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What should you pack in a diaper bag

As a parent, you always want to be prepared for anything when you head out with your baby, whether it’s for a walk around the block, a long-awaited trip to the grandparents, or for a doctor’s appointment. This is why you should invest in newborn baby accessories like a diaper bag to make things easier with your little one. Read on to discover what to pack in your diaper bag.

The essential diaper bag checklist

The must-haves to pack in your diaper bag depend on where you’re going, the weather, and how long you plan to be out. Here’s what you need to have on your diaper bag checklist:

  • Diapers

You should always have diapers, but how many do you need? A good rule of thumb is to have one diaper for every two hours you’re out and about - and maybe a few extras, just to be on the safe side.

  • Changing pad

Most diaper bags come with their changing pad, so if you plan to use the one included, that’s completely fine. However, if you want something a little larger, you may want to buy a separate one.

  • Wipes

Choose a good travel pack, or keep your baby wipes moist in a Ziplock bag. Wipes are the multi-tasker of your diaper bag essentials - they are handy for wiping your baby’s bottom, the changing pad, and your hands. 

  • Burp cloths

Toss in as many burp cloths as you think you’ll need on your day out.

  • Baby cream/ointment

Save space in your diaper bag by packing baby cream/ointment that comes in travel-sized tubes.

  • Change of clothes

An alternative outfit is a must-have for your diaper bag. Spills, excessive spit up, and blowouts are to be expected from babies. Choose something easy to put on such as cute newborn baby rompers or onesies. And make sure to rotate outfits as your little one grows and seasons change..

  • Diaper disposal bag 

You’ll want one or two of these for storing soiled diapers (if there’s no place to dispose of them nearby) and outfits.

  • Food for the baby

Whether it’s infant formula or feeding bottles, baby food, or pumped breast milk, figure out how many feedings-worth you need to take with you and pack accordingly. 

  • Formula supplies

If you’re formula-feeding your little one, you don’t want to have to haul around a whole can with you. Pre-fill a formula dispenser, and depending on how long you’ll be out, have at least two empty bottles on hand and water for feedings. 

  • Breastfeeding supplies

Typically, if you breastfeed, you don’t need any additional supplies, except for breast pads and a nursing cover if you need one. 

  • Hand sanitizer

You’ll need sanitizer to keep your hands clean for when you feed or change your little one.

What to pack by age

As your baby gets older, his/her needs are going to change. For example, a newborn needs a lot more diapers than a toddler, but a toddler is going to need more snacks than an infant. Below is an age-by-age guide for packing a diaper bag.

For your newborn

The first outing with your new bundle of joy requires more essentials than you might think. Although newborns don’t need snacks and toys, they do need more diapering and feeding supplies than older children. Consider packing:

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Burp cloths
  • Extra bottles for expressed breast milk or formula
  • Safe water for formula
  • Nursing cover
  • 2 alternate outfits
  • Swaddle blanket
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Diaper disposal bags
  • Reusable changing pad
  • Cute baby onesies

For an infant

As your little one grows, they will start needing more items when you go out. Some of the things you’ll want to add to your diaper bag include:

  • A favorite stuffed animal (or two)
  • Favorite books and toys
  • Baby food and snacks for when they start to eat solid foods
  • Extra socks
  • Teething toy
  • Sun or winter hat
  • Travel size baby lotion
  • A copy of your baby 

For a toddler

Many toddlers don’t need bottles and formula. As they grow and become more independent , they get bored and fussy easily. In addition the wipes, diapers, and changing essentials, make sure to pack these in your diaper bag:

  • Snacks and water
  • Toddler toys and books
  • Sunscreen
  • Hair accessories for babies
  • Sanitizing wipes
  • Bibs
  • Portable toilet seat
  • Toilet-training supplies
  • Change of clothes

Your essentials

There are a couple of essential items that you’ll want to pack in your diaper bag for yourself:

  • Nursing pads
  • Snacks and water 
  • Phone
  • Wallet
  • Key
  • Essential contact info (emergency contact, sitter, pediatrician, daycare, etc.)
  • Toiletry bag for your personal care items

Choosing the right diaper bag for you

Here are some factors to keep in mind when choosing a diaper bag:

1. Functionality

You need a diaper bag that will support you through all the temper tantrums and day trips that you are going to take with your little one. Look for a bag that will accommodate your baby’s diapers, extra outfits, wipes, etc., along with your on-the-go essentials.

2. Ease of cleaning

Milk and juice spills, spit up, smashed snacks - it’s inevitable that your diaper bag will get dirty. To make cleaning days a bit easier for yourself, avoid buying materials that stain easily. Go for a diaper bag that you can quickly wipe clean using baby wipes or toss in your washing machine.

3. Pockets 

With all that baby (and parent) essentials that you’ll be carrying around, you’ll want to keep your diaper bag as organized as possible. That’s why plenty of exterior and interior pockets are useful. Extra pockets make it easy to find what you need without struggling to search through a seemingly bottomless bag as your little one fusses. You also have the option to designate certain pockets for your own items, like wallet, cell phone, and keys.

4. Carry options

Diapers typically have three main carry options:

  • Shoulder straps

Shoulder straps are convenient for a number of reasons: you most likely are accustomed to carrying bags that have shoulder straps already, they tend to be out of the way when you’re not using them, and they’re easy to grab. 

  • Backpack

Backpacks allow you to comfortably carry all the items you need for a day out with a baby while keeping your hands free. Many of them are roomy, and they come in a wide array of styles.

  • Messenger strap

Messenger straps offer some great functionality - they allow you to wear the bag behind you, and with an easy tug, you can twist the bag around to your front to access its contents.

Final thoughts

A diaper bag can make life with your little one much easier. It is one of the best baby accessories for a girl and boy that enables you to organize all the essentials and feel well equipped to head out with your baby.

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