Diaper Bag Basics: What to Pack

Ever get that nagging feeling that you’ve forgotten something important when you are just about to leave the house with your little one? Of course, you can’t remember what it is that you’ve forgotten, but you simply can’t shake the feeling that forgotten something! And it’s driving you nuts! 

There’s nothing more annoying than that, is there? The good news is that there is a surefire way to ensure that you never have to deal with that feeling: by having a detailed checklist of everything you need to carry! 

To help you out, we decided to come up with this handy list for you, containing everything you need to pack in your diaper bag. With it, you’ll never forget to pack anything important ever again! 

So let’s dive right in, shall we? 

Do you need a diaper bag? 

Technically, you could convert pretty much any type of bag that you already own into a diaper bag. So, do you even need one in the first place? 

Well, diaper bags are designed to make your life easier as a parent. They are optimized for the task of carrying baby essentials, and most of them come with features that make them uniquely suited for the job. For example, some diaper bags can convert into changing stations, others have insulated bottle pouches, and others even have waterproof pockets for carrying wet or dirty diapers and clothes. Almost all diaper bags also come with many pockets and compartments to meet your unique storage needs. 

Therefore, if you have been wondering whether or not to invest in a diaper bag, then the answer is yes, you should. A good diaper bag will make your life with your baby a lot easier every time you get out of the house. 

What makes a great diaper bag? 

When shopping for a diaper bag, certain features will be more important than others. Here are some of the things your next diaper bag needs to have: 

  • Size: Get a diaper bag that is quite large. This way, you will always be prepared for anything. When you have to pack multiple changes of clothes, toys, blankets, diapers, wipes, bottles, and more, you need lots of space. 
  • Extra storage and pockets: When it comes to diaper bags, the more pockets there are, the better. You may also want to get a diaper bag with specialized pockets, such as insulated pockets for bottles or wipe-clean pockets for soiled clothes. 
  • Ease of cleaning: Your diaper bag will inevitably get messy. You want to be able to easily keep it clean. Get one that is machine-washable or one that can be wiped clean. 
  • Stroller straps: This is a convenience feature. Some modern diaper bags come with stroller straps that you can use to attach to your stroller’s handlebar for your convenience. 
  • Changing pad: Get a diaper bag that comes with a removable changing pad or one that you can convert into a changing station by folding it out. 

What to pack in your diaper bag (checklist)

The exact items that you’ll pack in your diaper bag will depend on several factors, including your destination, how long you will be out, and what the weather is like. That said, here are some of the things that you’ll have to carry every time: 

  • Changing pad: Whether your diaper bag comes with its own changing pad or not, consider investing in a large changing pad and always pack it in your diaper bag. 
  • Diapers: The rule of thumb for packing diapers is to pack one extra diaper for every two hours you’ll be out. It does not hurt to add one or two extras just in case, though.
  • Wipes: Buy a travel pack of wipes. You’ll use them for everything! 
  • Baby cream/ointment: If you want to save space in your diaper bag, get a few travel-sized tubes of baby cream/ointment instead of a large tub. 
  • Baby food: Carry enough formula, breast milk, or baby food to last you for as long as you’ll be out plus an extra feeding session just in case. If you are formula feeding, pack a pre-filled formula dispenser, one or two bottles, and some water. 
  • Breastfeeding supplies: If you are going to be breastfeeding in an unfamiliar place, bring a nursing cover and breast pads
  • Burp cloths: Bring a reasonable number of burp cloths with you
  • Change of clothes: Pack something easy to put on for your little one
  • Hand sanitizer: To clean your hands after changing her and before feeding her. 
  • Diaper disposal bag: Great for storing soiled diapers until your can dispose of them
  • Pacifiers: If your little one loves her binkies, pack them in a resealable bag to keep them clean
  • Food, snacks, and water: For babies who have started on solids, pack as much as you’ll need for the duration that you’ll be out. Don’t forget to pack something for yourself, too! 
  • Toys: If you think your little one might get bored on the trip, bring her favorite toys as well

Other things to pack

Here are a few other things to pack depending on your little one’s age: 

  • Newborns: Everything above plus 2 more extra outfits and at least one swaddle blanket
  • Infants: Everything listed above plus a season-appropriate hat, extra socks, snacks, her favorite toy, and baby lotion
  • Toddlers: Everything listed above plus bobs, sunscreen, snacks, her favorite toys, and toilet training supplies, such as a portable toilet seat. 

What about you? 

Don’t forget about yourself! Some of the things you might want to toss in the diaper bag for yourself include your phone, keys, and wallet. You can also have a booklet with your essential contact info (your phone number, emergency contact, pediatrician, daycare, and so on). Nursing pads and a toiletry bag with your personal care items would also be nice if you’ll be gone for more than a few hours. Finally, don’t forget to pack lots of snacks and water! 

Final thoughts

Packing your diaper bag correctly will make your life super easy when you head out with your baby. When you know you have everything you need for a quick outing, a day trip, or an overnight stay, you’ll enjoy an incomparable peace of mind every time you walk out the door. Hopefully, with this checklist, this goal is a lot more achievable. Have fun!