The transition from 2 to 3 kids has been the easiest for me. The best part was the confidence that I wish I had with my first – everything felt easy and the hard moments felt very temporary. As a third time parent, you know what baby gear is essential and now know that you need far less “stuff” than you thought. Diaper bags probably seemed so important with your first, but by your third, you’ve learned that they’re pointless. Grab a great tote bag and throw a couple diapers, wipes, and a backup outfit in a pouch, a bottle or two, and toy and you’re good to go. This shift not only makes life easier, but there’s mindset shift in things feeling easier and more comfortable. So today, I want to share the best “diaper bag” totes (but really, they’re just tote bags) for moms. 


The Best Diaper Bag Totes for Moms and What’s In My Tote


When you become a parent for the first time, the uncertainty and anxiety of new parenthood often lead to overpacking. found myself a little more chill with the second, but she was born during the pandemic so my experience was quite different – we didn’t really go anywhere. You think you need a diaper bag with an adjustable shoulder strap, small pockets, and all the baby essentials. But it turns out that baby’s needs are actually quite simple. Even stylish diaper bags aren’t actually cute, and it turns out that bottle pockets and an included changing pad just aren’t necessary. Baby’s needs are actually quite simple – less is more. 


Flash forward to the third baby.

The overwhelming need to over-prepare shifts to a relaxed, minimalist mindset. You realize that many of the items you once deemed essential are…not. You now know that the best diaper bags are, in fact, tote bags. And I’m not talking about a tote diaper bag with plenty of pockets – you don’t even need an interior pocket. And I actually prefer an open tote to a zip-top closure. Just opt for a tote bag with a few well-organized pouches in the main compartment as your new go-to. This approach streamlines your carrying process and makes everything feel easier.

When my son was an infant, the only real change was that I’d bring a few extra bibs, burp cloths, 2 extra outfits, and of course, bottles, formula, and a thermos of warm water. Now that he’s a year old, I keep some diapers, wipes, and an extra outfit in a tote, grab a cup of water for him. Grab your personal items like your cell phone, wallet, and some lip balm, and you’re good to go. If we’re going on a longer outing. And for quick trips to the grocery store, I just leave those items in the car. It’s a whole new world. 

When you have less stuff, a shoulder bag is fine – you’ll be comfortable carrying it, because it’s not packed with every baby item you might need (but won’t). You just need a functional tote with ample space that looks good and feels comfortable to carry. I’ve included chic and classic styles you’ll want to carry at various price points. 

I keep a travel stroller in our car since it takes up less space and does the trick. Add a few stroller clips to throw your tote or to hold extra “stuff.” 


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What I Keep in my Large Diaper Bag Tote

Bottle essentials: When Jack was an infant, I packed 2 bottles, warm water in this thermos, and a small container of formula. 

Changing mat: I have this one and this one which takes up even less space. 

Diapers: Keep 2 or 3 diapers and wipes in a pouch in your tote, but I also throw a few extra diapers in the car to minimize what I carry, and to have on hand just in case. 

Extra outfit: When Jack was little I used to bring 2, but these days, always keep one extra outfit just in case. 

One or two small toys: He loves this phone, this sensory toy, and this, too. And I always have them attached to these straps so he doesn’t lose them. 

For the big kids: If we’re going to dinner, I have a small pouch with gel pens and these tiny notebooks (linked below). These items take up minimal space, are virtually weightless, and my girls love them.

Band-aids: We actually do need them all the time. I love this little mini kit and keep a mini disinfecting spray inside (fits perfectly). This is great, too.


The Best Diaper Bag Totes


LL Bean

Boat and Tote

This bag is a must-have for everyone. Each of my kids have the XL version, and we have medium and large versions, too. It's great for travel or everyday and has a timeless look that works with everything.
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Rue De Verneuil


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This tote has sturdy yet chic contrast top handles and snaps on each side that allow you to switch up the shape and size for those days when you need a little extra room. It's one I'd use for longer days out or during the newborn stage as I had a little more to carry with bottles and formula.
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Clovely Tote

I love this bag because it's a beautiful tote that looks more like a purse and would go with everything. Designed to be worn in two ways, either over the shoulder or as a top handle, the generously-sized Clovelly Tote is the perfect way to elevate your everyday.
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Large Tote

I bought this for travel but use it if we're going out for the day. It's big, lightweight, I love the look, and it does have some great side pockets for my personal items.
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Vegan Tote

I have two of these bags and love them! it's lightweight and unstructured, so it's especially easy to carry, and it looks great with everything.
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Rubberized Tote

The ideal summer bag for kids, this rubberized tote is chic and waterproof. Take it to the park, beach, pool, and beyond.
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Leather Baby Bag

This is the only baby that I have ever liked and would consider. It looks like a beautiful leather bag but is actually a diaper bag, and can be worn as a tote or crossbody. It's gorgeous.
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What’s in My Tote

The Best Pouches for Keeping A Diaper Bag Tote Organized

The Joy of Minimalist Parenting

This evolution towards minimalism brings unexpected joy. Less really is more. It’s easier, more peaceful, and more manageable. Outings become less about the logistics of preparation and more about the experience itself. You move through your day with greater ease, unburdened by the weight of unnecessary items. I found that my anxiety went way down with a third, too. Everything feels easier. 

The simplicity of carrying less also allows for greater spontaneity. Impromptu trips to the park or a quick visit to a friend’s house are no longer daunting tasks requiring extensive packing. Going out to dinner? Bring something for the kids to do (gel pens always and forever for us) a couple diapers, and a straw cup for baby. Getting out the door still feels crazy because we have 3 kids, but there’s minimal prep. 

Parenting a third child transforms your approach to what you carry and how you prepare for daily adventures. The transition from an overstuffed diaper bag to a simple tote bag and pouches symbolizes a shift towards minimalism and ease. So take it from this third time mom – skip the diaper bag, grab only the essentials, and enjoy adventures with your family. 


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