As soon as you become a Mom, your life as you knew it turns upside down, several times a day!! The new baby occupies your full attention, and you barely have time to think about anything else. Your house is filled with baby stuff and you barely have time to sleep, forget about organizing everything! So when you need to step out of the house with your baby, trying to pack a diaper bag can turn out to be a confusing chore – after all, you don’t want to find yourself stranded somewhere without wipes! At the same time, you don’t want to carry the entire nursery wherever you go. So to ease the confusion and to make life easier for you, we’ve put together a list of diaper bag essentials, that will keep you prepared for all kinds of situations, which as we know, are a sure thing with babies!
The Ultimate List of Diaper Bag Essentials
It’s not called a diaper bag for nothing!! Of course, the thing you’ll need the most is obviously diapers, and be sure to carry a sufficient number, depending upon how long you’ll be outside; and then some more. When travelling, it’s worth spending a little extra on the super-absorbent ones, to prevent messes. For a newborn, try the Pampers New Baby Diaper Pack.
2. Wet Wipes
When your baby has had a bowel movement, a fresh diaper alone won’t help! You’ll need to clean her, so have a full pack of baby wipes on hand – you never know how many you’ll need! Wipes also come in handy to clean spit up or other messes. We recommend the Huggies Baby Wipes which are thick and soft, and conveniently packed with a flip cover.
3. Changing Pad
When you’re out and about, you can’t predict when or where you’ll have to change your baby’s diaper. Wherever it is, you don’t want to place baby on a dirty surface, so carry along a changing pad. Get one that’s easy to clean and foldable, so it fits in your diaper bag easily. A great option is the Changing Pad by Playtex which also has a pillow and side bumpers for safety.
4. Diaper Rash Cream
A soiled diaper can give babies rashes on their delicate skin after being exposed to moisture. While you can let your baby free and air her bottom at home, you can minimize the chances of a rash by applying diaper rash cream after every diaper change. Try out the Himalaya Diaper Rash Cream, which we’ve reviewed here.
5. Extra Set of Clothes
If you’re a Mom you know that a diaper change most often includes a complete outfit change, including socks! So carry along extra sets of clothes, at least two for a short trip with a newborn, and more for longer trips. Onesies make packing and dressing easier, since you don’t need multiple items. Buy multi packs like this Gerber’s Newborn Girls Onesie pack to get more bang for your buck.
6. Plastic Bags
You might find a place to dump dirty diapers and wipes, but what do you do with soiled clothes? You can’t possibly pack them back in as they are, so plastic bags come to the rescue. Go green by reusing plastic bags lying around the house, or you can also get one of those waterproof swim bags like this one.
7. Burp Cloths
Babies in the 0-6 month age group are notorious for spitting up, although some might do it less than others. Anyway, you want to keep yours and baby’s clothes protected, so a burp cloth is essential. Many Moms make their own, but if you’re not the DIY kind, you can buy ones like these curve-shaped HudsonBaby Burp Cloths.
8. Extra Top & Breast Pads
Yes this top is for you, not the baby! Even if you carry burp cloths, babies can still mess up your clothes, which can also happen if you tend to have an oversupply problem. So carry along extra breast pads and a fresh top just in case. We prefer the anti bacterial breast pads from Chicco that prevents irritation and allows the skin to breathe.
Babies are particularly vulnerable to infections, especially if yours was a preemie. Since finding running water and soap in India isn’t always possible be sure to keep a sanitizer in your bag at all times. Go for a travel size bottle with a firm flip cap that won’t leak, like the Lifebuoy Active Fresh Hand Sanitizer.
10. Light Shawl
When you’re outside, you can find yourself and your baby in places with different temperatures – the car, doctor’s clinic, store etc. So having a light shawl on hand can keep your baby warm if it gets too cold for him. You can also use it as a nursing cover, if you get one wide enough. For a small one, try this Star Collections Girls’ Stoles.
6 – 12 Months
1 – 10 – Everything listed in the 0-6 months list
Babies of this age have started solids, so keep something handy for them to munch on for when they get peckish! If you’ll be out during baby’s meal time, then it’s a good idea to pack a healthy instant mix to which you just need to add water or milk. We recommend the instant khichdi mixes from Little Moppet Foods like this Instant Rice Khichdi mix.
Besides snacks, a sipper will also help keep baby hydrated, and you can carry water or fresh juices in them. There are several kinds of sippers out there, so make sure it’s small (babies this age don’t drink a lot), leak proof, unbreakable (prepare for it to be flung about) and with a spout that’s easy for baby to drink from. We love the Philips Avent Spout Cup, made from BPA free materials and ideal for babies above 6 months.
