Experienced parents understand that a well-stocked diaper bag can be the difference between a catastrophe and a perfectly handled event. After all, there's nothing quite like realizing your baby has had a poop explosion, and you have no diapers on hand – and the nearest store is about ten minutes away. Thankfully, preventing these situations is relatively easy.
Wondering what to stash in your diaper bag? We’re here to help you protect your sweet little one and your sanity! So, here are some of the must-haves that you’ll surely be glad you had on hand.
The Crucial Elements
Let’s start with the basics. Being prepared for anything that might happen means that you need to store several crucial items in your diaper bag. These are the things that you'll need the most, and more than likely, you'll need them on multiple occasions. It's recommended to stash more than one of each of these things in your child's bag.
It seems obvious that diapers are stored in a diaper bag, but you'd be surprised at how many parents forget to check their supplies and accidentally leave home without one! You should keep several diapers on hand (the recommended amount is between three and four) or even more, depending on the length of your journey.
For example, if you're only going to the grocery store, you might be able to get away with only having two diapers in your bag. If you're going to be gone all day, you'll need quite a few more, plus a few extras, just in case.
You can never have too many wipes! Baby wipes are another essential item to have on hand. Not only do they help with diaper clean-ups, but they can also be used to clean your hands, your child's face, and even germy grocery cart handles in a pinch.
There are many brands that sell portable packets that are wrapped entirely in flexible plastic, so you won't have to drag around a large hard-shell box of them. This will help lighten the load, as once your diaper bag is fully stocked, it will more than likely weigh quite a bit – possibly as much as your child!
Diaper Rash Cream
You may think that you don't need to carry around diaper rash cream since you don't use it often, but it's always a good idea to put a small tube of it in your bag. It's one of those things that you'll need only when you don't have it around.
A tube of diaper rash cream doesn't take up much space and is pretty lightweight. Just grab an extra tube of your favorite brand the next time you're at the store, and stash it in your diaper bag.
This is often the forgotten lifesaver! There may be times when you need to desperately change your child's diaper, but you aren't anywhere near a bathroom that has a changing table. If they have a changing table, it may look like it hasn't been cleaned lately, and you don't really want to place your baby on it. This is when a changing pad comes into play.
These foldable, often padded devices function as a makeshift changing table and allow you to take care of that dirty diaper no matter where you are. Your diaper bag may come with one, like those from Paperclip, or have a special external pocket to hold a changing pad.
Change of Clothing
Let's face it. Babies are messy. They spit up, have diaper blowouts, drool, and more. If you want to keep your little one looking camera-ready in public, or at least clean, dry, and comfortable, then you'll need to bring a change of clothing or two in your diaper bag.
Always bring at least one seasonally appropriate outfit that's easy to change your little one into, like a onesie, as well as a backup, just in case. Thankfully, clothing is lightweight and not overly bulky, so if you pack everything right, you'll have plenty of space for your child's clothes in your diaper bag.
Diaper Bag Dispenser
Have you ever been out and about, and your baby has a dirty diaper, but there’s nowhere to throw it away? We know your pain! If you plan on keeping the interior of your diaper bag looking clean and neat (and who doesn’t?), then you'll want to purchase a diaper bag dispenser.
This way, if you have a dirty diaper and no place to throw it out, you can place it in a bag from a diaper bag dispenser, then in your diaper bag, without having to worry about it leaking.
These handy little devices remind us of magicians pulling an endless supply of scarves out of their sleeves. But this product is the real magic. Check out diaper bag dispensers infused with baking soda for safe odor neutralization or lavender scented ones to keep your luxurious diaper bag as fresh as when you bought it!
The same is true of clothing that gets wet or dirty. Stashing it in a disposable, plastic diaper bag will keep it from contaminating everything else in your bag. Plus, it makes it easy to clean out your diaper bag when you get home.
To be honest, life can get messy with a little one in tow! And you may not always have a sink nearby to wash your hands after changing a diaper, so make sure that you have a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your bag. It won't take up much space, as they are designed to travel, so you shouldn't have to worry about the bottle trickling out mid-transit.
Things to Keep Your Little One Happy
In addition to all your essentials, you also need to keep some items to keep your baby happy or, at the very least, occupied, just in case. A fussy baby is no treat in a grocery store or restaurant, where the others may be disturbed. Thankfully, there are plenty of things that you can store in your diaper bag to turn that frown literally upside down.
You don't need to carry around a lot of your child's favorite toys. In fact, if their beloved toys are huge and bulky, you definitely won't be able to fit them into your diaper bag. Instead, stick with a rattle, some teethers, and a small stuffed toy or two that leave plenty of space for the other things that you need.
Not only do you need to carry around a few baggies of snacks for your child, but also some for yourself. You never know when hunger will strike! For a younger baby, place a filled and prepared bottle or two in the special pocket of your bag to keep their tummy full and happy!
For moms that are currently breastfeeding, it's always good to have some emergency supplies in your bag. A portable breast pump and some lightweight breastmilk bags will ensure that you don't have a leak when you least want one.
A lost binky can be a disaster! If your child uses a binky, then it's a good idea to keep a spare or two in your diaper bag. Otherwise, they'll be upset when they spit one out onto the floor or lose it in the car five minutes into your trip.
Make sure that you have a few clean options nearby. Of course, if your little one isn't fond of using a binky, then that's one less thing to make space for in your bag.
Yes, blankets can be a bit bulky. This is why you need to pack one that's cotton, lightweight, and easy to fold or roll into a small square. Once you find just the right one, you'll find many uses for it, such as when your child gets cold, needs a soothing swaddle, or simply wants something to snuggle.
Items You Need
You deserve a little TLC too! On top of the items that your baby needs (or those that will keep your little one occupied), there are a few things that you need to carry around for you. You have two choices here: either burden yourself with another purse or place these things in your diaper bag.
Most bags have a handy external pocket that's just big enough to handle your wallet, keys, and cell phone. If that’s all you need, then you might as well take advantage of that space and lighten your load a bit!
In Conclusion – Pack for Success
Keeping your baby happy and having a successful outing to the store or park aren't mutually exclusive. With a well-stocked diaper bag, you can easily have both. All you have to do is keep a number of essentials, joy-inducers (or at least, tantrum soothers), and the items that you absolutely need in your bag, so you have them right when you need them.
After all, there's no such thing as being over-prepared when you have a baby. Under-prepared is an entirely different story. So, pack that diaper bag for success, and you and your precious cargo will stay happy while you’re on the go!