The diaper bag.
The black hole of all of the baby crap that we’re told we have to carry with us because a blowout can happen at any given moment. It is both a blessing and a curse.
While I am not a fan of the idea that I have to carry EVERYTHING that my baby owns with me everywhere I go, I will say that a diaper bag is definitely a necessity.
That means that there are a few diaper bag essentials that you just have to bring along for the ride.
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You will definitely need a change of clothes, or two, for your little one.
You will have more diaper malfunctions while you are out and about than you will at home. It’s inevitable. Baby’s just seem to know when it is the worst possible time. They just do.
I typically keep 1-2 onesies and at least 1 pair of shorts and/or pants in the bag at all times.
That way I’m always prepared. And because I’m a bit of a sock nazi, I keep a pair of those on hand as well. If it is cool out, then I will also have a hat and jacket available as well.
In addition to baby clothes, you should also keep a backup shirt for you at all times. I mean ALL times.
Remember when I talked about those diaper malfunctions? Yeah, it’ll get on you too. More times than I like to admit, I have had to change my shirt while we were out because of the stupid diapers.
I always keep a t-shirt in the bag just in case.
It’s a diaper bag, you should obviously keep diapers. I like to make sure that I have at least 1 diaper for every hour that we’ll be gone.
Most likely you won’t use that many, but it’s a safe number to have. I pretty much just pick a pocket and make sure that it is always full of diapers.
I like THESE little travel packs from Pampers. Pretty much every wipe brand has something like this, but they really are the easiest to deal with.
I like Pampers though for their rewards points. It takes a lot of points to get anything, but since I go through so many diapers and wipes it’s pretty easy to rack them up.
Some diaper bags will even have a special compartment just for the wipes.
Just make sure that the pocket is big enough for a full-sized pack. One of those little sample packs with 10 wipes in it is just going to piss you off. Don’t even bother with that nonsense.
If it won’t fit the full pack then it just isn’t worth it. I don’t care how cute the bag is.
In addition to wipes in the bag, I also keep a spare pack in the car. I learned my lesson when I ran out and had to use a napkin to clean up poop. Not fun.
I just buy in bulk from Amazon with their subscribe and save deals and get my free shipping with Prime. Considering how much baby stuff I buy from them these days, it is totally worth it.
If your little one is old enough for toys, then you’ll need to keep a few of these on hand to handle car rides, restaurants, and any other fussy moment.
It has a suction cup on the bottom to stick to stroller trays, restaurant tables, airline tray tables, anything. It also has 3 cords that you can attach smaller toys to.
And did I mention that the whole thing is a teether?? Yeah, it’s awesome.
I love it so much that I bought 2. One stays in the diaper bag, and the other I keep at home. Love, love, love, LOVE this thing.
Depending on the age of your baby, you can decide what other toys to have on hand. I find that having a good teether is always a good bet.
If your baby likes a pacifier then definitely keep one in your diaper bag at all times.
I like the Soothie ones myself (even though J wasn’t much of a pacifier kind of guy) because it’s supposed to be the best shape for a baby’s oral development.
Pro tip: Keep the pacifier in a to go ramekin to keep it clean. It also makes it a little easier to find it when it gets buried in the bottom of the diaper bag. Because it will get buried, at some point, trust me.
I don’t know about you, but changing all those diapers is a little gross.
I always keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in my diaper bag to keep clean if I can’t get to a bathroom to wash my hands.
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve had to change a diaper in the car, no bathroom in sight. Hand sanitizer is your friend.
I carry one or two flat fold cloth diapers at all times. I love these things!
They’re great for a blanket, a clean place to lay J, a spit up rag, an actual diaper, anything. They’re great.
They’re also cheaper than receiving blankets, and if something happens and they get really gross, I don’t mind throwing them away. Definitely worth it.
Tylenol and Gas Drops
Since J has started teething (all the freaking time!) I keep a small bottle of children’s Tylenol in our diaper bag.
You just never know when he’s going to be having a bad day and I don’t want to risk not having it.
J also doesn’t typically have tummy troubles, but to me it isn’t worth the risk. Besides, it doesn’t take up much space.
Be sure to always check with your pediatrician before giving any medications to your child.
Also, I did say Tylenol, not Motrin. Motrin is not safe for babies until at least 6 months.
While you can definitely use one of the flat fold cloth diapers I mentioned early (I’ve done it, it works), having an actual changing pad is pretty convenient.
It’s easier to fold and unfold while one handed than the blanket/towel options.
Just make sure you get one that easy to clean. Some are made out of weird materials that hold on to nasty things (poop, I’m talking about poop).
I’m also a fan of anything that is machine washable. Most diaper bags even come with their own changing pad these days.
Bag for Dirty Clothes
Remember those diaper malfunctions we talked about? Yeah, you’re going to want a place to put those clothes.
Some diaper bags come with a reusable plastic bag for this purpose, but a ziploc bag or a plastic grocery bag will work just fine.
You just want to make sure that you have something available.
Definitely a diaper bag essential to me.
If you’re breastfeeding, and even if you aren’t I’d suggest carrying around a water bottle with you where ever you go.
More likely than not you’ll be so wrapped up in making sure that your baby is taken care of that you’ll forget simple things like staying hydrated.
You’re important too, Mama. Drink you water.
I’m a huge fan of my Hydroflask water bottle. It keeps my water at the perfect temperature all day and it’s basically indestructible.
That’s pretty convenient for how clumsy I am. I love it!
So we talked about things for the baby, but unless you want to have to carry a purse and a diaper bag, I would suggest consolidating.
The key things would be your wallet, cell phone, and car keys, but you can obviously add anything extra that you may need.
Related: Best Items to Keep in Your Pump Bag
Extra Diaper Bag Essentials
So, if you haven’t noticed, I hate just wandering around with a bunch of extra stuff that I may or may not need. Because of that, my diaper bag set up is a little lighter than most.
If you are one of those better-to-be-safe-than-sorry types, then these are some other things I would suggest having in your diaper bag.
- Bulb syringe
- Bottle and/or sippy cup
- Diaper Cream
- Nail Clippers or File
- Antibiotic Cream
- Snacks – For you and baby
Diaper Bag Packing Tips
I wasn’t kidding when I said that your diaper bag would become a black hole of baby crap. Even if you keep your packing to the bare necessities, you’ll still end up with stuff everywhere if you aren’t careful.
Finding a diaper bag with a bunch of different pockets will definitely help.
Just make sure that each pocket has a designated task. Don’t pack the bag differently every single time or you’ll end up losing things and forgetting where you put everything.
Have one pocket for diapers, one for wipes, one for medicines and diaper cream, one for your things, etc. That will help keep you a bit more organized which will save you a major headache.
Only Pack the Diaper Bag Essentials
You may feel like you need absolutely everything under the sun in your diaper bag, but I promise you don’t.
Packing all of the extra stuff will just mean that you have to carry it all around with you all day. You’ll get tired of that pretty quickly.
Save yourself the hassle and just go with the important things. Clothes, diapers, wipes, your wallet, and cell phone are really all you need.
Everything else is just a convenience.
What other diaper bag essentials do you carry around? Leave me a comment below or join the conversation in our Facebook group.
Until next time!