Packing a diaper bag can seem like you’re preparing for a tactical mission. You’ve got to be prepared for every situation, right? You’ll need wipes, diaper rash cream, diapers, a change of clothes, baby food… the list goes on.
10 Essentials for Every Diaper Bag
Not so fast! A new parent might be overwhelmed by packing a diaper bag. But it’s really not too tricky. There are a few essentials you’ll need to toss into your bag, but you don’t need to bring the kitchen sink. Here’s a complete list of everything you’ll need in your kid’s diaper bag.
Think about how long you’ll be away from the house. Then determine how many diapers you need. Plan for one diaper per hour away from the house, though chances are you won’t need that many.
If you use disposables, bring all you think you’ll need for the day. If you use cloth diapers, you’ll also need to remember to pack your wet bag. In a bind, a plastic grocery bag will do just fine to toss the wet diapers into.
2. Baby wipes
Parents, go big with this one. Don’t settle for one of those little travel packs. Carry the extra weight and bring a whole pack.
Your baby wipes are great for diaper changes. But you’ll also use them to mop up that spit up, to wipe the pacifier that fell to the ground, and to fix your own makeup. I’ve cleaned the dashboard of my car with baby wipes. They’re critical to your parenting survival mission!
3. A blanket
You don’t need to pack one of those plush, fluffy blankets in your diaper bag. Just a small, lightweight receiving blanket will do just fine. As you pack it, consider its purpose. Sure, it’ll keep the baby warm. But it’s also a diaper changing station cover, a sun shade for the baby’s stroller, a breastfeeding cover and an impromptu picnic spot.
4. A change of clothes
Pack a spare outfit for the baby in your diaper bag, and be sure to pack it inside a grocery store bag. If your little one messes up his outfit, you’ll need that extra bag to store the wet clothes in.
You don’t need to bring a big screen television with you on your trip. But do be sure you’re equipped with something to entertain your kiddo. Here are a few suggestions:
Rattle and Teether Combo – especially helpful if your little one is a bit fussy, this toy is a bright, colorful and oh-so chewy. Best of all, if it falls on the floor, it’s easy to wash it off.
Small Stroller Toys – you may have noticed that most baby toys have small hooks or rings attached. This is a heaven send for parents, because those toys can be connected right to the stroller. Use stroller hook clips to attach them and you’ll stay hands free.
Snacks – Gerber makes the most wonderful little snacks that are perfect for travel. Try the “puffs” or the yogurt melts for a fussy baby. Stash a few within arm’s reach of your little one by using a stroller cup holder.
If you’re still breastfeeding your baby, you’ve already got this one down. But if your baby drinks formula or is eating solids, you might consider bringing some food along.
Most formula manufacturers make wonderful, travel sized concentrates and powders in pouches. All you’ll need to supply is the bottle. If your child is eating solids, consider one of those foil pouches with baby food. They won’t break like glass will, and they’re nice and lightweight for travel. No spoon required!
7. A bottle of water
Like your blanket and your wipes, that bottle of water is going to be one of the most versatile survival tools in your diaper bag. You can use it to mix your formula. You can also use it to wash your hands in the event of a back seat diaper change (come on, we’ve all done it). Of course, you can also take a big swig from it yourself if you get thirsty. Don’t forget your bottled water!
8. Emergency information
Hopefully, you’ll never be put in a situation where you’ll need it. But it’s important to pack your emergency information in your bag, just in case the unforeseeable happens. Carry your doctors’ office information – both for you and your baby. Add one emergency contact, like your spouse or your mom. And be sure to include any important medical information, such as medications you’re on or medical conditions you might have. Keep your insurance cards with you in your wallet.
9. A cell phone.
The cell phone goes without saying. You may find yourself with a flat tire on the side of the internet, or in an unexpected emergency at the mall. Your cell phone is your lifeline should anything happen. Be sure to keep your location services turned on, so you can be tracked if necessary.
You’re a parent. You’re going to get a headache. But there’s nothing worse than being out and about with a pounding headache… and a baby to care for. Make sure you take care of yourself, too, Mom and Dad.
In fact, don’t feel the need to stop just at aspirin. You can carry a little trial sized bottle of “calming” lotion, too. Maybe stash a few granola bars in your bag as well. A hungry, cranky parent with a headache isn’t well equipped to take care of a baby. Be sure you look out for your own needs.
That’s it! As you get more experience with this whole parenting thing, you’ll learn what else, if anything, you’ll need to pop into your diaper bag before a trip to the grocery store. Just remember: you don’t need to bring the kitchen sink. Your baby will be just fine without the bib and the three extra hats. Keep it simple! You’ve got this!