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Health Happy Round-Up: Sexy Posture–Smart Bag

APE038Welcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, Health Happy Round-Up which focuses on multiple aspects of wholesome living and optimal health for the entire family.  Each weekend, Traveling with Baby will share some insightful news, recipes, and tips to help you consider fresh new perspectives on wholesome and happy health.  If there’s a topic or recipe you’d like featured on Health Happy Round-Up, let me know!  [drgarnecki at gmail dot com].

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Often people, especially women, tend to carry purses or bags on the same shoulder ALL the time, and usually they carry a bag on the shoulder opposite the dominant hand.  As a result, postural imbalances occur.

Consider what it feels like when you’re at the airport and you hoist a heavy bag onto your shoulder.

Posture-altering process

Your body compensates by leaning away from the bag; this response is due to the shift in weight and your center of gravity.

The same thing happens to your body when you carry a purse on your shoulder–the same shoulder day in and day out.  Whether the straps are short or long, your body’s posture reacts in response.  As a result, chronic changes occur in your body’s spine and supporting musculature to adapt to the shift in gravity’s center.

A backpack is no better.  The same postural adaptation that occurs with a shoulder strap in the side-to-side dimension also occurs with a backpack in the front-to-back dimension.  With a heavy backpack, depending on how high or how low it’s worn, a person will compensate by rolling her shoulders forward and sticking her head further forward so that it is no longer centered over her shoulders and hips.  As a result, neck and shoulder muscles are strained, and chronic changes in the spine and nervous system result.

Solutions

If you’re going to carry a backpack, then don’t carry any more than 10 percent of your body weight in the bag.  Check your child’s school bag, because often kids lug around a LOT of weight in a backpack leading to early damage on their necks and backs from carrying too much weight and overuse.  Next, position the bag so that it doesn’t cause shoulders to hunch forward, but actually allows the head, shoulders, and pelvis to line up.  This usually means a bag needs to be worn a little lower than usual.

Purses should be altered from side to side, and not always carried on the same side.  Purses should be light.  Don’t carry the kitchen sink in your purse.  Clean it out frequently and only carry what you really need.

A better option is to wear a bag that crosses from one shoulder to the opposite hip.  Again, veer away from extremely heavy weight, and alternate the shoulder from which it’s worn.  Messenger-style bags are often the best type of bags that can be worn to maintain good posture.  These are great for students and especially moms with babies who often have their hands full or need easy access to a bag.

Messenger bags are better for a woman’s posture than a purse worn on the same shoulder as the strap or a backpack, however, messenger bags usually have thin straps that are often uncomfortable on breast tissue.

Women’s Liberation

logo_smFinally, a bag was designed with women and their precious anatomy in mind.  Behold, the Go Gaga Messenger bag with the urban strap.

IMG_5861It feels like you’re wearing a pocket sling with wide shoulder support and comfortable fabric that doesn’t sheer against or smash breast tissue.  Oh, what a wonderful thing!

This heavy-duty bag doubles as a diaper bag or laptop bag.  Heck, I think it’d make the perfect gym bag, or airline carry-on, too.

The large Messenger Bag by Go Gaga is spacious enough for my laptop, multiple diapers, snacks, extra clothing, 2 water bottles, and the kitchen sink.  This bag was made for someone with a LOT of stuff, and it’s perfect for parents with multiples.

Features I love on Go Gaga bags:

  • Super comfy urban shoulder strap – I’d love to replace all of my other shoulder straps with this one, it’s so amazingly comfortable and ergonomic.  This definitely gets a chiropractor’s stamp of approval
  • The stroller straps – obviously, this bag was designed by a parent.  Multifunctional and practical
  • insulated bottle pockets – large enough to fit my Camelbak better bottle, let alone a sippy cup.
  • There’s not one but two fabric options made from recycled fibers: including the eggplant featured above.
  • You can wear baby in a ring sling, pocket sling, and front carrier while using this bag.

All bags are available in 6 color options with grey contrast: olive, cayenne, copper, black, eggplant (recycled), and sea blue (recycled).

