The One Baby Essential I’m Gifting Every New Parent in My Life for the Foreseeable Future

published Dec 14, 2023
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Smiling father shot holding his baby daughter looking at each other
Credit: Getty Images/Oscar Wong

It’s official — I’ve finally reached the age in life where everyone I know is having kids. While this is a stage in life I can comfortably say I’m still not quite ready for just yet, I do adore watching my friends and loved ones embark on the journey that is parenthood. Something I love even more? Showering them with gifts that’ll help make their lives a bit easier (they don’t say it takes a village for nothing, am I right?)

Back in 2020, my best friend of 20+ years made me a godmother for the first time and it’s a role I’ve taken very seriously ever since. Like a good shopping editor, I’ve spent many a night (and joint FaceTime call) researching the best products around to keep my goddaughter safe, happy, and healthy — and boy have I learned a lot. So, when my best friend surprised me with the news that she was expecting another baby (don’t worry, the secret’s out), I did two things: 1. Scream with excitement and 2. Immediately hit her with an, “Ok, let’s get shopping.”

With one kid under her belt, I knew she’d be more knowledgeable about the things she needed versus the things she wanted for baby number two, so when it came to picking out a congratulations gift, she had some thoughts. After a few insightful conversations with her (and a few other parents-to-be!), I can comfortably say that there’s one gift that seems to take the cake for the most popularly requested new parent gift — the elusive diaper bag. But I’m not talking about just any diaper bag, I’m talking about the Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Backpack

Now, I wasn’t surprised to learn that a diaper bag was one of the most requested items from parents-to-be — what struck me was that almost every one of them mentioned this one bag. So naturally, I delved into the adorably named brand to see what all the hubbub was about. This also meant testing out one of their bags firsthand. And after getting my hands on this bag, I immediately understood the hype.

First things first, this diaper bag is stylish. One of the chief reasons new parents were telling me they wanted this bag was because, unlike other ones they had seen, this one was, well, and I quote, “not ugly.” With a look that could easily be confused with a high-end backpack thanks to its leather/velvet construction and gold accents, I get it. But while aesthetics was a reason, it wasn’t the reason they were all fawning over the Boxy Backpack. That comes down to its functionality, because at the end of the day, what’s a good-looking diaper bag worth if it’s useless?

Needless to say, this bag is the very opposite of useless. In fact, it’s very clearly designed with parents in mind. While there are many things to call out — including the multiple ways of carrying it, the included stroller straps, and the water-resistant design — two specific design choices immediately stuck out to me: the wide-set interior and the attached changing pad.

Credit: Petunia Pickle Bottom

One of the chief complaints I’ve heard (and seen) about diaper bags is that certain types are too narrow, making them hard to sort through in a pinch. The Boxy is different in that it features a wide-set design for a layout that’s easier to access and organize. This is topped off with five interior pockets (two specifically for bottles) and a key clip — talk about having a place for everything and everything in its place.

As for the diaper mat, that is a game changer. While built-in changing mats aren’t exactly new to the diaper bag world, the setup of this one impressed both me and my friend. Hidden in the front compartment of the bag, the pad zips out, revealing a changing station, with pockets for diapers and wipes, too. The pad is also easy to wipe down, removable, and machine washable for messes that require a more thorough clean.

Credit: Petunia Pickle Bottom

Suffice it to say, not only do I get the hype around this bag, I say it lives up to it. Coming in multiple colors and designs, the Twilight rendition of the Boxy Backpack Diaper Bag comes in at $199. While an investment, it’s definitely a worthwhile one parents will adore (plus, the brand is offering 30% off bundle sets if you need an incentive to go all out). And while I may not be using one personally anytime soon, it’s definitely something I’ll be buying again and again for the new parents in my life.