I’ll be the first to say that my diaper bags and their contents have evolved a lot over time, as my boys grew and the more I had to travel with them. Every experience out with them seems to be different. But I wish I had a diaper bag checklist to start from, so I didn’t experience what you just may.
One day your baby has a blow-out (husband’s term for when there is poop everywhere beyond the diaper 🙂 ) when you’re in the middle of the grocery store. The next day you’re at the doctor’s office and they’ve spit up their entire stomach contents all over themselves and even your favorite blouse because your burp cloth didn’t come out fast enough.
Then miraculously–after you’ve packed every single possible thing you can think of because of the dread any mishap might befall you again–you have an entire day with no issues and it seems you didn’t need much of anything from your diaper bag.
Thus the life to look forward to of a mom with a newborn baby or infant. If you could graph the dramatic-ness (is that a word? well I just used it anyway…) level of dealing with daily blunders outside your house, it would look like a seismograph from an earthquake pattern.
Thus I have relieved you of that fear with your diaper bag checklist of newborn necessities. Stuff is going to happen and you won’t always be prepared. But…it’s better to be safe than sorry.
My Diaper Bag Checklist – What Do I Need?
As your baby gets older, you’re going to figure out what isn’t working for you, what you never touch, or new things growing baby does need.
This list is exclusive to your newborn or infant, really less than 8 months old or so. Sure, you can find lists that have every single things you could POSSIBLY need in any extreme situation.
But really ladies, do you need that 20 pound thing if you’re just running an errand for 20 minutes? You’ll figure out what works for you.
I’m just the kind that I hate toting so much STUFF! And yet, I’ve had moments too where my baby messed his pants and I didn’t have a change of clothes.
Thus, the basic necessities are here:
- Diapers – duh! I always leave the house with at least two diapers per child, cloth or disposable, no matter how short a time period I’m going to be gone. Why? Because your baby could poop right after you’ve just changed them. Hate it when that happens.
- Wipes – Stock up on the Costco packs of 900 wipes because you can NEVER have too many.
- Milk/Formula – If you’re breastfeeding, no worries to pack any extra food, unless you don’t want to nurse in public and you’ve got a bottle full of pumped milk. If your baby drinks formula, you can have it already mixed and ready, or still powdered with spare water to mix.
- **Don’t forget the cool pack you’ll have to store the milk in if you need to keep it cold for a longer period of time. Often I just don’t worry about keeping a bottle cool if I’m going to be gone less than 3 hours or so. Because you can just bring the cold bottle out of the fridge and by the time baby is ready to eat, it will have warmed up properly.
- Pacifier – If your baby doesn’t use one, no biggie (my kids never have). But if they’re really dependent upon one, you’ll probably want at least two. Because they always seem to spit one out onto the floor and dealing with the crying while you’re trying to wash it off is frustrating when you could just pop in a second one quicker.
And that’s it! Yes, you CAN live without all that other stuff.
Sure, you may have that baby that spits up like a water fountain 24/7 or another that seems to pee all over their clothes constantly because they’re so good at missing that diaper. If that’s the case, you can proceed to the following list.
What Else is Good?
Not all mommies or babies will want or even need all these things. But it is certainly a royal pain if you don’t have them when you need them.
- Hand Sanitizer – Somewhere you can’t wash your hands? This helps.
- Changing Pad – Some moms refuse to put their baby on a surface they’re not familiar with or they haven’t cleaned themselves. I get it. So having a little fold up pad (most diaper bags come with them) to put your baby on is reassuring. If you’re in a public restroom with paper towels, you can throw them down before setting baby on top.
- Plastic Bags – If you have to take the dirty diaper with you, the smell can be permeating. So throw it in a plastic bag (large ziplock bags work great) to solve that problem. Honestly though, the only time I’ve had to do this was when we were hiking with the boys. Everywhere else you can usually find a trashcan.
- **But what if you use cloth diapers? Then, yes, don’t throw them away. Those things are expensive!
- Clothes – You’ve figure out pretty quick if your baby messes on themselves a lot. Depending on how long you’re going to be away from home, you can judge how many outfits they’re going to need. But really, it’s just the onesie/shirt and pants you need to worry about. No baby really needs three extra pairs of socks.
- Rash Cream – Some babies don’t have rashes a lot, so only carry it if you really need it. My first boy had a lot of rashes, so I used this cream. But my second boy hardly ever gets them, so I’ve left the cream at home with him.
- Blankets – Depending on the weather, you may or may not need one. But really, you can keep the blanket with your car seat or just out and loose rather than needing to pack extra ones.
- Nursing Cover – If you choose to bare all (which I completely support by the way), no problem there. If you just use baby’s blanket, that works too. But sometimes it’s just easier to have a proper cover that’s not going to fall over your should with one little kick from baby. It’s all about your comfort level here. I’ve done all three scenarios, just depending on where I was or if I had the motivation to pack extra or not.
- Breast Pads – The first few weeks after your baby is born, your boobs are going to just be constantly wet and your bra and shirts aren’t going to hide it. Having reusable nursing pads in your bra can eliminate that embarrassment in public. I’ve done both and there are advantages either way, it just comes down to your preference.
- Sling or Wrap – If you have a baby that constantly wants to be held, putting them in a sling or wrap-around can take the burden off your arms, especially when you don’t want them in their car seat for long periods of time. There a many different varieties out there and you really have to just experiment with them to know if you’ll really use one or not. I have a sling and the only time I really would use one is when I am trying to cook dinner and baby just had to be held.
- Bibs/Burp Cloths – If you don’t care about getting a little spit up on your shirt or on baby’s clothes (you get used to it pretty fast), you can simply wipe away the little mess with your baby wipes. But some babies seem to return their entire meal consistently for shorts amounts of time. And if you’re not hot on changing their clothes over and over again (I’m not), then having a cloth barrier makes a big difference.
You don’t need to worry about things like toys for the first while because your interaction with your baby can be far more valuable at this stage of life than a plastic jingly thing. Give them tummy time on the floor, sing songs and show love.
Once your baby becomes dependent upon certain toys, it can be a nightmare if it becomes lost. More great things to look forward to!
What do you keep in your diaper bag?