Are you truly prepared with everything that your baby needs? Whether you’re off to the store for the first time since giving birth or have a family fun day planned for the park or beach, you’ll need to make sure that you have all of the essentials (as well as some urgent or emergency items) with you.
A chic diaper bag with plenty of pockets and exterior zippered sections is just what you need to keep it all together. Once you pick out the right bag, the next step involves filling it with all the goodies your precious little nugget needs.
So, here are the two different types of items that you’ll need – the essentials and those things that you may need, just in case of an emergency.
No matter the size or style of your diaper bag, there are many different items that it needs to contain. You’ll need a number of essentials handy to ensure that your baby remains comfortable and has all of their needs met during your outing, no matter how long it’s scheduled to last. Consider keeping several of these items in your diaper bag at all times.
The most obvious things on the list—of course diapers belong in a diaper bag. Consider placing several – around three or five – in smaller diaper bags, or carrying upwards of a half dozen in a larger one. The key here is to be prepared since you never want to be without a diaper, and sometimes you may not be able to tell just how many your little one will go through in a given amount of time.
Oh, the wipes! You’ll need to carry baby wipes with you, as they go hand in hand with diapers and are even handy when cleaning up a mess. Thankfully, they come in useful portable packs, so you won’t need to bring that large, bulky container of them with you.
It’s always a good idea to have a change of clothes or two on hand for your little one. Diaper blowouts may necessitate the need for a new onesie, while your child kicking their socks off in the middle of the grocery store may also lead to a quick replacement, lest their feet get cold. There are numerous reasons behind carrying some different outfits with you. These can be a lifesaver!
Just in case you end up someplace without access to a bathroom changing pad, either carry a portable one with you or use a diaper bag that has a special section that folds out and doubles as one. After all, you do need to have a cleanable, sanitized surface for changing that diaper.
Just like you need diapers and a changing pad, you also need a diaper rash cream or other natural barrier cream in your bag. Even if you don’t think that you need it, a time will come when you will and won’t have it handy if you choose not to carry it around.
It’s always a good idea to play it safe and stash a tube of diaper cream or coconut oil in your diaper bag. You won’t need more than one unless your little one has to have some sort of prescription cream.
Blankets are so very useful. They can become a handy swaddle if your infant is fussy and provide them with warmth when they get cold. There are even more reasons that we haven’t even mentioned here, so make sure to keep one handy in your diaper bag of choice.
Your baby may get hungry mid-trip, and unless you’re dedicated to breastfeeding, it’s always a good idea to bring a bottle or two with you. It doesn’t matter if they contain formula or breast milk, as long as you have something on hand to feed your hungry child.
Kids get dirty fast, especially when they’re babies. You may need to keep wet or soiled clothing away from the clean items in your diaper bag or have to carry around a dirty diaper if no trash can is available. Either way, you’ll need a few Ziploc bags for those wet, dirty, and smelly occasions. You can also choose a diaper bag like the ones from Paperclip that have a wet bag built in—yes, you heard that right!
If you’re pumping, even if you plan on being away for a short time, carry your breast pump and related supplies with you. There’s nothing worse than needing to pump immediately because you’re leaking, and then you don’t have the right equipment on hand.
If you don’t feel like breastfeeding right then and there, at least you’ll have your pump, bags, and bottles handy. Not having them around can be a real nightmare!
Of course, we don’t mean an actual medical emergency. If you have one of those with your infant, definitely call 911. However, there will be times when you need something urgently, and you wish that you had that item in your diaper bag. Some examples of this include:
Not everyone allows their babies to use pacifiers (or, in other parlance, binkies), so these may be something that you don’t need to carry around. However, if you do use them, you’re well aware of how quickly they can get lost, leaving your baby in tears. It’s always a good idea to have a few extra on hand, if this is the case, to avoid any potential lost binky meltdowns.
What does your baby like to play with? What are their preferred toys? Teethers, rattles, and more are all very small and easy to carry around, making them good to have nearby, like in your diaper bag. You may need to soothe a crabby baby, keep them from getting bored, or just keep them occupied with a toy while you focus on your errands and shopping list.
Not only do you need a few handy snacks for your child (note that bottles count in this category if they haven’t moved on to any kind of solid foods yet), but you also need to bring some for yourself. You don’t want to get hangry while out running around! Throw in a few granola bars, a sealed bag of fruit, like grapes, or even some cookies, pretzels, or other portable treats, just in case you get hungry. No one wants a hangry mommy or baby.
You may not be able to clean your hands properly after changing a diaper, or you might end up having to touch something that might be filled with germs. In both situations, it’s a good idea to have a bottle of hand sanitizer on hand (pun intended) to keep nasties away. The last thing you need is to transfer those germs to your baby.
There are plenty of small, portable first aid kits on the market, and it’s a good idea to put one in your diaper bag. You won’t need one with all of the bells and whistles in your bag (after all, you probably won’t have to sew a wound shut in the aisles of Target.)
However, one with various bandages, alcohol wipes, and even an antibiotic cream will cover a number of different owies. Keep the kit in the container that it came in, or simply put everything into a small Ziploc bag to ensure that it stays together.
Planning to go to the beach or the park? Bring some baby-safe sunscreen and a hat. Worried about keeping your little one warm in the wintertime? Carry around a hat and some mittens. As long as you have these seasonal necessities in your diaper bag, you’ll be prepared for just about every occasion and whatever life may throw at you.
Although it’s best to have all of these necessities (the first list) and some of the second (the “in case of emergency” items) in your diaper bag, there are limits. After all, you need to be able to carry the bag, and the space inside of it is finite, not infinite. This means that you may have to leave out a few things here and there, just so the essentials fit.
You might also choose to have two bags with you at all times – a smaller portable one to keep on your person, such as when you’re in the store, as well as a second, larger one that stays in the car. This way, you’re prepared for everything, even if you have to go outside to solve the problem. So, keep your diaper bag stocked, and you’re sure to keep your baby happy as can be!