The diaper bag is on every new mom’s registry and in many experienced moms’ arsenals. Whether you carry the whole thing around with you or leave it in the car, there are certain things that you need or that are nice to have handy when you’re out on the go.
But before I delve into the list of these convenient essentials, let me begin by discussing the bag itself. In my opinion, a diaper bag should first meet these two points:
- It must be functional. It should be spacious, but not overly bulky. It should have easy-to-access pockets on the inside and the outside. It should be washable. And it should be lightweight.
- It must be stylish. Don’t settle for a plain, boring diaper bag made with some kind of stiff or scratchy material! The diaper bag will likely replace your purse while you’re in the season of little ones, so choose one that is pleasant to look at. Plus, if it’s a bag that you like, it’s use goes beyond its time as a diaper bag. It can be used as, say, an overnight bag or a spacious carry on.
The diaper bag I have fallen in love with is one made by My Chickadee. It’s called the Carryall because, well, it can carry all! Here some of the things that I love about this bag:
- It’s very lightweight, so it doesn’t add much to everything being carried.
- It’s very spacious. It holds all the necessities I need for by baby, my toddler, and my preschooler, plus what I myself need.
- It has a zippered pocket in the middle which I’ve adopted as my “purse” section to hold my wallet, keys, and so on.
- There’s a perfectly-sized pocket on the front that holds my huge cell phone (which doesn’t fit in my jeans pocket). This keeps it handy to quickly respond to calls or texts without digging into the depths of the bag.
- It has two sections on either side of the zippered pocket. I use one of these sections as the diapering and feeding section (to hold items like diapers, wipes, snacks, sippy cups, nursing cover, and so on) and the other section for everything else that gets used less often (sunscreen, extra clothes, baby blanket, and so on).
- It came with a handy, matching changing pad that folds up for easy stowing.
- It came with a perfectly sized matching wet bag which I use for used cloth diapers and dirty clothes.
- It’s made out of soft, cotton fabric (not mesh or some other unappealing material) and it’s super cute!
What to Pack in Your Diaper Bag
Here are some suggestions for items that you can pack in your diaper bag for the ultimately convenient on-the-go experience. If you can think of any more, please let us know by commenting below!
- Diapers. The most obvious item to include in your diaper bag. I like to keep about 3 diapers (I use cloth, which fit nicely in my Carryall, but the same would apply to disposable diapers) per diapered child (currently, that’s 6 total) in my bag plus extras in the car just in case.
- Wipes. When on the go, I use disposable wipes stowed in a slim travel wipes case. If you prefer to use all cloth while on the go, put damp cloth wipes in the travel wipes case just before you head out the door.
- Diaper rash cream. Not a requirement, but if your child suffers from severe diaper rash troubles, I’d definitely pack some. Travel or sample size containers take up less space. If you make your own cream (check out my recipe here), you can put some in something like a small, glass jelly sample jar (like those that come in boxed gift sets around Christmas time).
- Wet bag or biodegradable diaper disposal sacks. To stow messy diapers and wipes.
- Changing pad. A changing pad makes the diaper changing surface more comfortable and more sanitary for baby.
- Folding potty seat and/or potty seat covers. I really like our folding potty seat (we have the same one as linked to here)–just be careful using it as with some kiddos it might collapse and end up inside the potty! And, though I haven’t used any, potty covers would be a wonderful, wonderful thing to use when your potty trained kiddos are using a public restroom.
- Hand sanitizer or wipes. I’m partial to Young Living’s Thieves varieties as they are all natural.
- Binky (a.k.a. pacifier). For keeping fussiness at bay when you can’t feed baby right away. I try to buy the ones that have a case to hold them in so they don’t get any icky junk on them that might have collected in the diaper bag.
- Nursing cover. For discreet nursing in public.
- Nursing pads. I keep two pairs or cloth nursing pads stowed in my diaper bag. I also have a small, nursing pad sized wet bag that I bought via Etsy to keep any damp or dirty nursing pads till we get home.
- Nipple butter. To keep nipples from drying out or cracking (I have a recipe here–keep in a sample jelly jar just like you would the diaper rash cream).
- Baby bottles. If using pumped breast milk, be sure to keep the bottles cold in an insulated bottle carrier. If formula feeding, save space by using a Mixie bottle.
- Burp cloths. I usually only carry a single lightweight one.
- Sippy cups. For your older wee ones. When I’m out running errands, I usually just give my toddlers plain ol’ water. Less mess if it spills and it can’t spoil so there’s no need to keep them cold.
- Snacks or jars of baby food. Do as much work as possible ahead of time. For example, if stashing fruits or veggies for your baby’s or toddler’s snack, wash them and cut them into bite-size chunks (toss oxidizing items like bananas, apples, or avocados in a little bit of lemon juice to prevent them from browning). Whether you store them in a snack bag or a container with a lid, be sure they’re secure so they don’t make a mess of your diaper bag’s interior!
- Bibs. For use at restaurants or while eating in the car.
- Utensils. Pack some toddler-sized utensils as you deem necessary (such as for use at a restaurant).
- Facial tissues or handkerchiefs. To wipe up snotty messes.
- Extra clothes. At least one full set per child in case of super messy spills or diaper blowouts. You’ll also need to pack an extra shirt for yourself–trust me!
- Toys and/or books. Keep some small, quiet toys and/or books in your bag for when you’re waiting in line or in another situation where your wee one needs the extra entertainment. Only let your wee one play with these items in necessary situations so he doesn’t get bored with them too quickly.
- Crayons and coloring pages. I like to buy triangular crayons (keeps them from rolling around all over the place) and store them in crayon roll-ups that I bought from this Etsy shop and some small coloring books from the dollar store.
- Sunscreen. During the summer months, I like to keep a bottle of natural sunscreen stashed in my bag at all times because I never know when a visit to the park (or some other outdoor activity) will pop up!
- First aid kit. Store some bandages, medications and/or essential oils, arnica spray, and so on for mini emergencies.
- Zipper baggies or an extra wet bag. For containing random yucky things (you’ll probably need it…I speak from experience).
- Mom’s stuff. Last but not least, don’t forget about your stuff–your wallet, keys, makeup, hairbrush, cell phone, snacks, sunglasses, and so on. Stuff these items into your diaper bag too, rather than lugging around a purse in addition to your diaper bag.