If you are wondering how to go about packing a diaper bag, and confused as to what you need for a newborn baby, do not worry. This is your essential list to what are the must have items, nice to have items and it will also help you choose the most appropriate bag for your needs.
Whether you realise it yet or not, your diaper bag will become your new handbag, at least for the short term. Gone are the days when you can pick up your car keys and mobile and leave the house to run to the shops because you forgot to buy milk, or to meet your best friend for coffee at the spur of the moment. With a baby in tow, it generally takes just a little longer to get yourself organised.
With a perfectly packed bag at the ready however you can make this transition from inside to outside quicker than you think.
There are definitely some essentials you must consider. At times you will feel like you are packing everything but the kitchen sink, so to speak. I remember the first time I left the house with my baby, I felt like I was carrying a suitcase of things, but as time went on I very quickly worked out what was really needed, the essentials.
And this is it. The essentials list.
How to select the ‘right’ diaper bag
First things first. The bag.
Even though our babies are small, the amount of essentials we need when we are on the go is huge and therefore our bag of choice needs to be just right.
- Needs to be lightweight, because by the time you fill it up it is going to weigh a lot more.
- Lots and lots of pockets – easily accessible.
- Easy to clean fabric – even waterproof if possible.
If you are using new bag instead of a handbag, you will also need to ensure it has a compartment for your phone, keys and purse and any other items you want for yourself.
Choosing the right bag for you and your baby can feel quite overwhelming as there are so many options. They can range in price significantly also so consider how much of this is an investment to you and any future children. Consider also if your husband or partner may be carrying the bag as this could determine the color you choose. He may not want to be flaunting a floral pink bag but may prefer a more neutral design.
Make sure you consider its size. If you are wanting to have it hang from your pram, does it fit or is it far too large. Are you a backpack kind of girl or do you prefer a shoulder strap bag, with adjustable straps.
Some bags can convert to handbags when your days of babies are over, so don’t rush into it, consider all your options.
Choosing diaper bag inserts
Another alternative worth considering is using a bag insert which you can potentially use inside of your current handbag if it is large enough.
These zip up mini-bags allow you to not only save money because you do not need to buy a new bag, but it means you have a great little compact traveller which is great when you are out and about.
They are not as roomy as having a designated bag however it is an alternative to consider and with compartments and often a handle they are easily transportable and you can then move them from one bag to another on a daily basis if the need be.
The Essential Diaper Bag List
Now the all important list.
What do you need to pack? How many things are must haves and just nice to haves. How does it all work?
The hard work has all been done. Simply refer to this essential checklist, pack your items and you are done. Replenish regularly and you will never be left without your must-have items, no matter where you go.
Essentially you’ll be packing lots of nappies and wipes, however due to the unpredictable nature of our little ones, there are a few other items on the list.
Let’s take a look.
- Spare nappies / diapers – at least 3 or 4
- Wipes – you can get handy travel containers – remember that wipes can be used for almost 101 things from cleaning babies to wiping tables, or anything that requires a quick disinfectant so you can never have enough. You can even get really handy dispensers that can clip to your pram too!
- Disposable plastic bags for any dirty nappies and clothing
- Portable Changing Pad – some bags have them already included but if not it is nice to have your own to place down wherever you need to stop
- Soothing – Rash cream
- A damp cloth and/or some baby wipes for hands (Sanitising Hand Gel is a great option too)
- Bib and or burping cloth – at least a couple
- Breastfeeding wrap or cover cloth/shawl (if breastfeeding)
- Spare breast pads and nipple cream (if breastfeeding)
- Bottles and/or Formula (if bottle feeding) – To prevent bacteria growing, it is often best to take your cooled boiled water and formula separately and prepare when the time arises – this is all dependant on your environment too.
- Milk Bands Nursing Bracelet
- Blanket / Wrap
- Change of clothing for baby (and for you – at least a top)
- A special toy or rattle
- Sun protection and/or a hat
Baby Carriers and Slings
If you are heading out for a walk with your baby snuggled in a baby sling or carrier, you most likely won’t be dragging your nappy bag with you. In which case you may only want to take a little hat and or a pacifier. Depending on how long you will be will obviously depend on the requirement to take other items.
Some baby carriers, have pouches for you to safely store your house keys, some small change and any key essentials.
If you are on the market to purchase any of these items, do thorough research and speak to mothers groups, friends and those in the know. Each has its own features (and safety mechanisms) and prices range significantly. One might feel comfortable to you but not to someone else so you will need to try them on also. Some take a little time to get the hang of but once you know they are super handy to have (I had a baby carrier) and great for walks or heading to the shops for a quick outing leaving you hands free. I recommend them, however as I say, research and try as many as you can before you make your final decision.
Much like when you packed your hospital bag, the first time you go to pack your nappy bag will feel overwhelming. However don’t let it be. Also remember that you do not need to “…Compete with the Jones’..”, simply buy the best you can afford and make it work for you.
What essentials did you have in your diaper bag or what advice could you share to others looking to pack a diaper bag for the first time?