Being a parent means being prepared for anything and everything! A first time parent or not, you know how important a diaper bag can be. It holds the things you and your baby cannot leave home without and packing the perfect diaper bag has truly become an art form. A well-stocked diaper bag can save the day and that’s why we are here – to help you save the day! Here is a list of top 10 essential items (with some extra items thrown into it) you should keep in your diaper bag so you are ready to meet your baby's needs – anytime, anywhere. You’ll soon be packing a diaper bag like a pro!
The Top 10 Essentials
- Diapers: Yes diapers are a must-have! It’s called a diaper bag for a reason! A good rule to keep in mind is keeping one diaper for every hour or two that you will be out. Since diapers are flexible and lightweight, you can keep six to eight diapers in your diaper bag without taking up too much space. If using cloth diapers, keep two extra diapers and one extra diaper cover in the bag. A baby with a messy diaper is a very cranky baby and even crankier parent.
- Wipes: Wipes are equally important as diapers. Keep a good supply of wipes for messy moments. Not just for while changing a diaper, these wipes are handy to keep your children clean and presentable while you are out. Instead of using those large plastic boxes of wipes, find a travel-size container. Containers keep the wipes' moisture better than the travel packs that reseal, and they are compact enough to keep in your diaper bag.
- Changing pad: Most diaper bags include a changing pad. The pad helps make any surface sanitary when you need to change your baby. Most changing pads are water resistant so it can be easily washed before putting it back in the diaper bag. You can fold your changing pad and slip it into your diaper bag without it taking up very much room.
- Bottle: If you are going to be out for a while, or just during your baby's feeding time, you will want to pack a bottle. When your baby gets hungry, only a bottle will soothe him. You can strategically pack a bottle for your baby so that it does not spoil while you wait for him to get hungry.
Extra Set of Clothes: You never know when spit-up, drool, spills, or poop explosions will necessitate a change of clothing. For the times your diaper and wipes fail you, keep an extra outfit in the diaper bag for your baby. Include an entire outfit, whether it is a sleeper, onesie or shirt and shorts. You never know which article of clothing you will need. Remember to replace the backup outfit as your baby gets older.
Food: Depending on the age of your child, this could include formula, a jar of baby food and a spoon, snacks or finger foods for older babies and toddler. Do remember to pack in a sippy cup of milk, water, or juice for toddlers. Bring a few bibs as well.
- Pacifier/Comfort Items: For babies that use pacifiers, having several on hand is very important. Keep three or more for when your baby loses one. When you do lose one, replace it or you will still find yourself at some point with a crying baby and no pacifier to soothe her. If your baby does not use a pacifier, then pack other comfort items you know will soothe your crying baby.
- Burp Cloths: Burp cloths have many purposes. You need them for burping your baby after a feeding but they are also very useful for unexpected spit-ups or spills. For toddlers, a burp cloth can serve as a bib, protecting their outfits from any food spills. You can even use the burp cloths on yourself if you spill something. Burp Clothes are compact and flexible, so there should be no problem finding room in your bag.
- Receiving Blanket: When you are outside, receiving blankets can instantly warm up your baby when the weather changes or protect them from the wind or rain. If your child gets tired while you are out, you can wrap them up in the blanket as they go to sleep. You can even use a receiving blanket as a cover when you are nursing your baby. The receiving blanket should be a staple for parents and babies. And, they are thin enough that you can put them on quickly and with less hassle.
- Emergency Information: Keep handy a list of emergency phone numbers. Whether you keep an actual list or put them in your phone, having these numbers is important. Make sure you have every number you could possibly need, including paediatrician, spouse, family members, work, neighbour’s number, tow service, locksmith and any other numbers you think you might need. When you have a baby, inconveniences can quickly turn into small disasters.
These items may not have made the top 10 essentials list, but are quite invaluable to have in a diaper bag too.
- Plastic or biodegradable bags: For storing soiled diapers, clothes, and baby blankets. Just make sure your child can't get to them, since plastic bags (including the biodegradable versions) pose a suffocation risk.
- Sunscreen or a hat to protect your child from the sun
- Hand Sanitizer: This is for you dear parents. An essential item for cleaning your hands after diaper changes when there's no time or place to wash them.
- Diaper rash cream – These go hand in hand with the diapers. Sample sizes often work well and take up less space.
- Tissues – you can never carry too many tissues.
- Nursing cover - For breastfeeding in public, these fabric drapes cover your chest and give more privacy than the basic blanket-over-the-shoulder approach.
- Breast pads for nursing mom's - Slip these in your bra to absorb breast milk leaks.
- Sling or wrap for carrying your baby - Even if you're going out with a stroller, you may prefer to transfer your baby to a hands-free carrier if you're headed to a crowded place.
- Toys, board books, and crayons and colouring pages or paper
- First-aid kit - You may want to include adhesive bandage strips, antibiotic cream, pain reliever, and other first-aid supplies.
Diaper Bag Tips
- A diaper bag with waterproof lining makes life easier when spills occur.
- Multiple compartments keep your items organized and easy to find.
- Prevent leaks by packing medicines and snacks in resealable plastic bags.
- Save time by packing similar items together, such as clothing, in a resealable bag.
- Consider buying two diaper bags – a small one for quick trips and a larger one for longer outings. Some parents keep a basic diaper bag or changing supplies in the car at all times.
- Try diaper bags on for size. No one bag is comfortable and convenient for everyone.
- Sometimes the best diaper bags are those that are designed for other purposes, such as tote bags or backpacks. If you don't find something you think will work well for you, broaden your search.
Sources: TopTenReviews, Babycenter