Go Gaga features three laptop/diaper bags, depending on your carrying needs: Messenger, Gondola, and Slide.

msgr_display_eggplantThe large Messenger bag can fit a LOT of gear.  A center divider can be secured in place with hook and loop closure to create extra compartments for organization.  Or, you can flatten the divider to allow room for a laptop and anything you could possibly need to take care of a newborn or twins for an entire day or two.  The front flap secures with a clip, but the front pockets are still accessible to allow easy access to your wallet, phone, keys, or shopping list.

I will definitely use the Messenger as my carry-on the next time I fly cross-country with my son.  I’ll have easy access to anything I need while still being able to carry my son or hold his hand.gondola_display_copper

The medium-sized Gondola bag features a zippered opening, and it can carry a laptop as wide as 14 inches.  This is the perfect-sized bag for students who need to haul around a laptop, a couple of books, snacks, and liquid fuel for a long day of classes.  I wish I’d had one of these during chiropractic school.

Go Gaga’s smallest bag, the Slide bag, is my personal favorite for use as a laptop bag and diaper bag combo with my toddler.

display_main_slideI use the Go Gaga Slide as my work tote/purse which fits my 10 1/2 inch wide laptop (fits laptops up to 14 inches), a few diapers, case of wipes, bib, numerous snacks, a sippy cup, and my water bottle.  There’s also room with convenient external and internal pockets to store my cell phone, wallet, hairbrush, lotion stick, and lip balm.  Sometimes I even stick my lunch bag in there along with everything else already mentioned.  The external pocket features a key fob with a leash long enough that I don’t have to unhook my keys to unlock the door at work–clever, very clever.

Clever features

All 3 bags retail for $118 – $128 each (the higher end price is for the slightly heavier weighted recycled fiber fabrics).  All bags come with accessories: a cushioned diaper changing pad that’s oblong in shape, the amazingly comfortable urban strap with a shoulder pad which contains a cell phone pocket.   All Go Gaga bags are available in 6 yummy color options with grey contrast: olive, cayenne, copper, black, eggplant (recycled), and sea blue (recycled).  The ergonomic urban sherpa strap can be purchased seperately (comes in grey or black) for $32 to reconfigure all of your other carrying bags.

Note: the insulated side pockets are angled so that there’s slightly less room inside when they’re full with a water bottle.  Without water bottles on the sides, the bags can carry wider books and more items.

–By Dr. Dolly

Win the Ultimate Diaper Bag by Pottery Barn Kids–Giveaway #5

This is it!  The final winner of the last PBK Ultimate Diaper bag giveaway on Traveling with Baby.  Are you ready?  Drum roll, please.  And the winner is:

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Welcome to Week #5, the final week of the 5 week series of the Ultimate Diaper Bag Giveaway, courtesy of Pottery Barn Kids.

First, read the original review and contest post, because you need to how fantastic of a diaper bag it is that you’re entering to win. Plus, it’ll give you ideas for your entry post.

**WIN IT**

Pottery Barn Kids is offering 5 chances for you to win an Ultimate Diaper Bag in chocolate here at Traveling with Baby. This is the 5th and final opportunity left to win this bag.

To enter, leave a comment about what feature(s) are most appealing in a diaper bag if you could design one from scratch. What totes your fancy? PBK wants to know! The contest for Diaper Bag 1 ends at 11:59 PM (EST) on Friday, July 18th. The winner will be announced on Saturday, July 19th.

Only one entry per person each contest week. Multiple entries will be deleted. The winner and 2 alternates will be selected on Random.org and announced on this post and on Prizey. If you provide your e-mail address, I will contact you. The winner has 72 hours to claim the prize, otherwise, the prize goes to the first alternate to contact me with a shipping address.

Win the Ultimate Diaper Bag by Pottery Barn Kids–Giveaway #4

**UPDATE**

Congratulations to the winner!!  hetal gandhi, on July 11th, 2008 at 2:40 pm Said:more and more and even more compartments.”

ALTERNATES:

Kara, on July 7th, 2008 at 5:23 pm Said: “I like a diaper bag to have an attached changing mat that folds up easily.”

kathy p, on July 11th, 2008 at 8:51 am Said: “it would have to be roomy with many separate compartments to keep all the shiznaz i have to carry”

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Welcome to Week #4 of the 5 week series of the Ultimate Diaper Bag Giveaway, courtesy of Pottery Barn Kids.

First, read the original review and contest post, because you need to how fantastic of a diaper bag it is that you’re entering to win. Plus, it’ll give you ideas for your entry post.

