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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!

The key to using the diaper bag checklist successfully is to start with a great diaper bag.
Diaper bags are as simple or as intricate as you want or need. The Adebo diaper bag backpack ($55.98) converts into a crib, has plenty of storage, and even has a USB charging feature. Image: Amazon

#2. Diapers

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.

#3. Wipes

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.

The OXO wipes container made it on our diaper bag checklist.
Grab a pack of wipes or purchase a refillable container that easily slips into your diaper bag. Pictured here: the OXO Tot On-the-Go Wipes Container, $9.99 | Image: Amazon

#4. Bibs

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.

Baby bibs from Etsy are a great addition to the diaper bag checklist.
You can find bibs at any big-box retailer, but Etsy is also a trove of adorable options like these polyester bibs with a front pocket to catch rogue food pieces. Image: Etsy

#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.)

Customized bibs from Etsy
Again, Etsy is a great resource for customized burp cloths. This set of 4 customized burp cloths is $30 on Etsy. Image: Etsy
Burpcloths are an essential item on the diaper bag checklist.
Amazon is also a great resource. This set of six burp cloths is $16.95. Image: Amazon

#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.

Dr. Brown baby bottles
Perennial favorite Dr. Brown's baby bottles help reduce air intake and make digestion easier for Baby. Find a four-pack of 8-oz Dr. Brown's Baby Bottles for $22.99. Image: Amazon
formula container
If you'd rather not haul the entire formula container, get a travel container, like this Termichy formula dispenser for $9.98. Image: Amazon

#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.

Burt's Bees cotton blanket
A light blanket is always great to have on-hand. This Burt's Bees organic cotton blanket is as cute as it is functional. Find it for $19.99.

#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.

#15. Snacks/Food

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.

#16. Lovey

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!