Being a parent means being prepared. After choosing a diaper bag, keeping it well-stocked can save the day. What to keep in your diaper bag depends on how old your child is, how long you’ll be out, where you’ll be going, and how prepared you like to be. Here are some tips on what to pack in a diaper bag.
Diaper Bag Must Haves
- Diapers – Pack at least 5 diapers if you will be away for the whole day. This number is dependent on how long you’ll be out of the house and on the age of your baby. Younger babies need more diaper changes than older babies.
- Travel size wipes – When you purchase a large bag or box of wipes, it often comes with a travel-size box of wipes. You can buy wipes in bulk and refill the smaller box as needed. Wipes are helpful not just for diaper changes, but also for sticky hands and dirty surfaces. If you have an extra set, you can also keep a box in your car.
- Portable changing pad – Most diaper bags come with a reusable and foldable changing pad. If you do not have one, consider purchasing one since it will come in handy when you need to change your baby in a public place that may not be so clean. The JJ Cole Changing Clutch Stone Arbor is a popular changing pad that also holds wipes and diapers. You can also purchase disposable ones.
- Small tube of diaper rash cream - Be ready to protect your baby’s bottom with some cream.
- Burp cloths – These lightweight cloths are perfect for throwing over your shoulder and protecting your clothes when you’re burping your baby. They are also good for wiping faces and spit-up. If you do not own any burp cloths, small towels will also work.
- Blanket - Blankets are handy when you need to put your baby down for a nap or need to cover him during cool temperatures. You can also use blankets as a nursing cover.
- Nursing cover - If you are going to breastfeed in public, you can use nursing covers to give you more privacy.
- Breast pads for nursing moms - Put breast pads in your bra to absorb breast milk leaks.
- Set of clothes - It is helpful to have an extra set of clothes in case your baby gets dirty or wet and you need to change him. You never know when there will be a spill or poop explosion that will require a change of clothing.
- Bottle - If you are nursing, make sure you pack bottles of your breast milk in a cooler. If you are using formula, bring a bottle with the formula already measured inside or use single-portion packs.
- Hat - Use a hat for bright days to protect your baby from the harsh sun.
- Sunscreen - If your baby is younger than 6 months old, keep him out of direct sunlight. Dress him in light layers, use a hat to protect the back of his neck and top of his head, and only apply sunscreen when necessary. Be sure to read the directions on the sunscreen to make sure it is safe for your baby. Once your baby gets older, you can use a broad-spectrum sunscreen. The SPF should be a minimum of 15, ideally 30. It is recommended that you replace your sunscreen every 2 years because of its limited shelf life.
- Favorite toy - Bring your child’s favorite toys in case he gets bored and fussy.
- Bib - Bibs can catch spit-ups or keep his shirt dry when he drools.
- Pacifier - If your baby uses a pacifier, you can pack one in a plastic storage bag.
- Hand sanitizer – Hand sanitizers are useful when you need to clean your hands before and after diaper changes, especially if you won’t be near soap and water.
- Phone numbers – Keep a copy of emergency contacts such as the numbers of your spouse, pediatrician, neighbor and your parents. This will come in handy in case you lose your phone or it runs out of battery.
- Plastic or biodegradable bags – These are helpful for storing soiled diapers and clothes.
- Snacks - Depending on the age of your baby, this can include a jar of baby food and a spoon.
- Sippy cup of milk, water or juice (for toddlers)
- Sling or wrap for carrying your baby - Even if you are going out with your stroller, you may want to park it and transfer your baby to a hands-free carrier.
- Baby first aid kit - You may want to include adhesive bandages, thermometer, fever relievers, and other first aid supplies.
Diaper Bag Tips
- A diaper bag with multiple compartments can help your items organized and easy to find.
- A diaper bag with waterproof lining makes it easier to clean when spills occur.
- Prevent spills by packing snacks in resealable plastic bags.
- Pack similar items together, such as clothing, in a resealable bag. This saves time and makes it easier for you when you need to change your baby’s clothing.
- Try on different kinds of diaper bags, such as totes, messengers, and backpacks.
Check out the 2017 top diaper bags.