**WIN IT**

Pottery Barn Kids is offering 5 chances for you to win an Ultimate Diaper Bag in chocolate here at Traveling with Baby. There are 2 opportunities left to win this bag over the next 2 weeks. If you don’t win during this week, come back and visit again next week for 1 last chance to win. The Ultimate Diaper Bag contests will be open for comments on Monday.

To enter, leave a comment about what feature(s) are most appealing in a diaper bag if you could design one from scratch. What totes your fancy? PBK wants to know! The contest for Diaper Bag 1 ends at 11:59 PM (EST) on Friday, July 11th. The winner will be announced on Saturday, July 12th.

Only one entry per person each contest week. Multiple entries will be deleted. The winner and 2 alternates will be selected on Random.org and announced on this post and on Prizey. If you provide your e-mail address, I will contact you. The winner has 72 hours to claim the prize, otherwise, the prize goes to the first alternate to contact me with a shipping address.

Win the Ultimate Diaper Bag by Pottery Barn Kids Giveaway #3

**UPDATE**

Congratulations to the winner!  Maria A. Malaveci, on July 2nd, 2008 at 10:14 am Said:

“Something fashionable and modern, which my husband could also carry. Definitely something roomy, so that I could place everything I needed in it. Also, it is really important that it be easy to wipe away the inside, and outside. Somewhere to put bottles, wipes, keys, etc. This is an excellent bag… I love that it turns into a backpack!!”

Alternates:

Carrie M, on July 3rd, 2008 at 12:00 pm Said:

“Pockets pockets and more pockets! I think little compartments where you can put things and know where they are at would be fantastic and save me time searching around for what I need.”

Roger Deming, on July 4th, 2008 at 12:16 am Said:

“This would really help us out. After raising our own kids we now are the temporary drop off shelter for babies in need of temporary care while the county finds permanent homes for them. this would really help us budget for these children. thanks”

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Welcome to Week #3 of the 5 week series of the Ultimate Diaper Bag Giveaway, courtesy of Pottery Barn Kids.

First, read the original review and contest post, because you need to know just how fantastic of a diaper bag it is that you’re entering to win. Plus, it’ll give you ideas for your entry post.

**WIN IT**

Pottery Barn Kids is offering 5 chances for you to win a chocolate colored Ultimate Diaper Bag here at Traveling with Baby. There are 3 opportunities left to win this bag over the next 3 weeks. If you don’t win during this week, come back and visit again on the subsequent weeks for 2 more chances to win. The Ultimate Diaper Bag contests will be open for comments on Mondays.

To enter, leave a comment about what feature(s) are most appealing in a diaper bag if you could design one from scratch. What totes your fancy? PBK wants to know! The contest for Diaper Bag 1 ends at 11:59 PM (EST) on Friday, July 4th. The winner will be announced on Saturday, July 5th.

Only one entry per person each contest week. Multiple entries will be deleted. The winner and 2 alternates will be selected on Random.org and announced on this post and on Prizey. If you provide your e-mail address, I will contact you. The winner has 72 hours to claim the prize, otherwise, the prize goes to the first alternate to contact me with a shipping address.

Win the Ultimate Diaper Bag by Pottery Barn Kids–Giveaway #2

**UPDATE**

Congratulations to the WINNER:

Ashley, on June 24th, 2008 at 9:16 am said:

This is a fantastic bag, I like that it’s not gender specific. My husband would not mind carrying this one! It also has a ton of space and that’s something I need with twins! I hope I win one! (fingers crossed)

ALTERNATES:

Amy, on June 23rd, 2008 at 12:56 pm said: 

Waterproof with many compartments that actually are the proper size for diapers, wipes, pacifiers, phone, wallet, etc…

Genevieve, on June 23rd, 2008 at 2:38 pm said:

roomy, washable, cute, versatile!

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Welcome to Week #2 of the 5 week series of the Ultimate Diaper Bag Giveaway, courtesy of Pottery Barn Kids.

First, read the original review and contest post, because you need to know what you’re entering to win. Plus, it’ll give you ideas for your entry post.

**WIN IT**

Pottery Barn Kids is offering 5 chances for you to win an Ultimate Diaper Bag in chocolate here at Traveling with Baby. There are 4 opportunities left to win this bag over the next 4 weeks. If you don’t win during this week, come back and visit again on the subsequent weeks for 3 more chances to win. The Ultimate Diaper Bag contests will be open for comments on Mondays.

