Every parent has to know what the diaper bag essentials are. Whether you're going out or a day trip or a vacation, the last thing you want is to run out of diapers and wipes among other essentials that come with taking care of a baby. We will look at how to choose the right diaper bag and the essentials and extras you will want to pack it with when taking the baby out of the house — because it's always better to be as prepared as possible than not prepared enough!
Choosing the Right Diaper Bag
Selecting the right diaper bag for you and your little one depends on style preference, but the functionality is much more important. Also, make sure that your diaper bag is something you like, because you'll be depending on this bag for years to come and every time you bring your baby or toddler out of the house! Your diaper bag should:
Diaper Bag Tips
You have a lot to pack in your diaper bag, especially if you're packing diaper bag essentials for the parents, too. Here are some helpful tips on making the most of the space you have in your diaper bag for you and the baby:
Diaper Bag Essentials
Some diaper bag essentials will depend on whether you're a first-time parent, expecting multiples, or already have a young child. Other basic diaper bag essentials should be in every diaper bag.
Diapers, Wipes, and Cream
These items are no-brainers when packing diaper bag essentials. It is recommended that you bring one diaper per hour you'll be out, plus one extra just in case. Baby wipes are necessary when changing diapers but also work well for cleaning up small messes and messy hands and faces. If your child has a diaper rash, don't forget to pack the cream to ensure comfort and prevent further irritation when changing.
Change of Clothes
Babies are messy. They may spit up, have a diaper accident, or just find themselves in a mess. It's best to always have a couple backup t-shirts or onesies just in case — especially if you're bringing the baby to a special event that requires a certain dress code.
After feeding the baby, you have to burp them; and you don't want that spit-up on your t-shirt, do you? Always pack several burp cloths and a plastic or biohazard bag to place the dirty cloths in once finished.
Formula or Breast Milk
Depending on what your baby is eating, always bring enough formula or breast milk for however long you plan to be out. Infants usually eat every couple hours, so it's good to be extra prepared in case the baby gets cranky and hungry.
Hat and Sunscreen
In warm weather, consider bringing a sun hat and sunscreen for the baby. This will help prevent sunburn and discomfort on the baby's face and body. Sunscreen is vital for healthy skin. In the colder months, always bring a fitted, knit hat to keep the baby warm.
Pacifiers and Teething Toys
Many babies use pacifiers because of the motion and the comfort it brings. Always pack extra pacifiers just in case one gets lost. Teething babies are sometimes in a great deal of pain, so it's best to bring a few teething toys to help calm the baby and also keep the baby busy for a time.
Aquaphor or Body Balms
Aquaphor is great for diaper rashes but it should be among your diaper bag essentials because it's also helpful for protecting any part of the skin. It is great for adding moisture to chapped lips or skin.
If your baby is old enough to eat snacks, then bring a small plastic bag or container of quick and easy snacks like Gerber's Puffs or a disposable spoon with canned baby food. Toddlers will need bigger snacks, like sliced fruit, crackers, or vegetables. Pack these in a plastic bag you can close to ensure there will be no spills.
Plastic or Biodegradable Bags
Sometimes when you're in a tough corner, you won't have access to a garbage can. Instead of keeping the soiled diaper in the diaper bag wrapped up as best as you can, bring extra plastic grocery bags or biodegradable bags so you can wrap up the mess without worry.
First Aid Kit
Accidents and illnesses happen. It's best to buy a small travel-sized first aid kit so you're prepared for any accident, whether it's a small scrape or something bigger. This is also a great necessity for mom and dad.
Diaper Bag Extras
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Some people will consider these diaper bag essentials, but we're putting them under the extras list because not every parent may require these. Every baby and family is different, and your mileage may vary.
If you are nursing, a shawl is important so you can cover up the intimate moment if you're in public. If you don't have a nursing shawl, a little blanket or small towel should be enough coverage for those few minutes.
Also for nursing moms, breast pads are to be inserted into the bra to prevent leakage through the t-shirt. Sometimes leaks can be unpredictable, so be sure to pack extras just in case.
Sling or Wrap
Depending on your baby's age, you might prefer carrying the little one in a body sling or wrap. This is great for bonding time, but especially helpful if you plan on walking a long distance, since the baby can stay close and you can move swiftly and easily.
Coloring books and crayons are more appropriate for toddler-aged children to keep them entertained during moments that may bore the little one, like sitting at a restaurant or during long car rides.
Some changing stations are cold and hard plastic which doesn't make the baby thrilled. If you'd like, consider packing a changing pad you can bring out when changing in a public restroom.
Changing pads are also great for when you don't have access to a changing station but don't want to put your baby directly onto a dirty or uncomfortable surface.
Diaper Bag Essentials for Parents
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If you plan on using the diaper bag to store your things, here are necessities you won't want to forget when packing your bag.
It's the worst when you have to change your baby in a non-convenient place. Sometimes diaper messes call for quick changes in the trunk of your car or the dirty gas station bathroom. Soap isn't always accessible, so it's best to pack hand sanitizer to ensure cleanliness.
Tip: Don't give hand sanitizer to your child! There is a high concentration of alcohol and can even kill children if ingested.
Even if you pack an extra t-shirt, you still don't want a stain to settle in the one you were just wearing. Bringing a travel-sized stain remover pen is a great idea to help save your favorite clothes.
Pack a protein or nutritional bar as a snack for when you're out. If you get too hungry, you may grow tired or irritable, which is not pleasant for you or the baby.
Everybody needs a little freshener, especially if you plan on eating during your outing.
If it's sunny out, don't forget your sunglasses. The idea here is to be prepared and remain as comfortable as possible during your outing with your little one, and nobody wants to be blinded by the sun on a beautiful day.
Mom and dad need to stay hydrated too. Don't forget to pack at least one 12-ounce water bottle per adult.
Depending on your outing, you might have downtime. Perhaps you wanted to grab lunch at the local cafe, and the baby fell asleep. This is a great time to just relax and read a book.
Pack an extra t-shirt you don't mind getting a little dirty. This is just in case the baby spits up on you during burping or you accidentally spill on yourself.
Pads or Tampons
The last thing you want is to be out of pads or tampons when it's that time of the month. Always pack extras just in case.
We listed some of the most important diaper bag essentials, extras, and necessities for mom and dad. We also discussed the key features when shopping for a diaper bag. Now that you have this guide, just don't forget to make a checklist of the diaper bag essentials before you leave the house!