One of the biggest questions I had on my first venture outside of the house with Miss Grace was, "What the heck do I pack in my diaper bag?" The only place we had gone in that first month was to the pediatrician's office and then right back home. When that first real trip outside of the house happened I had no clue what to bring and leave. I was brand new to the newborn world and was stressing about not having everything I need in my diaper bag. It took me a few times to realize what I actually needed and the things I didn't. I decided to do a poere is my guide to packing an efficient diaper bag with all the necessities.
1. Choose a Practical Bag
This first step is the most important to packing your diaper bag. Yes, we all love the cute, name brand products that will make us moms look fashionable but unfortunately those don't always make the most practical of diaper bags. I've seen moms with small designer bags for their babies. It just doesn't make sense to me. When we were doing our registry and I was looking at my future diaper bags I found so many I loved aesthetically but didn't make sense as far as packing space was concerned. A lot of the bags were small and wouldn't have fit the number of things that need to be packed in it for an outing with your babe. I'm not saying get a suitcase but keep all in mind all the necessary items you'll be putting in it.
I got mine from Target but this one is from Bed Bath & Beyond and identical to mine except it being a different color. I chose this one for it's size and because the material allows it to be washed and wiped down easily. It is big enough for everything with some room to spare for when I need to pack extras while traveling or an extra long day out and about. The best thing about it, it wasn't all that expensive! $40 for a fully functional and even cute diaper bag was a steal in my eyes. It may not be designer brand but it works for us!
2. Think Ahead (if you can)
If you know you are going to be leaving the house for any extended period of time with your little one, spend a few minutes planning your diaper bag packing. Take into account what you will be doing during your outing and how long (estimated) you will be out. This will help you to determine what you actually need to pack and what won't really be necessary. A mistake I made in the beginning was assuming that what was in my bag from the last time we left the house would be good enough for the next. Remember that when you are out you are more than likely going to be using multiple items that will need restocking like diapers and wipes to name a few. Planning is key for packing an efficient diaper bag.
3. Packing the Essentials for Baby
I used to think I needed to pack her entire nursery in my bag in order to have everything I needed for a trip outside our house. It was definitely a trial and error process as far as figuring out what I really needed for my baby girl while we were away from home. Here is what is in my diaper bag for Grace when we head out for the day:
Bottles - the number of bottles varies based on a few things. If you are breastfeeding exclusively you may not need this on your list. For me, even when I was breastfeeding I still packed a bottle for a back up in case I was in the middle of the grocery store or something and couldn't drop everything to breastfeed her. After I could no longer breastfeed I obviously had to pack formula. How many I packed was based on the length of our outing and her current feeding routine
Diapers - this is an obvious one. Guess how many you may need and add another two or so on top of it. You never know when you may need an extra and you can't have too many diapers. Ever!
Wipes! (for dirty baby bums)
(2) Extra baby outfits - From spit up to diaper blowouts you definitely need to have some back up outfits for your baby.
Plastic bags - I have two types of plastic bags that I pack. I usually reuse a grocery bag for soiled clothing and a small roll of scented plastic bags (like ones you use for dog poop) for dirty diapers in case I'm not somewhere I can dispose of it right away.
Travel or sample sized diaper cream (space saver)
A receiving blanket - I've found, especially during the summer months, that stores and restaurants are often pretty chilly and your little one may need a blanket on his or her legs
Extra pacifier - Just in case one falls on the floor or gets lost
A small toy or two - I pack a small rattle
Snack (if on solid foods)
This list seems like a lot but many of these items don't take up a ton of space and with proper organizing it will definitely all fit. Again, make sure you have a diaper bag that is spacious. It is crazy the amount of things such a small little human needs.
4. Think About You Too
Let's face it, once we have kids our diaper bags are our new purses. So not only are you packing your diaper bag for your little one, you are also packing for you. I think we can all agree that our purses get a little messy and filled with receipts, pens and millions of odds and ends that are so not necessary. Since there is limited space in the diaper bag for your things (babies need SO much stuff) you will have to only pack the 'must haves'. This is what I pack for me in Grace's diaper bag:
Wallet (gotta have money and a license)
An extra shirt (or two)
This one is important especially if your baby is younger our tends to throw up often after eating. I learned my lesson early on when I was out with Grace and she spit up ALL over me and I was without a backup shirt. I could smell it for the rest of the day and it was awful. Since then I always have an extra shirt for myself in my diaper bag
A small snack (a granola bar or something)
This is just a basic list so if you have any items that you can't leave the house without then throw them in! This is all I really need to survive a day out but this specific list with vary from mama to mama.
5. Keep it Organized
This is a lot easier said than done but it will make your life so much easier. Picture this, you're in the grocery store at the checkout counter trying to pay for your groceries that have been scanned, bagged and sitting in your cart. You have a crying baby who is hungry and the cashier is waiting for you to unpack your entire diaper bag to find your wallet and a snack for the babe. Yeah, this happened to me. Not to mention all the looks you are getting from people waiting in line behind you. Organization is key.
This ties into the first tip of purchasing a practical diaper bag. I know it isn't practical to keep a completely organized bag 100% of the time. I get it. My suggestion is to make a concerted effort to stay as organized as possible. There have been times at the end of a long and busy day that my bag looks like a tornado has ripped through it. I just have to reorganize for the next day!
I hope these five tips to packing the perfect diaper bag were helpful! As you learn the needs of your little one and figure out what your family needs for a day out the items you put in here will change. Happy packing!
What are your diaper bag 'must haves'?
See you soon, E