To enter, leave a comment about what feature(s) are most appealing in a diaper bag if you could design one from scratch. What totes your fancy? PBK wants to know! The contest for Diaper Bag 1 ends at 11:59 PM (EST) on Friday, June 27th. The winner will be announced on Saturday, June 28th.

Only one entry per person each contest week. Multiple entries will be deleted. The winner and 2 alternates will be selected on Random.org and announced on this post and on Prizey. If you provide your e-mail address, I will contact you. The winner has 72 hours to claim the prize, otherwise, the prize goes to the first alternate to contact me with a shipping address.

Desperately Seeking the Perfect Diaper Bag

I’ve been a fan of Pottery Barn Kids since before I was ever pregnant. Inspirational catalog full of colorful and whimsical fun for fantastic nurseries and kids rooms with enough style and function to keep parents thrilled. Aside from looking great, they produce great quality items. I regularly receive the PBK catalog, and I always flip through it, drool, and dream.

So, PBK was the first company that came to mind when I thought about what would comprise the perfect diaper bag. Let’s face it, folks, there are a LOT of options out there with a price range to meet every budget need. However, regardless of price and options, how many diaper bags can really carry their weight for a parent on the go?

So, before I launch into a review of PBK’s Ultimate Diaper Bag (appropriately named, I might add), first I want to describe what I imagine the perfect diaper bag to be. In case you haven’t already figured it out, I’m extremely practical and frugal.

Sure, I like pretty things, too, but I won’t sacrifice comfort for style . . . because life is just way to short to suffer on PURPOSE.

When I consider design for anything (from women’s shoes to bags) I completely consider how it affects the user in the area of comfort and whether the item is helpful or hurtful to the spine and the user’s posture. [Chiropractic segue] Because guess what, you only get one spine . . . it can NEVER be replaced. Posture? You can sit up straight and all that jazz, but if your posture sucks, it’s probably because you’ve done a lot of things over time that cause your spine and muscles to compensate (think: falls, car accidents, childbirth, carrying heavy things around, wearing high heels, constantly typing on a computer, etc.)

Dr. Dolly’s Ideal Diaper Bag Considerations:

1. Comfort: shoulder strap padding with adjustable strap length

2. The ability to be worn as a backpack (because always wearing the diaper bag on one shoulder really will screw up your posture and make your low back sore): again, padded straps with adjustable strap length

3. Enough room for cloth diapers as well as all your on-the-go baby needs: most diaper bags on the market are geared for disposables, which is utterly frustrating for those of us who use cloth. You either need a duffle bag built for Hockey gear or a reasonably wide and deep enough diaper bag. I challenge diaper bag designers to make something functional and pretty for users of big, bulky, cloth diapers.

4. Insulated pockets for bottles or sippy cups: self-explanatory. More specifically, those pockets need to be big enough for a nursing mom’s quart-sized water bottle, and not just a little baby bottle.

5. Enough pockets and organizational compartments to help keep everything in it’s respective place: You’ve got minimal time to whip out all the essentials for changing a soiled diaper when baby’s on one of those diaper changing stations in the women’s room. You know what I mean. Baby wants to roll over, do gymnastics, pee . . . and you’ve got to whip off a dirty diaper, wipe ’em down, and attach a clean one in less than 30 seconds. When you’re trying to find what’s where in the diaper bag . . . you’re up a creek. So, more pockets = more better.

6. Padded changing pad that’s long enough for a baby that grows, oh let’s say, larger than a newborn. Sometimes I just don’t have another clean pre-fold or anything else that’s comfy and padded for baby’s head. The changing pad that came with my first diaper bag, well, if my son’s head was on it, his butt didn’t fit, and vice versa. And, I didn’t want to leave one inch of his precious baby skin exposed on those public changing tables. So, provide a generously-sized changing pad, please.

7. Easy to clean surface. Public bathrooms aren’t the cleanest places, and sometimes there isn’t a door hook to hang up your bag. Sometimes, when you open the car door, it accidentally falls out of the car into the mud/snow/salt on the side of the street (oh okay, maybe that’s JUST ME!). So, you need a bag that’s easy to wipe down, and doesn’t require dry cleaning.

