Once you have a baby, there's one think you'll never leave home without: the diaper bag. As such, it's imperative to make sure that your diaper bag is thoughtfully packed with everything you'll need for a successful outing, no matter how long or short. So whether you're packing up Baby for daycare or you're bringing her along on your trip to the grocery store, preparation is the key to success. Here's your diaper bag checklist!
#1. The Diaper Bag
First things first. Start with a solid diaper bag. Key features to look for include plenty of space and pockets, a comfortable strap(s), and quality design. No one has time for a broken zipper! Look for solid materials that are easy to clean and durable — this bag will be your constant companion, so make sure it's up to the challenge!
FACT: You'd rather have too many diapers than not enough. Trust us. Depending on how long you intend to be out, pack 1-2 diapers for every hour you're out. And then maybe throw one more in for good measure.
Kind of like with diapers, make sure you have enough wipes. These come in handy not only for diaper changes but for messy hands, spills and so much more! Whether you have a little travel container or a big pack/box of wipes is up to you and will, again, depend on how long you plan to be out and about.
Whether you have a drooler or a messy eater, pack two bibs. Or if they're wearing a bib to catch the teething drool, pack one more. Bibs are a multi-purpose asset to have on-hand. In a pinch, they're good for wiping up spills or messy faces, too.
#5. Burp cloths
Burp cloths, like bibs, are also multi-purpose, so pack two. Yes, you'll use them for burping your baby, but they, too, can be used to clean up messes, or if need be, to wipe a bottom should you run out of wipes. (But you won't run out of wipes! See #3.)
#6. Change of clothes
This should likely be number one, but never, ever, ever leave home without a change of clothes for your little one. Blowouts happen. Spit-up happens. Babies are, by nature, messy beings, so be prepared. If you're planning to be gone for a while, consider packing two outfits. But at the VERY least, pack one.
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#7. Changing pad
Most diaper bags include a changing pad for on-the-go diaper changes, but if yours does not, make sure you include one. A soft, padded place to lay Baby while you change him is a must!
#8. Small essentials bag
Put items like diaper rash ointment, pain reliever/fever reducer, a thermometer, hand sanitizer, bandages, baby sunscreen, etc., into a small zipper pouch so that you have all the essentials on-hand at all times — even if you don't need them at every outing. If for some reason you do need them, you'll be oh-so-happy you have them.
#9. Bottles & Formula
For those who are bottle-feeding, pack an insulated zip-pouch with two bottles pre-filled with warm water. And bring along either the container of formula, or pre-measure the formula in a travel container for easy bottle-making on the go.
#10. Empty grocery bags or sacks
Keep a couple of empty shopping bags or plastic sacks in the diaper bag in case of poopy diapers or soiled clothing. This will allow for easy clean-up until you can get to a trash can or a washing machine.
#11. Spare pacifiers
If you're little one takes a paci, make sure to have at least two extras in your diaper bag. Yes, you can call “three second rule” or pour some water over a dropped paci, but if the paci gets lost, you could be up a creek without a spare.
#12. Baby hat
Whether it's protection from the sun or shade from its brightness you're seeking, having a brimmed hat on-hand is always a good idea.
#13. Light blanket
Whether you're keeping Baby warm, draping the carseat to keep out the sun or you simply want to spread out on the grass for a break, having a light blanket in your diaper bag is smart. Nothing big or bulky — a simple waffle-weave option works well.
#14. Small toys
Whether it's a rattle or a small board book, having a couple of distractions in your diaper bag is like having tricks up your sleeve. Just make sure that they're not favorites just in case they get lost. Also, consider putting items in the diaper bag that Baby hasn't seen in a while — the newness will make the distraction last longer.
Depending on how long you'll be out and about will determine how much food to bring. Also, your child's age will determine what types of food. For finger-food-eating self-feeders, you should have puffs or yogurt bites — snacky items — on-hand. For younger ones who will likely get hungry while you're out, bring baby food and any necessary feeding items like a bowl, spoon, etc.
Now, we suggest this item with great caution and with the assumption you have a duplicate lovey should the OG lovey get lost or destroyed. But having a favorite comfort item with you is always key should meltdowns arise. But if you do NOT have a duplicate at home in the closet, proceed with caution. Or better yet, buy a duplicate!