If you have absolutely no idea what to pack in the diaper bag, then I’m here to lend a helping hand. Having gone through more than one diaper bag, and having forgotten one too many items at home by accident, I have a fairly good idea of what I think is important.
Now how big does my diaper bag have to be to fit all these items you might ask?
The answer is not very big at all.
The standard diaper bag should be able to fit all these items comfortably. The key is packing it efficiently and using up all the space you have. Yes it might seem really bulky, but wouldn’t you rather have everything you need when out and about? I think so.
Packing your diaper bag the night before is ideal because you can just pick it up and go. But this is not always possible. Always give yourself a couple minutes to pack your diaper bag so it’s less likely that you will forget anything.
I will go over 14 items that I believe every diaper bag should have. Some items might be optional depending on your personal situation and what your baby is used to.
1. Diapers and Wipes
This might seem like a no-brainer, but I guarantee you there are numerous parents out there who went to do a diaper change at the mall, only to realize that they forgot either the diaper or the wipes.
To make it easier, always keep a set amount of diapers in your diaper bag. The rule of thumb is “1 diaper for every hour you’re away”. I always pack 1 extra for added precaution.
Once you get home, replace the missing diapers immediately and refill your wipes container at the same time. This prevents added stress at a future time. Read more about how often you should change your baby’s diaper here.
I know sometimes it might not be possible to re-stock diapers and wipes because you’re busy and trying to do other stuff. But try to replenish your supplies way in advance of your trip outside the house.
This is used to moisturize your baby’s groin and bum to prevent diaper rash. Whichever you choose to use is up to you. They both work really well. Just make sure that whatever product you use, has been approved for use on your baby’s skin.
My Vaseline never leaves my diaper bag as I don’t have a need to take it out. I use a different one at home, so I never have to worry about switching it back and forth. I use a smaller, travel size for my diaper bag and a bigger size at home.
This is not to be overlooked because diaper rash is no joke.
3. Extra Suit of Clothes for Baby
A lot of people often overlook this when they are only going out for a short time. But let me assure you, it only takes a few seconds for your baby to spit up or throw up and their whole outfit is ruined.
And let’s face it, you wouldn’t want to walk around with puke scented clothes, so why would you let your baby do so?
Even if it’s just one complete outfit, pack it in your diaper bag for unexpected events.
If it’s a hot day, then even just throwing in an onesie can make all the difference. Plus, you save on space as onesies don’t take up much room at all.
4. Extra Top for Yourself
I’m sure you’ve been in a situation where there’s puke all over your precious shirt. To avoid walking around in baby puke if your little one throws up, pack an extra shirt in your diaper bag for yourself.
It doesn’t have to be big. Actually, the smaller the better as you’ll need the space for everything else. Just bring something light as a back up.
My extra shirt always stays in my bag. So if I use it on a particular day, then I’ll replace it once I get home so I don’t forget to do so.
These are receiving blankets for your little one. Always, always travel with at least 1 extra blanket as accidents are bound to happen. You don’t have to pack the big bulky blankets in your diaper bag because that takes up a lot of space.
Just the regular blankets in the bag should be fine. If the weather is a bit colder, then you can bring the thicker blanket with you and maybe just throw it over the diaper bag, or leave it in the car until you need it.
You don’t want the extra load if it’s not necessary.
6. Rags and Bibs
This goes without saying but I still feel that it’s important to be on the checklist.
I always travel with at least 4 rags and 3 bibs. This is the bare minimum depending on how long I plan to be out. You might think that’s a lot or maybe not enough. But the most important thing is to bring a few of each.
Rags and bibs can easily be a one time use if your baby is having an off day, spitting up frequently, or maybe you just need to wipe up some spills.
7. Toy or Rattle
Every baby loves entertainment. And the time will come where you will need to distract your baby or hold their attention for a while. Toys and rattles work great for this purpose.
Try to pack smaller toys that be held with one hand. This way, you can fit maybe 2 or 3 toys to keep your baby entertained.
If your baby loves books, you can pack those as well.
Just keep in mind the amount of space you have in your diaper bag. I can fit about 4 small toys quite comfortably in one of the side pockets. Again, the size of the toy is the biggest factor here.
If you want some ideas on how to entertain your baby at home, check out these 8 things you can do in my previous post.
If you’re a breastfeeding mama, then you can skip through most of this section.
Always bring at least 1 extra feed for your baby. Unexpected spills happen sometimes. If you only have 1 set of formula and it spills, then you will find yourself stranded with nothing on hand to feed your baby. So always bring an extra one.
If your baby is old enough to drink water, then always bring a small cup or bottle of water so your baby can cool down if needed. Also, sometimes your baby just wants something to wet their palate and not drink a full feed.
You can also bring a cup of milk if your baby has started on that.
9. Snacks for Baby
If you’re going to be out for a while, your baby will need something to snack on in between feeds. This doesn’t necessarily mean adult snacks.
It could be sliced fruits and veggies, baby pouches or other baby finger foods/snacks.
These are wonderful for on the go as you can just give your baby some snacks if they start to fuss a bit.
Pack small sized portions so it can fit easily into your diaper bag. You might have to invest in some small, travel size containers if you don’t already have any. These can easily be picked up at the Dollar store.
My mom always says that I should never travel with the exact amount of bottles that I need.
I always bring 1 extra bottle. Or if you’re really cramped for space, you could just bring an extra bottle nipple.
Sterilization of the bottles is very important. Find out more here.
The reason for this, is if your baby’s bottle falls accidentally. If you’re not in a place where you can easily wash the bottle then this can get quite tricky. An extra nipple comes in handy in situations like these.
11. Change Pad
This is not really a “must have” in your diaper bag. You could substitute this for a blanket and it will work just as well.
Most diaper bags do come with a travel change pad, which is quite convenient.
No need to worry about placing your baby on a dirty surface to change their diaper – a change pad or blanket should do the trick.
12. Diaper Garbage Bag
These are the mini, single diaper garbage bags. These are sold in a package so you don’t run out as easily.
I usually just keep about 3 garbage bags in my diaper bag.
This is really for when you go places with no garbage bins, so you can still “dispose” of your diaper. I use these bags only for poopy diapers. If it’s just pee, I usually just throw the diaper in the garbage as is.
13. Extra Hats, Mittens & Socks
This is especially important for really young babies who need the extra covering to keep them warm and to prevent them from getting sick.
If you live in colder climates, this is a no-brainer for you.
For some reason, babies tend to lose their socks and mittens in the blink of an eye, literally!
So having an extra pair of each will be to your benefit when traveling out and about.
14. Pacifiers/Comfort Toy
If your baby doesn’t use pacifiers, then you can bring your baby’s comfort toy.
If your baby gets upset, their comfort toy or pacifier can help to calm them down. You can attach either one to their bib or shirt so they have easy access to it.
What Else Can You Think Of?
There you have it. A simple, yet comprehensive list of the most important things I think should be in your diaper bag.
If you can think of anything that I left out, please share in the comments below so we can all benefit from the discussion.
Is your diaper bag big enough to fit all these things? Do you think all of these are even necessary? Leave your thoughts below.
Thanks for reading 🙂