8. Pretty design and color options. Yes, I’m practical, but I like design, too. I don’t want something with polka dots, flowers, or stripes that I’m going to grow tired of. Give me a classic and clean design that works for boy or girl, mom or dad, 2008 or 2012.

While considering all of those things, I looked at numerous diaper bags online and in catalogs to see if anything measured up. My options were extremely few. PBK had the Ultimate Diaper bag which, at first glance, appeared to meet most of my standards. So, I contacted Pottery Barn Kids, and they were more than happy to participate in a review.

The Pottery Barn Ultimate Diaper bag met or exceeded my expectations in almost every area. When it arrived, the tag noted that the design inspiration was due to input from a focus group of real moms–and it definitely showed!

Check out the design details and compare it to what I consider ideal/essential in a diaper bag:

  • comfort strap (check)
  • converts to backpack (check)
  • insulated bottle bag (check, times 2!)
  • removable changing pad (extra-credit check–not only is it long and wider than most, it also folds up neatly with a magnetic closure)
  • inside zipper pocket (for Mommy’s things)
  • inside clip for keys (not on my wishlist, but after using it, I think I’ll update my wishlist . . . how NICE to not have to fish for my keys!)
  • wipe-clean fabric (check)
  • magnetic closure
  • reinforced, footed bottom

The insulated bottle compartments (one on each end) have a brilliant “V”-shaped pocket that allow for easy access. I can fit a quart-sized water bottle in it.

There are more pockets in this bag than I had in my military flight suit or battle dress uniform. Seriously made for serious parents.

The enclosed changing pad is long enough for my tall son, and it folds up compactly into the size of a clutch.

What does it feel like and look like when you wear it? That’s what every potential diaper bag carrying mama (and papa) really wants to know. Is it comfortable? Does it look chic?

It’s comfortable, but there is room for improvement when worn as a backpack. The straps are padded, just like the awesome shoulder strap, however, the straps are short, so if your shoulders have a circumference for women who wear medium to large sized shirts, then the padded shoulder straps may not hit in the right place. On me, the padding felt great, but it ended abruptly above the armpit area, so I had only canvas straps digging into my skin. It needed more padding length to fit comfortably if it was to be worn in such a manner for longer than 2 minutes. I actually hiked up some fairly steep hills with the bag converted to the backpack straps (set up takes seconds, literally) and it definitely caused some armpit chafing. Ouch!

However, when worn with the shoulder strap, either across the body or on the same side, the wide, rubber-padded strap just oozes with comfort for all day wear for all your diapering tote-along needs. Just how many cloth diapers can it hold? I was able to easily fit in 7 stuffed All-In-One cloth diapers, as well as 2 changes of clothes, wipes, 2 toys, wet bag, and burp rags in the main compartment. There’s definitely room for a cloth diapering mom’s essentials.

This all-encompassing diaper bag retails for a reasonable $59. Monogrammed personalization is available for $6.50 more. Color options are chocolate, black, khaki, navy, and red. The khaki and red are currently on sale for $39.99.

**WIN IT**

Pottery Barn Kids is offering 5 chances for you to win an Ultimate Diaper Bag in chocolate here at Traveling with Baby. There will be 5 opportunities to win this bag over the next 5 weeks. If you don’t win during week one, come back and visit again on the subsequent weeks.  The Ultimate Diaper Bag contests will be open for comments on Mondays.

To enter, leave a comment about what feature(s) are most appealing in a diaper bag. What totes your fancy? The contest for Diaper Bag 1 ends at 11:59 PM (EST) on Friday, June 20th. There are a few extra days in this week’s contest. The winner will be announced on Saturday, June 21st.

Only one entry per person each contest week. Multiple entries will be deleted. The winner and 2 alternates will be selected on Random.org and announced on this post and on Prizey. If you provide your e-mail address, I will contact you. The winner has 72 hours to claim the prize, otherwise, the prize goes to the first alternate to contact me with a shipping address.

**UPDATE**

Congratulations!!  The winner of the Ultimate Diaper bag is

Brooke who said:”The most important features are size, weight, stainproofness, style, and ability to attach to the back of a stroller.”

But, if you weren’t selected, don’t fret, you have 4 more chances to win an Ultimate Diaper Bag in chocolate starting Monday, June 23rd.