Since your baby is just a beginner when it comes to eating and drinking, you can expect things to spill! So a bib is a must have for every baby who’s begun weaning, so that you don’t have to keep changing his outfits. Try to get a large, apron-size style that covers a large part of his body. A plastic or PVC type bib that can be wiped clean is useful, like this Soft Plastic Apron Bib from Bambino Kids.
Babies of this age aren’t going to spend all day sleeping like newborns, so they’ll need some entertainment. A good option is to carry a familiar book that he likes along with a new toy that he hasn’t seen before, that way he’ll stay occupied for a while. You can also try interactive books that double up as toys like Peekaboo Zoo, an interactive board book with a hidden mirror.
1 year +
At this age, some kids have begun potty training, some have achieved this milestone, while some are just starting out. Whatever stage your child is in, you need to carry along extra diapers or underpants, even if he seems perfectly trained. At this age, accidents are quite frequent, so it’s safer to be prepared! You can opt for more toddler-friendly diapers like Huggies Wonder Pants.
Yes, your baby’s become a toddler, but it’s not yet time to put those wipes away! Toddlers reach everywhere and pick up everything they see, so this is something you just can’t do without!! Go for antibacterial or sanitizing wipes, like the Dettol Multi Use wipes, so that you an rest easy!
3. Folding Potty Seat
If your toddler has begun potty training and is making progress, you probably don’t want to derail his development just because you are outside. In that case, a folding potty seat makes a lot of sense; it folds enough to fit into a diaper bag, and can be placed over any regular sized toilet. To make things fun, get a potty with his favorite character, like this Sesame Street Folding Travel Potty Seat.
4. Extra Clothes
If you thought only babies were messy, well then you’re in for a surprise! Toddlers love making messes, so you can expect some even outside the home. Keep an extra set of everything so that you’re prepared. Also keep a cap with a brim, in case it gets sunny, like this Mighty Raju Cap.
Toddlers are very active, so they need to stay properly hydrated, especially in hot weather. They’re too old for a spout cup, but may not have mastered drinking from a regular bottle, yet, so a good option is a sipper with a straw, that’ll help prevent messes. Try this one – the Mee Mee Transparent Sipper with a soft straw.
Picky eating is one of the top things that toddlers are famous for! Since their meals are usually limited, it’s important to have healthy snacks on hand for whenever their tummies rumble. Light and kid-friendly snacks like cookies are ideal, but instead of going for factory made ones that are loaded with preservatives, try homemade options like these eggless Whole Wheat Cookies with Almond and Jaggery, from the Little Moppet Foods store.
Your child is too old for burp cloths and may throw away a bib, so keep some napkins ready. You can of course, go for disposable ones, but if you’d rather keep the environment in mind, we suggest these cute Penguin Napkins from PeekaBoo. An ideal solution would be to keep both, so that you can use the disposable ones in really icky situations!
Just napkins and wipes aren’t enough; you can’t do without a sanitizer as well! Toddlers touch everything within reach, probably 20 different objects from the time you wash his hands to the time his food arrives! So keep a sanitizer handy; he’ll love one in a fun bottle like this Jungle Magic Hand Sanitizer.
9. Busy Bag
Toddlers need constant entertainment; a long car ride can drive them (and you) nuts!! A busy bag filled with little things that’ll interest them is perfect, it can contain crayons, books or small toys. One toy we think is perfect for travel is the Fisher Price Doodle Pro which is small and has a clip to keep it from getting lost. For more suggestions, check out our post on boredom boxes.
10. Plastic Bags
And last but not least, you’ll most certainly have a lot of junk to deal with – food wrappers, dirty napkins, soiled clothes or underwear. You’ll most certainly need some plastic bags to carry them around. For a more eco-friendly option, try these simple but practical Swachch Citizen bags from Clean Planet.
You can of course, mix and match the items above depending upon your child’s requirements. For instance, if your toddler is perfectly fine with a bib, then it’s very helpful to take one along, especially for trips to restaurants. If you’re formula feeding, carry along bottles with dry formula and water separately. Here are some more tips for an organized diaper bag:
- Have separate zip lock pouches for separate categories – one for the wipes, diaper cream etc., another for bib, sanitizer. This makes it easy for you to just take out the relevant pouch rather than digging for individual items.
- Have a separate pouch for Mom stuff – sanitary napkins, lip balm, comb. It’s better not to mix these up with baby’s things!
- Keep important things like your wallet, phone and keys in a separate section of the bag so they are instantly available when you need them and don’t get lost among the other things.
With proper planning you can have a minimized and neat looking diaper bag, while still being prepared for all situations. So don’t stay stuck at home; take your baby and have a fun day out!