Trying to decide the best items needed in your diaper bag can be hard. Sometimes you don’t even know what you will need until you are out in the trenches, which is why this list is a perfect way to get started.
Let me be completely honest with you. The first time we went out as parents, we forgot the diaper bag. Yes, we sure did. We were so wet behind the ears. I’m sure a little sleep deprived too!
As a first time parent, you are so overwhelmed with holding your precious bundle of joy that you forget the next important thing, that damn diaper bag. Luckily for us, dinner was quick and no explosions occurred. Whew. But, that’s not always the case. Lots of things can happen when you are out and about. Let me repeat that, lots of things. Remember that.
So, let’s get to it.
One idea that I do want to stress to you is simplicity. You don’t have to carry everything on the planet. Know what is really important and only keep what you are going to truly use. All the other stuff is just clutter and can way down your bag. Remember, you are going to have a ton of gear, so make it as simplistic as possible.
So, what are the most important and necessary baby items to carry?
Well, of course the bag itself. Nothing is more important than the bag. It says everything about you (or doesn’t say about you). Am I right?
It’s All About the Bag
Originally I picked a bag that I thought we I wanted. I wanted a chic and classic bag. I wanted a bag that wasn’t covered in pink. Yes, I am a mom of a girl, but Disney is just not my cup of tea. Remember, that’s me. If you love Disney, more power to ya, but my hubby wasn’t going to carry a girly diaper bag. I wasn’t going to be stuck always carrying the diaper bag, so it had to be something we both would carry and not be embarrassed. The winner was a black Coach Messenger bag. Sounds delightful, but in hindsight it wasn’t the right fit.
Why? It looked great, but wasn’t very functional. Also, the leather made the bag so heavy, which made it less than stellar. Carrying a baby and a diaper bag sucks! It didn’t have much room to expand the width for additional items, so I ended up leaving items at home, just so I could look cute. I wised up and realized that functionality reigns over style (no, I will never get a minivan). I used it for the first initial months and then I said it had to go.
I decided to just walk through the handbag department at Macy’s and looked for a cross body type bag. I knew I wanted a bag that could expand, but that was also light. My suggestion is to go to your favorite store and browse bags. They don’t necessarily have to be considered a “diaper” bag. Decide on what style you want and just try them on for feel and comfort. Messenger, backpack – you pick.
I choose the Kipling Maxwell Tote in black. I love it because it has a nylon interior, which is easy to clean from spills. It is spacious and has a ton of pockets (inside and out). Also, it comes with this cute little monkey charm that Madeline loves!
Number One or Number Two?
Poopy diapers don’t wait for changing tables. So, the best way to keep your baby’s bum clean is to have a changing station in your diaper bag.
So, when you are in a hurry and running to the restroom to find a changing station in the stall thank Ashton Kutcher. Wait, that’s right….he rallied for changing tables in men’s bathrooms. Can I send him a memo that not all women’s bathrooms have changing tables either. I have been in so many bathrooms without changing tables, but it’s just the way it is. So, I just place the Skip Hop Changing station on the floor and viola!
The reason I love the Skip Hop changing station the best is because it’s compact, stylish (who says moms don’t want to be stylish) and there is a section to place the baby wipes. It folds up nicely and fits perfectly in my diaper bag.
When it comes to wipes, I am very particular. I say this because Madeleine has very sensitive skin. Right off the bat I used The Honest Brand baby wipes. They have a wonderful travel carrier to place the wipes in. This helps keep the moisture in. It’s also a one handed holder, which is great when one hand is holding the baby and the other is grabbing the wipe. I also love their premium plant-based wipes because they’re hypoallergenic, contain no petrochemicals, chlorine or harsh chemicals and are biodegradable.
Another helpful hint when it comes to diaper changing is poop bags. No, it’s not for your dog. I keep biodegradable poop bags in the diaper bag for explosions that might occur. Yes, you heard me right. I use my doggie’s poop bags to place dirty diapers and/or dirty clothes in. It’s a great way to keep everything clean until arriving home. My motto is to plan for everything!
Let’s Count Sheep
We all know that babies sleep, a lot, which is great when you have to get things done. To keep your little one warm and cozy in their carriers or strollers, store a blanket in your diaper bag should you need it. We use the Pottery Barn Kids blanket that folds into the little pouch and has her name embroidered on it. The blanket is so small and compact. It’s a perfect fit for the diaper bag.
A fussy crying baby is never a good thing when out in public. It seems that people really don’t like to hear that. I wonder why?
The stares you may receive could put a dagger through one’s heart. So, to avoid that, I recommend having some small simple toys to distract them. For babies, it’s great to have teethers, a rattle, a small soft book or stuffed animal that they love. For toddlers I recommend small books, cars, crayons, or a small dolly. Anything compact that will fit easily into the diaper bag is a winner. I would advise nothing sentimental in case it gets lost.
Stuff Them with Food
Stuff them with food and they will be happy campers, right? So, to keep their mood up and the fussiness at bay, pack a few snacks that they love and will get them through the day. I always keep a container of Madeleine’s favorite snacks in the diaper bag. That way I don’t have to end up buying something when I’m out. Sometimes you might think it’s a quick trip and it ends up being longer. Well, no fear because your diaper bag is stocked!
The great thing about making life easier is being prepared. If you prepare the best you can with your baby or toddler, life will be so much easier. It’s hard anyways, but preparedness always helps. It’s like the cherry on top.
Ok, let’s face it….you are always running late now that you have your little one. So, to help make you less late, be prepared and pre-stock your diaper bag. This will alleviate the mad scramble before you leave.
I like to restock after an outing prior to putting the diaper bag away. This helps so I don’t have to try and remember if I have wipes or if I still have snacks in the bag. I just know the bag is ready to go when we are ready to go.
Another good tip is to always place it in the same spot. That way everyone in the house knows where to find it when you are in a mad dash to get out of the house.
The diaper bag is an essential part of taking your little one out in public. It’s an important tool that you need, so put some time and effort into making it work.
Good luck and when you take your little one out for the first outing, don’t forget the diaper bag!
P.S. Don’t forget the Boogie Wipes, you never know when they might have a runny nose or a boogie hanging out of their nose!