bags, wristlets, and the genius idea of just stuffing my wallet next to the baby.

Who knew we were living in a second golden age of fanny packs?
posted by purpleclover at 1:17 PM on April 13, 2012


Here is a nice fanny pack at a closeout price. It's shown as all black but it's a nice purple with black. Just got one myself for summer biking and wearing with my own Ergobaby.

I also sometimes wear socks with my sandals.

While wearing a fanny pack.

Join us...
posted by No Shmoobles at 2:44 PM on April 13, 2012

Bare minimum. No bags, just pockets! Here's what I bring:
Baby in Ergo. Credit card, house key (singular!), building keycard and ID in jeans front pocket. (Could also go in the front pocket of the Ergo if I were wearing a dress, but I never am.) Jacket with both external and internal pockets. Internal pockets get 1-2 diapers and a small ziplock with half a dozen wipes. If I weren't BFing, I could also put a bottle in the other pocket. Extra ziploc for throwing out diapers if I'm going somewhere that I wouldn't want to put diapers in the trash as-is (outdoor trash gets plain diapers). External pocket gets phone and potentially a plastic shopping bag.

If I'll be doing shopping that's heavy, or am bringing stuff to meet a friend, I'll bring a light, over-the-shoulder shopper bag. (I like the Longchamp Le Pliage.) Fleece jackets are best to prevent the bag from slipping off your shoulder.
posted by CruiseSavvy at 2:56 PM on April 13, 2012

If it is mostly just about the wallet some carriers have a pocket for wallet and keys. I loved our babytrekker http://www.babytrekker.com/.You can also get a diaper and a ziplock of wipes in if you stuff. Bonus is that it is adjustable so it fits anyone and can go over a coat in winter.
posted by Cuke at 4:44 PM on April 13, 2012

I had an Over the Shoulder Baby Holder and I put stuff right in with the kid. my wallet would go in front (just a small coin purse really, nothing huge) with the kidlet and I'd tuck what I called a Quick Change Kit in the back. My phone would go in my pocket. I would also usually tuck a burp cloth in there and sometimes a bottle. The sling I used had a loop on the end and I'd use those plastic chain link toys to attach a pacifier and/or a toy.
posted by TooFewShoes at 5:46 PM on April 13, 2012

Surprised no one else has said this...if your only reason for not using the stroller is that Kiddo doesn't like it, bring it anyway for your gear! You can use anything from a tiny umbrella stroller up to a giant SUV style, depending on how much stuff you want to cart with you.
My wife loads up the stroller with the MABSS (mama and baby support system): diaper bag, purse, food, water, maybe books, clothes to pass on (or that have just been received), coat, and on and on. Usually the Ergo is there too, and often enough she'll wear the baby but still use the stroller as a porter. Doesn't help you bring less, but you can definitely bring as much as you want.
posted by attercoppe at 8:47 PM on April 13, 2012

I don't know if the Beco would work with them, but -- the Ergo people sell snap-on pouches and backpacks. The "front pouch" held a phone, cash and cards, two diapers, wipes in a baggie, a lipstick; just right, and while it was aesthetically on par with a fanny pack, it was certainly a useful add-on. I would be surprised if there are not people on Etsy knocking out similar items designed to attach to a Beco.
posted by kmennie at 7:00 AM on April 14, 2012

I just got the Ergo backpack linked above. I loved the concept -- it attaches to the front of the Ergo, outside the baby. Unfortunately, the ergonomics (as it were) are horrible: the weight is too far from your body and so it pulls really hard on the shoulder straps. I'm keeping it, though, because it can also be used as a normal backpack (so I can do baby in front bag in back) or it can attach to my stroller.
posted by wyzewoman at 12:38 PM on April 14, 2012

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